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Pelling

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West Sikkim : Pelling
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Pelling is a small town in West Sikkim.

Understand[edit]

The town of Pelling is famous for it's magnificent views of the snow-capped mountains of Kanchenjunga and its ranges it has a rich history, nature environment and local culture.

Situated at an altitude of 1,900 m (6,250 ft), the location offers good views of the surrounding mountain ranges including the Koktang, Frey, Rathong, Kabru North and Kabru South, Kabru Dom, Talung Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Jopuno,Tinchikhang, Narsing and others.

Pelling is as close as you can get to Kanchenjunga without leaving the material comfort of good hotels and due to its advantageous location, many hotels and lodges have established in and around Pelling.

Culture[edit]

The Bhutia's are the prominent people in Pelling holding religious alliance to the ancient Pemayangtse and Sanghachoeling Monastaries. They form a populace spread out over many villages around Pelling (Singyang, Chumbong, Sindrong). Other tribes like the Lepchas are found in the tiny cultural village of Sindrong. Further away from Pelling is the pristine village of Darap. Other tribes in the area include Limboos , chettri's and other Nepali tribes.

The Limboo (indigenous) people are by nature physically strong, open hearted and independent people. Limboo has several sub castes or clans including Khamdhak, Muringla, Tamling, Lingden and Pegha.

About 95% of the people live by subsistence farming activities. The are is sparsely populated and the people live in houses scattered across the terrain of the Himalayas. Agriculture is the paramount occupation of the villagers. The main crops cultivated are cardamom, maize, millet, paddy, wheat and buckwheat.

The small castle like local houses are the typical traditional architecture of the Limboo people and have a large courtyard, unique balconies and beautiful galleries.

Music and dances[edit]

There are many festivities throughout the year in Pelling, and is mostly centred around the rich, traditional offing's of the Pemayangtse Monastary & Sangachoeling Monastries in the form of Guruthagmar (around the time of Losar) in the month February/March.

Folk songs and dances of the Limbo tribe are rich and energetic. The traditional Limbo dance and song with the ‘Chabb-rung’ (drum) is performed during festivals and other important occasions. The Limbo men wear Po-hok-ma and ‘'Sumba'’. This is slightly similar to the Daura Suruwal (Nepali dress). The women wear an ankle length dress Sim and Hambari, which is usually bright in colour and made from a finely woven fabric with traditional patterns.

Arts and crafts[edit]

The region produces local handicrafts items made from wood, wool and bamboo.

Tourism[edit]

Village tourism in Sikkim is a booming industry and the local community strives to manage it in an manner that is environmentally, culturally and socially responsible. The local community is at the centre of the planning, implementation and monitoring processes. This local involvement assists in the conservation of the areas natural and cultural resources.

There are many rural lodges on offer around Pelling in the villages of Singyang and Chumbong, some of which include The Pachu village Resort, Ifseen Villa in Chumbong and The Phamlagang Eco-lodge in Singyang

Local educated but unemployed youth have organised themselves into the Darap Eco-Tourism Committee. The Darap Eco-Tourism Committee is a local community based organisation leading the village community in matters related to tourism development. The committee aims to ensure the development of sustainable tourism in the village. It has its own tourism office at Darap. Formed in 2005 the objectives are to build awareness about natural and cultural resources and to mobilise the villagers in tourism and conservation activities.

Get in[edit]

Pelling is about 133 km away from Siliguri and 125km from Gangtok and well connected by bus and jeep services.

The quickest way to get to Pelling is to take a 30 min share jeep from Geyzing which acts as the main transport hub for the area. However, if you are sick of being crushed amongst 10 other locals then the walk along the road is particularly pleasant and it should only take around 4-6 hr.

There are regular jeep service from Gangtok at 7AM 12:30PM. Look for them at the West Sikkim taxi jeep stand near the Gangtok police headquarters.

'Jeeps' are also available at the jeep stand at 1PM going to Kechapalari lake and Rimbi, these travel via Pelling on that route.

'Jeeps' are available from Siliguri in the morning at 7am, SNT Bus are also available from Siliguri (SNT) at Hill Cart Road at 10:30AM.

Get around[edit]

Motorbike[edit]

Walk[edit]

Guides are available in Pelling for nature walks and monastic treks. Some of the younger men and boys of the district have benefited from a training program provided by the Government of Sikkim. Ask in the tourism office as they may only be booked through there.

