West Sikkim- Pelling and Yuksom
In this Blog, West Sikkim -Pelling and Yuksom, I will explain the best destinations and famous tourist spots to visit and things to do in Pelling and Yuksom via the sacred route of West Sikkim. As the spring season starts in India the immense heatwave arrives in most places. Most of the schools start having their summer vacations.
West Sikkim travel blog consists of the most important scenic and historical places. They have played an important role in the ancient history of Sikkim. Therefore in order to get respite from summer, however, most of the travelers travel to the hill stations and enjoy the cool weather. The roads in the Himalayas start to open in the month of April as the snow starts to melt.
West Sikkim- Things to do in Pelling
Facts show why this hill station is one of the cleanest places in India. Therefore It provides some majestic views of Mountain Kanchenjunga. Therefore, I decided to explore the Western part of Sikkim. It also has some important base point for high altitude mountain trekkers. However, there are a number of amazing treks in West Sikkim for the trekker. Trekking is one of the most important things to do in Pelling.
Where to stay In Pelling:- Hotel Yangthang Dzimkha resort is the best place to say near the helipad and has a beautiful view from the bathroom. the food is veg but provides a wide variety of delectable dishes. There is also a small pub adjacent to the hotel which provides a soothing ambiance.
1. Rabdentse ruins
Rabdentse ruins is a protected place by the Archaeological Society of India. Among things to do in pelling, this is a must-visit the place. It is located inside a jungle which is a small bird sanctuary. Even one will get to see rare species of Himalayan birds inside the park, on the way to this UNESCO heritage site.
However, I had to walk for approximately 20 minutes and cover a steep road inside the dense forest. But the stress will be completely vanquished by the essence and the charisma that this historical place offers to a tourist. Rabdentse ruins are the most important destination to be covered in the Pelling travel blog. The three-stone pillars known as chortens are the main attraction of Rabdentse Ruins. Here the king and his family members used to offer prayers to their deities.
From this place where the chortens are located, panoramic views of the entire Sikkim valley and Kanchenjunga is visible. Other than this there is a northern and southern wing of this palace.
The northern wing was the residential place of the noble family members of the king. The southern wing was the assembly court where common people used to assemble in front of the king.
2. Pemayangtse Monastery
After visiting Rabdentse ruins we took a 10 min drive to reach Pemayangtse Monastery which is the second oldest monastery in Sikkim. Built-in the 17th century after the ruler of Sikkim shifted his capital to Rabdentse. This Buddhist monastery follows the Nyingma tradition. It is the oldest tradition among the four Tibetan schools of knowledge. Nyingma simply means ancient, because it has been derived from the early Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit.
This monastery controls every other monastery in West Sikkim and contains monks of pure Tibetan lineage without physical abnormalities. The monastery has beautiful architecture. The residential buildings of the monks surround the main prayer hall.
The main prayer hall contains the statue of Guru Rinpoche in his various forms of incarnations, which is considered to have revived Buddhism in Tibet. However at the entrance of the monastery a red wall containing Buddhist prayers. This is a major attraction for all those travelers seeking to click their photos.
3. Pelling Skywalk
In the evening it is a perfect time to go to the Pelling skywalk which is another famous Pelling sightseeing spot. However, It has been newly constructed by the Sikkim government and to the adjacent Sangachoeling monastery. The Pelling skywalk, opened in November 2018, since then it has attracted numerous tourists from across the whole world.
This pelling skywalk is the first skywalk built in India and it is made of glass. It adds to the adventure to this spot. However, the main attraction of this pelling skywalk is the Chenrezig statue. It is 134 meters tall that adorns the skies of West Sikkim.
4. Sangachoeling monastery
Sangachoeling monastery is an ancient historical archaeological site beside the skywalk. It contains the main monastery and few remains of the stupas. It has now been well preserved by the archaeological and tourism department of Sikkim. The stupas are made from grey colored bricks. The whole pelling city is visible if one stands in front of the platform on which the stupas stand.
Built-in the 17th century, also known as the place of the secret spells. Like Pemayangtse monastery, it belongs to the Nyingma sect and allows men monks only belonging to this particular sect.
This charming place with rich historical values is a place of heritage for the Sikkimese people. Most of the tourists visit here to remain in silence and enjoy the scenic and mystic significance.
The Chenrezig statue that sits on top of the skywalk and the monastery, visiting this place is of utmost significance. However, due to Buddhist influences such as a monastery, prayer wheels, and stupas, It has a deep impact on any religious traveler.
However, after experiencing the mystic culture I understood that the skywalk is only an added measure undertaken to attract numerous tourists. In conclusion, the main significant attraction is the Chenrezig statue and the preserved Sangachoeling monastery.
Visiting these beautiful Buddhist monasteries is one of the most important things to do in Pelling.
Pelling to Yuksom
The Pelling to Yuksom route in West Sikkim showed me many mesmerizing places such as Rimbi Orange garden, Khecheopalri lake. As I commenced on my Pelling to Yuksom journey, towards Rimbi I came across an ancient tribal village called Darap. It has now grown into a famous destination to explore the Himalayas.
