About West Sikkim - Pelling

 

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.


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Sightseeing in & around Pelling

Pemayangtse Monastery

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Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Pemayangtse, near Pelling in the northeastern 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. 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 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. 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". The head lama of this monastery had the unique privilege of anointing the Chogyals of the erstwhile monarchy of Sikkim with holy water.  

Rabdentse Palace Ruins

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Rabdentse, the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814, is located near Pelling in the district of West Sikkim. Established by the second Chogyal in 17th century, it was the capital of the kingdom till 1814 A.D. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Gurkha army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now. After about 15 minutes walk from gate through a lake and forested hills, one can come across a stone throne with three standing stones known as Namphogang from where the judge used to give his final judgement in those days. After crossing the fourth and the final courtyard wall one can see the palace ruins in the centre. 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. Next to the ruins of the palace are three chortens, the religious place 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 Archaeological Survey of India has declared Rabdentse as a heritage monument and has undertaken the required preservation and restoration measures.

Khecheopalri Lake

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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

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Singshore Bridge, with a span of 198 m and 220 m in depth, is located at a short distance of 5 km from Pelling in West Sikkim. Located in the mid-way to Uttarey from Dentam, it is the Second Highest Suspension Bridge in Asia, and the first of its kind in Sikkim as well as in the country India, which has been a unique engineering feat and a new tourist destination. It 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 Singshore Bridge was built 16 years ago by connecting two hills. 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. 

Khangchendzonga Waterfall

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Khangchendzonga Waterfall is a tourist hotspot offering an awe inspiring view of its gushing chilled water enthusiastically splattering through the rich green vegetation; amidst the jagged surface of the hill. This waterfall is fed by the streams formed by the melting glaciers of Mt. Khangchendzonga and one has to climb up a little to reach at the base of the fall, and feel the striking water shaping the granite rocks underneath. The falls is very big in size and equally attractive throughout the year. One 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. Its surroundings are lush green and offer a sense of peace. This waterfall leap out of the hillside to the valley floors in plumes of white and is worth photographing.

Rimbi Waterfall

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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.  

Dubdi Monastery

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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 northeastern 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 involving the Norbugang Chorten, Pemayangtse Monastery, the Rabdentse ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, the Khecheopalri Lake, and the Tashiding Monastery.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. 

Chenrezig Sky Walk

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Nestled in the snow-capped mountains of Sikkim, a new Buddhist pilgrimage site, home to a 137-feet statue of Chenrezig and a glass skywalk has been set up. It  is an ambitious, Rs 500 Crore project of the Department of Tourism, Government of Sikkim. Based on the lines of Skywalk in Grand Canyon, USA, this project involves construction of glass cantilever at Ravangla – a major tourist destination of Sikkim. This is a joint venture project of VKA, Grant Thornton India and Grant Thornton South Africa. "Chenrezig" is a manifestation of all the Buddha's compassion. His name means "One Who Looks with an Unwavering Eye."  Along with the statue there is a glass skywalk where tourist can enjoy the thrill of walking in the glass. Its India first glass sky walk. The entrance fee inside the complex is Rs. 20/- for local and Rs. 50/- for non-local.

Dentam Valley

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Dentam is a scenic village which is located nearly 10 kilometres from Varsey in West Sikkim District. It lies at an elevation of around 1500 metres. The word Dentam derives 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. It is famous for the Alpine Gouda Cheese factory a product of Indo - Swiss collaboration. Sikkim Dairy Products Private Limited (SDPPL) and 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). 

Coronation Throne

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The Norbugang Chorten is situated in the Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district in the Indian State of Sikkim. It was erected following the crowning of the first Chogyal of Sikkim in 1642 at Narbugong Coronation Throne near Yuksom. A holy lake known as Kuthok Lake, a serene lake, is also linked to the historicity of the place. The Chorten was the place where Lama Lhutsun Chempo created the time capsule by burying all the gifts to mark the occasion. 

Changey Twin Waterfalls

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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. 

Phamrong Waterfall

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 Located about 9 kms from Yuksom towards Gerethang, Phamrong Waterfall is the highest waterfall of Sikkim. Set in the midst of lush greenery, this Waterfall cascading down the magnificent Khangchendzonga Range presents a transcendental spectacle especially during the rainy season. A gentle gradient footpath takes one to a viewpoint for a closer view of this mighty discharge of water. The water gushing down the rocky plateau creates an amazing vista of a play between water and rocks.  

Sanga Choeling Monastery

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Sanga Choeling Monastery is situated on a hilltop which can be accessed by a 4 km walk up the hill through thick forests. The monastery was built in the 17th century by Lama Lhatsun Chempo. The monastery is known to be a place of secret spells. It has a handsome collection of clay statues dating back to the 17th century. Apart from the daily morning and evening prayers conducted in the monastery, the lamas recite special prayers here on the tenth day of every month of the Tibetan calendar. 

Yuksom

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33 kms from Pelling, Yuksom, literally meaning the 'meeting place of three lamas' is of great historical importance to the Sikkimese. It was here that the first Chogyal was crowned in 1642. The throne made of stones is even today considered sacred as is the footprint of Lhatsun Chenpo, which can be seen close to the throne. Yuksom is also the gateway to the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, the base for some of the most fascinating treks through high mountain region with the route to Dzongri being the most frequented.

Uttarey Village

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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. 

Kathog Lake

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Kathog Lake known as ‘Kathok Tsho’ in the local language, is a charming lake located in the West part of Sikkim at Yuksom. It 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. 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.

Kathog Monastery

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Kathog Monastery is the 6th oldest monastery in Sikkim, with a new structure that retains the original architectural design built on the location of the old monastery's ruins. Located about 2 kilometres from Pakyong, this is the only monastery in Sikkim that follows the Kalhog tradition of Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. At just half an hour’s drive from central Gangtok, the Sa Ngor Chotshog Centre is the only monastery of the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim. Kathog Dorje Den is considered in Tibetan Buddhism to be the most sacred of monasteries in Tibet. It is a precious treasure like Bodh Gaya in India.



Darap Village

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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.