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Tharpa Choling Monastery
About Tharpa Choling Monastery

Gaden Tharpa Choling Monastery is a Gelugpa monastery which is located at the hilltop in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India. The monastery was founded by Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang in 1912. History says that Domo Geshe Rinpoche lived in Kalimpong in 1906 when he came to India for pilgrimage and to collect medicinal plants from India, Nepal and Bhutan. At the request of the Tibetan merchants and some Bhutanese leaders living in Kalimpong to establish a monastery there, Rinpoche instituted this monastery. Gaden Tharpa Choling monastery is a non-profitable development Association, registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961.

Tharpa Choling Monastery is perched on the mount of Tirpai Hills. Established by Buddhist sect, Gelupka it is one of the first three monasteries constructed in Kalimpong. Popularly known as yellow-hat, this monastery also offers striking view of the Himalayan ranges.

Tharpa Choling Monastery is one of the most perfect locations for meditation in Kalimpong, the monastery attracts various Buddhist monks and devotees. Pleasant climate, unpolluted nature and cool environment make this monastery one of the most favourite ones.

Discipline of the monastery
The monastery's discipline is based on the regulations laid down by the 13th Dalai Lama in abidance with the rules of theVinaya, the spiritual code of conducts.

History of Tharpa Choling Monastery

On the 1st day of the 11th month of the Water-Mouse year, (1912) Mrs. Trinlay Gyalmo, (the sister-in-law of Rani Chonyi Wangmo of Bhutan House) and her husband Bhawalolo constructed the Monastery with a main prayer hall, monk's dormitory and a private residence for Rinpoche on the donated 7 acres land which was orange garden then. Mrs Trinlay Gyalmo also donated 21 acres of paddy field for up-keeping valuable exhibits of the Monastery. Rani Chonyi Wangmo sponsored for the renovation of the Chinese temple, Gesar Lhangang and donated generously for the monk's living. Gradually, novice monks came from every part of Tibet from all different schools of Tibetan Buddhism and joined the Monastery. There were monks from Mongolia, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh besides Sherpa, Tamang and Gurung monks. As of now, there are 55 resident monks of Monpa, Tibetan, Tamang, Sherpa, and Gurung origin.

After the passing away of the Venerable Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang in 1939, the senior monks of Tharpa Choling Monastery appealed to the Tibetan government to take over the administration of the Monastery. As the new embodiment of the Rinpoche was yet to be found, and when found he would be too young to take over the administrative responsibilities of the Monastery, therefore, the Tibetan Government decided to appoint abbot from Sera, Drepung and Gaden to administer the monastery. The first deputed abbot of Tharpa Choling Monastery was Khenpo Lodoe Dorje who was Geshe from Gaden Monastery.

The second abbot was Drepung Tsawa Khangtsen Mani Tulku. These two abbots were appointed before the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959. After the occupation of Tibet, the Department of Religion and Culture, Tibetan Government in Exile appointed Rikya Rinpoche as the third abbot and Serje Khensur Lobsang Dhonyoe as the fourth abbot of the monastery.

Others shrines of the monastery campus

Lu-Khang, the temple of Naga
The Lu-Khang has a Trishul and the Naga of this temple is believed to be a female. In 1994, when an old woman living near Enchai Monastery in Gangtok was possessed by a spirit, in dream she spoke out in very pure Tibetan and said, “I came from Tibet with Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang to India and lived here in Tharpa Choling Monastery campus. During the renovation of the Congregational hall the workers and labourers dumped filthy waste near my shrine and I could hardly live there as the surroundings got defiled. Kindly convey my plight to Rinpoche”. Rinpoche immediately ordered the monks to clean the surroundings and forbade the labourers to go anywhere near the Naga Shrine.

Mani Lhagang
Mani Lhagang is a prayer wheel which was founded by Lama Ngawang Kalsang and it was located at the left of the Main Hall entrance. It was shifted to a separate room when the renovation of the Main Hall started.

Lha-Ten is the temple of the protector deity of the monastery. It is located behind the main hall on the left and comprises three structures, two in front and a white one at the back side. The front Lhaten with ‘Tri’ letter is the temple of Nechung Choegyal and the second with the letter ‘Kyee’ is the temple of Tashi Woebar while the white temple at the back with the letter ‘Kyee’ is the temple of Jowo Ching Karwa. Nechung Choegyal who is the main protector deity of Tibet while Jowo Ching Karwa and Tashi Woebar are the main deities of Tharpa Choling Monastery.

Shrine for Shangmo Dorje Bhuti

It is said that Shangmo was once a demon who disguised as a nomad woman. She was controlled by Sakya Gongma Rinpoche. Around 1902, Shangmo escaped from the Sakya Monastery and followed Domo Geshe Rinpoche to Dungkar Gonpa, as Rinpoche also was the native of the same place, “Shang”. There at Dungkar Gonpa, she was bound under solemn oath to protect the monastery. In Tharpa Cholling, the storekeeper ordered Shangmo to protect the ration store room of Tharpa Choling monastery. Shangmo stayed in the store room up to the renovation of monastery. Now her abode has been shifted to Mani Lhagang with her special shrine.

Ge-sar Lhagang or the Chinese temple
This temple was well-known for Tao-Chen, the Chinese school of divination through which future can be forecast.This temple was once situated in Kali Jhora and was almost destroyed by landslides. Later, it was shifted to Tharpa Choling Monastery campus and situated near the residence of Domo Geshe Rinpoche by Rani Choenyi Wangmo in 1912. A Mongolian monk interpreted the soothing texts from Mongolian to Tibetan and composed a prayer to propitiate Ges-sar the deity and Dakhang, monthly prayers are offered to Ges-sar.



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