There are many homestays that have come up in this village providing an ideal peaceful retreat. Therefore tourists coming here to see the snow-capped peaks of the northeast Himalayas.
1. Rimbi orange garden
The intense greenery of the Himalayas and the pollution-free environment lead us to the next village called Rimbi in west Sikkim. However, Rimbi is famous for its orange garden and the Rimbi river. It provides a charismatic landscape for the tourists to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Eastern Himalayas. Just before the Rimbi orange garden, I came across the Rimbi waterfall on the highway. The waterfall is not so huge. But due to the surrounding scenery and the unique alluring nature this spot can be easily considered as an enchanting retreat for all the tourists. In other words, Pelling to Yuksom highway in west Sikkim is a treat to the eyes.
Just after a 5 min drive from here, we reached the Rimbi orange garden. Small shops near the highway welcomed us through a small entrance with an entry fee of RS 10.
The area is congested but has been suitably utilized for cultivating organic fruits and crops. The area is mainly marked with orange trees and cardamom plantations besides some few houses of the villagers residing here.
The numerous orange trees start to bloom with oranges from the month of November to February.
However, organic farming surrounded by the Himalayas was mesmerizing on the banks of the Rimbi river. The pathway leading down to the river banks is covered with numerous flower plants with rose being the primary flower tree. There are cozy seating places a, with small shops selling organic Himalayan tea and water bottles for the tourists. I reached the banks of Rimbi river and the sound of the rapids formed by the flowing of the river through the mountain rocks allured us. We recorded the surrounding in our go pro camera to take back the memories of the natural ambiance.
In other places, such banks of the rivers have been transformed into picnic spots. But the Sikkimese people have done effective ethical work in maintaining the cleanliness of the place. In fact, the state of Sikkim is the first state in India to have transformed into completely organic. It may be considered as one of the cleanest states in India. The Rimbi orange garden provides a tranquil place amidst organic farming. It also helps us with some effective time with nature on the banks of the free-flowing Rimbi river.
2. Khecheopalri lake.
After that, we proceeded more towards West Sikkim to one of the most famous destinations in West Sikkim known as Khecheopalri lake.
Khecheopalri lake is situated in the village with the same name at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level. It is a sacred lake for the Sikkimese people.
The Khecheopalri lake forms the pilgrimage site of the most important pilgrimage tour for the Sikkimese people. It consists of Yuksom, Dubdi Monastery, Pemayangtse monastery, Rabdentse ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery and Tashiding.
The local name of the Khecheopalri lake refers to “Oh lady sit here”. It refers to the footprints of Goddess Tara blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. Hence due to the sacred history of the Khecheopalri lake, it is also known as a wish-fulfilling lake.
There is a white stupa on the walking trail to the Khecheopalri lake and a grey stupa just in front of the Khecheopalri lake.
There are symbols and prayers marked on the walls on the way to the Khecheopalri lake. It symbolizes the religious sacredness of the place for both the Buddhist and the Hindus.
The vicinity of the Khecheopalri lake is marked with numerous prayer flags of various colors that adorn the beautiful natural scenery in a splendid way. Khecheopalri lake forms a major part of west Sikkim travel blog, en route Pelling to Yuksom. A hike at the top of a mountain will take us to a viewpoint. From there we get to see the entire periphery of the Khecheopalri lake. It looks like the footprint of the local God Tara. Hindus also believe it to be the footprint of Lord Shiva who meditated in one of the caves of the nearby sacred hill.
Now a jetty has been built marked by prayer wheels. It leads us to the front of the Khecheopalri lake where tourists may offer incense sticks and worship the sacred goddess of the lake. The Khecheopalri lake in West Sikkim on Pelling to Yuksom highway is believed to be free from any leaves of trees. It is believed that the birds in the vicinity pick up the leaves which fall into the Khecheopalri lake.
The Khecheopalri lake contains numerous fishes that thrive which can be easily seen from the jetty. The road to the Khecheopalri lake is through dense Himalayan forests. One has to take a 10 min walk through the dense forests from the monastery at the starting of the village.
3. Kanchendzonga waterfall
Our next destination was Kanchendzonga waterfall which is situated an hour drive before Yuksom just beside the Pelling to Yuksom highway. The first stream of the waterfall is a narrow one from where the local people have set up zip line adventure sports.
As we walk further inside through the rocks we come across the main waterfall which is of much greater volume. But lesser in height than other waterfalls in the rest of West Sikkim. But the huge volume of water gushing down to the gorge below the highway is a magnificent attraction that allures every tourist visiting Pelling in West Sikkim.
As we proceeded towards Yuksom, we crossed numerous iron bridges which are frequent here in the highways across the northeast of India. People of Sikkim adorn them with prayer flags. However, It makes them look more beautiful with the background of the Himalayan mountains. We crossed the fast-flowing Rathmong Chu river that later meets the Teesta river in the south of Sikkim and entered the quaint village of Yuksom through the meandering roads.The road quality is pretty good except for some rough patches which are common due to the landslide zone of the Himalayas.
