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Sikkim: West Sikkim
Nature lovers will enjoy the stay at West Sikkim. NH-31A will take you to the end way destination, Gyazing, at an elevation of 5600 feet. The earlier name of Gyazing was Gyalshing. The hamlet is very well connected with different parts of West Sikkim.
PWD bungalow, at a distance of 3 km from Gyazing, Hotel Mt Pandim, the very ordinary trekkers hut, Hotel orchid, and Hotel Chopstick are some of the noteworthy hotels of Gyazing.
Pemayangtse is standing tall, at an altitude of 2076.64 meters, facing an unending chain of mountains. A huge wall formed all around the small settlement has mountains like koktang (6147 meters), Kumbhakarna (7710 meters), Ratong (6679), Kabru south (7338 meters), Kabru North (7338 meters), Kabru Dom (6600), Talung (7349 meters), Kanchenjunga (8585 meters), Pandim (6680 meters), Jopuno (5936 meters), Simbo (6811 meters), Narsing (5825), Siniyalchu (6887 meters) protecting Sikkim from China and Tibet.
The Buddhist monastery, the 3rd oldest monastery of Sikkim, situated at the opposite side of Pemayangtse bungalow, depicts a strong architectural grace and elegance. Arguably, the monastery was built in 1705, at the time of 3rd Chogiyal (Chador Namgyal) in the middle of the natural environs. The monastery was damaged in the earthquakes of 1913 and 1960 but the renovations are helping the monastery to keep its architectural values intact. The lavishly ornamented monastery has a big Dukhang i.e. prayer hall, doll’s house, Thangkus, many images, brilliant pictures displaying the mural architectures. Dungzing Rinponche, the chief of the monastery, took five years to build a wooden Sangtok palri or paradise of the maha Guru, on the 2nd floor. Rugmar chham or Mahakal Dance festival is held to kill the evil, in mid-February. Villagers enjoy the dancing on this auspicious occasion wearing a variety of masks on their faces and visitors come from distance to watch the festival.
For saving your money, it is always advisable to stay at Gyazing instead of Pemayangtse. Bus service to Yuksom(14-00) is there along with many jeeps that take 15 rupees per head to Pemayangtse or pelling. It takes just half an hour to reach Pemayangtse. Enjoy and spend the whole day around the Bungalow of Pemayangtse, and take a look at the mountains and avail an afternoon jeep back to Gyazing. The last bus to Gyazing leaves Pemayangtse at 4 am. The distance covered by the jeep route is lesser than the bus route and the shorter route is much stiffer. So, the wise decision for trekkers is to take the bus route. It’s not a bad idea to carry your food packets all the way from Gyazing. Not many shops are available in the vicinity of Pemayangtse. The easiest way to visit Pemayangtse, starts from pelling. Don’t forget to see the ruins of Rabdentse near to Tigjuk, at the meeting point of the Pemyangtse-Gyazing bus route and the jeep route. Rabdentse was the 2nd capital of the king 2nd Chogiyal. The old dilapidated chorten and palace both are in ruins.
To enjoy the charm of a very small hilly village, one of the newest tourist attractions, you have to visit Chumbung, at a distance of 2 km from Pemayangtse and Pelling.
Ifseen Villa Resort is the only available option in Chumbung for a night stay.
The hill of hidden paradise, Pelling, has an immense importance as a traveling destination. Pelling, the most imperative and charming tourist spot of West Sikkim, at an altitude of 2085 meters, is situated about 3 km away from Pemayangtse. Mountains like Koktang, Kumbhakarna,Ratong,Kabru Dorn, Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Jopuno,Simbho,Nasingh, Siniyalchu and many others in a chain from left to right hand side of Pelling are delimiting Pelling from other settlements of West Sikkim.
The vista of the moon light on the icy mountains is ever green. Watch the sight of the sunrise standing at a ridge of the valley. Flowers in springtime are the additional attraction of pelling but there is no mall as such like other hill stations. The helipad of Pelling acts as a mall. The splendor of the Kanchenjunga from the helipad is out of this world. Walk down to the lower Pelling to see the cottage industries training centre. The branch of State Bank of India in lower pelling is an example of the developments that are taking place in this hill station.
