West Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Geyzing, also known as Gyalshing. The district is a favourite with trekkers due to the high elevations. Other important towns include Pelling and Yuksom. Local people also call as Pallo- Sikkim and Sano- Sikkim as commonly. This region offers one of the best views of the south-east face of Mt. Khangchendzonga. The place is also famous for few of the oldest and holiest Buddhist Monasteries of the world. With the beautiful amalgamation of nature and religious history, the calm and peaceful environment of Pelling makes it a famous tourist destination in Sikkim. West Sikkim owes its tranquility and calmness to the beautiful and age-old monasteries like Sangachoeling and Pemayansgtse Monasteries. The Khecheopalri Lake, situated in the midst of a dense forest is considered holy and is mesmerising to devotees and tourists alike. Pelling also forms the base from where trekkers and other peripatetic adventurers undertake the strenuous and arduous treks in West Sikkim. The land around Pelling is still a virgin territory and is bathed with alpine vegetation, with numerous waterfalls lining the hillside. In the months of winter, Pelling is sometimes covered with a blanket of snow. Pelling is 115 km from the state capital Gangtok and about 135 km from Siliguri, the nearest railhead and airport. Regular jeeps connect Pelling to the towns of Jorethang, Kalimpong and Namchi. The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport. Most of the people of Pelling are Buddhists and speak the Sikkimese language. Other languages spoken are Nepali, Hindi, and English.
The Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist monastery, near Pelling in the north-eastern Indian state of Sikkim. Planned, designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705, it is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim, also the most famous in west Sikkim. Originally built by Lhatsun Chenpo in the 17th century, as a small Lhakhang, it was subsequently enlarged during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal who was considered as Lhatsun Chenpo's third reincarnate, Jigme Pawo. The monastery follows the Nyingma Order of Tibet Buddhism and controls all other monasteries of that Order in Sikkim. The monks of this monastery are normally chosen from the Bhutias of Sikkim. The monastery was built for "pure monks" (ta-tshang) meaning "monks of pure Tibetan lineage", celibate and without any physical abnormality. This practice is still retained. Only the monks of Pemayangtse Monastery are entitled to the title "ta-tshang". Pemayangtse means "Perfect Sublime Lotus", and is said to represent one of the four plexus of the human body. The head lama of this monastery had the unique privilege of anointing the Chogyals of the erstwhile monarchy of Sikkim with holy water.
The monastery, located at an elevation of 2085 m, is built with scenic backdrop of snow-capped mountains on two sides. Built as a three storied structure, the monastery depicts paintings on its walls and statues of saints and Rinpoches, deified in various floors.
The main prayer hall, the Dukhang or Lakhang has colourfully painted doors and windows in Tibetan design. The main statue of Padmasambahva (also known as Guru Rinpoche who revived Buddhism in Tibet is seen here in his wrathful form as Dorje Bhurpa Vjarakila with multiple heads and arms. The first floor of the monastery has a notable collection of ancient Buddhist antique idols, scriptures as well as sculptures and decorated paintings. Padmasambahva's eight incarnations in fierce form are also seen here. The unique feature of the monastery is that there is an intricately carved wooden structure located on the top floor displaying a heavenly sphere known as ‘Zangdokpalri’. It is believed that ‘Zangdokpalri’ is a reproduction in the concrete form that appeared in the vision of Gyalwa Lhatsum Chempo. The monastery houses a good collection of wall paintings, sculptures, precious images, thankas and a huge gold plated statue of Guru Padsambhava. It also has well - manicured gardens within its compound where the residential accommodation for the monks is also located.
Rabdentse, located on a lower hillock near Pelling in the district of West Sikkim, was the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. It was first established in 1670 by Chadok Namgyal son of Phuntsog Namgyal by shifting from the first capital of Yuksom that was consecrated in 1642. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Gurkha army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now.