Things to do in Yuksom
This Blog West Sikkim- Things to do in Yuksom consists of my visit to Yuksom for the first time. According to me, this is one of the best places I have visited, so amazing yet so unique. Yuksom is a town in West Sikkim, it was the first capital of Sikkim in the 17th Century. I encountered many picturesque and historical places in my Yuksom tour about which I am going to elaborate on this blog. It not only forms an important base point for the famous Goechala trek. It also has a rich historical background.
We reached Yuksom and checked into The Hotel Red Palace. It is situated specifically 1 km uphill inside the pine forests of Yuksom bazaar. It is still one of the best hotels in this hill area offering some out of this world views of the Himalayas. Moreover, the hotel offers rooms starting from Rs 1600 which are wooden and spacious indeed, each having a wide-angle view of the West Sikkim valley. Chenrezig statue of the skywalk in Pelling. However, this statue and the Mount Kabru peak of the Himalayas is also visible from the hotel. Undoubtedly this is the best hotel to stay in on your Yuksom tour, in terms of its location and the scenic views that it offers.
Nearest railway station and airport in Siliguri. A cab would take 5 hours to reach Yuksom.
Best hotel to stay- Hotel red palace near Yuksom bazaar.
1. Norbugang coronation throne
The first tourist spot that we visited on our Yuksom tour was the Norbugang coronation throne. The spot was previously a trekking route but now the spot is motorable through a cobbled road. The tourist spot has an adjacent monastery which has a huge Buddhist statue overlooking the Yuksom valley.
The coronation throne is more like a park. It has a rich history in the 17th century when Yuksom was the capital of the Sikkimese king. Here the king Lhatsen Chempo was coronated by three lamas earlier. Whereas, it was believed that when the king received the gifts from all the people of the area. These were buried in the chortens that were built with woods and stones collected from all parts of Sikkim. The throne however known as Norbugang is situated below a large pine tree. It is certainly believed to be more than three hundred years old. The coronation throne which was built with stones is whitewashed now. It is still decorated with numerous prayer flags all around. West Sikkim- Things to do in Yuksom.
2. Kathok Lake in West Sikkim
Adjacent to this holy park there is a lake called Kathok significant for Buddhism. These are specifically practiced by the lamas living in the area. The sanctity of the lake can be understood by the numerous prayer flags. However, it fits in with the pristine green grassland and the surrounding mountains in the vicinity of the lake. Surprisingly I could see the colored orange fishes inside the lake that thrive on the algae and organic plants on the lake. The lake can be reached by a meager 50 meters walking through a rough terrain of rocks and roots. Apparently, this little effort could lead us to a wonderful location of utmost natural beauty in this part of West Sikkim. (Things to do in Yuksom).
3. Dubdi Monastery
A half an hour drive in the direction of the helipad of Yuksom will lead us to the oldest monastery of Sikkim. It is called The Dubdi monastery. The road to the Dubdi monastery from Yuksom is extremely rough and patchy through dense forests. Therefore, from the motorable road, one has to trek uphill for 400 meters to reach this ancient monastery. The trek is through dense jungle. Additionally, it is extremely steep, be careful to hold your breath. Keep your time to reach your final destination. The monastery is situated in a completely isolated place. Most of the tourists come here to spend their time in solitude.
The monastery in the local language means the retreat. The first king of Sikkim in 1701 was established it. Moreover, the monastery has beautiful architecture that contains ancient manuscripts and the three statues of the lamas. They established Yuksom as the first capital of Sikkim in the 17th century. The monastery is situated inside a deep forest relevant to its historical importance. It provides astounding views of the Himalayas in the background.
4. Phamrong waterfalls
Phamrong waterfalls was our last destination in the Yuksom tour. This waterfall is situated deep into the forests around 7 km from Yuksom on the highway towards Tashiding. This is the highest waterfall of Sikkim and the splendid view of the gushing waterfall flowing down from the Himalayas can be captured from a bridge just on the front of the waterfall, adorned with prayer flags.
Travelers who are seeking to get a closer view of the waterfall need to trek for around 200 steps after which there is a viewpoint. The damaged steps make the trek a bit scary. One has to cross some precarious terrain of rocks and boulders.
The pathway is through dense jungle. After some 15 minutes of hard work, eventually one gets the delightful opportunity to spend some priceless moments with the alluring scenery of the mighty waterfall. Meanwhile, one gets to capture the waterfall in their photo frame from different angles and admire the greenery of the surrounding Himalayas.
After my short stay in West Sikkim, I finally returned back through the same route via Jorethang to Siliguri taking back beautiful memories of the most religious circuit of Sikkim.
It is also advisable to stay for another day in Yuksom. After my numerous adventures in the Himalayas, I interestingly found this quaint village as one of the most scenic and cleanest villages in North East of India. Also, The hill station provides some stunning views of the Himalayas. It is also an important gateway to the enigmatic Kanchendzonga national park.
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