Ging Monastery, Darjeeling

There's a Darjeeling beyond the facade of over-enthusiastic tourist culture, the cheap crowd of Chowrasta and and the political turmoil. The other Darjeeling still hasn't lost her unadulterated charm. The less explored nooks and crannies of her smell like the old, crispy pages of a long forgotten book. Ging Gompa is one such place of Darjeeling which hasn't been violated by tourists yet. Which is mostly because it is situated at about 10km from the town centre and the road is barely accessible by car.

It was one rainy Saturday Mr. B and I paid a visit to this ancient monastery that had recently been renovated after the earthquake of 2011. Sangchhen Thong-Delling Gompa was originally established somewhere around in 1760 after the foundation of Pemayangtse Monastery, the renowned Nyngmapa monastery in Sikkim. Later it was demolished owing to the outbreak of political turbulence in Darjeeling. It was re-established by the lamas of Pemayangtse in 1818. Till date it has been looked after by the government of Sikkim, just like the Bhutia Busty Monastery.

A little uphill walk from the monastery into nearby woods took us to an ancient Bhutia cremation ground. Now I am someone who thrives on denial. A crematorium is the last place I would want to visit for fun. But standing there, looking at the solitary funeral pyre surrounded by lush forest I did not feel so creeped out by death. For some moments I bowed my head down for the departed souls of all those people whose mortal remains had been turned into ashes on that pyre in front of me.