Retrofitted and re-strengthened Labrang Monastery inaugurated

Gangtok, 25 Nov:

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today inaugurated the retrofitted and re-strengthened Labrang Palden Phuntshol Gompa at Upper Tumlong in North Sikkim. The 187-year-old monastery of the Nyingma sect had suffered damages in the Sept 2011 earthquake and has been retrofitted and re-strengthened at a project cost of around Rs. One crore.

Addressing the gathering of the devout, the Chief Minister pointed out that the State Government has consistently been dedicated to preserve and promote the Sikkimese Buddhist way of life and connecting with the rest of the world.

He pointed out how, since the statue of Guru Padmasambhava was completed in the year 2004, till the recent unveiling of the statue of Chenrezig at Sangacholing, Pelling, and the Buddha Park with the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, Sikkim has become a Singkhem with the Holy Trinity of Mahayana Buddhism established at important vantage points here.

Stressing that “seeing was believing,” the CM invited the people to go over what the government has done in the past 24 years to decide for themselves how good these years have been for Sikkim and the Sikkimese.

He also informed the gathering about the government’s plans to establish a world-class Buddhist University in the State soon.

Sikkim, he remarked, was only state in the world which was practicing Buddha’s ‘non-violence,’ and said that this reflected as much in the people-centric governance as in such initiatives as the Organic Mission which saves the earth and the people from toxic chemicals in food.

Sikkim is leading in the care for its fragile environment and rich bio-diversity and there will be definite benefits in the long run from Organic Sikkim, he said.

The CM also announced that statue of Lachen Gomchen will also be constructed in the area.

He also handed over cheques of Rs 20 lakhs to the Duchis of the Labrang, Phensong and Phodong and Kabi monasteries. He also announced an additional Rs 75 lakh for the development and management of the monastery as demanded by Duchi and announced that the provision for the same will be made in the next financial year.

Similarly, he also announced to provide all the required financial assistance for the construction of Lower Tumlong Manilakhang and made an immediate financial sanction of Rs 10 Lakh.

The Chief Minister also attended the annual Mahakala Gurdak Mask Dance at the monastery complex.

Area MLA, Ugen Nedup Bhutia, while addressing the function, gave a brief historical background of the Labrang Monastery.

Labrang Palden Phuntshol Gunpa at Upper Tumlong, North Sikkim was established in 1844-45 by the then Eighth Chogyal of Sikkim who had shifted Sikkim’s capital from Yuksom in West Sikkim to Tumlong.