On our way to Char Dham, we went to Samdruptse, near Namchi. Samdruptse is situated at around 75 km from Gangtok. Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the Bhutia language. Painted in shimmering copper, pink and bronze, the awe-inspiring and gigantic 45m-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, aka Guru Rinpoche, lords over the forested Samdruptse ridge and is visible for miles around. The views are spectacular across and the statue can be seen from across many places in Sikkim and Darjeeling.
Padmasambhava was born into a Brahmin family of Northwest India. According to tradition, Padmasambhava was incarnated as an eight-year-old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in Lake Dhanakosha, in the kingdom of Oḍḍiyāna in the present Swat Valley of Pakistan. His special nature was recognized by the childless local king of Oḍḍiyāna and was chosen to take over the kingdom, but he left Oḍḍiyāna for northern parts of India.
It is the highest statue of Guru Padamasambhava in the world. His Holiness the Dalai Lama laid the foundation stone of the statue in October 1997. It was completed in February 2004. Within the complex, there’s a permanent photo exhibition of archival images documenting Sikkim’s cultural, natural and artistic history.
The land of Sikkim, at the border of India and Tibet, was consecrated as a hidden sanctuary for the Buddha’s teachings by the great master Padmasambhava, who blessed it with the vajra wisdom of his body, speech, and mind. He is considered as the second Buddha.
The path leading to the hill-top is lined by coloured flags with Buddhist hymns were being played through sound system placed along side the pathway.
People have been stacking stones to make cairns. Earlier used as messengers, signs and landmarks in unoccupied lands, locals suggest that they are also known to bring good luck for travellers.
Guru Rinpoche is the patron saint of Sikkim. Padmasambhava is said to have transmitted Buddhism to Tibet, Bhutan and neighboring countries in the 8th century CE. In these lands he is better known as Guru Rinpoche (precious Guru). He introduced the people of Tibet to the practice of Tantric Buddhism. It is also said that the Samdruptse hill is actually a Dormant Volcano.
Myths say that the Buddhist monks have been going on top of the hill and offering prayers to the volcano to keep it calm.
In the hillock at the back of the statue, Buddhists place their prayer flags and built cairns stacking stones to bring good luck to them on the top of ‘wish fulfilling hill’.
We had hot tea at the restaurant in a complex outside the entrace to the temple and then went ahead for Char Dham.