The Archaeological Survey of India has declared Rabdentse as a heritage monument and has undertaken the required preservation and restoration measures. The approach to this location is from an ornamental yellow gate near the Pelling – Geyshing road, from where it is a walking distance of about 15 minutes through a lake and forested hills. On walking through the chestnut trees with the mosses dripping down, there is a stone throne with three standing stones known as Namphogang from where the judge used to give his final judgement in those days. Further ahead, the 'Taphap Chorten' is seen in semi ruined condition. This was the entry point to the Palace and people seeking access to the palace had to dismount from their horses and remove their hat as a mark of respect to the King here. The palace ruins are at the centre of the fourth courtyard. The ruins of the palace are seen now in two wings – the northern wing and the southern wing. The northern wing was the residence of the royal family. This wing has an open quadrangle where the "Dab Lhagang", now in ruins, is also seen; the Royal family used to offer prayers with incense to their deities here.
A white marble slab of size 7 feet is also seen at this location, which was once the location of the monastery known as "Risum Gompa".
Next to the ruins of the palace are three chortens, religious sites where members of the royal family offered incense to the deities. The chortens are in a fair state of preservation.
On the southern wing, common people were given an audience by the king, which is obvious from the stone throne seen here. The place is a must see for the history-enthusiasts who want to dig into the state’s. The scenic view from the top of the ruins scanning across deep valley to the mystic heights of Khangchendzonga ranges is something to be cherished and etched in memory.
Khecheopalri Lake, originally known as Kha-Chot-Palri, meaning the heaven of Guru Padmasambhava, is a sacred Lake for both Buddhists and Hindus, which is believed to be a wish-fulfilling lake. It is located near Khecheopalri village, 147 kilometres west of Gangtok and 34 kilometres to the north-west of Pelling town in the West Sikkim district of Sikkim. The lake is an integral part of the much revered valley of "Demazong" meaning valley of rice. This landscape is also known as a land of hidden treasures blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. Many legends are narrated about the origin of the lake, such as: Guru Padmasambahava preached to sixty-four yoginis here; it is the residing place of the Goddess Tara Jetsun Dolma and the Khecheopalri Lake is her footprint; the lake represents the Goddess Chho Pema; footprints of Macha Zemu Rinpoche are on a stone near the chorten (stupa) near the lake; Hindu god Lord Shiva meditated in Dupukney Cave that is situated above the lake and hence worshipped on "Nag Panchami" day at the lake. The miraculous part of the lake is that surface of the lake remains clean in spite of it being surrounded by the thick forest. Leaves do fall on it sometimes but the birds fly in and instantly pick them away. They do not permit even a single leaf to float on the surface of the lake.
Singshore Bridge, with a span of 198 m and 220 m in depth, is located at a distance of about 33 km from Pelling in West Sikkim. The bridge is located in the mid-way to Uttarey from Dentam which has been a unique engineering feat and a new tourist destination. It is the second highest Suspension Bridge in Asia, and the first of its kind in Sikkim as well as in the country India. Singshore Bridge is truly a man - made marvel that offers the spectacular base view of immense greenery that makes it difficult to distinguish between the lowlands and the mountains. The Bridge was built 16 years ago by connecting two green hills to each other. A profound crevasse spreads out underneath the extension and tall mountains tower above it. Watching the base / ground from middle of the bridge is thrilling and fascinating. It offers a spectacular view of green hillsides and beautiful waterfalls. The place is surrounded by forest and while trekking, one may come across wild animals such as Tree Bear, Red Panda, Wild Rabbits, Thar, Musk Deer & Wild Cats. The bridge offers a mesmerizing view of the picturesque surroundings. Dotted with gushing waterfalls and crisscrossed by a winding stream, the landscape enthralls one with its beauty and serenity. No vehicles are permitted on the extension which makes it particularly magnificent for just encountering the beautiful sights all around. The whole setting is one deserving of rousing stunningness and ponders into the person. Spending a few hours on the extension and investigating the wildernesses around it makes for a completely beautiful excursion and lifetime reminiscence.
