The Chiwong Monastery is perched a cliff, at an altitude of 9,000 feet - a 3-hour walk from the Phaplu airport, in the Solu Khumbu district of eastern Nepal.
The Solu Khumbu, signifies the lower and upper valley's of the Everest region, and is home to the legendary Sherpa people. With magnificent Himalayan sunrises, golden sunsets, stark natural splendor, and the dance of prayer flags against the wind, the Solu Khumbu is the gateway to Mt.Everest (8,848m), the highest mountain in the world.
The Sherpas regard the Solu Khumbu as Beyul
- a sacred valley. In this remote part of Nepal bordering Tibet, Buddhism survives with a deep faith and resonance, and is filled with Buddhist monasteries, including Chiwong.
Sangey Lama (1856 - 1939)
The Chiwong Monastery was founded by the late Sangey Lama, in 1923. Sangey Lama’s ancestors, and all Sherpa people, have their origins in Kham, in northeastern Tibet. They migrated to the Everest region of the Solu Khumbu and made their home there, some 500 years ago.
At one time, the Chiwong Monastery echoed with the prayers and scholastic activities of the many monks and nuns that resided there. The monastery has a proud history, having been home to several spiritual leaders and learned monks. Chiwong Monastery had the privilege of hosting Dza-Rong-Phuk Sangey Ngawang Tenzing Jangpo, from 1955-1958. And, His Holiness Trulshig Rinpoche lived at the monastery from 1960-1967.
Tshering Tenzing Lama
The biggest Ngyingmapa Tibetan Buddhist religious festival, Mani Rimdu, is performed at Chiwong Monastery every year, at the gracious presence of His Holiness Trulshig Rinpoche. In the absence of Trulshig Rinpoche, Sang Sang Rinpoche, who is recognized as the reincarnation of Trulshig Rinpoche's father, officiates Mani Rimdu.
To ensure the continuity of the monastery’s welfare, Sangey Lama’s grandson, the late Tsering Tenzing Lama, gave the monastery to the religious and culturally active Sherpa community for future preservation, in 2000. Currently, there are a dozen monks residing at Chiwong Monastery. The newly formed Chiwong Monastery Sangey Trust is dedicated to revive, restore and preserve the monastery.
How To Reach Chiwong Monastery
There are several regular air flights from Kathmandu to the Phaplu airport, on Yeti Airlines, Nepal Airlines and Agni Air. After a 35-minute flight, Chiwong Monastery is 2-hour walk.
Another option is to travel by road to the town of Jiri, by daily bus or taxi service, and trek to the monastery from there. Jiri is an 8-hour bus, or a 6-hour taxi drive. The pilgrimage from Jiri to Chiwong moves along the trek to Everest Base Camp, and is lined with breath-taking views.
Phaplu and Chiwong can also be reached by helicoptor charter service through Air Dynasty and Fishtail Air.
Places of Interest Surrounding Chiwong Monastery
The Village of Phaplu: Phaplu sits at an altitude of 2400 m Places of interest in Phaplu include; the reknowned Phaplu Hospital, the magnificent Hotel Del Sherpas, and several small lodges and communication services. Sallerie, the district headquarters of the Solu Khumbu, is 1km from Phaplu. The weekly market in Sallerie on Saturday's, with local traders and vendors, is a unique experience.
The Village of Junbesi: Junbesi is a traditional Sherpa village sitting at an altitude of 2,675 m, and is the cradle of Sherpa culture and architecture. Junbesi, is northwest of Phaplu and is a 4-6 hour walk.
Thupten Choling Monastery: The largest Tibetan monastery in the mountains of Nepal sits at 3000 m. It is the seat of His Holiness Trulshig Rinpoche with a monastic community of over 500 monks and nuns.
Ratnage Hill: Ratnage Hill, at an altitude of 3,300 m, is a 3-hour walk from Phaplu. It holds splendid views of Everest, Mahakali, and Kanchanjunga, while overlooking the Khumbu valley and the Dudh Koshi River.
Dudh Kunda Lake: A holy lake at an altitude of 4,357 m, at the foot of Mount Numbur and Karyalung Glacier. It is a sacred pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhist alike.
Pike Peak: At an altitude 4,056 m., Pike offers the most spectacular view of the entire Himalayan range, from Dhaulagiri in the west to Kanchanjunga in the east.
Chialsa Tibetan Refugee Camp: