Sikkim - Tolung Monastery Trek
Tolung Monastery was first built in the reign of Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal in the early 18th century. It contains rare and valuable scriptures and artifacts of other monasteries that were brought here for safety during the invasion of Sikkim by the Nepalese during late 17th and early 19th century. A brass Chorten within the monastery contains the ashes of one of the incarnates of Lama Latsun Chembo, the patron saint of Sikkim. All the relics are kept sealed in thirteen boxes under the supervision of the government of Sikkim. Once every three years in the month of April the relics are shown to the public in the monastery complex. The last display of the relics was held in April 91.
Tolung at an altitude of 8,000 ft lies in the sparsely Lepcha populated Dzongu area of North Sikkim and falls in the restricted area for which a inner line permit is required by Indian Nationals. To reach Tolung, one has to travel by road upto Linzey. There is a daily bus service from Gangtok to a place slightly short of Linzey. From Linzey to Tolung is a 20-km walk and takes approximately five hours along the thundering Tolung River through dense forests and cardamom groves.
Precipitous cliffs surround the easy track, from which plummet down waterfalls in white plumes hundreds of feet below into the narrow gorges to the valley floor. Birds tweet louder to make themselves heard over the sound of the waterfalls and the rivers. Perched precariously on these cliffs here and there are the huts of the hardy Lepchas.
As one walks towards Tolung, the surrounding mountains on the top of which ice clings tenaciously even during the summer seem to close in. on reaching Tolung one can understand why the Sikkimese chose this place to keep the relics here out of the reach of the invading Nepalese. Because of its vantage location it was easy to guard hence this place was selected for relics. There is a pilgrims hut. An easy walk of about an hour along the Tolung River takes one to a religious spot - Devta Pani.