Pelling : The charm of Sikkim

A glimpse of Kanchenjunga from Pelling

Pelling doesn’t fail to mesmerize you with its tiny hill station charm and its amazing scenic beauty. It is a small hill town nestled within the mountains of the western Sikkim, around 6 hours of drive from New Jalpaigudi, 4 hours from Gangtok. Through it will take a tiring road trip to reach, but the striking freshness and loads of activities to do in Pelling will keep you on your toes and leave you spellbound in the end. Also, the spectacular view of Mount Kanchenjungha (provided the skies are clear) can serve as the icing on the cake for your visit. 

Pelling as a destination offers numerous options for all kinds of travelers. Other than bathing in its scenic beauty, one can indulge in exploring its natural wonders like waterfalls, sacred lakes, submerging in its rich cultural heritage, engaging in shopping, and unveiling the historical ruins and sacred monasteries, Pelling has pretty much everything in store to tickle your travel senses. The next best thing one can do in Pelling is to relax and enjoy the ‘me’ time in raw nature. I would recommend having a little extra time in hand during the visit and allow your senses to fall in love with nature and Pelling. 

Reserve a day or two to explore the local sights of Pelling. If you an adventure lover, there is enough to keep you interested too. Go though the following list of things to do in Pelling and decide for yourself. If you need help in planning the itinerary then drop me an email to get it done for free.

1. Lookout for the best view of Mt. Kanchenjunga: Pelling is known to provide best visibility to the worlds third highest peak. There are multiple viewing points in Sikkim, but the best is to choose a hotel that overlooks the Himalayan range and provides a terrace or viewing deck. Also remember, clear skies are must for the magical view, so don’t forget to refer to the forecast before setting off.

2. Visit to the sacred Khecheopalri Lake:  This lake is an absolute gem and is a must-visit. Try to be at the lake as early as possible to enjoy the sacred environment it offers to the fullest. It is a sacred lake for both Buddhists and Hindus, who come to make wishes and pray. Legend says that no leaf falls into the lake as they are picked up by birds as soon as it touched the water. It is adorned by prayer flags and people chanting and is incredibly serene.

3. Uncover the awesomeness of Singshore Bridge :  Connecting two gorges in the west of Sikkim, the Singshore suspension bridge is believed to be the highest bridge in the state and the second-highest in Asia.

4. Feel sacred at Pemayangtse Monastery: Pemayangtse Monastery can be reached after a short trek (approx 2.5 Kms) from the Pelling Market and is located just a little walk away from the Rabdentse ruins. On the way, while passing through the lush green forest, the birders can rejoice themselves by spotting some of the rare Himalayan birds. 

5. Uncover the ruins of Rabdentse: This place is a must-see for history enthusiasts who want to dig into the state’s glorious past. The ruins can be located in between the spectacular view of Mount Kanchenjunga peak and the gushing river flowing through the foothills. The ruins of Rabdentse Palace are just a walk away from the Pemayangtse Monastery through the dense forest on the way to Pelling town center.

6. Drive down to Ravangla and visit Tathagata Tsal. This Buddha park is located within 50 Kms of Pelling and you would hate to miss it. This park has a 130 foot statue of Lord Buddha as the center of attraction which is surrounded by a huge eye pleasing park and misty mountains. It has an entry fee of 50 Rs.

7. Adventure lovers can trek to Kanchenjunga National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site with an area of 1784 sq. km, this national park is home to some spectacular wild animals such as the Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Great Tibetian Sheep, Musk Deer, etc. The best time to visit is April and May and you would need a permit to enter the park which can be obtained from the Park Office at the entry gate.

8. Experience the first Glass Sky Walk of India: Inaugurated in 2018, this is the newest attraction of Pelling and is built at an astounding height of 7200 feet. Its a transparent foot over bridge made of glass that is suspended in the air. Not for the faint hearted, this sky walk provides immense thrill to the visitors by offering the spine chilling views down the valley. Surely not a sight to miss.

9. Shopping: Shop for local and Tibetian handicrafts, artworks, carpets and other souvenir items. And also donot forget Pelling’s local made Cherry Brandy (for Brandy lovers only).

10. One can also drive to Namchi and visit the Namchi Char Dham. Namchi is located in around 72 Kms from Pelling and the drive can take 3 hours approximately.

How To Reach: Pelling is around 4 to 5 hours drive from Gangtok and around 6.5 hours from New Jalpaigudi (NJP). Public busses ply from NJP and Gangtok, but they take longer to cover the distance. I found their timings a little odd, which kept changing over a month during my visit. You can also opt for shared transport (cabs/taxis). However, if you are a comfort seeker and do not mind spending for it, then opt for private cabs to reach Pelling. Private cabs ply in plenty from Gangtok or New Jalpaigudi and can be easily hired from the respective taxi stands or by approaching local cab operators.

Transport Options within Pelling : Being a little remote and located at an altitude there are limited options of public transport available in Pelling. There are options to avail the shared taxis or hire local cabs for sightseeing, or you can ask your hotel to arrange the same for you (if you think you are a lazy bird).

Stay Options: Pelling has a wide array of stay options starting from budget friendly to luxurious. I would recommend choosing a place overlooking the Himalayan peaks to give you a best chance of spotting Mount Kanchenjunga when the skies clear up. I stayed at Elgin Mount Pandim, which offered us the best view and nature experience. The stay here can cost you more but it offers some stunning experiences and royal stay. But one thing is for sure, you will never feel short of stay options in Pelling.

When to visit: Well, any time other than the monsoons should be good, but the best time to visit is during the summers.

Want to see more pictures of Pelling? Don’t worry, I am working on them and a new album will be uploaded shortly.

Need Help? Well, I can help you plan your Pelling itinerary or answer your queries, and that too absolutely free. Reach out to me at travelarge.info@gmail.com

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