Bordering the foothills of the mountains, nature has genuinely blessed the town with a distinctive elegance. The angelic, mesmerizing and beckoning hill station of Pelling is adorned as a gem in the district of West Sikkim of the Northeastern India. The town is grazed by the snow-capped mountains of the mighty mountain ranges of Kanchenjunga and that of the Himalayas.The serenity and the natural splendor of the place are awe-inspiring and relishing by all means. The aura and surrounding provide the tourists with peace and contentment and have a charismatic appeal owing to the vast extravaganza of environmental and cultural experiences attached to the town. Apart from all the tourist attractions twitched around; the town is a collection of prime culture, history and traditions, and of adventure sports too. The place is all natural and worth exploring due to the immense beauty of calmness, silence and persona.
Pelling has developed as the second most famous tourist place of the beauteous state of Sikkim due to its variety of vegetation, serene and undisturbed valleys, an aberration of five different climatic zones, friendly environment, simple, hospitable and humble locals and an affluent cultural heritage. All these characteristics make it an untimely and unmatched beauty hard to find anywhere else. The lush green arcades, the blue neverending skies and the welcoming crowd makes it popular amongst adventure trekkers and nature fanatics.
The town is situated at a distance of 10 km from Gyalshing which are the district headquarters of Sikkim. Emerging as the second biggest tourist destination of the state after Gangtok. The breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga and surrounding ranges decorates the little strip of land, the town posses.
A visit to Pelling is full of enthralling and challenging treks, bewitching and marvellous sights, lonely walks alongside the waters and more over a quality check for you. Whether you plan to travel in groups and solo, the place will not disappoint you. The entangled beauty of nature and urban spirit is quite easily evident in the air of the city. The local people are all very welcoming, and you will end your visit with picturesque photographs and countless memories.
History of Pelling
The grandeur of the city is said to entice the former kingdoms, and so the town served to be the first capital of the state.
The bloated, enticing and exquisite town of Pelling is said to be discovered by a man named Freddie (Pelling) during the reigning era of his empire. He protected the city from the raiders who came from the north and looted the mines of the city of the minerals, then became a local hero and the towns people organize a parade every year to commemorate the changes he made in the city. There is also a village named after him in the city. The history of the city is very daunting and rich. It is known to be ruled by several dynasties all of which expanded its horizon majestically. The earliest rules were portrayed by Namgyal dynasty from 1642 to 1975 over the entire Sikkim. The kingdom of Namgyal is said to be established by the fifth generation descendants of Guru Tashi who was a prince of House Minyak from the Kham district of Tibet.
Legend has it that during the 8th century a patron saint of the Namgyal dynasty; Guru Rinpoche prophesized that the Chogyal dynasty would rule over the region which came true after the coronation of Chogyal Phuntsog Namgyal when he was crowned as the king in 1642. The kingdom of Sikkim was hence ruled by 12 different rulers of the Namgyal dynasty with their rules lasting from 1642 to 1975.
After the independence of India, in 1947, rules changed and so in 1982 the 13th Chogyal Wangchuk Namgyal was bestowed with the title of ‘Chogyal’; he did not inherit the same authority as his forefathers and their dynasty gradually faded in the pages of history books.
Culture of Pelling
Although the town of Pelling is very sparsely populated; but it is a conglomeration of a large number of tribes, communities and villages. Some of these communities include the Bhutias, Lepchas, Gurung, Limbu and Tamang etc having their own distinct culture and traditions. These tribes are different in their lifestyle forms and living aspects, but the entire community of Pelling is united under one roof by the Buddhist influence of the city. One of the communities known as the Limbu community is mastered in the styles of indigenous architecture and construction of the houses in Pelling.
The people of Pelling mainly practice agriculture and are a huge lover of music and dance. These elements are easily visible in the festival of Losar takes commences in either February or March at the monasteries. Artistry is also a profession of the people of Pelling, and so the city is highly famous for its handicrafts made of bamboo and wood. People have also mastered the art of woollen clothes making here.
What you will like
The major tourist attractions include the famous monasteries of Pemayangtse, Dubdi and Sangachoeling. You can visit the magnificent sacred lake of Khecheopalri. A visit to the Rabdentse Palace Ruins of the Mangyans royal family is a must. A climb to the Rinchenpong range is also something to do as it offers the majestic views of all of the surrounding vistas. Pelling is not very flooded with tourists, and so it has kept itself hidden for many years for the rounds of excavation and development which makes a visit to the place even more compelling.
