Pelling Circuit - West Sikkim
If South Sikkim is the pilgrimage capital of Sikkim, then let Global Connection tell you that West Sikkim is the adventure capital of the state! There are a host of adventure hubs in West Sikkim and each of them deserves a visit for its uniqueness. West Sikkim also serves as the base for mountaineering in the Mt Khangchendzonga.
There are two routes to visit West Sikkim ~ one from Rabong in South Sikkim and the other from Siliguri via Kalimpong. On the Siliguri route, the first tourist destination after a 117-km ride that one comes across is Kaluk.
Located at an altitude of 5,600 feet, Kaluk falls on the buffer zone of Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary ~ the second biggest attraction of West Sikkim after Mt Khangchendzonga. Kaluk is surrounded by the villages of the Lepchas, who have successfully preserved their tradition, culture, and lifestyle.
During a stay here, one can enjoy the pristine beauty of nature and the breathtaking views of sunset and sunrise on Mt Khangchendzonga. Trust you Global Connection ,Kaluk is one of the few places that offer a 180-degree view of Mt Kanchenjunga and the neighboring mountain ranges.
Exploring the alpine forest at Kaluk that houses a variety of flora and fauna or going for adventure sports like mountaineering, trekking, yak safari, and rafting in the Teesta river are worth the time and money. A visit to nearby Rinchenpong village that houses a beautiful monastery can be interesting.
Some 5-km upward driver will take one to Hee Bermiok, also known as the Silent Valley because of its serene setting. The area is gifted with abundant natural resources and it’s a paradise for nature lovers, who want to get up close with tranquility. HeeBermiok has a number of modern lodging facilities and Global Connection is there to take care of the bookings and other logistics.
The next stop is Dentam, a scenic village located at a lower elevation from HeeBermiok. The altitude of the place is around 4,921 feet. The entire area is surrounded by rhododendron forest. The village is an ideal spot for bird watchers and nature lovers. The tourist facilities here arrange trekking and mountaineering to a shorter distance.
A 20-km drive from Dentam will lead to Uttarey valley ~ referred to as the virgin hidden paradise on earth. The valley acquires its name after a holy perennial water stream in the southern part of the valley that flows towards the north.
To the extreme north-east corner of the water stream, deep inside the forest lies a “Jalpa Devithan” ~ an incarnation of Goddess Durga. People of Uttarey consider the Devithan to be the protector of the water stream.
Located on the lap of the Singalila Range, Uttarey is a small but beautiful and a virgin paradise on earth set amidst the pristine valley. It is surrounded by hilltops, waterfalls, frothing rivers, evergreen forest, medicinal herbs, and mountainous hamlets.
Here the morning starts with the soft and golden sun rays warmly welcoming the day. The evening is characterised by the setting sun passing through the Singalila Range welcoming a freezing night.
Uttarey serves as the base camp for adventure tourism on the Singalila Range that leads to Mt Khangchendzonga. The valley is also a gateway for Indo-Nepal border trade through Chewabhanjyangla Pass.
Some 35-km upward drive from Uttarey leads to Pelling, the most sought-after tourism destination in West Sikkim. Let Global Connection tell you that Pelling, after Gangtok, happens to be the second biggest tourist destination in Sikkim.
The USP of Pelling is the breathtaking view it offers of the Mt Khangchendzonga and a host of adventure tourism activities such as white-water rafting on Rangit river, kayaking, trekking, mountain biking,rock climbing, hiking, and para-gliding.
Pemayangste monastery is less than a km from Pelling. A40-minute walk on the hill opposite the monastery will take you to Sanga Choling ~ another monastery which is 321 years old and is one of the oldest in Sikkim.
Sikkim government hosts the Khangchendzonga Festival at Pelling every winter. The festival includes flower exhibitions, exhibition and sale of traditional crafts, costume, and ethnic food. Folk dances and musical performances add vibrancy to the occasion.
About 6-km trek from Pelling will lead toUpper Chhangay village. It is a historical place related with the Namgyal Dynasty of Sikkim and is a pilgrimage that people visit during the Ram Navami.
There is a huge rock, approximately 40-ft high, known as Ranidhunga. The rock is flat at the top and is used for relishing on the scenic beauty of the surroundings. In the local language, “Dhunga” means“Rock.” Legend has it that the Namgyal Queen had used it for sunbath and thus, it became popular as Ranidhunga, i.e., Queen-rock.
After exploring the adventure activities and merry-making at Pelling, the next destination is Yuksom at a distance of about 40-km. Yuksom is located at an altitude of 5,839 feet and is the last base before setting on an expedition to Mt Khangchendzonga.
Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 by Phuntsog Namgyal, the first Chogyal (temporal and religious king) of the then kingdom. It is home to the Dubdi Monastery built in 1701 and located on the top of a hill about an hour's walk from Yuksom.
Being located at the base of Mt Khangchendzonga, Yuksom witnesses a large influx of mountaineers from all parts of the world.Buddhist pilgrimages such as the Rabdentse ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, the Tashiding Monastery, and the Khecheopalri Lake are the major tourist attractions located close by Yuksom.