His Holiness, the 16th Karmapa, head of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism, lived here from 1959 to 1981. After fleeing to Sikkim due to the Chinese invasion of Tibet, he received asylum, land and support from the King of Sikkim to build the new monastery in Rumtek. His home monastery in Tsurphu in Tibet served as a model. During the 16th Karmapa’s lifetime, the monastery was an important pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists. The Karmapa is one of the most important reincarnations in the Tibetan Buddhist world and the head of the Karma Kagyu school. This is one of the four main branches of Tibetan Buddhism. If you follow the road lined with prayer flags, you will come to the original old monastery of Rumtek, which dates back to 1734. It exudes a wonderful sense of tranquillity and is situated on a mountain ridge with fantastic views of the hills and fields of Martam. A small shrine in an adjoining room is dedicated to the protector of the Kagyu school, Mahakala. However, the figure is covered because of its powerful effect. Afterwards, a varied drive takes us first to the largest tea garden in Sikkim. The Temi tea garden is known for its excellent, organically grown tea and is an insider tip among connoisseurs. In the evening we reach a typical Bhutia village. Here we are guests in the home of a family and immerse ourselves in the culture of the Bhutia Sikkimese, who originally come from Tibet. We end the evening with a traditional Bhutia dinner in the easy kitchen of our host family, followed by a small cultural performance around the campfire. Of course, a “Chang”, a home-brewed beer made from millet, is a must.
Overnight stay in an easy family house in Kewzing (1550 meters). (B,L,D)
Driving time 4 – 5 h, hike 1 – 2 h