Labrang "Palden Phuntshog Phodrang" Monastery (1844 A.D)
Labrang ‘Palden Phuntshog Phodrang’ monastery is located a few kms away from Phodong Gonpa . This is one of the important Monasteries of Nyingmapa lineage in Northern Sikkim. It was founded by Gyalsre (Prince) Rigzin Chophel Chenpo as per record avalable in Denjong Gyalrab wriiten by 9th Chogyal Thutop Namgyal.
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Gyalsre Rigzin Chophel was the first Son from the first queen of the seventh ruler Tsugphud Namgyal (1785-1861) and was regarded as an incarnate of Khenchen Thinlay Rolpai Dorje the first Head Lama of Pemayangtse Monastery He was born on the Earth Rabbit year of 14 Rabjung Cycle which corresponds to 1819 A.D. When he attained a stage of full monkhood he was addressed as ‘Labrang Kyabgon’. “Kyabgon” means in Tibetan- “Savior” the Title, which conferred to High Lamas but H.H.Risley has written in Gazetteer page No. 23 as “Kupgain” which is mispronounced and has no meaning.
However,the founding date furnished by the Gonpa Management Committee as ‘1826 A.D’, can not be taken as an authentic date since it’s founder, by this time, attains 07(Seven) years old only. Hence the founding date recorded by H.H. Risley in his Gazetteer of Sikkim as 1844 A.D, is more logical and justifiable because by this time the founder attains the age of 25.
The record reveals that the Prince later installed a precious bronze statue of Karma Guru (a statue of Lord Guru in Wrathful form) in this monastery, which is presently installed in the shrine of first floor. A major renovation was done in 1978 with government aid. Its walls are adorned with life like frescoes of Buddhist legends. Its structure is built up with typical Sikkimese architecture of ‘Rinchhen Surgye’or eight pointed diamond symbolizing the indestructible and only monastery of its kind in Sikkim. The Monastery functions all the major Buddhist festivals with mask dance. Presently, the government of Sikkim has provided the old structure with steel columns to check further damages
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