Khangchendzonga Waterfalls is a stunning waterfall situated in the beautiful hill town of Pelling, Sikkim. It is one of the largest waterfalls in Sikkim and among the prime Pelling Tourist Places. Surrounded by the thick forest cover,Khangchendzonga Falls is an amazing site of interest in Pelling. Untouched by the urbanization, it is blessed with a serene ambiance and never fails to draw visitors. The Falls is situated at a distance of about 10 km from Yuksom and 24 km from Pelling, at a sharp curve on the road side. A stone staircase (around 50 steps) will take you the waterfall. Khangchendzonga Falls is a perennial waterfall. It is believed that the pristine waterfall originates high up in the glaciers of Mount Khangchendzonga, the 3rd highest peak in the world. Khangchendzonga falls was not known to people and remained untouched till the 90s.It came into limelight when It was accidently discovered by a local tour operator named Topjor Bhutia. The Falls gushes down from a height of 100 feet into a pool. The sound of roaring water falling down the hills and the cold moist air makes a serene environment. Known for its splendid beauty and glory, the waterfalls serves as a perfect picnic spot with family and friends. For adventure-junkies, there is an option of rope sliding. Tourist can watch and feel the fresh stream water falling from the rocky cliff and the beautiful surroundings are worth visiting. The scenic beauty of the place is enhanced by the back drop of the mountains.
Being a perennial waterfall, Khangchendzonga Fall can be visited anytime. However, the best time to visit the fall is after the monsoon season.There is a nominal entry fee of Rs. 20 per person to go up to the main waterfall. There are number of food vendors serving hot beverages and snacks i.e. Momos, Hot Tea, Maggi Noodles, boiled egg and many things to eat.
Kathog Lake is regarded as the Holy Lake in the state of Sikkim, India. It is situated at Yuksom, the first capital of Sikkim and is about 125 Kms from Gangtok. Kathog Lake known as ‘Kathok Tsho’ in the local language, is a charming lake which is considered as the soul lake of Lama Kathok Kuntu Zangpo, who pioneered in introducing Buddhism to this beautiful land in 1642 A.D. This lake had been sanctified by him to use it as a medium to connect with God for oracular practices and to maintain its sanctity, a purification ceremony ‘Tru-sol’ is performed here by lamas every year. Local people have a great respect for the lake and it is worshipped by them. According to the legend, the Holy water of the lake was used during the coronation ceremony of Phuntsog Namgyal, the first Chogyal or king of Sikkim in the year 1642, which was conducted at the place called Norbugang coronation throne located near the lake. In the ancient period, it was believed that the colour of the water in the lake would change according to the luck and fortune of a person who looked at it. The lake is spread over a large area and it is encircled by hills from all sides, the fluttering prayer flags invoke the feelings of love, peace, and tranquillity. It is believed to be very auspicious to walk around the lake. The crystal clear water of this serene lake reflects the mesmerising beauty of the mountains and the clouds looming over them. The prayer flags standing on its shore give a fine contrast to the pasture land and the lush green trees around the lake.
Hence, Kathog Lake is considered as the favourite hotspot for the tourists to spend some peaceful time in solitude, while the passionate photographers can click some attractive pictures with no extra efforts.
Dubdi Monastery, occasionally called Yuksom Monastery is a Buddhist monastery of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism near Yuksom, in the Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district, in north-eastern India. The Chogyar Namgyal established the first monastery known as the Dubdi Monastery in 1701, at Yuksom in Sikkim, which is part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit. Established in 1701, it is professed to be the oldest monastery in Sikkim and is located on the top of a hill which is about an hour's walk (3km) from Yuksom.
It was also known as the Hermit's Cell after its ascetic founder Lhatsun Namkha Jigme, who along with two other lamas from Tibet met at Norbugang near Yuksom and crowned Phuntsog Namgyal as the first King or Chogyal of Sikkim at Norbugang Yuksom in 1642. The literal meaning of the word ‘Dubdi’ is ‘the retreat’ which may clearly be seen authenticating itself through its mesmerising hilltop location amidst the thick chestnut forest. A fair walk to the monastery introduces the visitors to the nature’s wonderland embellished with fine tall trees, gorgeous stoned path eventually leading to the panoramic view of the snow peaked mountains, and the far off valleys and greenery. This elaborately painted two storied stone structure, stands at an altitude of 2,100 metres carrying images of divinities, saints, other symbols and collection of manuscripts and texts.
Along with these, there are statues of three lamas positioned in the monastery, who worked towards the establishment of Yuksom. The ornamented bell shaped gilded dome on top of the roof is known as “Gyaltshen”.
