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Darjeeling India
Written by Rajoo on July 23, 2020 Share on

Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda – a symbol of peace and religion

From the Darjeeling town centre, there is a wonderful Japanese temple and Peace Pagoda located at a 10 minutes driving distance. The temple’s other name is Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple. In 1972, the two-storied white building was built in a traditional Japanese style. The Peace Pagoda that showcases four avatars of Lord Buddha is close to the temple. From the top of the Pagoda, you get a panoramic view of the Darjeeling landscape including the Kanchenjunga range.

Japanese peace pagoda
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Earlier through the main gate of the temple premises, the car could enter and park right below the temple. These days a walk for about 5-6 minutes is required from the main gate along a narrow road that first goes downhill and then uphill. You will notice a few small houses on the right with prayer flags fluttering in front of them on the way. You will reach another gate, as you walk along, and some flights of stairs that lead to the Japanese Temple.

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There is a picture of the founder Fujii Guruji, as you enter the temple. It’s a Buddhist religious temple, hence there is also a model of Buddha. “Nipponzan Myohoji” was started by Fujii Guruji. Fujii Guruji was also a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi apart from being the founder and preceptor of “Nipponzan Myohoji.” He had seen the tragedy of the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Darjeeling
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

You will reach the large prayer room upstairs, as you walk up the wooden stairs. From 4:30 am to 6:00 am in the morning and again from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm in the evening are the prayer timings. You can join the prayers and get an opportunity for introspection and feel the divine peace the temple offers. If you can time it right, you will see the present Guruji or the chief priest offering the prayers. In the prayer room, a huge drum is beaten (also known as Ho-ko) from which a reverberating sound originates and fills the entire temple premises. What adds to the solemn atmosphere is the humming sound and the chants.

You will be invited to sit and join the prayer, as you enter the room. You too can drum in the same rhythm, hence a small drumming pad and a stick will be given to you for the same. You will be amazed how such a small pad too can generate similar resonating sound. You will be offered small sweet balls on your exit that represent the deity’s blessings. Inside the temple, photography is allowed but at the same time, it is prohibited in the prayer room when the prayer is going on.

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The Peace Pagoda is close to the temple some 100 yards away. On November 3, 1972, the foundation stone of the Peace Pagoda was laid by Nichidatsu Fujii and on November 1, 1992, it was subsequently opened. The appearance of the Peace Pagoda is a depiction of Lord Buddha radiating peace and non-violence. According to the Lotus Sutra, it purifies the land as well as the mind and soul of the people. In Kumamoto, Japan, the first Peace Pagoda was built by Fujii Guruji in the year 1954.

Four avatars of Buddha are showcased by the Peace Pagoda. This is the tallest free-standing structure in Darjeeling. Its height is 28.5 meters and diameter is 23 meters. You will see two concrete models of lions on two sides at a lower level,  as you climb up the stairs in the Pagoda. All large statues of the avatars of Buddha are carved in the walls and polished in gold colour. Dr M. Ohka of Japan designed The Peace Pagoda which took three years to construct. 

Buddhist Temple Peace Pagoda Darjeeling
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

At the pinnacle, take a walk (‘Parikrama’) around the pagoda. You can witness beautiful artwork etched on sandstones that look like a wooden framework depicting the life of Buddha and his relics. During the Parikrama, one will see the four avatars of Buddha that includes Buddha’s postures such as sitting, sleeping, standing and meditating. You get wonderful views, from the top of the pagoda and also see the Japanese Temple at a distance. Behind that there are rows of pine trees. As you look around to the left, you will see the mountain range. The snow peaks are clearly visible from here on a clear day.

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Opening Hours of Japanese temple and Peace Pagoda

The opening hours of the temple are from 4:30 am in the morning up to 7:00 pm daily. There is no admission fee. Prayer timings are from 4:30 am to 6:00 am, and 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Facilities like toilets are also available in the vicinity.

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Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Location

Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda are situated atop Jalapahar hill region. It’s about 10 minutes drive by car from the centre of the Darjeeling town.  

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Darjeeling, the ‘Queen of the hills’ is a quintessence of natural beauty. This nature’s best destination will let you explore the most serene and peaceful locations of all times, one of them being the Japanese temple and Peace Pagoda. A symbol of peace and religion, here are some reasons that describe why you should visit the Japanese Pagoda when in Darjeeling.

The serenity, overall atmosphere and natural beauty of the place provides a priceless experience to any tourist. Visiting a place like this must be added to your Darjeeling holiday packages. Check some of the best Darjeeling holiday packages and book your trip now with Pickyourtrail and leave a Whatsapp inquiry for more options. Download the Pickyourtrail travel app from Playstore and IOS for details.

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