Finding Zen at the Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling
While in Darjeeling, you might not be in short of places where one can spend few quiet minutes just enjoying the beauty of the hills and relax. Be it the monasteries, nature parks or the numerous cafes/ tea shops that offer scenic views, every place lets you unwind, leaving invigorated with positive energy. One such place that instantly made us feel connected with the surroundings and reenergized was the Japanese Peace Pagoda.
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About 10 minutes drive from the Chowrasta, the beautiful Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda is located on the hillside of the Jalpahar. The Pagoda was built under the guidance of the famous Buddhist monk of Japan, Nichidatsu Fujii between the years 1972-1992. As we entered the premises, we came across the temple first, which was a simple two-storied structure. The signboards indicated that the Pagoda was located further down the foothills and we decided to follow the lead along the pathway before visiting the temple.
It was a cloudy morning and we were quite disappointed thinking how the photos would turn out, but the scene that greeted us just too beautiful to describe. The grand white Pagoda, which is the tallest single standing structure (28.5metres) in Darjeeling, beckoned us as soon as we reached the place. The fogs had set around the Pagoda, with lush greenery surrounding the hills, giving it a very enchanting and mystical appearance; the overall sight was a pure delight to our sore eyes.
The Peace Pagoda was built with the intention of guiding people of every caste and creed to unite for world peace, which we felt in today’s time a really thoughtful gesture. We walked around the circular structure admiring the fine artwork that we thought was etched on the wooden framework. But on closer look and enquiring further about the designs we learned that they were in fact carved masterfully on sandstone. The illustrations depict the life and journey of Lord Buddha along with four avatars of Gautama Buddha during Parikrama.
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On a clear day, one can also enjoy the panoramic view of the mountains and if you are lucky enough it might also possible to view the Kanchenjunga Range peaking at you from the distance. Looking at the artwork, the surroundings have such a calming effect on the visitors, one cannot help but feel blessed with the entire tour.
We then moved back to the entrance of the property, where the Nipponzan Myōhōji Japanese Temple was located. It is a Buddhist temple and on entry, you will come across pictures of the founder of the Nipponzan Myōhōji, Fuji Guruji, who preached World Peace. The temple has a prayer hall on the first floor where a priest holds prayer from 4:30 am to 6 am and 4:30 pm to 6 pm. The temple also has a gallery of pictures that displayed the various Peace Pagodas around the world with a brief history of all of them. We spent few minutes reveling in the peaceful atmosphere of the temple and watching devotees offer their prayers to the lord. Feeling wonderful after the whole experience, we bid adieu to the wonderful place to our next destination in Darjeeling.
Hope you guys enjoyed our post, do leave us a comment on your thoughts about the place and do let us know if you have visited any of the Peace Pagoda in the world.
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