At south-west side of the Helipad, a narrow jungle tract goes 4km higher up and the narrow lane takes you to Sanga Choeling, the oldest monastery, at a height of 9000 feet. The new monastery, built in 1697, near to the relics of the old monastery, is well decorated and the architecture of the new monastery is fascinating.
The flowery varsey valley amidst Hemlock, Magnolia, and Rhododendron looks really captivating from the monastery. It takes 3 days to trek to Varsey valley from the newly built Sanga Choeling monastery.
Rimbi falls, about 12 km away from Pelling, coming down through the green valley and the adjoining untamed hilly river Rimbi are the attractions for the tourists. It is advisable to see the nearby Rimbi Hydro Electric project.
It is said that the Khecheopalri lake of Lepcha community, at a distance of 29 km from Pelling, situated at a height of 1820 meters, has a paranormal and mystical power of fulfilling the wish of the followers and it is also believed that the transparent water of the lake has a medicinal power. The prayer flags and the green surroundings around the lake create a celestial atmosphere. The adjacent Gumpha (monastery) is an additional attraction to the tourists of the lake. It will take near about 4 hours of trekking to Khecheopalri from Pakdandi.
Pilgrim hut and Trekkers hut are two hotels available in Khecheopalri.
The wild Kanchenjunga falls, at an elevation of 300 feet, about 29 km away from Pelling, is positioned in the middle of two mountains. The falls is also named as Rainbow falls as the sunlight gets reflected on the falls and creates a beautiful rainbow color.
Singshore Bridge stretching over an area of 198 meters, on the rippling small river, has an immense attraction to the tourists of West Sikkim. It takes 8 seconds for a stone to fall on the surface of the river from the Bridge. The State Government is planning to arrange Banji jumping from the bridge in the near future. The ferocious Sangey falls coming down with its formidable force on the valley is breaking the tranquility of the gorge.
Visit the forest shade of rhododendron in the hilly village, located at the northern side of the bridge, at a distance of 3 km from the bridge, for enjoying the peace of mind. You have to book a jeep to visit the village and it will cost you about 400 to 500 rupees from Pelling.
Trekkers can enjoy the view and the twisted uneven streets to undulating settlement at the border of Nepal. Watching the beauty of the natural environs full of flowers and cardamom fields of the hamlet will be a mind-blowing experience. If you are still interested, then trek to Singaleela mounts. The adjoining Kali temple, Kagju monastery, at an altitude of 1000 feet, and the chorten, at the beginning of the valley of Singaleela are the attractions for the tourists. The tourist authority is planning to build a tourist lodge midst of natural setting.
Yuksom, about 42 km from Pelling, the first capital of Sikkim, had come into existence in 1641 by three erudite Lamas. The Norbugang Chorten nearby still has the evidence of the consecration ceremony in the form of stone seats and a footprint of the head lama on a stone.
The coronation throne, by the lines of the Pine trees, at the banks of Karthok Lake, is situated on the way to Gyazing from Yuksom in the natural hinterland. Watching the Chorten, adjoining Dra Lhagang, and the breathtaking view of the mount Kanchenjunga are the specialties of Yuksom.
Dubdi monastery or the hermit’s cell, about 4 km away from Yuksom, in the serene natural setting, was the 2nd oldest monastery of Sikkim.
Himalayan mountaineering institute, at the Jongri Base Camp, is situated at a walking distance from Yuksom.
Hotel Tashigang, Demazong hotel, Dzongrila lodge, and hotel Norbu gang are the hotels in Yuksom.