Pelling Sky Walk and Chenrezig Statue is a newly built tourist attraction near Sanga Choeling in West Sikkim. To reach the Sky walk, one can hire private cabs form Pelling. These cabs drop the visitors near the Entrance gate. From this point, a few minutes’ walk takes them to the ticket counter. After getting ticket, one can proceed towards the Sky Walk. It is the India's first Skywalk that is situated at an altitude of 7,200 feet above the sea level and home to the gigantic 137 feet statue of Chenrezig, the fourth tallest statue of Chenrezig. Chenrezig also known as Avalokiteshvara is the early manifestation of Buddha's compassion. His name means "One Who Looks with an Unwavering Eye." The Sky Walk was inaugurated in November 2018 and since then it has flourished to become one of the famous tourist attractions. It is an ambitious, Rs 500 Crore project of the Department of Tourism, Government of Sikkim. The Sky Walk is a transparent structure made of glass. It is very thrilling to look down through the transparent glass of the sky walk. The Sky Walk offers a mesmerizing view of the picturesque surroundings. From here, one can look at the valley underneath, including the winding Teesta and the Rangit, aside from the Khangchendzonga. To reach the statue of Chenrezig, one has to climb several stairs and it has prayer wheels on either sides. Upon entering, there is prayer place with statue where lamas or monks chant prayers and help in offering prayers. After finishing puja, visitors can take a look around the architecture. There is a round way path which takes them to the top floor of the structure and on the way up, they can see the paintings of history and stories about Chenrezig. From the top floor, one can have a closer look at the magnificent statue as well as the entire compound, artificial lake with statues all around it, the Skywalk, prayer wheels, long stairs and to complete all of it, the beautiful scenery of nature all around it.
The Norbugang Chorten is situated in the Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district in the Indian State of Sikkim. It signifies the place where crowning of the first Chogyal king - Phuntsog Namgyal took place in the year 1642. Later after the ceremony, a wall like structure was erected and named as Norbugang chorten, which still marks the original site.
The site is adorned with various intricate belongings of the king including- the seats of the 3 Lamas and the king; a shrine consisting of a huge prayer wheel; a mystic pine tree looming over the chorten and the serene Kathokg Lake from where water for coronation was taken. It is believed that the people who had attended the ceremony offered huge amount of treasures that are still buried beneath the Norbugang Chorten. This was done by Lama Lhutsun Chempo who created the time capsule by burying all the gifts to mark the occasion.
After the crowning ceremony was performed by the lamas according to procedures prescribed in the scriptures, the lamas decided to build the Trashi-wod-hBar-Chorten at Norbugang. For this purpose, they collected earth and stones from all parts of Sikkim. They then built the chorten with the materials collected and also buried within it all the gifts that Lhatsun Chempo had received from the people.
The benediction and consecration ceremonies performed by the lamas at the Norbugang Chorten lasted for 21 days. One can also witness the footprints of one of the three lamas, embedded in a rock opposite king’s throne. The coronation took place under the pine tree, which is still present today. Just opposite to the throne is the Norbung Chorten (stupa), which is said to contain water and soil from all parts of Sikkim. The beautiful garden around this historical site is a rare collection of lot of indigenous trees and plants. The visitors stay here for a while on this quaint piece of land and stroll in silence. The fluttering flags are a sign of divines of the place protecting the town from evil and promoting good among the people. The place is considered to hold the reigns of the town’s heritage and culture, hence is ideal for all age group to visit and make unforgettable memory with family, friends and other loved ones.
Dentam is a scenic village which is located nearly 10 kilometres from Varsey in West Sikkim District. It lies at an elevation of around 1,500 metres. The word Dentam has been derived from the word 'Ten-Nem', which literally means ‘a flat terraced land’ in the Limboo language. It is located in a very unique topography. Dentam commands a constant view of the Mt.Khangchendzonga. The entire area is surrounded by forest of rhododendrons. The village is an ideal spot for bird watchers and nature lovers. Trekking and mountaineering are arranged here. One ancient and a holy “Jlpa Devi Mandir” and “Durga Mandir” including one “Shiva Mandir” are there in the heart of Dentam Bazaar to guard and bless the people in the nature of a perennial source of water. Dentam is famous for the Alpine Gouda Cheese factory, a product of Indo - Swiss collaboration. Sikkim Dairy Products Private Limited (SDPPL) was established in 1996. Cheese Plant at Dentam, West Sikkim, manufactures Gouda Cheese (naturally ripened cheese) and is one of the tourist attractions. Quality cow's milk is used under hygienic environment to produce Cheese and Paneer (Frozen Diced Paneer). Product is available as ‘Alpine Cheese’ or ‘Amul Gouda Cheese’. It is rated one of the best quality cheese available in India.
