Samdruptse, Sikkim, India

Painted in shimmering copper, pink and bronze, the 45m-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava lords over the forested Samdruptse ridge and is visible for miles around. Completed in 2004 on a foundation stone laid by the Dalai Lama, the statue of the hallowed Buddhist leader sits atop a giant lotus plinth and makes for a striking photo-op. Within the complex, there’s a permanent photo exhibition of archival images documenting Sikkim’s cultural, natural and artistic history.

The site is 7km from Namchi, 2km off the Damthang/Ravangla road. Taxis from town charge around ₹700 return. Alternatively, pay ₹500 for a one-way drop and walk back to Namchi, following the road down to the atmospheric Ngadak Gompa. Pass the ruined Ngadak Dzong, which dates back to 1717 and still exudes a sense of antique Sikkim.

Visit India Epic India Route © Monika Newbound

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