Pelling, a lovely hill station nestled at the foothills of Mount Khangchendzonga in nature’s lap is a favorite destination among domestic and foreign tourists. Around 10 km (6.2 miles) from Gyalshing, in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, Pelling has everything from natural beauty that soothes the soul to gushing waterfalls, adventure sports, historical ruins and more.
The enchanting hill station becomes all the more beautiful with patches of snow, in the winter. The breathtaking view of Khangchendzonga and the surrounding ranges from the balcony, while sipping on hot tea might leave you spellbound.
Apart from enchanting hills and snow, Pelling has many more tourist attractions to enthrall you. The Khangchendzonga Festival is held from the 24th to the 26th of December every year. You can enjoy a number of fun activities like white-water rafting on the Rangit, kayaking, mountain biking, trekking, sightseeing, traditional sports, and bird watching.
Cultural folk dances and music add flavor to the festivities. A perfect blend of natural beauty and adventure - you have to see it to believe it.
Here are some of the best things you can experience in this hot tourist destination of northeastern India.
1. Pemayangste (Perfect Sublime Lotus)
Pemayangste means Perfect Sublime Lotus and is Sikkim’s premier monastery, resting on a hilltop with an impressive view of the Khangchendzonga. It is the most important Nyingma monastery and controls all other monasteries of that order in Sikkim. Pemayangste is the only monastery with direct religious access to the Royal family of Sikkim.
Originally built as a small shrine by Lhatsun Chempo in the 17th century, it was subsequently enlarged during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal in 1705. He was considered Lhatsun Chenpo’s third reincarnate, Jigme Pawo. Pemayangste houses a collection of ancient Buddhist antique idols, exquisite works of religious art, including thankas and sculptures of Rinpoches and decorated paintings on various floors.
A ppicture of the heavenly abode of Guru Rimpoche, as it appeared to Lhatsun Chenpo is found on the top floor. The monastery was built for “ta-tshang” or “pure monks” meaning monks of pure Tibetan lineage. Every year, a religious masked dance is held on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan calendar.
Address: Sikkim 737111
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm.
Access: Distance from Pelling 1 km (.6 miles)
Contact: +91 03595 250 656
2. Darap Village
Darap Village is the ideal touristic place for travelers looking for a taste of pastoral life. The area is mainly inhabited by the Limboo Community and other small communities like the Bhutias, Tamangs, Rais, Gurungs, Chettris, and Lepchas who all live together, in harmony. Owing to the pristine beauty of this culturally rich village, Darap has emerged as a popular homestay destination among tourists visiting Pelling.
The village is a living testimony of Limboo culture and tradition that blends with their natural resources and bio-diversity. Local homestays of Darap will offer you a village retreat amidst the quiet and glorious scenic beauty of the village. The road that forks from the village to Nambu leads to the holy cave where Guru Padsambhava had meditated.
Activities to try: Indulge in various activities such as sightseeing, hiking to Yuksam and Khecheopelri, mountain biking, village excursions, bird watching, and more
Address: Darap Village
Access: Darap is 8 km (5 miles) away from Pelling on the way to Khecheopalri and Yuksam. It is approximately 120 km (74.5 miles) away from Gangtok and 150 km (93 miles) from the nearest airport in Bagdogra. Darap can be reached by shared jeep or by reserved taxi from any major town in Sikkim.
Contact: +91 03592 201372
3. Sewaro Rock Garden
Built and maintained by Sikkim Tourism the Sewaro Rock Garden is dotted with streams, fountains, gardens, waterfalls, zigzagging footpaths, viewpoints, cafeterias and a swimming pool. It is a perfect spot for families, couples, and friends to have a gala time, for taking selfies, and to simply listen to the songs of nature. The blooming orange trees with the flowing rocky river will simply refresh one’s mind.
Best time to visit: Don’t miss the Maghe Mela held on 14th of January. Also known as Maghe Sankranti, this event is an important festival for locals. It is primarily a religious festival wherein people take a holy bath in the stream. You can also enjoy various adventure activities that are a part of the festivities.
Sewaro Rock Garden
Address: Hills Area, Pelling, 737113, Sikkim
Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm Daily
Access: It takes 49 minutes to travel from Sewaro Rock Garden to Pelling. The approximate driving distance between Sewaro Rock Garden and Pelling is 41 km (25.5 miles).
4. Singshore suspension bridge – the highest bridge in Sikkim
The Singshore suspension bridge is the highest bridge in Sikkim, connecting two gorges in the west of Sikkim. It is the second highest bridge on the Asian continent with a span of 198 meters (650 feet) and a height of 220 meters (722 feet). The beautiful view of the green hillsides above and the downward view of the waterfall from the bridge is just mesmerizing.
Singshore Suspension Bridge
Address: Singshore Suspension Bridge
Opening Hours: Any suitable time in the day.
Access: Singshore Bridge is located 25 km (15.5 miles) away from Pelling, 160 km (99 miles) from Gangtok and 162 km (101 miles) from the nearest airport in Bagdogra. The nearest tourist hub is Pelling and private operators operate sightseeing to this site.
Website: Singshore Suspension Bridge
5. Rimbi Waterfall
On the way to Khechopalri and Yuksam, near Darap Village, Rimbi Waterfall is more than just a treat to the eyes. The lustrous waterfall leading to the Rimbi River is frequented by locals and tourists for recreational activities like swimming and fishing. Do try a local preparation of Assala – a variety of fish found only here.