Bakhim is 16 km away from Yuksom, at an altitude of 9000 feet and Tsokaa, the picturesque hamlet, is 2 km away from Yuksom, at an elevation of 10000 km. Hotel, monastery, prayer flags, chorten, gardens of fruits and flowers make the hamlet a must visit on the way to Dzongri. The mount pandim at the northern side of Choka has five beautiful peaks. The sights of the ice clad peaks are awesome from the valley of Tsokaa. It is advisable to stay at the forest bungalow/trekkers hut in Bakhim or at the trekkers’ hut of Tsokaa for a night and start afresh on the next day towards Dzongri, a petite hamlet, at a distance of 8 km from Tsokaa.
At an altitude of 3,939 meters, Dzongri is one of the best trekking destinations not only in Sikkim but also in India. The sights of the chain of milky white peaks all around from the right to left hand side of Dzongri like mount Pandim, Janu, Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Black Kabru, and Kabru Dom are bound to keep you gazing with awe. No doubt the centre of attraction among them is Kanchenjunga. The patch of greeneries around the Gocha-La hill (16,400 feet) and the sunset at the backdrop of the valley are really colorful. The winding road to Dzongri is tough. More than 20 species of rhododendron and different classes of unknown vegetations on the way play with the cool breeze of the valley. Enjoy the exciting and agreeable sight of the wild animals on the way.
It’s a heaven for trekking lovers. Roads are bifurcated to different towering mountains from Dzongri. About 8 km away is Thansing, at an elevation of 12, 600 feet. An ardent trekker can trek to mount Pandim, at a height of 6, 890 meters and also to the Samiti Lake. Spend some time sitting beside the blue translucent water of the lake. Touch kanchenjunga and feel the presence of it at Jomathang, about 2 km higher up from Samiti Lake. Snowfall is common around Dzongri especially during the winter months. The trekker should be well prepared to face the cold. The temperature may go below freezing point any time around the year. The trek to Dzongri is among the tougher ones in Sikkim. Even the experienced porters and guides get tired after reaching Dzongri. Tired trekkers can take a nap in the trekkers’ hut of Thansing and Samiti Lake. The natural exquisiteness of the mountains will make entire endeavor worthwhile once you accomplish your mission. Don’t forget to carry necessary equipments like Jacket, sleeping bags, packet foods and tents. May and October are the best times to visit Dzongri.
About 28 km away from Yuksom are Rathong Chhu and Parekh Chhu rivers. The Rathong River starts its journey from Famrong falls, situated at a distance of 5 km from Yuksom towards Tashiding. 19 km trek way will take you to Tashiding from Yuksom.
About 41 km away from Jorthang, at an altitude of 5576 feet, Rinchenpong is the latest addition to the tourist map of West Sikkim. The place is popularly known for the stunning view of the Kanchenjunga. Apart from the natural grandeur of the environs, the place is also quite momentous from the historical point of view.
There is a striking and beautiful statue of Lord Buddha inside the Rinchenpong Monastery. The sculpture is usually known as the Atibuddha statue.
Rishum Monastery, the 18th century monastery near to Rinchenpong, is located at an altitude of about 6250 feet. Paijan Lake and Heritage house are the other attractions of Rinchenpong.
Kaluk, the diminutive and serene hamlet, situated at a distance of 3 km from Rinchenpong, is eminent for the 180 degree view of the Kanchenjunga. Kaluk is attracting tourists for the view of mountains like Kumbhakarna, Koktang, Kabru, and Gocha.
Kanchen Valley Tourist lodge, Ghondey village resort and Rinchenpong village resort are some of the notable hotels of Kaluk.
Around the natural backdrop of Bermiok, the settlement He-Gaon is nestled. He-Bermiok is situated at a distance of 14 km from Kaluk, on the way to Dentam. He-Bermiok (He means twisted and Burmiock means greatest) can also be accessed from astounding Pelling. Experience the sight of the snow peaked mount Kanchenjunga and the calmness of the small village He-Bermiok. Hire a car to go to Chayatam, situated at a distance of 3 km from He-Gaon. Trekkers should trek higher up to Rhododendron Sanctuary, about 20 km away from Chayatal. Euma sammy temple, mysterious sri Jangha Qadhan and Sri Jangha cave are the sights that serve as a rare and charming spots of He-Bermiok.
