Gompas, Gönpas, or Gumbas (Tibetan: དགོན་པ།, Wylie: dgon pa “remote place”, Sanskrit araṇya), also known as ling (Wylie: gling), are Buddhist ecclesiastical fortifications of learning, lineage and sādhanā that may be understood as a conflation of a fortification, a vihara and a university associated with Tibetan Buddhism and thus common in historical Tibetan regions including parts of China, India, Nepal, Ladakh and Bhutan. Bhutanese dzong architecture is a subset of traditional gompa design. A gompa is a meditation room where practitioners meditate and listen to teachings. As ‘Gompa’ is an imprecise term used by westerners traveling in Tibetan regions to refer to a variety of religious buildings, generally correlating to what might be described as a church but including small temple buildings and other places of worship or religious learning.
Where to go:
1. Pemayangtse Gompa
Settled around 111 km away from west Gangtok, Pemayangtse Gompa in Pemayangtse town is one of the most important and notable tourist spots in Sikkim. The striking gompa was put up by Lama Lhatsun Chempo, mainly for ‘ta-sang’ lamas; the purest of monks.
Pemayangtse Gompa in Gangtok boasts of several ancient Buddhist antique idols, scriptures and sculptures. The prime highlight of the monastery is a seven-tiered painted wooden structure portraying Guru Rimpoche’s Heavenly Palace, Santoplari. The structure is there on the first floor of monastery and it took around five years to finish it single handed by Late Dungzin Rimpoche. Moreover, the Chaam, monk dance is held on 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of Tibetan Lunar calendar. Dressed-up in beautiful outfits, lamas also take part in Chaam to represent the Mahakala and Guru Drag-damar.
2. Taktsang Gompa
Taktsang Gompa located at a distance of around 50 km from Tawang town, Taktsang Gompa is placed near the Sangetsar Lake and border of China. Locally known as T Gompa, this monastery has a small structure but the surroundings are extremely mesmerizing. This Gompa stands on the edge of a small hill. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava visited this place for meditation during the 8th century. Encircled by thick coniferous forest and lofty mountains, this monastery is visited by devotees in decent numbers every year.
3. Dhankar Gompa
This beautiful monastery is locked between the rocky spurs at the top of clif. It is situated at an elevation of 3,894 metres in the Spiti Valley above Dhankar Village, between the towns of Kaza and Tabo.