Bicycle[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Tourist Information Centre, Helipad Rd (Adjacent to Pelling School Girl Hostel and opposite the Handicraft and Handloom Office), ().  edit
  • Changey Waterfall: 10 km from Pelling.
  • Khangchendzonga waterfalls The Khanchendzongna waterfall lies 28 km away from Darap en route to Yuksam and 5 km before reaching Yuksam. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sikkim and is normally active throughout the year.
  • Khecheopalri Lake: This is considered one of the sacred lakes of Sikkim. The lake remains hidden in the rich forest cover. It is believed that birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface. Ensure maintaining the sanctity of the place by being silent, and by not trying to feed the fish.
  • Pemayangtse Monastery Pemayangtse literally means perfect sublime lotus. This is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of Sikkim. Founded in 1705, this monastery belongs to the Nyingma-pa sect. The 3-storied building of the monastery houses a good collection of wall paintings and sculptures. On the 3rd floor of the monastery, there is a 7-tiered painted wooden model of the abode of Guru Rimpoche, complete with rainbows, angels and the whole panoply of Buddha and bodhisattva. In January-February every year, a religious dance called 'Cham' is performed in Pemayangtse.
  • Rabdanse Ruins When descending from Pemayangtse Monastery you can take a left turn and take a walk for 10 min to reach to the gateway of Rabdanse Ruins. The ruins lie hidden from the main road. The walk towards Rabdantse is through a forest area with some rare species of orchids and a few lakes. These lakes are also home to local carp fish. There are good views from the top of the ruins looking across the deep valley and to the Khang-chen-Dzonga ranges.
  • Rimbi Water Falls & Karchen Power House Situated 5kms down from Darap en route to Khecheopalri. Adjacent to the falls is the Karchen hydro electricity powerhouse. It is the oldest in west Sikkim being constructed in early 70s during the reign of the last Sikkimese King.
  • Sangachoeling Monastery Situated on a ridge above Pelling and overlooking the famous Pemayangtse Monastery. Built in 1697 AD, it is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries in the State. In order to reach this Monastery one has to be prepared to spend at least 40 min walking up the steep hilly slope and through the forest.
  • Sewaro Rock Garden A bit further along from Karchen hydro electricity powerhouse is Sewaro rock Garden. This is a tourist picnic spot developed by the department of tourism. It is surrounded by dense greenery and flowers and equipped recreational amenities including fountains, resting sheds, flat stone foot paths, large gardens, cafeteria, swimming pool, ponds, handsomely maintained rocks (stones). In the 2nd week of January every year the celebration of Maghe mela is held along this river belt.
  • Traditional Cultural Program Village people are by nature music lovers. Traditional dances has been well preserved in this valley for many generations. The most popular may be the Chabrung dance and Dhaan Naach.

Do[edit][add listing]

Pelling acts as a starting point for the Monastery trek which are Pelling to Kechapalari lake (6 hr) - Kechapalari Lake to Yuksum (3-4 hr) - Yuksum to Tashiding (6 Hrs) which follows small local paths as well as the very quiet main road. It is a rewarding 3 day trek, the map (available on vist to Tourist Information Centre - where the staff will provide you with a hand made map on the spot)the paths are poorly marked but the best strategy is to simply ask a local to point you in the right direction. You will never be lost as the countryside is dotted with small villages throughout it.

  • Darap Village Amongst the few unexplored areas this village historically known as Therap, meaning flat land, is home to a few of the Limboo people. Tucked away in the interiors of Himalayan belt, this cold, high altitude village has only recently been known to the outside world. Situated at an altitude well over 1,600 m (5,250 ft) above mean sea level, the valley is exposed to temperature variations of -5℃ to 28℃. This makes Darap a storehouse of various rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. The Limboo culture is also well preserved in this valley. Darap village is rich in natural resources, bio-diversity and particularly very rich in cultures and customs of local tribes called ‘Limboo'.
Darap is easily accessible as it is well connected with roadways from different corners of Sikkim. The nearest railhead is about 145 km (4.5 hr drive). The nearest airport is about 115 km away and the journey is approximately 5 hr by road.
  • Trekking and village walks including observation of rural lifestyle with participation in organic farming activities for those who may be interested.
  • Traditional house visits
  • Cultural shows and ancient Limboo story telling sessions
  • Handicraft making
  • Visit the cave at Khanchendzongna National Park
  • Bird watching
  • Volunteer to assist with community programs
  • Fishing at Rimbi An ideal place for fishing is located 2 km away from Darap. Enjoy the day fishing. ‘Assala’ local fish has a very unique taste and is only found in this region.
  • Hot Stone bath
  • Jungle walk-bird watching Darap is situated at the door step of Khanchendzongna Biosphere Reserve (KBR) which is very rich in flora and fauna.
  • Local Language Learning: Learn local languages -Limboo, Lepcha (Tribe of Sikkim), Bhutia and Nepali languages or even arrangement can be made to interact with the local school students (share your experiences) with them.
  • Limboo Heritage House: Built in 1810 by Limboo Village Chieftain (Mondal). Traditional architecture
  • Milking a cow: For those who have grown up in urban areas and wanted to know about rural life.
  • Rani dunga Religious and nature trek (Darap to Neydham via Rani Dhunga)
  • Singhalilla nature, culture and adventure trek in the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve.
  • Trekking into West Sikkim (Darap to Dzongri and the Goecha La)
  • Yuma Meditation Centre. Find out about Yuma (goddess).