Located about 10 km away from Pelling, the Changey Waterfalls are at whopping height of 300 meters. The first view of the waterfalls is surprising and breathtaking, with a sudden glimpse of the rushing water. While descending, the waterfalls disappear into the abundant greenery surrounding the area, creating wonderful hues of green and white. Beautiful and gorgeous, the waterfalls are a must visit if you are in this scenic hill station.
At a distance of 7 km from Yuksom and 35 km from Pelling, Phamrong Falls is a stunning waterfall situated near Pelling in West Sikkim district.
Located between Yuksom and Gerethang, Phamrong is the highest waterfall of Sikkim and among the best places to visit in Pelling.
Set in the midst of lush greenery, this Waterfall cascading down the magnificent Khangchendzonga Range, presents a transcendental spectacle especially during the rainy season. The water gushing down the rocky plateau creates an amazing vista of a play between water and rocks. A gentle gradient footpath takes one to a viewpoint for a closer view of this mighty discharge of water. Visitors need to trek a steep staircase of about 200 steps to reach the viewpoint.
Tourists capture very beautiful views both from the top and the bottom of the Waterfall. Surrounded by forested hills, the region gives spectacular view of the Khangchendzonga Mountain.
A cafeteria is being constructed for the benefit of tourists and the picnickers.
The Sanga Choeling Monastery established in 1697 by Lama Lhatsun Chempo, is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim. Pilgrimage to this Monastery is undertaken by many Buddhist devotees as part of a religious and heritage circuit. The monastery is located on a ridge top above Pelling at a distance of 7 kilometres from Pemayangtse Monastery and is accessed by walking the steep hilly track of 4 kilometres which traverses through rich forest cover of deciduous trees. The literal meaning of Sanga Choeling is "Island of the Guhyamantra teachings”. The Monastery is commonly called the ‘place of secret spells’. It is believed that secret mantras (guhyamantra) were taught here in ancient times. The monks in this monastery follow the Nyingma tradition, the most ancient school of Tibetan Buddhism. A recurring ritual, that takes place on the 10th day of every month of the Tibetan calendar, involves lamas reciting hymns and chanting prayers in the inner sanctum of the monastery.
The Sanga Choeling Monastery has been built according to the Tibetan style of architecture. Inside this magnificent monastery, one can witness the ancient wall paintings, unique clay statues and scriptures. Statues of Padmasambhava, Sakyamuni and Vajrasattava are also present and the walls are painted with colourful depictions of Buddhist deities. An intricate painting of a Bhavachakra, Wheel of Life, is a notable addition at this ancient religious structure. There are also other important valuable artefacts stored in the premises of the Sanga Choeling Monastery, which was actually remodelled after a fire incident. After Lhatsun's death his costumes and worship articles were preserved in this monastery in the form of sacred relics.Entry to this Monastery is restricted to men and no one apart from the members of the Bhutia and Lepcha communities is allowed in the inner sanctum. Another attraction is a 300-year-old crematorium located nearby. Located in the midst of a picturesque setting with fluttering prayer flags and calm environment, Sanga Choeling is a prestigious monastery in Sikkim. With a picturesque backdrop of the Great Himalayas, the monastery provides spectacular views of Nature.
