Bhutia Basti Monastery, Darjeeling: Also called the ‘Karma Dorjee Chyoling Monastery’, the Bhutia Basti Monastery is a Buddhist Monastery which is located in the city centre of Darjeeling in West Bengal. The Bhutia Basti is just 2 kilometres north of Darjeeling Railway Station in the locality called the Bhutia Basti.
The Karma Dorjee Chyoling Monastery belongs to the Red Sect of Tibetan Buddhism under the Nyingma Tradition which is the oldest school of Buddhism of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and was founded by the Indian Master Padmasambhava, based on the first translation of Buddhist Scriptures from Sanskrit to Tibetan language in the 8th Century AD.
This Chyoling Monastery was built to a typical Tibetan architecture and design – a 2-tiered and 4-sided square symmetrical structure with distinct white walls on which bright multi-coloured images depict the life and teaching of Lord Buddha. Old Buddhist relics are housed in the Library of the Monastery.
One distinct feature of the Tibetan Architecture reflects in this Monastery design – it is built on an elevated clearance with a rugged and natural stairway that leads up to it from the road. It has strategically placed windows which were meant to let in maximum sunlight for the longest time of the day so as to conserve energy. The bright yellow and red ‘shikhara’ and doorways are loud and stand out distinctly against the backdrop of the monotonous and dense greenery of the Hills.
Apart from all this, this quaint old Tibetan Monastery’s USP is its positioning on top of a small Hill which overlooks the valley of Darjeeling. From a distance it looks straight out of a Chinese film. The Monastery, the positioning on the edge of a cliff, the fabulous view of the mountains and valleys and the clouds that keep floating by it....is one of the major tourist magnets of the Hills. This whole site is simply beautiful and a must-visit when in Darjeeling.