Pelling - A Tete a Tete with the City :
Location : Northeastern India, Western Sikkim
Best Time to Visit : February mid to May & September - December
Places to See : Sanga Choling Monastery & Trekking
Souvenirs : Paintings on canvas, to bags of cloth, handmade paper products, religious Buddhist items, to wall hangings, the Tashi Tagey.
Pelling - The Tale of the City :
History has it that Pelling was the first Sikkim capital. In the year 1641 the first consecration of the Chogyal dynasty was laid in Sikkim, by three Lama Scholars. Lying around 10 km from the City of Gangtok, The Norbugang Chorten is testimony to the proof of this ceremony. There are stone seats and the Head Dalai Lama’s footprint on this stone even today. In the year 1697, the Singhore Bridge Monastery was built and today it is amongst the oldest Sikkim monasteries. 1705 saw the Pemayangtse Monastery being built. Enconsced within the Himalayan Ranges, at a height of 2,150m the history of this place is juxtaposed with a lot of events and tales to relate. These virgin surroundings covered with snow in winter and its alpine vegetation makes it a beautiful place to visit and a lovely trekking spot. People in Pelling speak Sikkimese, Nepali, Hindi and English. Pelling offers the best view of the Mount Kanchenjunga. The history, culture and the tradition of the city is what draws tourists here.
Pelling - Down the Ages :
Down the ages, Pelling lies around 133km from the city of Siliguri, and is connected to Gangtok which is around 125km from the city. It is undergoing a change today as tourists are visiting the city and it is slowly turning into a tourist hub. This is the closest city to Mount Kanchenjunga. The other ranges like Kumbhakarna, Dom, Koktang are also seen from here. The idyllic surroundings and the lovely accommodation facilities, provide the tourist the perfect retreat.
Pelling - A Rendezvous :
The Himalayan background and the lovely scenery here make Pelling, the hamlet look like a paradise with the lovely peaks and glaciers from the Mt. Kanchenjunga. The snow, the forests, the rocks and the treks up make Pelling, the nearest city from Kanchenjunga look very attractive. The Rathong Glacier can be visible, from here and the road from Yoksum till this glacier enthralls the tourist. Pelling is often called the “Bengali Boulevard” as it just consists of a helipad, many hotels and a road junction. This is a track of concrete blocks. The forests cover the area and this hides the construction development that has taken place here. Adventure lovers like to walk up the path and have a panoramic view of the Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Pelling - Travel Kitty :
Any holiday requires us to take a lot of souvenirs back home to help us relive the lovely stay we enjoy. At Pelling a tourist could just pick up whatever is available in the market. It could be anything from paintings on canvas, to bags of cloth, handmade paper products, religious Buddhist items, to wall hangings, the Tashi Tagey which is the eight lucky signs, to the Tibetan woolen carpets; Pelling would have most of the Sikkim specials. Added to this the Thankas which are so popular in Sikkim with their religious depictions of deities, and the horse saddles and bone trumpets fill the travel kitty. Pelling sometimes also has shops which could give jewellery made out of silver, gold, stones, etc. Besides one could carry cardamom and alpine cheese of the best variety from here. If one is lucky one could also get jams, and good liqueur here. Thus the travel kitty in any city in Sikkim is a traveler’s delight.
Pelling - Joie de Vivre in the City :
Pelling, the calm travel spot, is amongst the most beautiful places in Sikkim, and is an attractive place for the tourist because of its culture, history, and tradition of the State. Its idyllic, lethargic and swiftly developing village turned town mesmerizes the tourist with the sight of the beautiful Himalayas and mainly Mt. Kanchenjunga. The area around Pelling has many waterfalls and is the ideal trekking spot. A person coming to Pelling would see the following:
Pemayangtse Monastery :
Meaning the Perfect Sublime Lotus, this is amongst the important Sikkimese monasteries. This was found in the year 1705, and is a part of the Nyingmapa sect. It has three stories which houses many sculptures and paintings. A wooden model of the Guru Rimpoche is on the third monastery. It has angels, rainbows and a lot of panoply of Boddhisatva. Cham is a religious dance here in the monastery.
Sangachoeling Monastery :
Located on top of a mountain, Pelling is around 3km from this monastery. The road is not really a good one for the cars, and the path up the monastery is around 45 minutes. Though the walk is tiresome, the effort is worthwhile as one gets a good view of Mt. Kanchenjunga. This was built in the year 1697. Meaning the island of esoteric teaching, this was created by Lhatsun Chenpo. Belonging to the Nyingmapa sect, this monastery was destroyed by a fire and had to be rebuilt. Today it has its history intact and has been able to retain the clay statues which are original. It is the second oldest Sikkim monastery
Khecheopalri Lake :
Amongst the most sacred Sikkim lakes, this actually is invisible amidst a verdant dense forest expanse. Locals believe that birds here in the lake do not allow even a leaf to float on the still clear lake. Pelling is around 25km from here and is around 9km from the main Y junction. Prayer flags surround this place and they are worshipped by Buddhists and Hindus. Meaning the blissful heaven Khachodpalri Lake has a legend that it was once a ground where the stinging nettle used to graze. The local Lepchas use the nettle barks and once a couple saw conch shells coming from the air, and entered the ground. The ground trembled a lot and a lot of water came up from the ground and this became a lake. It is believed that this is where the Nymph of Dharma Tshomen Gyalme lived. The locals believe that the Goddess Tara blessed this nymph. It is also believed that the lake is shaped in the form of the footprint of Goddess Tara.
