Home to the massive 15-feet statue of Maitreya, Ghoom Monastery is amongst the oldest monastries in Darjeeling. Ghoom Monastery is also known as the Yiga Choeling Monastery. It stands right next door to Sterling Darjeeling, at the quiet end of the Old Monastery Road. It belongs to the Yellow Hat sect,  also known as the Gelugpa and houses a 15-foot statue of Maitreya also known as the Future Buddha.

Apart from the giant statue of Maitreya Buddha, the monastery also has an extensive collection of invaluable manuscripts that include the 108-volume Kangyur – supposed to have been spoken by the Buddha himself. The interior walls are a fantastic representation of Tibetan art.

How To Reach Ghoom Monastery 

The Ghoom Monastery is located approximately 8 km from the Darjeeling town. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the monastery by car from Darjeeling town centre, through Hill Cart road. Before reaching the Ghoom railway station, you will need to take a right turn into a narrow road, at the end of which lies the monastery. It is a ten-minute walk from the Ghoom Railway Station.

History And Architecture

The Ghoom Monastery, built in 1875 by a lama called Sherab Gyatso, is the largest in Ghoom (8 kilometres from the city of Darjeeling) and holds the statue of the Maitreya Buddha, believed to be ‘The Buddha to Come’. The statue is a whopping 15 feet in height. Also known as the Yiga Choeling Monastery, Ghoom Monastery preserves some rare, handwritten Buddhist manuscripts. The monks of Ghoom Monastery follow the Gelugpa order of Buddhism. In 1909, Kyabje Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang, popularly called Lama Domo geshe Rinpoche, succeeded Sherab Gyatso as the head. It was he who commissioned the statue of the Maitreya Buddha, and he remained head until 1952.During the Chinese occupation of 1959 in tibet many high ranking abbots fled to India and took refuge in the monastery. In 1961, Dhardo Rimpoche became head of the Yiga Choeling monastery Ghoom, Darjeeling. He died in 1990 and three years later, a boy named Tenzin Legshad Wangdi was recognised as his reincarnation.

On 25 April 1996, he was enthroned at Kalimpong Tibetan ITBCI school. The thirteenth in the line of Tulkus, Tenzin Legshad Wangdi, still goes by the name of Dhardo Tulku. He is studying Tibetan Philosophy at Drepung Loseling university in South India. Under the supervision of Dhardo Rimpoche, the Managing Committee was set up in order to improve the monastery. Some of the initiatives have been successful, others not.

For the last two decades, the monastery has been going through severe crises in terms of both monks and finance. Till now, the grants-in-aid entitled to the monastery have not been received either from the government nor from any other source. Presently the monastery is meeting its needs through donations and contributions from local devotees

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