Pelling is a small town in West Sikkim.
The town of Pelling is famous for its 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.
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 area 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
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
The region produces local handicrafts items made from wood, wool and bamboo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Jeeps are available at Father Travels at 7AM (Mr. Kancha Daju's Vehicle) and also at 12 noon.