Sikkim is the land of the awesome mount Kanchendzonga famous for its mesmerising scenic splendours, snow and mountain views, rare varieties of flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth, and above all, a set of warm and hospitable people who really make you feel wanted.
Every public building or park in Sikkim has something to do with either lord buddha or kanchendzonga so much so that even the entrance to the state secretariat- \"Tashiding\" - is through a tibetan pagoda-styled roof.
Over the years Sikkim has witnessed a burgeoning growth of adventure tourism and a vast majority of tourists come to visit Sikkim in search of snow and mountain tourism thereby missing out on the more aesthetic and sublime frontier - that of Pagodas, monasteries and Gompas (monasteries) for which Sikkim is so famous the world over.
Influence Of Tibetan Buddhism
In Sikkim, Tibetan Buddhism flourishes. Tradition has it that Buddhism was introduced in Tibet in the 7th and 8th centuries and later on spread to Sikkim and elsewhere. Buddhist texts and commentaries were translated from the Sanskrit language. While in Gangtok, the state capital, make it a point to visit the research institute of Tibetology (RIT) which happens to be the melting pot of modern Tibetan Buddhism and a lot of high quality research on Tibetan Buddhism goes on at this centre of excellence.
Tibetan Buddhism is different in that the dedicated Tibetan Buddhist seeks nirvana, the popular religion retains Shamanistic elements and includes hymns and prayers and the worship of many spirits.
What is especially remarkable is the gradual rediscovery of Buddhism in all major cosmopolitan cities and towns of the west. Actor Richard Gere, for example, converted to Tibetan Buddhism, which is prevalent in Sikkim way back in 1984 and spends several months each year travelling and speaking on behalf of his holiness, the Dalai Lama. He partially founded the making of \"Seven Years in Tibet\". Steven Segal, the other big time Hollywood celebrity, is recognised by Penor Rinpoche, the supreme head of the Nyingma lineage as a reincarnated \"Tulku\" (lama).
Not only the powerful are attracted to Buddhism. According to Diana Eck, Director of the pluralism project at Harvard University, who recently visited Sikkim\'s fascinating Buddhist monasteries, adherents are packing out the nearly 1,500 Buddhist temples and monasteries that are found throughout the United States. In southern California alone, a Tibetan Buddhist temple is erected every two months.
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