Pelling was just a hamlet in West Sikkim a few decades ago but with an eye-boggling bounty of mountains, it’s developing into a town and a hill station with a steady influx of tourists. Plan a Pelling tour to know more about this scenic place.
Things to See and Do
Pemayangtse, 1.5 km from town and the third oldest monastery in Sikkim, was established almost 300 years ago. The monastery was built after Lamaism had been introduced into Sikkim by the legendary Lhatsun Chenpo in the 17 CE.
What really links the monastery to the lama is that extraordinary masterpiece, the Sangtok-Palri–a three-dimensional wooden painted model of the vision of a celestial city seen by Lhatsun himself. The stunning monastery in Pelling is one of the reasons why you should explore the hidden gems of Sikkim.
A brisk 25 minute walk (3 km) from Pelling is Rabdentse, the brooding ruins of the second capital of Sikkim, established by the second king of Sikkim, Tensung Namgyal. Rabdentse is a bit of a puzzle. The ruins of the palace exist, but not a stick remains of any other building, if you discount the nearby Pemayangtse Monastery. To get the most out of this place, you can also avail one of the many Sikkim packages available online.
The way back from Rabdentse to Pelling is uphill and laborious; you may want to take a taxi for the whole trip.
No vehicle, however, will take you to the Sanga-Choling (the place of secret spells), probably the second oldest monastery in Sikkim. A good 45 minute trek from Pelling will take you to Sanga and I must say that be prepared for the enthralling but rigorous trek.
But once you reach the sturdy little monastery in its windswept eyrie, the trek seems worth every ragged breath.
Shopping in Pelling
The hill station may not be your shopping paradise but you can go for snuggly woolens and beautiful artefacts from the local markets. Don’t forget to rev up your bargaining skills before you head for shopping in Pelling. To get the most out of this place, choose from the many Sikkim packages available online.
Don’t miss Chaang on your Pelling trip
So, you must be wondering what Chaang is? Well, it is a home-brewed Sikkimese local beer, available at tea stalls as well as in hotels. This brew, made from wheat and millet grains, is fermented for two to three months. Chhaang is drunk from an 8 inch wooden tumbler called tongba, filled to the brim with the grain, with hot water added to it periodically. The resulting beer is then sipped through a long bamboo straw called thipshing.
Where to Stay and Eat
Every other house here is a lodge or hotel. Elgin Mount Pandim is near the monastery. In Upper Pelling, Hotel Phamrong has a variety of cosy rooms with running hot water, hot water bottles and heaters. The in-house restaurant serves Indian and Chinese food.
Hotel Kabur has a café and serves good food. Opposite the Shimbho Towers is Hotel Greenland. In the same price range, with its own restaurant, is Hotel Simvo near the helipad. Pelling has many eateries that serve Chinese, South Indian and Bengali food.
Built in 1716, Tashiding Monastery means “elevated glorious white rock”. The name refers to the miraculous raising or elevation of the monastery site by Padmasambhava, who is said to have blessed the sacred land of Sikkim from this very spot.
The major attraction of Tashiding is its holy chorten (a monolith shaped like a sarcophagus and the most common religious symbol in Sikkim), called Thong-Wa-Rang-Dol. This is one of the most famous monasteries in India and a must visit if you are visiting Pelling.
When to go: March to May, then again from September to November–these are the best months to explore this pristine hill station. To get the most out of this place, you can also avail one of the many Sikkim packages available online.
Getting there: Nearest airport: Bagdogra (133 km/ 5 hrs). Taxi INR 3,000-3,500 (drop)
Nearest railhead: New Jalpaiguri (125 km/5 hrs). Taxi fare around INR 3,000 to INR 3,500;
There are buses from Siliguri, with good connections to Jorethang. Taxi to Pelling will cost around INR 1,200 to INR 1,500, while shared jeep would come around to INR 150 per person.
It’s time to take the road less travelled this vacation and a Pelling tour will help you in exploring and knowing Sikkim better!
About the author
Jigyasha loves to read and travel!