A breathtaking view of Mt. Khanchendzonga is what makes Pelling so popular to the tourist..Ask a tourist for his choice of Pelling to other destinations in Sikkim and you will hear them say ‘rest and relaxation’ Situated at an altitude of 2,070 m shoulder to shoulder with the other mountains around, Pelling is just 10 km from Gayzing.
Standing at the height of 2085 m and framed on two sides by snowcapped mountains, Pemayangtse (perfect Sublime lotus) is a premier monastery in the state. All the religious function of the erstwhile monarchs (Chogyals) of Sikkim used to be performed here .It was founded in 1705 by Lhatsun Chempo, one of the lamas to have performed the consecration ceremony of the first king of Sikkim., but was badly damaged in the earthquakes of 1913 and 1960. It has been reconstructed several times and belongs to the Nyigmapa sect, which was established by Padmasambava in 8th century. The Sangtokpalri, which means Guru Rimpoche’s heavenly place, was built inside the monastery by the late Dungzine Rimpoche and is a masterpiece creation.
Sang Gnak Choling monastery
Situated on a hilltop on the other side of Pelling it is the second oldest monastery in Sikkim .The monastery is situated in the higher altitude than Pemayangtse and takes 40 minutes to reach it .The view of the snowy peak in the north and of the mountains and valleys in the south are panoramic and simply beautiful
On the lower hillock, south east of Pemayangtse monastery, lies the ruin of the old Rabdentse palace. Rabdentse was the second capital of Sikkim established by the second Chogyal in the latter half of the 17th century. It was the capital of the erstwhile kingdom till 1814 A.D. The old palace and monastery complex are in ruins, and the Archaeological Survey of India is carrying out repair and restoration works .The place is surrounded by dense forest and there also is a small lake.
Situated at a distance of 43 km from Pemayangtse amongst the dense forest cover is the Khecheopalri lake,a must visit destination for a pilgrim tourist to Sikkim . Also known as the ‘wishing lake’ it rests at an altitude of about 1979 M above the sea level. Tso-shok-tso as it is called is one of the sacred lakes of this state both to the Hindus and the Buddhists .It is believed that even birds contribute to its cleanliness by picking up the leaves falling in it .A ‘wishing lake’ to many, this is a lake to fulfill the prayers.
Goechala is the ultimate trekking destination of your dream, situated at an altitude of 4941 meters. Goechala also has a pass known as lock pass which is a depression between Mount Pandim, and a spur of the Kabru Peak that form the pass. The route traverses through forests and alpine meadows, to reach the 4941 Meters high view point, at Goechala. Looking down the Talung Valley one can see the mighty Talung Glacier, winding its way down below the lock pass .Surrounded by great white peaks- Khangchendzonga, 8596 M, Simvo, 6812 M, Sinolchu, 6888 M, Pandim, 669I, Kabru, 7338 M, and Rathang, 6087 M one is left wandering at god’s creation. The awe inspiring sight instills a feeling of standing in the very lap of Khangchendzonga, and gazing up at its face.
Dzongri is a lovely undulating plateau, used as a yak pasture, lying at the foot of Kabur peak and extending nearly to the Kabru and Pandim glaciers on either side.
Dzongri perhaps one of the most beautiful areas in this belt in the entire Sikkim is situated at an altitude of 4,320 m and is among the best trekking destinations in India. The sights of the milky white peaks all around Dzongri are bound to keep you gazing awfully. Snowfall is common around Dzongri especially during the winter months. The temperature may go below freezing point any time around the year.
Nub- Dechén Phug, also known as the ‘Cave of Great Happiness, is located near Dzongri, a blissful welkin deemed as one of the eminent trekking destinations of Sikkim. This holy abode of Guru Padmasambhava is believed to be associated with the ‘God of Infinite Light’.
It is believed that this cave, which is as big as a three storied building, contains sacred images representing the body, speech and mind, ritual objects, and complete sutras and tantras translated in Tibet. Legend has it that treasured stores that could feed almost half the population of the world are also hidden here. Just by going to this cave one can acquire ‘Supreme Higher Attainment’.
