Set at a height of 4500 ft, giving a picture-perfect view of deep valleys and towering mountains, Phodong Monastery is one of the six most important monasteries in Sikkim, built in the 18th century, circa 1740, by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal, the then ruler of Sikkim. It belongs to the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism and houses beautiful paintings and murals. 

The original structure was destroyed in an earthquake, and rebuilt by the lamas in 1977 with the help of government funds. The new building is bigger and grander than the old one. The old fresco paintings were extracted by the Delhi National Museum Institute, and were preserved till they could be transported to the new monastery. 

Phodong finds mention in the writings of French explorer Alexandra David Neel, who spent a few years, beginning in 1912, learning Buddhism here, under the guidance of the third Lachen Gomchen. She was gifted a Buddha statue by Chogyal Sidkyong Tulku, the 10th ruler of Sikkim, that was returned to the monastery after she passed away in 1969. Some of her photos are on display on the first floor of the building. Every year, the monastery hosts a festival on the 28th and 29th days of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar. The resident monks celebrate the festival with a special chaam dance, along with spiritual rituals. Currently, around 260 monks live near the monastery and offer prayers on a regular basis as a part of their daily routine. At present, it is rated to be one of the most mesmerising monasteries of Sikkim.

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