Yuksom is a historical town in Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. Located at the head of the Khangchendzonga National Park, it is the gateway to Mt. Khangchendzonga. Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 AD by Phuntsog Namgyal who was the first Chogyal of Sikkim. The coronation site of the first monarch of Sikkim is known as the "Throne of Norbugang". Yuksom literally means the "meeting place of the three learned monks" as three monks who came from Tibet selected Phuntsog Namgyal as the first King of Sikkim and gave him the title Chogyal. 'Chogyal' means "Religious King" or "the king who rules with righteousness". Yuksom is part of Demazon (valley of rice), the sacred landscape consisting of four religious sites which have been blessed by Guru Padmasambhava and which are considered to be the four plexuses of the human body, in which Yuksom represents the 'third eye'. For the Bhutia tribal community of Sikkim, Yuksom has special religious and cultural significance. It has a number of famous Buddhist monasteries and historical monuments as well as ancient Gorkhas small Village.
Situated at an average altitude of 1,780 metres (5,840 ft), Yuksom lies in a basin-like valley surrounded by mountain ranges. It is the base for some of the most fascinating treks through high mountain region and has a large influx of mountaineers from all parts of the world. Some trekking routes in Yuksom are: Dubdi and Hongri monasteries, Dzongri Trek, Dzongri and Goecha La Trek, Khangchendzonga National Park, Khecheopalri Lake etc.
The inhabitants of Yuksom have most successfully adopted promotion of ecotourism not only in the region but also for other similar areas in Sikkim. Yuksom is thus considered a model town for eco-tourism. The forest cover in the hills consist of broad-leaved oak, birch, maple, chestnut, magnolia, rhododendron, silver fir, ash and alder, which complement the epithet of "biodiversity hot-spot" given to Sikkim. Surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, Yuksom is a travellers’ paradise. Its ancient monasteries, historical monuments, tranquil waterfalls and lakes leave the visitors spell-bound. Places like Khecheoplari Lake, Dubdi Monastery, Kathog Lake, Kathog Monastery, Coronation Throne of Norbugang, Khangchendzonga National Park, Khangchendzonga Waterfall leave the people mesmerized with everlasting memories.
Bordered by Bhutan, Tibet, West Bengal and Nepal, Uttarey is a small village located on the northern slope of Singalila Range in West Sikkim. It is slowly emerging as a satellite township. Nature has whole heartedly showered itself in this village and that is very much evident in the never-ending greenery of the area. Uttarey is famous for its tranquility and natural beauty. The place provides beautiful view of the Himalayan mountains and is yet relatively less traveled by tourists.
At a distance of 5 km from Darap Village and 12 km from Pelling, Rimbi Waterfalls is a scenic waterfall near Pelling. On the way to Khecheopalri Lake and Yuksom, , it is one of the famous waterfalls in Pelling and among the best places of sightseeing in Pelling. During summer, the waterfall looks spectacular which attracts many tourists. Located close to the waterfall is one of the oldest hydro power stations in Sikkim. Established in the early 70's, this power station is the source of energy for most of the villa towns of West Sikkim including Gayzing, Tigjuck and Pelling. The waterfall turns into Rimbi River, which is frequented by locals and tourists for various recreational activities like swimming and fishing.
Kathog Monastery is situated opposite the Kathog Lake and is a part of three most popular monasteries at Yuksom in West Sikkim. The origin of the name of the monastery came into existence after a lama who played vital role in the coronation.The beauty of Kathog monastery is breath-taking with grand entrance and impeccable interiors. Its architecture leaves an everlasting impact on the visitors.The monastery shows the Buddhist worship and the interesting colours and architecture give it an exclusive touch. Every detail of the sculpture looks divine and gives a unique experience. Mesmerizing landscape of mighty mountains and the serene lake leave the travellers enthralled. Kathog Monastery is one of the best places to go for a peaceful holidaying away from the hustle bustle of the urban life. The place is an ideal location for photo-shoot as it is remarkable as a backdrop.
One of the few unexplored villages in Sikkim, Darap has retained the pristine nature of its flora and fauna over the years. It is situated at an altitude of 1600 m and the temperature here ranges from -5 to 28 degrees. This village is in the interiors of the Himalayan belt and only recently was it discovered and prepared for tourism. The local people known as Limboos have preserved their rich culture and traditions since ages and are extremely welcoming by nature. There are a lot of tourist-related activities that can be done in Darap village like trekking, traditional house visits, handicraft making, bird-watching and visiting the caves at Khangchendzonga National Park etc.