At the main cave are two lesser caves of ‘Supreme Higher Attainments’ and three lesser caves of ‘Common Attainments’. Besides these there are numerous large and small caves where enlightenment was attained. On the right side of the cave grows a fragrant medicinal tree which bears many kinds of flowers and fruits believed to cure diseases.
Tshoka situated at an altitude of around 3400 mts is one of the ideal places to watch the sunrise over Mt. Pandim.
Yuksam (1630 mts) (also spelt Yoksum ), 32 Kms, by road from Pemayangtse, is the farthest north you can get by road in western Sikkim, and the trailhead for those intending to the trek to Dzongu. Yuksam was the first capital of Sikkim and houses the oldest monastery. Yuksam literally means ‘three lamas’ in lepcha, nomenclated after the meeting of the three lamas here.
Fifteen min walk from Yuksam. True to the prophecy of Tibet's founder of Buddhism, Guru Rimpoche, some nine centuries A stone throne shaded by a 300 year old fir still stands here today. A foot print in stone in front of the throne is said to belong to Lhabtsun Namkha Jigme, and a nearby chorten (stupa) contains soil and water from all over Sikkim. Thus Yuksam occupies an important place in Sikkimese history as the first capital, and Norbugang as an important cultural site maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. Norbugang is easily reached on a 15 minute walk from Yuksam.
Tashiding known for Bhumchu festival is around 16 km away from Yuksam and about 40 Kms from Gyalshing, via Legship is located at an altitude of 1465 mts. above sea level. It is here that an important monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order is built. This monastery was built on top of a heart shaped hill with the back drop of the sacred Mt. Khangchendzonga by Ngadak Sempa Chembo in 1717. According to Buddhist scriptures, Guru Padma Sambhava (Guru Rimpoche) blessed the sacred land of Sikkim in the 8th century AD from this spot. All around the monastery lies skillfully carved holy Chortens known as 'Thong-Wa-Rang-Dol' which literally means 'Saviors by mere sight'.
Besides Tashiding Monastery there are other attractions in and around Tashiding like Sinon Monastery, Tso-Nim-Dawa (Pokhri dara), Hungri Monastery and Pao Hungri.The Paha Khola falls on the way to Kongri is worth visiting.The wild-beehive on the side of the falls adds interest to the visit.It is also a point for the trekkers visiting Kastura Orar adjoining the Dzongri trail.
Byang Lhari- rinchen- nying Phug
This cave considered to be the holiest of all the sacred caverns is situated in the western part of Sikkim. Associated with the ‘God of Wrath’, Byang Lhari- rinchen- nying Phug is reached after taking a three days trek from the holy town of Tashiding.
This gateway to western Sikkim has a holy Hindu Shrine of Lord Shiva on the banks of river Rangit. Situated at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level Legship is widely known for Hot Spring due to its healing power and Holy Hindu Shrine of Lord Shiva. Legship also houses the first ever built dam in the state for hydro electricity purpose. The water accumulated in the dam is used for Rangit Water World and local folks come here for picnics and rafting.
Rangit water world:
A handful of locals with a nose for business and initiative to boost have transformed the 60-mw Rangit hydroelectric power corporation reservoir in Legship to a water kingdom complete with picnic spots, boating and rafting facilities .Paddleboats, flotillas and rock climbing facilities are also in the pipeline.
Phur-cha-chu( Reshi hot Spring)
Enroute Reshi at a distance of about 5 kms this hot spring is located on the banks of River Rangit. One has to walk about ten minutes from the highway across the river Rangit by a ‘phadke’- a temporary bamboo bridge to reach the hot spring. The water of these springs has a medicinal value as it contains sulphur and can cure skin diseases. People from all over the state and neighboring Darjeeling, Bhutan and Nepal come here during the winter months and spend days together lying submerged in the soothing water of the hot spring.
Lho Khandro- Sang Phug
Also known as the cave of occult fairies. Lho Khandro- Sang Phug is said to be associated with the ‘God of Increasing Knowledge’. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava had lived and meditated here sometime in the seventh century. It flaunts of a hot spring nearby, believed to hold medicinal powers, and footprint inscribed rocks which are attributed to that of the fairies..
