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Pelling, West Sikkim Overview

Pelling, a beautiful town in the West district of Sikkim, has become the second biggest tourist destination in Sikkim after Gangtok. Located 10 km from Geyzing and 130 km from Gangtok, the main attraction of the place is the breathtaking sight of the Khangchendzonga and the neighbouring peaks. The famous Pemayangste monastery is less than a kilometre from here and is a major tourist hotspot. Pelling also has sites for mountain biking, rock climbing, village tours, meditations, apart from serving as a base for a number of treks in the region. The scenic town of Pelling is a perfect holiday destination for all nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

Pelling, a beautiful petite town sited at a height of 6800ft was initially covered with wild thick forest which served as home to many indigenous wild animals of that period including Wildman( may not be yeti though). This ridge being situated in between two old Buddhist monasteries (Pemayangtse and Sangacholing) developed into a full-fledged village named Pelling. Today, Pelling is one of the best-chosen tourist hotspots in Sikkim. More than that, Pelling is the heart where all the breathtaking tourist spots of West Sikkim can be visited.

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Pelling Weather and Best Time to Visit

Pelling is at the altitude of 2000meters, where the temperature in summer goes up to 25 degrees Celcius and comes down to 1 degree Celcius in winters. It is quite warm and pleasant in summer. The monsoon season is from July to September. Pelling can be visited at all times of the year, however, it is best to avoid a trip in the monsoon season.

Places to Visit in Pelling

Pelling Helipad: It is around a kilometre from the police check post which is the central location in Pelling. The short walk of the Pelling Helipad is a pleasant one which offers an amazing view of the Kanchenjunga and its mountain ranges which is frequently visited by many visitors.

Sangachoeling MonasteryLocated at the top of a ridge in the town of Pelling, Sikkim, this monastery was established in the 17th century by Lama Gyalwa Lhatsun Chempo. Being one of the oldest Buddhist shrines in the world, it has gained a lot of popularity over the years.

Pemayangtse MonasteryLocated at a distance of 5 km from Upper Pelling, it is one of the oldest and famous monasteries in Sikkim. The unique feature of the monastery is that it has an intricately carved, wooden, 7-tiered 3D model which displays a heavenly space, thereby giving a spiritual insight into religion.

Rabdentse RuinsOn the lower hillock, South-East of Pemayangtse Monastery in Pelling, Sikkim, lies the old ruins of the Old Rabdentse Palace. The old palace and the monastery are in complete ruins now and the Archeological survey of India is currently maintaining and undertaking work for its restoration.

Darap Village: Located at a distance of 8 km from Pelling, it is a perfect place for a laid-back and a relaxing holiday. Due to its simple setting and structure, it gives people an opportunity to stay in humble homestays and understand the culture and tradition of Sikkim.

Rimbi River: The beautiful Rimbi River meanders approximately 12 km from Pelling, further ahead of the Darap Village. Strewn by boulders and pebbles, this location is preferred by families for picnics. It also houses a small hydroelectric power plant on it which is very popular. The remnants of a tourist spot called the Rock Garden is also found over there, which was washed away by a flood many years back.

Rimbi Waterfall: This waterfall is located just above the Rimbi River. As compared to other waterfalls, it is relatively small, however, extremely beautiful. It is considered very safe and attracts a lot of tourists from around the globe.

Activities and Things to Do

There are several activities on can do here. Trekking and village walks which include seeing the rural lifestyle with participation in organic farming activities are some of the popular things to do in Pelling. Traditional house visits, Cultural shows and Limboo storytelling sessions, along with handicraft making are some other interesting activities one can try out here. Bird watching, Fishing at Rimbi, Hot Stone bath, Jungle walk-bird watching are a few other activities that will give you a new experience on your visit to Sikkim.

Shopping At Pelling

Pelling has all the traditional Buddhist handicrafts you might need. From colourful threaded scarves to hand-woven woollen carpets, shopping here is a true delight. Everything ranging from Tibetan prayer flags to singing bowls and Lepcha weave shawls is available here. One must buy traditional Tibetan thangkas (paintings) and souvenir items while visiting this place. The Rural Artisan Marketing Centre also sells walnuts and organic tea. Don't forget to buy the woollen carpets from this place.

Food At Pelling

The cuisine in Pelling is not limited to either vegetarian or non-vegetarian as both are easily available here. One can have delicious Indian, Tibetan and Chinese cuisines here. A huge range of local fare is also available in Pelling that is a gourmet's real delight. Traditional Momos and Thukpa are found everywhere and taste amazing. You can relish appetizing dishes at Hotel Sikkim Tourist Centre and Hotel Norbugang.

Where to Stay

Pelling is a small town with about 90 hotels. Home-stays and accommodations for tourists are being set up by the Darap Eco-Tourism Committee at the homes of committee members. Hotel Garuda, Hill Retreat, Hotel the Panorama are a few of the comfortable and well as affordable hotels in Pelling.

Traveling Around Pelling

You can either hire a bicycle or motorcycle to travel within the area. You can also simply walk to places. Guides are available in Pelling to take you for nature walks and monastic treks.

Local Experiences

The tribe that dominates Pelling is the Limbu community. Apart from them, Pelling has other sub-castes like Khamdhak, Muringla, Tamling, Lingden and Pegha. The people here mostly earn their living by farming. The crops that are grown here include cardamom, maize, paddy, wheat and buckwheat. The whole place rejoices in a festive mood at the onset of the Kanchenjanga Festival that is celebrated once a year. The festival has several fun activities like white-water rafting on the Rangit, Kayaking, promotional trekking, and mountain biking and other adventurous. The traditional Limbu dance uding the Chhab-rung (drum) and other cultural arts are also presented during this festive time.

How to reach Pelling

  • Air: The nearest Airport to Pelling is Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri, which is a four hour drive from Pelling. You can take a taxi or bus from here to reach Pelling.

  • Rail: The nearest Railway Station from Pelling is Jalpaiguri Railway Station, which is at a distance of 170 Kms from Pelling. It is well connected to major cities like Chennai, New Delhi, Howrah, Alipur and Darjeeling through Guwahati Express, Ndls Bgp Express, Mas Njp Express and Dbrt Rajdhani.

  • Road: Pelling is well connected with the other cities of Sikkim via Sikkim State Road Transport Corporation (SSRTC) and some private travel services. Buses are available to get to Pelling.

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