The Four Great Caves  
     
 

Guru Padmasambhava (the Lotus born) also revered as Guru Rinpoche is believed to have passed through Sikkim on his way to Tibet. He is said to have blessed this ?hidden valley of rice? (Sikkim was also called Denzong which meant hidden valley of rice). Sikkimese still revere the Lord and numerous holy places associated with the Guru is considered holy and form important pilgrimage points.

 
     
 

He is also believed to have buried a large number of treasures (ters) in the landscape of Sikkim.  Another revered monk, Lama Lhatsun Chenpo who along with two other monks was responsible for the consecration of the first king of Sikkim, Phuntsok Namgyal at Yuksom is also believed to have buried numerous treasures. Lama Lhatsun Chenpo is also said to have introduced Lamaism to Sikkim after his arrival here sometime about the mid-seventeenth century AD. Belief has it that those hidden treasures were meant to be gradually discovered by enlightened Lamas at certain times.

 
     
 

Apart from numerous other holy sites associated with the two revered beings the four great caves or the abodes of Guru Rinpoche and Lama Lhatsun Chenpo still hold special place in the religious sphere of the Buddhists. Today they are important sites of pilgrimage and are much visited by devotees from Sikkim and beyond.Interestingly, the four caves are distinguished according to the four cardinal directions of their location.

 
     
 

The North Lha-ri-nying phu or ?the old cave of God?s hill? is situated north of Tashiding (in West Sikkim where is located the famous Tashiding monastery). It is considered to be the holiest of the caves and commands a three-day walk from Tashiding.

 
     
 

The South Kah-do-sang phu or the ?cave of the occult fairies? lie close to the Reshi hot springs enroute the Jorethang-Legshep road. The cave and the hot spring can be accessed on foot across the river Rangit which can be crossed over upon a pedestrian bridge. Here, on a rock can still be seen many footprints believed to belong to fairies.

 
     
 

The East Pe phu or ?secret cave? is located between the Tendong and Maenam hills. The cave can be reached on foot from Sangmoo which lie at about a distance of 5 km from Ravangla. It is a huge cavern which is said to extend from the Tendong to the Maenam hill with height varying from five feet to one hundred or two hundred feet.

 
     
  The West De-chhen phu or ?cave of great happiness? is difficult to access and is located near Dzongri. It is best reached in autumn when there is no snow.  
     
     

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