Yiga Choeling (Old Ghum) Monastery in Darjeeling

The Old Ghum Monastery (interchangeable with Yiga Choeling Monastery) is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in the Darjeeling area. It is architecturally a masterpiece, designed with rich symbolism and remarkable symmetry. The monastery, constructed in 1850, belongs to the Gelukpa or yellow hat sect. Starting in 1959, the Chinese occupation forced a number of high ranking lamas to flee Tibet and reside in India. Many of them took refuge in the YigaChoeling Monastery. It is a very special place for this reason. One main attraction is a massive 15-foot model statue of Lord Buddha, known as the Maitreya Buddha (‘The Coming Buddha’). Tourists typically skip the Old Ghum Monastery and opt for the Ghum Monastery instead. Because of this, you will likely have a more intimate experience with the place and even have a conversation with one of the monks there. Learn about their story and daily routine as you have a nice talk with.