History of Yuksom

In the pre-historic times, there were three tribes namely Naong, Chang and the Mon. They were absorbed by Lepchas who entered Sikkim sometimes later. The Lepchas lived their lives close to nature and worshipped nature or spirits of nature. They were and are peace-loving, deeply religious and shy people. Lepchas were organized into a community by a person called Tur Ve Pa no. He was elected as the leader of the king called “Punu” in A.D. 1400. But after being killed in a battle, he was succeeded by the three kings- Tur Song Pa No, Tur Aeng Pa no and Tur Alu Pa No. The death of the last king brought an end to the monarchy.

In the thirteenth century, a prince named Guru Tashi of Minyang dynasty in Tibet had a divine vision of going to the south to seek his fortune in “Denzong-the valley of rice.”Guru Tashi headed along with his five sons to the south. They came across the Sakya Kingdom, in which a monastery was being built. All the efforts of the workers to erect pillars of the monastery had been in vain. It was Guru Tashi’s elder son who raised the pillar single-handedly and was given the title “Kheye Bhumsa” meaning the superior of ten thousand heroes. Guru Tashi subsequently died and Mipon Rab the third son of Khye Bhumsa assumed the chief-ship after his death. Mipon Rab had four sons and one of them was also named Guru Tashi who succeeded Mipon Rab after his death. The Sikkim Coronation book describes Guru Tashi as the first ruler of Sikkim who paved way for a regular monarchy.

The modern history of Sikkim begins at Yuksom with the coronation of Puntsog Namgyal as the first Chogyal or King of Sikkim. He was the great-grandson of Guru Tashi. The town is called Yuksom which literally means “the meeting place of the three learned monks.” The three Holy Lamas named Latsun Chembo, Nga-Dag Lama and Kathog Lama came from Tibet in 1642. The primary aim of these lamas was to perpetuate Tibetan hold on Sikkim and to propagate Buddhism.

The Lamas went in pursuit of the fourth person, as the current three lamas represented three directions of North, South, and West and Padmasambhava’s vision had predicted the requirement for a fourth person from the east. Near present-day Gangtok, they found a man churning milk. He offered them some refreshments and gave them shelter. The Lamas were so impressed by his deeds that they intuitively realized that he was a chosen one. They also identified Phunstsog Namgyal’s ancestral royal links with Tibet and decided that he was the right person to become the temporal and religious head of the region, so brought him to Yuksom. They then crowned him at Norbugang near Yuksom as the temporal and religious king of Sikkim, with the title Chogyal. He was blessed by sprinkling water from a sacred vessel. The area in the Rathong chu valley at Narbugong was considered as blessed by the 9th century Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche).At that time he was 38 years of age. The coronation took place in the Chu-ta or water horse year in 1642 A.D. Tensung Namgyal succeeded his father Phuntsok Namgyal in 1670. He had three wives. Chador Namgyal, a minor son from Tensung’s second wife succeeded his father. Chador Namgyal was succeeded by his son Gyurmed Namgyal. He was succeeded by his son Phuntsok Namgyal II. In this way, almost twelve generations of Chogyals ruled over Sikkim for over 300 hundred years.

 

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