Sangay Lama, a highly revered religious leader of the Yolmo people belonging from the North-Eastern Nepal who later settled in Darjeeling, built Mag-Dhog Yolmowa Monastery during the beginning of the first world war in the year 1914. The monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Darjeeling and is located in the small beautiful village called Aloobari about 3 Kms from the town of Darjeeling town. Hence, it is popularly known as Aloobari Monastery.
Mag-Dhog Yolmowa Monastery: A Symbol of World Peace and Yolmo Culture
Mag-Dhog Yolmowa Monastery was dedicated to the cause of world peace as its construction coincided with the beginning of the first world war and thus the name was given as Mag Dhog which meant warding off the war, Mag means war and Dhog means peace. The monastery is a sanctum sanctorum of the Yolmo people, a small ethnic group and has helped them to safeguard their distinct social, cultural identity.
Preserving Ancient Buddhist Manuscripts
The monastery also preserves several ancient Buddhist manuscripts. The rare gold-inlaid Tibetan manuscripts with more than 600 pages have been safely conserved here, it is scripted in an ancient Tibetan text called Gyetongba, which contains teachings of Buddhism. The manuscripts are in the Tibetan script Sambhota, named after its inventor. There are two volumes, one containing 322 pages, and the other with 296 pages, Each volume contains 8,000 verses. It is said that it was brought from Helambu, Nepal in the early 18th century.
The New Monastery and Its Artistic Beauty
Lama Nima Chhogyal, an eminent son of the head priest, constructed the new monastery on the land donated by an anonymous benefactor after the original small single-storeyed structure was damaged by the earthquake of 1934. The new monastery was completed in 1937. The monastery belongs to Nyingma Dorjay Drak traditions and it serves as a religious center open to all Buddhist communities.
In Tibetan Buddhism, people believe that the statue of four directional dignities, tigers, snow lions, dragons, and garuda protects not only their dreams but their minds as well, and safeguard Buddhism and Dharma. These four dignities are considered the most powerful deities and are also known as the four Gods or the four auspicious ones. People have installed these statues in different directions of the monastery.
Idols and Statues
The artists painted the interior of the monastery beautifully with traditional Buddhist wall paintings called Thangkas, which depict the life of Lord Buddha, his teachings, as well as those of other Buddhist deities and Bodhisattvas. The most prominent subject depicted in these paintings is Bhavachakra or Kaalchakra, the wheel of life or wheel of time, respectively, representing enlightenment visually. The artists used natural herbs and grass to create the paintings. The main hall contains the statues of Chenrezig, Vikchuni Kamala Devi (Gelug Palmu) and Amitava Buddha , there are also the altars and space for monks and worshippers.
The idol of Guru Padmasambhava, Mendharava, Khando Hissey Chogyal, Mahaguru Dorjay Dhakpochal,Khasarpaani chenzirig are installed in the first floor of the monastery. The small chamber in the top floor has the statue of Shakyamuni Buddhi with his two principle disciples Sariputra and Maudgalyayana and numerous small idols of Lord buddha.
The monastery offers the best view of the stunning Eastern Himalayan range.
How to reach here ?
Those who love to hike can plan a trip and walk all the way from the Chowrasta (The Mall) or via Jalapahar and explore other places in between. The vehicles are also easily available from Clubside or Chowrasta itself. There is another route from Jorebunglow which is just 2 Kms away.