Buy[edit][add listing]

You will find small shops selling gift items, maps, postcards, water bottle, from Upper pelling to Lower Pelling. Since Pelling is a tourist destination please be careful you may pay the double of the price.

There is only one bank and one ATM in Pelling, the State Bank of India and it does not exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques. Facilities are available in Siliguri, Darjeeling or Gangtok. It best to carry Rs 100 notes which can be used any where in Pelling.

  • Lama Tenzing Wangdak's Place, Upper Pelling. (In Hotel Sonamchen, near to Norbughang Resort). Hand made Tibetan Thangkas and other touristic souvenirs are available here.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Melting Point, Middle Pelling (Opposite Namsaling Residency), +91 95 938 8088, +91 95 9328 9888. Happy hour is 5PM-7PM. Multi cuisine restaurant and bar.  edit
  • Big Chill, Upper Pelling (Hotel Pemaling Residency - Near School Ground - Old Helipad), +91 97331 45578, +91 97330 77494. Happy hour is 5PM-7PM. Multi cuisine restaurant and bar.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

There are couple of places where you can eat and drink, They are The Treat, Pork, Deorali, Ladak Restaurant, Hav More and many other small small joints where you will get Momo, Thukpa. You can alos try tongba, a fermented millet wine served in a bamboo container with bamboo straw. The standard price of tingba is Rs 50.

  • The Big Chilled, (Opposite Chiminda International). Happy hour 5PM-7PM  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Home-stay accommodations for tourists are being organized by the ‘Darap Eco-Tourism Committee’ at the houses of committee members. Sikkimise village culture and hospitality is distinctively friendly and open and guests are made to feel as though they are part of family and made welcome to join the village activities with their children, partners or group of friends.

So far, the society has identified 30 houses for Home-stays, out of which six are the operators. Maintenance of other houses is under way.

Pelling's high season is during the months of September and October. Standard room rates vary between Rs 500-800. Rates are more at Upper Pelling and progressively decrease as you approach Lower Pelling. Room rates may be halved during low-season.

Pelling is a small place with almost 80 to 90 hotels.

  • '''Hotel Garuda''', +91 359 258319 (+91 973 3076484, +91 964 7880728, ). Attached restaurant is quite good however the cleanliness of the kitchen may be questionable. Dormitory available for Rs 100/night.  edit
  • '''Hill Retreat''', Middle Pelling (Before reaching State Bank of India), +91 9647786984 (). 7 rooms with a cozy bar, a little bit away from the other buildings. Amar Daju is a good a cook. Booking accepted by email.  edit
  • Hotel The Panorama (ecolodgepelling@gmail.com), lower pelling (near Magnolia lodge, 50 feet down from SBI bank), +919735038441. checkin: 12; checkout: 11. ecolodgepelling@gmail.com, Hotel panorama is a budget hotel and is for the traveler who is looking for a place which is clean, convenient, with good ethnic based food as well as Indian. It is for the conscious traveler who is looking for convenience, comfort, with stunning views of the mountain at a reasonable rate. 800 - 1200.  edit


Contact[edit]

Phone[edit]

Internet[edit]

  • Paylink, Pelling West Sikkim (Just below the Kabur Hotel), +91 97 33076462. Fast internet. Owner operated business. Rs 50/hr.  edit

Get out[edit]

To Siliguri[edit]

S.N.T Bus: Only one bus is available to reach Siliguri Via Jorethang departing 7AM. Advance bus ticketing is available at SNT, Lower Pelling at their counter in Hotel Pelling.

Jeeps to Siliguri are available only at 7AM from Father Travels.

Lets Go Tours & Trek "O" Point Pelling They organise Transport Services any where in Sikkim, Darjeeling, Bagdogra, Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri.. and other places in and around... Contact Narayan Khatiwada / Mrs Chunki Bhutia

To Gangtok[edit]

Jeeps are available at Father Travels at 7AM (Mr. Kancha Daju's Vehicle) and also at 12 noon.




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