I believe that these two (Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda) are among those must-see places in Darjeeling which can make your trip extra worthy. I remember when I visited Darjeeling for the first time and missed these two due to my then conventional work schedule. But, see now, if Lord Buddha calls you, no one can stop you. Just a few days back, I paid a trip to the Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda.
This is a wonderful Japanese style temple in Darjeeling. The other name of this temple is Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple. It is just 10 minutes drive from the Darjeeling Mall. This is a beautiful two-floored temple on the lap of green and blue mountains. There is a golden idol of Lord Buddha on the ground floor and a beautiful prayer hall on the 1st floor. The prayer starts from 4:30 am and ends at 6:00 am in the morning and again it starts at 4:30 pm and ends by 6:30 pm. You also have the opportunity to join the prayer at the prayer hall if you managed to visit the temple during the prayer time. I was so lucky to have the holy experience this time.
In the prayer hall, you will see the chief priest is offering the prayers by beating Ho-Ko (a huge drum). The holy sound from the Ho-Ko creates a divine atmosphere inside and outside the temple. Once you enter the hall, you will be invited to sit and join the prayers. You will be given a drum pad and stick, which will help you to match the rhythm with Ho-Ko and feel the holiness. It was really so amazing thing to do as when I was beating the drum pad matching the Ho-Ko’s rhythm, one reverberating sound originated from it, which provided the utmost peace to my mind and body.
Once you will reach the Japanese Temple, you will see the huge all-white Peace Pagoda is standing in front of you with the backdrop of dark green alpine forest. This is to mention that, this Peace Pagoda is the tallest free-standing structure in Darjeeling with a height of 28.5 meters. Its design had been given by Dr. Mohka of Japan.
This beautiful monument has four avatars of Lord Buddha. Each avatar has been represented by a large golden statue carving in the wall of the pagoda. The entire pagoda is talking about Buddha’s life and teachings. There are beautiful wooden artworks describing different stories of Lord Buddha’s life. You will get to see them while doing “Parikrama” around the pagoda at the pinnacle.
The view from the pagoda is amazing as you will get to see the Japanese Temple at a side while the other side will give you beautiful alpine forest with the Himalayan backdrop.
Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda, are so divine things to see in Darjeeling. It can give you peace of mind and ideas about Lord Buddha’s life and teachings.