Rabdantsey Ruins :
The earlier Sikkim capital after the City of Yuksom, the Sikkimese king had ruled this place in the year 1814. A tourist coming to Rabdantsey ruins wouldn’t be able to see it as it is hidden from the major road. Tourists come to Pelling and walk up to these ruins through a path which is an offshoot of the main road. The Peymangtse monastery also lies near these ruins. The tourist is entirely mesmerized by the lovely sight of the Mt. Khangchendzonga and the deep mystical heights of the Himalayan ranges along with the deep valleys haunt the tourist’s memory for ever.
Sangay Waterfall :
This lies around 10 km from Pelling. There is a bridge here atop which the lovely fresh spray of the water from the waterfalls is a heavenly experience. This is a favorite spot for picnickers and is a major place of tourism in Pelling.
Rimbi Waterfalls :
The River Rimbi lies around 12 kms from Pelling. Lying very near the village Darap, this lies in between Yuksam and Khecheopalri. Here there is also a Hydel Power Station. The waterfalls lies near the Sewaro rock garden. People would love to come here in summer and enjoy the beauty of the waterfall. The water of the river decreases and the river flows more gently and attracts tourists like to come to this riverbank and indulge in fishing. But it is preferable to avoid this waterfall, during the rainy season, as the river turns violent. Sikkim lies just 2km away from these waterfalls. It is not a very big waterfall but is certainly a good tourist spot.
Kanchenjunga Waterfalls :
This is amongst the largest Sikkim waterfalls. Situated around 29km from the city of Pelling, these waterfalls lies on the way to Yuksom. Falling from a height of 300 feet, these falls are between two beautiful hills. The natural vegetation and the scenic beauty here is the main feature of the waterfalls. This is around 25km from the city of Pelling and takes around an hour and a half to reach here. Small steps lead to the waterfall base. This is the last point for site seeing in Pelling. From here a tourist would proceed to the Khechopalri Wishing Lake.
Rock Gardens :
Sewaro Rock Garden :
The Sikkim tourist department is maintaining this garden. It has the best pools, and with its curving paths up attract the tourist and they like to enjoy the swimming and other facilities here. The view here is beautiful and is a favorite of the picnickers. There is an entry fee charged to enter this garden. The garden is along the riverside and one has to go a little down from the main road to come to this garden. The water of the river is cool and one can touch it. Situated around 13 km from Pelling, one can drive down this place in half an hour. It is near the Khecheopalri Wishing Lake and the Kanchenjunga Waterfall.
Darap Valley :
The Sikkim Tourist Department has promoted this area as a major site seeing spot. Lying 6 km from the city of Pelling, the limbo community is predominant here along with Chettris, Bhutias etc. The valley is slopy and is rich in tradition and culture. The Darap Agro Farm and Tourism Development Co operative Limited is a major tourist attraction here.
Meghalaya State Museum :
This has the best collection of scripts and many valuable articles belonging to Sikkim. The tribal collections here are also a favorite.
Other Places :
There are many other places besides these like Tashiding, Yoksum, Dzongri and the Hee Burmiok.
This is a lovely place full of scenery and any adventure lover would love the trek up the low height. The trail starts from Pelling. Buses ply between Tashiding and Yoksum to Legship, Ghezing and then to Pelling. The view of the heavenly mountains, the nature lover feels so close to Mother Nature, and they are hypnotized by the flora and fauna found here. The local drink Chhang is a favorite here. This is a mixture of millet which is fermented and totally relaxes the tired soul.
This is the main area where the trekkers start their adventure when they come to Ghesing, the trekker’s paradise. Situated in Western Sikkim, it is a vast expanse found on the Rathong Chu gorge origin. It has a history behind it as this is the place where Chogyal Phuntsog Namgyal, the first Sikkimese religious head was made the king. The three lamas, met here in Yoksum. Also the Norbugang Chorten in Yoksum is the venue where Lhatsun Chenpo put the offerings. This Chorten is built of earth and stones from various areas in the State of Sikkim. In the first Chogyal one finds a footprint which is engraved in a rock by a Lama.
Lying 4200m above sea level this is amongst the best Sikkim trekking spots. The peaks of the Himalayan ranges make the skyline milky and tourists are left gasping for more. The lovely green golden horizon is a sight that the tourist will remember forever. Added to this, the Tethys Sea adds to the beauty. With the Mt. Kanchenjunga being etched in every tourist’s memories, snowfall is a common sight here. The Dzongri trek is considered one of the toughest, and it starts from Yuksom.
Hee Burmiok :
Located in the western part of Sikkim this lies very near to Pelling. It is mainly an attraction for all the nature lovers as it has got the best nature walks. It also has the Sri Jangha caves which is again a good spot to visit. One can drive a good one and half hour from Pelling to reach here. This lies just before Rinchenpong. Adventure lovers come here for mountain biking, nature lovers get enthralled by the nature walk and also the walk around the small villages. The Sri Jangha caves are again near this place which are a good tourist attraction.
Thus Pelling, the land of adventure, is a place that a tourist coming to Sikkim should never miss and he goes back completely content with the choice of this place.
As a person leaves this place he thinks, “Adventure, nature, beauty, Pelling is incessantly beautiful.”