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The Museum of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

The Museum of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, located on the ground floor of the main building, is hailed as the first and only proper museum in Sikkim. Established in the 1960’s, the museum is a must-see and considered the highlight of any tourist’s visit to Sikkim.

The museum contains a rare collection of Himalayan Buddhist art, such as statues and ritual objects, thangkas (painted and woven scrolls) and ancient manuscripts. The statues, chiefly made of metal but also of wood and clay, represent the deities of Mahayana Buddhism and other historical characters.

The exhibition hall is dominated by a majestic silver image of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of knowledge. A highlight of the collection is a series of five thangkas depicting the history of Sikkim and that of the Namgyal dynasty.

The great majority of the collection’s artifacts were donated by well-wishers from Sikkim and abroad. Some of the purchased artifacts, including thangkas, were produced by local artisans. The collection of the Museum has been titled in Tibetan, Hindi and English with brief English descriptions.

However, the most uncommon and exceptional aspect of the Museum remains its ambience, as unlike conventional museums, its collection is presented within a sanctified environment whereby basic Buddhist rituals are held for the collection’s artifacts.

Visitors are prohibited to enter the museum with shoes or take photographs and videos.

The museum is open from 10 am to 4:30 pm. It only remains open on Sundays and Sikkim Government holidays during the peaks of the tourist seasons.