Kanchen view, Shinglila Resort and Terbery Cottage are the noteworthy hotels of Hee-Bermiok.
Tashiding was built at the juncture of the Rathong and Rangit rivers. Tashiding is one of the holiest hills in Sikkim. Tashiding, situated about 19 km from Yuksam, also called as the Elevated glorious white rock, houses one of the most important monasteries, built in 1716, is belonging to the Nyingmapa sect. On the auspicious occasion of Bumchu attracts tourists from far away places. Bumchu is a big jar which is being opened on the propitious occasion of the Bumchu festival. It is believed that the jar has its water for more than 300 years and the water of the jar has a curative power. Tashiding is the gateway to the Borong hot springs.
Walk down to Blue Dart tourist lodge, at a distance of 2 km from the monastery for a night stay.
Legship, on the banks of the River Rangit, situated at a distance of 16 km from Ravangla, is prevalently known for its hot springs. The Shiva temple and water power plant of Legaship are two of the notable tourists spots.
For an overnight stay in Legship, come to Hotel Trishna.
Only one bus connects Tashiding to Gyazing and Legship. The best option is to hire a jeep from Yumsom or Gyazing.
The flower valley, Varsey is definitely not a sweat trek which can be completed within a day or two. Varsey is called the valley of rhododendrons, oak and pine. Tourists can enjoy the beauty of the forest in all shades and shapes here. Varsey is at its best when the valley finds itself with a riot of colors during March and April created by many species of rhododendrons blooming across the vale. 4000 species of rare butterflies, 24 types of Guras, snake flowers and magnolia add to the beauty of Varsey. The Rhododendron Sanctuary at Varsey is spreading across an area of 104 square km along the Singalila Ridge which forms the natural boundary between India and Nepal. Don’t miss to witness the astounding sunrise standing at the ridge of the valley. The valley also provides a 180 degrees view of the surrounding mounts. The dense forest of Varsey is covered with hemlocks, silver firs, magnolia and rhododendron trees and bushes.
Trek for 10 minutes to the top of Varsey to watch Ramam valley and the mounts of West Bengal. The trek from Hilley to Varsey is about 4 km and the path bridled with vegetation takes about 1 ½ hours. As you walk along the Singalila, you will be greeted with glorious views of Kanchenjunga Range.
Stay at Varsey for a night to enjoy the rhododendron forests and sweeping view of the mountains. Guraskunja guest house, trekkers hut, private Dalam guest house, Seherpa lodge and forest bungalow are some of the noteworthy hotels.
Trek lovers should trek to Hilley, at an elevation of 10, 100 feet and enjoy the beauty of the place. Enthusiasts can visit Sri Khola, located in the middle of lush green natural environs.
Kalege valley heritage festival:
The festival ground is encircled by the River Khola at the northern side, Samdong sanctuary at the southern side, Rivers Rangit and Rangsang at the eastern side, Hee-Bermiok at the west side. Bermniok tourism development and heritage conservation society had taken the initiative and the festival has started from 2004. The main reason of organizing the festival is promoting the region as a tourist destination. The festival also promotes the spiritual culture and tradition of the people residing in Hee-Bermiok. The province of the festival is around Chayatal. The imperative attractions of the festival are the small and beautiful huts of Lepcha, Rai, Gurung, Bhutia, Limbu, Sherpa, Chetri-Bahun, and Mongor communities on the slopes of the mountains. The festival show cases Dhami dance, Dhan dance, Rai dance, Maruji dance, Lakhe dance and an assortment of cuisines of the region. Tourists who are planning to visit West Sikkim during 10th to 13th of May should not miss out the enjoyment of the rare and traditional festival of Kalege valley. Interested tourists can buy hand crafted materials from the festival premises. The festival houses competitions like Marathon race and Himalayan biking.
A permanent village guest house (4 rooms) is there for the tourists. Contact- Hee-Bermiok Tourism and Heritage conservation Society, Hee-Gaon-9434012213/9434256950. At Kolkata- Contact: Sikkim Tourism- 22817905/5328