Merely 5 kms from Reshi on the way to Mangalbaria, Reshi baudha is a must visit destination for the pilgrims to Lho-Khandro-Sang-Phug. It is believed that pilgrimage is incomplete if one of the three centers i.e. Tashiding, Lho-Khandro-Sang-Phug or this baudha is left out. This baudha is a sacred cave where prayers are held and offerings made. It is believed that a small tunnel from this cave leads to Lho-Khandro-Sang-Phug thus joining the two caves,a story supported by the fact the even today a cat left at the opening in this tunnel can reach the other end,a truth lost in the darkness of the cave.
Very close to Mangalbaria ,Bisthang is a virgin tourist destination. A picturesque view of Mt. Khanchenjunga is what it offers. A promising destination on a make, Bisthang already has a resort coming up and a project of developing village tourism has been proposed.
Located on the banks of river Rangit, Sikip, an upcoming destination falls partially in west and partially in south only to be separated by a suspension bridge and is an angler’s paradise and also has a charming natural surrounding. It is also a starting point for other water sports like rafting and kayaking. Vast banks of sand makes it a popular picnic destination The drive from Gangtok to Sikip takes about five hours via Legship and is also accessible form Siliguri and Darjeeling via Jorethang .Efforts are underway to start tourism projects in the area.
Situated at an altitude of 1700 meters in the western part of Sikkim is this small picturesque village named Rinchenpong. The drive form Gangtok to Rinchenpong takes about four hours via Jorethang. It is about two hours drive from Pelling and an hour drive from Jorethang.
Dentam is famous for its Alpine cheese –a product of Indo-Swiss collaboration. Ma Durga mandir in the heart of the town is an important pilgrim centre for the visitors. Two important gompas the Reshum and Gurung gompa is located here.
Towards Uttarey one comes across Singshore Bridge supposedly the highest suspension bridge in Asia. It is said that a stone dropped from the bridge can be seen for 5 minutes till it plunges to a small stream below. Enroute to Pelling one can see the famous Changey falls. Besides Mangmo Gurung gaon and Radu-Khandu-Sanku gaon provides one an insight to ethnic Nepali customs. It is also believed that the water from Guransay dara nearby cures gastric problems.
At an altitude of 6700 ft Uttarey is surrounded by hills and small lakes. Vegetation mainly comprises of Michelia sps, Prunus sps and Orchid sps. It is from this place that one can view the entire ranges of Mt Everest and Mt. Khanchendzonga at the same time it is an important tourist destination and the starting point of the world famous Singalila Trekking route in the Khanchendzonga Biosphere reserve. Right next to the town is a flat land where there used to be a beautiful lake once which has today dried and lined with Acorus calamus(Bojo) which is an important medicinal plant.
The temple of Bhagwati Devi holds a significant place in the history of Uttarey. The water that flows north from the temple is the source of the name Uttarey. The water from the temple flowed to a lake which was named as Niya Pokhari-the Lake of Justice. It is believed that the lake served as Dharma Kacheri wherein a coin wrapped in a cloth and suspended from the string to the water did not get wet if the man was innocent and soaked if guilty. This lake today has transformed into a herbal garden. It is still believed that the water from the temple is warm till 4am and as the daybreaks the water becomes freezing cold.
It lies at an elevation of 10,000 ft and has motorable road access upto Hiley. An easy 4 kms trek form there takes one up to the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. Spread over a total area f 104 sq.kms it forms a vital corridor in the larger Khanchendzonga Biosphere Reserve with the Shingalila National Park of the West Bengal. One can also reach here on a trek from Soreng and Uttarey. The place provides magnificent view of the mountains; visitors can halt at ‘Guras Kunj’ trekkers’ hut. Located in the extreme west Barsey is noted for rhododendrons. It's a huge Rhododendron forest, is a must visit experience trip during the flowering season from mid march to April end.
Chakung(Durpindara) and Soreng:
The newly developed Durpin dara at Chakung is an adventure tourist destination on a make. Successful paragliding has already been tested from here. Tanky dara, the last motorable point has the potentiality to develop as a picnic destination in itself with a rested land amidst pine trees and a hut shed nearby. A trail from here amidst thick jungle leads one to Durpiney. This infact used to be a place from where the Lepcha’s defended from their enemies by a warfare made up of tying stone on a rope and pelting them upon their enemies.