During summer, the waterfall looks spectacular but during monsoon the water current in the river and around the fall increases. It is suggested not to visit the fall around this time. Located close to the waterfall is one of the oldest hydro-power stations in Sikkim.
Address: Pelling-Rimbi Rd, Sikkim 737113
Opening Hours: Anytime in the day
Access: Situated at a distance of 17 km (10.5 miles) from Pelling
Best time to visit: During summer, the waterfall looks spectacular but during monsoon, the water current in the river and around the fall increases. It is suggested not to visit the fall around this time.
6. Kanchenjunga Waterfall
The must see Kanchenjunga Waterfall, is approximately an hour drive through a scenic route from Pelling towards Yuksom. The rocky path leading to the fall lets you get closer to nature. The Himalayan stream gushing down to the ground is pleasant music you’d like to listen to again and again. One has to climb a series of steep stairs to reach the base of the fall. The waterfall is set in rural surroundings and is quite beautiful.
The fall is fed by streams originating from the glaciers near the base of Mount Kanchenjunga, the 3rd highest peak in the world.
For adventure lovers, there is an option of rope sliding.
Address: Situated at a distance of 25 km (15.5 miles) from Pelling,
Best Time: 9am - 6pm. Being a perpetual waterfall, Kanchenjunga Fall can be visited anytime. The best time, however, is after the monsoon season.
Duration: around 1 hour required.
Access: Can be reached via four-wheeler in an hour
Contact: +91 03592-201372
7. Kanchenjunga National Park
The Khangchendzonga National Park was declared a National Park in 1977 and is spread over an area of 1784 square kilometers (689 square miles). The third highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga means the “Abode of the Gods” and forms an impressive background of the park at 8586 meters (28,169 feet) in height.
The park is rich in terms of flora, fauna, avifauna and is home to the Himalayan black bear, the Himalayan Tahr, Snow leopards, musk deer, Tibetan antelope, wild ass, barking deer, flying squirrels and the red panda. There are more than 550 species of birds here such as the Himalayan griffon, the Lammergeier, the Tibetan snow cock, Snow pigeon, Sunbirds and Impeyan pheasants.
The park is situated in an area which is reserved for the preservation of wildlife and biodiversity.
Trekking in Kanchenjunga National Park is a refreshing experience, but make sure you obtain a permit from the Wildlife Education and Interpretation center at Yuksom.
Kanchenjunga National Park
Address: Kanchenjunga National Park
Price: A special pass is required. For national tourists: A permit is issued from the Home Department, Government of Sikkim. For foreign tourists: If you are trekking to the Zemu Glacier, a permit is issued from the Ministry of Home, Delhi.
Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm.
Access: By Air – Nearest airport is Bagdogra airport, about 222 km (138 miles) from the Khangchendzonga National Park. Bagdogra airport is well > connected by road network to Khangchendzonga National Park. By Rail – Nearest railway station is Jalpaiguri railway station, about 221 km (137 miles) from the Khangchendzonga National Park. Jalpaiguri railway station is well connected by road network to Khangchendzonga National Park. By Road – Khangchendzonga National Park is well connected to major cities and places by road network. There are a number of government and privately operated vehicles that go to Khangchendzonga National Park. The nearest highway is the NH 31A via Sevlok-Gangtok.
Contact: Assistant Wildlife officer, Khangchendzonga National Park Forest Department, Deorali, Sikkim 737102
Website:Kanchenjunga National Park
8. Rabdentse ruins
At a walkable distance from Pemayangtse Monastery, lies the ruin of the old Rabdentse palace. The second Chogyal established Rabdentse in the latter half of the 17th century. It was the capital of the erstwhile kingdom till 1814 A.D. The Archaeological Survey of India is renovating the old palace and monastery complex which were in a dilapidated state. The place is amidst dense forest and a water pond is also there. The scenic view from the top of the ruins across the valley to the mystic heights of Khangchendzonga range is something to cherish.
You can visualize the remains of a once flourishing colony around the palace which was constructed after the consecration of Chogyal Phuntshog Namgyal in the year 1641 AD. You can also see a stone throne with three standing stones known as Namphogang from where the judge used to deliver his final judgment in those days. Taphap Chorten can also be seen - visitors have to take off their hats to enter the palace. After crossing the fourth and the final courtyard wall you can see the palace ruins in the center.
A scenic view from the top of the ruins, you can see the entire southwestern region of Sikkim. Adjacent to the palace is “Dab Lhagang” where the royal family used to offer incense to the deities.
Your Pelling sightseeing is incomplete without a visit to these ruins with a history dating back to way before the 1800s.
Address: Rabdentse Ruins near Pemayangtse Monastery,
Opening Hours: 8am - 5pm
Duration: around 1 hour required.
Access: It is approximately 3 km (1.9 miles) before you reach Pelling while driving from Geyzing. From the main entrance, it takes 30 minutes to reach the palace ruins
Website: Rabdentse Ruins
Whether you are looking for snow clad mountains, monasteries or sheer adventure amidst nature, the breathtaking view of the Khangchendzonga and surrounding ranges and the cultural and natural beauty of Pelling will leave you just spellbound.
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