Pelling is a small town in the Indian state of Sikkim, located at the bottom of Mount Khangchendzonga the area is renowned for its natural beauty.
The area is home to many Buddhists and is known for its monasteries and holy sites, but due to its hilly areas its a great hiking destination and home to lots of areas of natural beauty.
The tourism in this area that has recently been greatly increased has helped the town build more roads and routes to its beautiful area.
Keep reading to learn more about this unique town in India as well as our top 10 tourist destinations to visit in the town.
1. Rani Dhunga
Rani Dhunga is a holy rock in the Himalayas but is only around 6 km northeast of the town of Pelling. To access the rock you have to hike 6 km up a steep and hilly track that is typical of the area.
Legends suggest the rock was once stood on by Devi Sita, a Hindu Goddess, with some saying you can still see the footprint.
This is a Buddhist Monastery near Pellin that was planned, designed and founded in 1657, making it the oldest and most famous monastery in Sikkim.
It is around 140 km west of Gangtok and is perched at an altitude of 6840 ft. It’s a beautiful monastery, with many choosing to go during the ‘Chaam’ a monk dance held every year on the 28th and 29th day of the Tibetan calendar – it is rumored that the llamas also take part in this religious dance!
It is believed that this waterfall is sourced from the glaciers high up in Mount Kanchenjunga. About 24 km from Pelling, the waterfall is the tallest in the area and gushes down at a 100 ft drop into a pool.
It’s a great place to swim or have a picnic, but as the waterfall is situated on a road curve, at a certain point you only need to climb around 50 steps to reach the top.
The lake is considered to be wish fulfilling, meaning many come here to wish in front of this sacred lake.
The lake is particularly serene as there are no leaves that fall into it, or at least they are quickly cleared up by the birds in the area for ecological reasons.
5. Khecheopalri Village
If you are visiting the lake here, the village is also a lovely trip you can do on the same day. This laid back village has a hospitable and welcoming population.
Expectant of the tourists, many locals will offer food and drink for a small price. Many religious travelers stay here to meditate and it is a stop on the pilgrimage in this area.
In the former Kingdom of Sikkim, a period which dominates a lot of the culture here, Rabdentse was originally the capital. The Gurkha army destroyed the palace that the ruins now reference.
It’s really close to Pelling and shows the history of the area well, as well as how it has changed, this area is also part of the pilgrimage circuit.
This area, often referred to by different names, is a government funded citrus garden: here you can see limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits growing naturally.
It is a really well maintained garden that is a delightful walk, you can access the river from the garden and enjoy the sights of the surrounding forest
Around 21 km from Pelling, the Singshore suspension bridge sits 198m above the vast nature of the area, and is the second highest gorge bridge in all of Asia.
The bridge was built to help the hiker cover the gorge easily, and is a particular triumph for engineers in the area, being worth seeing if you enjoy well built bridges and engineering.
If you like your Buddhist history, this is really worth seeing. The name of this monastery means ‘the place of secret spells’, which is particularly mystic.
This basically refers to how for a specific sect of Tibetan Buddhism, specific secret mantras were taught here to those who made the journey.
The monastery only houses male monks, and the inner sanctum of the monastery is restricted to the Bhutia and Lepcha communities, but there are still things worth seeing here, with the mountain ranges able to view here being worth the trip alone.
India’s first skywalk is located in Pelling, a bridge above the streets that has a glass bottom. The Teesta and Rangeet rivers flow close to the skywalk which is a great view.
The Skywalk is worth taking as you can see the Chenrezig statue from the sky walk’s heights, the latter statue being the tallest of that Buddhist deity in the world.
The foundation stone of the Chenrezig statue was laid back in 2009 and was consecrated by the Dalai Lama. As the statue is fairly recent, it’s worth taking the skywalk to see it, getting to see both sites which are both very enjoyable.
As you can see the area of Pelling is truly a tourist gem in the state of Sikkim and also of India generally. The area was never really toured that much in historical records, mainly by Buddhists of India for pilgrimage.
But the tourism in this area is good as it allows for the villages and wider communities to earn money from ecotourism, allowing them to uphold the natural wildlife in the area as well as developing the communities and infrastructure of these areas.
If you are looking for a unique experience that is less traveled in India then the Pelling tourist sites are really worth looking into.
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