[su_tab title=”Pelling”]Over the last few years, Pelling somehow seems to have developed into a hub of tourism activities in West Sikkim. Till as recently as 1996, Pelling was a nondescript village with a few houses. But over the last few years, it has undergone a sudden metamorphosis. Upclass hotels and fast food centres offering continental, Sikkimese and South Indian dishes have mushroomed. What has prompted this rapid development is perhaps Pelling’s vantage location as a take off point for Pemayanste monastery, Kechopari lake, Yoksum, Dzongri, Tashiding and the Chanshey, Kanchendzonga and Fambrong waterfalls and the Shinshor bridge. The area a few kilometres away from Pelling offers wilderness and solitude and is ideal for taking walks. The view of the Kanchendzonga range from Pelling is also breathtaking. The Pelling area has developed into a separate tourist destination with many tourists preferring not to include Gangtok in their itinerary perhaps because of the hustle, bustle and the noise of the capital.
The Government run Mount Pandim (( 03595-250855) at Pelling near Gyalshing is an upclass hotel.Hotel Fambrong((03595-250660) and Hotel Norbugang((03595-250566) also have well appointed accommodation. For hiring taxis from Gyalshing for Yoksum and other places, one may contact M/S Biju Chettri ((03595-250673) at Gyalshing Bazar.[/su_tab]
[su_tab title=”Pemayantse Monastery”]
Pemayanste monastery at an altitude of about 2105 m (6840ft), is situated about 6 kms from Gyalshing town and less than a kilometre from Pelling. It is the most important monastery of the Nyingmapa order and was first built as a small temple in the late seventeenth century by LatsunChembo. Later during the reign of the third ChogyalChakdorNamgyal, JigmePawo who was the third reincarnate of LatsunChembo extended and rebuilt the structure in the form of a big monastery.
The monastery houses numerous religious idols and other objects of worship, most of which are priceless because of their antiquity. On the top floor of the monastery there is a wooden sculpture portraying the Mahaguru’s Heavenly Palace Sangthokpalri. The main dance of the monastery is on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan calender, normally corresponding to the month of February three days before Losar. A particularly impressive Chaam is on the second day that of the god Mahakal – a huge 8 feet high effigy. The highlight of the third day, is the unfurling of a huge thanka, the largest in Sikkim, depcitingSakya Muni the living Buddha, at the entrance of the monastery.
Rabdanste, which is a couple of kilometres from Gyalshing bazar and near the Pemayanste Monastery, was the second capital of Sikkim and was established in the late seventeenth century by the second Chogyal of Sikkim. It was abandoned towards the end of the eighteenth century because of the threat posed by the Nepalis and the capital was shifted to Tumlong. The Rabdanste Palace is in ruins and one has to trek about two kilometres from the main road near Pemayanste Monastery through a thick forest to reach it. The chortens around the palace have however withstood the elements of nature. The ruins are now being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India and have been declared as a monument.
SangaChelling Monastery, considered the second oldest in Sikkim, lies amidst a thick forested hill top opposite the Pemayanste Monastery towards the west. Less than a kilometre ahead of Pemayanste on the road to Yoksumis Pelling and it is from here that one starts walking to this monastery. The track is wide and moderately steep and it takes about half an hour to reach the monastery from Pelling.
Just adjacent to the Pemayanste Monastery is Mount Pandim Hotel suited for the upper class tourist. For tourists on a low budget, cheap but comfortable accommodation is available at the Gyalshing bazar. Daily bus services are available from Gangtok for Gyalshing.
