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Rabdentse Ruins, West Sikkim Overview

On the lower hillock, South-East of Pemayangtse Monastery in Pelling, Sikkim, lies the old ruins of the Old Rabdentse Palace. Rabdentse was the second capital of Sikkim till 1814 AD . 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. This archaeological site should be visited by all history-enthusiasts. The view of the entire valley below and Kanchenjunga peak from the Rabdentse Ruins are absolutely spectacular and should not be missed.

Surrounded by dense forests with a river pond, one can reminisce their souls in soothing melodies created by the chirping of birds. The picturesque view of the rocks with tiny shrubs around it makes it an ideal place for families to come and arrange picnics. Due to its long history, Rabdentse Ruins is definitely meant for people who like to dig into the past of the state and learn from it. Simultaneously, it also gives an opportunity for tourists to enjoy various festivities taking place around it, thus making it one of the places that must be visited.

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Rabdentse Ruins Structure

The ruins at Rabdentse contain wall stumps which also has a decorative yellow entrance gate, close to the Pelling-Geyshing Road. There is a 15 minute-trek from that goes through a lake and forested hills. There is a stone throne which comprises of 3 standing stones, called Namphogang. The Taphap Chorten, a stupa, is located in a partly ruined state. This was the main entrance to the ancient palace.

The ruins of the palace are in the middle of the 4th courtyard. The ruins are segmented into 2 wings, northern and southern. The northern wing served as the official residence of the royal family. It has an open quadrangle and a popular structure called, Dab Lhagang is also present over there. In the area where the Risum Gompa was once situated, lies with a big white marble slab. Besides the ruins, there are 3 chortens where the royal family once conducted religious rituals. They are well-preserved and protected.

History of Rabdentse Ruins

Rabdentse was established as the capital of Sikkim Kingdom by the son of phuntsog Namgyal, who was named Tensung Namgyal. He was the second Chogyal or the King of Sikkim in 1670. The capital was shifted from Yuksom in 1642. Tensung Namgyal had 3 wives who belonged to the Nepali, Bhutanese and  Sikkimese region. The children born to the king from each of his wives were not in cordial terms and frequently battled for the heir to the throne. Due to this, there were different conflicts between the three regions and armies were led by the offsprings of the king, which led to various bloodshed and destruction of properties in the subsequent years.

In the end, the Sikkimese army was defeated and the battle continued between the Nepali and the Bhutanese army. Due to the battle, the palace of Rabdentse was completely turned into ruins by the Nepali army who won the battle.

Best Time to Visit

During the summer months of March to May, the weather is very pleasant. The temperature of Sikkim is not high and is accompanied by a cool breeze. Hence, the aforesaid months make it worthwhile to visit Rabdentse Ruins.

How to Reach Rabdentse Ruins

One can trek to Rabdentse Palace which is 2 km from Pemayangtse Monastery on the way to Pelling, which is 125 km from Sikkim. The tourist can also hire a taxi or shared jeep from Pelling in order to reach the Rabdentse Ruins.

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