Also known as the Druk Thuten Sangag Choeling Monastery, this huge complex is situated 4 kms outside of Darjeeling. Sharing the dense damp mists and biting cold of the winter months in the mountains, both the monastery and the town seem closed in on themselves on days when visibility worsens, such as when these images were taken. It is home to over 200 monks and novices and has accommodation for the elderly.
The monastery was built in 1971 and is owned by the Kargyupta buddhist order which practices Vajrayana buddhism. Developed in India in the 5th century BC it is characterized by the use of rituals, dieties and tantra yoga. Akin to basic buddhist principles, these teachings differ mainly in their degree of interpretation. Interestingly, this form of buddhism spread from its Indian roots to Nepal and Tibet centuries ago, and now is re-established back in this border region of India subtlely interwoven with aspects of Tibetan culture and tradition.
(Click on image for a complete, enlarged version. To return to this page, close the tab.)