Perched on a hillock, around 20 km from Gangtok, the Rumtek Monastery is also known as the Dharma Chakra Centre and serves as the seat of His Holiness Gyalma Karmapa the XVI, the head of the Karma Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. Built in the 16th century, it is the largest monastery in Sikkim and displays the best of Tibetan architecture, along with rare Buddhist art pieces. The massive prayer hall inside the monastery is decorated with splendid murals, statues and ancient thankas (Buddhist paintings on fabric). One can also observe beautiful paintings of Kargyu lineage and eight Bodhistavas. It is a world-renowned centre for Kargyu teachings.

The main structure of the building was made in accordance with the traditional designs of Tibetan monasteries. Its interior is adorned with murals, frescos and paintings. There is a shrine hall in the main building with a 10-feet-high statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. The monastery is enshrined with four other statues, those of Virupaksha, Virudaka, Dritarashtra and Vaishravana, considered to be the guardians of the universe. It is believed that when the 9th Karmapa threw holy rice after performing a ritual, four rice grains were scattered in Sikkim and one of the grains fell on the spot where the old Rumtek Monastery is erected today, which is a 15-minute walk down the slope from the Dharma Chakra Centre. 

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