[su_tab title=”Rabdantse Palace Ruins, Pelling”]Rabdanste, which is a couple of kilometres from Gyalshing bazar and near the Pemayanste Monastery, was the second capital of Sikkim and was established in the late seventeenth century by the second Chogyal of Sikkim. It was abandoned towards the end of the eighteenth century because of the threat posed by the Nepalis and the capital was shifted to Tumlong. The Rabdanste Palace is in ruins and one has to trek about two kilometres from the main road near Pemayanste Monastery through a thick forest to reach it. The chortens around the palace have however withstood the elements of nature. The ruins are now being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India and have been declared as a monument.[/su_tab]
[su_tab title=”Hee Bermiok Area”]If you want to get away from the hubub of Pelling, then Hee Bermoik 28 kms away is an ideal location to spend your time in peace. The Hee Bermoik area is coming up as a favourite tourist destination with homestays and mountain biking. It is an area dominated by the Limboo population and those interested in Sikkimese culture will not be disappointed. It has its share of places of interest. First there is a Limboo Temple called Makhim with a bust of Srijunga the patron saint of the community who is also saint to be the inventor of the Limboo script. Close by is the Alley Cave. Another cave which involves a 2 hours trek is the ShriJunga Cave located at the confluence of the Kalej and the Reshi rivers. Close to this cave is the Srijunga waterfalls. 7 kilometers away from Hee bermoik is Rinchenpong famous for its two monasteries: Resung Gompa and Rinchenchenpong Gompa. Rinchengpong used to be the visited by the Governor General of Bengal in the 1860s. Later in 1920 Rabrindranath stayed at Rabrinath Smriti Van in 1920. He is said to have written a few poems while staying here.[/su_tab]
[su_tab title=”Kanchendzonga and Fambrong Waterfalls”]
The Kanchendzonga waterfalls are located about 15 kilometres away from Pelling on the way to Yoksum. The thunder of the icy cold water cascading down the granite rocks resounds in the surrounding. The sound is so loud that it is impossible to hear each other. A mist of water droplets from the waterfall lies suspended in the air and this can make your clothes cold and moist.
Though not as majestic as the Kanchendzonga waterfalls, Fambrong does offer a spectacular sight. These waterfalls are located about 10 kilometres away from Tashiding towards Yoksum.
[su_tab title=”Tashiding Monastery”] This is another important monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order and is about 40 kilometres from Gyalshing by road via Legship. It lies nestled on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathongriver and the Rangit river and is surrounded by a profusion of prayer flags that flutter in the air. There are also many chortens dedicated to some Chogyals and other religious personalities of Sikkim. Carved skillfully on stone plates surrounding the monastery are holy Buddhist mantras like “Om Mane Padme Hum” by the master craftsman YanchongLodil.The monastery was built in 1717 by NgadakSempaChembo during the reign of the third ChogyalChakdorNamgyal. The sacred ceremony of Bumchu is held here at midnight of the 14th and 15th of the first Tibetan month. A description of this festival is given elsewhere in this website. [/su_tab]
[su_tab title=”Kechopalri Lake”]
Kechopari Lake at an altitude of about 1951 m (6400 ft) is located on a bifurcation on the road between Gyalshing and Yoksum. Kechopari means the Wishing Lake. The water in this lake is placid and crystal clear. Not even a leaf can be seen floating on the water surface although there is a beautiful dense forest above the lake. It is said that if a leaf drops on the surface of the water it is picked by a bird. A trekkers’ hut has been built near the lake for the convenience of the tourists. An hour’s walk uphill from the lake takes one to a holy cave and a further one hour and a half walk uphill takes one to the highest point overlooking the lake and offers a bird’s eye view. The lake looks like a footprint from here.
A ten minutes walk uphill walk from the lake is the Kechopari Monastery situated amidst a large stretch of flat land. A stupa which is a replica of the Swayambunath temple in Kathmandu flanks the monastery. This is perhaps the only monastery in Sikkim that has such type of a stupa.
Yoksum is situated 33 kilometres away from Pelling. The first king of Sikkim was coronated here on the throne made of stones close to the Norbugang monastery and the chorten. The footprint of one of the lamas, LatsunChembo, who consecrated the king can also be seen close to the throne. The small but beautiful Kartoklake is also situated in Yoksum and is a nice place to spend a quiet moment. About a two kilometres walk uphill from Yoksum is the Dubdi monastery which is the oldest in Sikkim. Besides the trekkers’ huts which can be booked through the Kanchendzonga Conservation Committee ((03595-241211 or 241213). Hotel Tashigang ((03595-258218) as well as many other hotels offer good accommodation. Yoksum a takeoff point for Dzongri.