ANAND OBEROI ( Source:Sikkim Now)
GANGTOK, 26 Sep: The IVth Kyabji Lachen Gomchen Rinpoche was cremated here at Enchey Monastery with full State honours today. The kudung of the Lachen Rinpoche, who had passed away on 18 September at AIIMS hospital in New Delhi, was taken out of his residence at Development Area at 8 a.m. sharp and the funeral procession then walked up to the Enchey Monastery where the funeral was conducted between 10 and 11 a.m.
Over 10,000 people from all walks of life joined the funeral procession which was also attended by Chief Minister Pawan Chamling who paid his last respects to the Rinpoche at Development Area itself. Also present were Speaker KT Gyaltsen, Rajya Sabha MP Hissey Lachungpa, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, senior and retired government officials and former legislators and monk representatives from monasteries across the State.
The funeral procession walked it from Development Area through Zero Point, via TNA School and VIP Colony to reach Enchey Monastery where Lachung Rinpoche, Chorten Lachung Tulku, Tsulakhang Tulku and Jigmee Tulku from Ralang Monastery had prepared a magnificent mandala and an appropriate canopy for the cremation. Elaborate prayers were offered after which the Lachen Rinpoche was cremated.
People who had gathered in the thousands witnessed a series of auspicious signs, as are expected and hoped for when a religious leader of Lachen Rinpoche’s stature is cremated, as the funeral progressed. The was clear and sunny and a rainbow appeared as a halo around the Sun and held fast through the duration of the funeral and a collective sigh went up when an eagle, already a rare sight in Gangtok, started circling over the Enchey Monastery compound, directly over the funeral pyre the moment the fire was lit.
Both sign are considered highly auspicious by the devout who believe that these announce that the “passing-over has been clear”.
Monks from Ringhem, Phensang, Ralang, Tsuklakhang, Phodong, Pemayangtse Enchey, Lachen and Chorten Monasteries presided over the prayers.
Meanwhile, the ashes of Lachen Rinpoche will be taken to Lachen Monastery after three days for the people there to receive a darshan following which a Chorten will be constructed over some of the relics, the rest of the ashes then being taken for immersion in the Ganga, it is informed. It may be recalled that earlier it was planned to hold the funeral in Lachen, but owing to the series of landslides which have blocked the North Sikkim Highway which would have made transportation difficult and made it impossible for all his followers to attend the funeral, the cremation was held in Gangtok itself.
It may be mentioned here that the State government had declared a state holiday for today as a mark of respect for one of Sikkim’s most prominent Rinpoche’s and also to facilitate the general public to pay their last respects to the Rinpoche at his funeral.