The Ghoom Monastery whose original name is Yiga Choeling Monastry is so called because it is located in a small place called Ghoom located about 7 kms from the main town of Darjeeling. It is located at an altitude of 8000 feet above the sea level and is a small and simple monastery. It was built in 1875 by a very popular monk named Lama Sherab Gyatso and is the largest of all the monasteries located in Ghoom. Built in the typical monastic architecture this place is surrounded by numerous prayer flags which gives a serene feeling. There are many ancient Buddhist texts available here among which is the Kangyur, the Tibetan Buddhist canon which runs into 108 volumes.
This monastery follows the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism and houses a 15 feet high statue of 'Maitreya Buddha' or the Coming Buddha. It also has photos of Buddha's Disciples, Chenrezi and Chongapa. The Gelug sect of Tibetian Buddhism is one of the newest schools of in this category and was founded by Je Tsongkhapa (1357 – 1419), who was a philosopher and a religious leader of the Tibetians. The first monastery of this sect was set up at Ganden and even today the Ganden Tripa is the nominal head of the school. However the most influential religious figure of this sect is the Dalai Lama. The Gelug emerged as the pre-eminent Buddhist school in Tibet since the end of the 16th Century by allying themselves with the Mongols as the powerful patron. Tsongkhapa was also a promoter of the Kadam School's emphasis on the Mahayana principle of universal compassion as the fundamental spiritual orientation. Today this monastery welcomes people from all sects, religions, caste and creed coming from different parts of the country and the world.
The monastery is built in typical Buddhist religious architecture which was developed in South Asia in the 3rd century BCE. It is mostly in the Vihara style of structure which initially was used as temporary shelters used by wandering monks during the rainy season but gradually developed to accommodate the growing and increasingly formalised Buddhist monasticism. Originally it meant a secluded place in which to walk. The Ghoom monastery like all other monasteries is beautifully decorated with miniature paintings of different religious figures and gods. The original structure of this monastery was built by Lama Sherab Gyatso and has a 15 feet model of Lord Buddha of the future. It is one of the biggest and oldest statues of Buddha in Darjeeling area. It is made up of clay that was bought all the way from Tibet. There are two huge oil lamps kept infront of Buddha's statue which keeps burning all the time and all through the year.
This is considered to be one of the oldest Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries built in Darjeeling and hence a great attraction for the tourist. It is located just near the Ghoom Railway station which is another attraction for the tourists. You can also get a view of the majestic Kanchenjunga from this place.
Considered to be one of the oldest monasteries in the Darjeeling, Ghoom Monastry is world renowned and so almost all the festival celebrated here is organised is a much grandeur way. More of all, the celebrated monasteries have the privilege of having some of the handwritten Buddhist Manuscripts and during the festival season, especially during Buddha jayanthi, these manuscripts are praised and people seek blessing bowing their head on the holy manuscripts.