What you might not like in Pelling
The town is situated at a very high altitude of 7,200 feet above the sea level you might face acclimatization issues. So watch out for those and carry oxygen masks with you. Trekking is very risky and tough due to daunting and unmanaged hills, so this adventure activity should be only undertaken by those who have performed trekking before.
The place is ideal for adventure lovers and heritage fanatics who want to explore every inch of this paradise on earth. The place is going to offer you with a plethora of artistic monasteries, cascading waterfalls, shimmering lakes and peace. You can explore the rustic villages, the extravagant unfolded history and drip yourself in the thundering sounds of the waters.
Best time to Visit
The summer sets its foot in the city from March to May which is highly pleasurable and pleasant for sightseeing and trekking. The winter months grazes the region from December to February where the temperatures can fall as low as -5 degree Celsius with chilly winds and snow-capped mountains. The most ideal or recommended time to visit the city is the winter months where a large number of tourists flock from all around the world and appreciate the elegance and pureness of the town. The months to be escaped or the least favourite ones are the monsoon months lasting from July to September because the region experiences are pouring rains and you might be forced to camp in your hotel rooms also.
How to Reach
By Air– The town does not have any airport of its own, and the closest airport is that of the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri at a distance of 143 km. The Bagdogra Airport receives flights from all the prominent metropolitan cities of the country like New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Guwahati. It also has landing grounds for international flights from Bhutan and Thailand. From the Bagdogra Airport, you can then board a taxi which will drop you till Pelling.
By Rail– The nearest rail track to the city of Pelling is the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station situated at a distance of 170 km only. Also, the Bagdogra Airport at Siliguri is only 6 km away from the railway station.
By Road– The road connectivity till Pelling is both safe and secure well connected with all the major cities of Sikkim such as Gangtok, Siliguri and Darjeeling. The transport inside the city is available by various means of cabs and rentals.
Festivals and Fairs
The dotting natural beauty of Pelling is enhanced with all the numerous fairs and festivals held in the city owing to its rich cultural heritage and traditions. The locals celebrate these festivals on an immense scale. Most important and prominent is the one of the Khangchendzonga Tourism Festival also called as the Kanchenjunga Winter Tourism Festival. One of the most significant events in the city and attracts a number of tourists from around the world. The festival is known to commemorate the guardian deity of Sikkim and offers enumerable fun and enthralling activities like Trekking, Mountain Biking, Kayaking, Water Rafting, Bird Watching and many more. You can see the perfect combination of cultural rendezvous and adrenaline rushing adventures all creating infinite memories for you not only this, but there are a number of exhibits like flower shows, cultural programs, ethnic craft and food exhibits and rural sports competitions.Celebrated in December every year for five days this festival is a must visit for people who are fanatic about adventure sports and risky rides. Other notable festivals include that of Losar, Guru Dragmar festival, Khecheopalri Fair, Tashiding Bhumchu Fair and Sikkimese Lossong Festival.
The culture and tradition of the place are easily visible in the selling commodities of the area. The place has four main bazaars namely Rinchenpong Bazaar, Kalaku Bazaar, Legship Market and the Bermiok Bazaar.
The Rinchenpong Bazaar is a very famous place for shopaholics. It offers you with textiles, brassware, ironware, furniture, rugs, carpets and trinkets. Even when you’re not in a mood to shop; a visit to this bazaar might make you drop a few bucks. Located in the heart of the city is the Bermiok Bazaar which attracts a lot of tourists. You can shop for local products, leather products, perfumes, textiles and products made from camel skin. When as for your appetite; the place is full with momos, kulfi faluda and golgappas.
Cuisine of Pelling
The mouth-watering local cuisine of Pelling consists of both vegetarians and non-vegetarian delicacies. Very own momos we know are the main course there and is available in a variety of flavours and types. The Thukpas, Lamlian with sauce and chicken chilli are the speciality of the region and are a gourmet’s delight. Although rice is the most staple food, grown in the city but wheat, finger millet and barley are also included in the local dining of the people here. As the primary occupation of the people is agriculture, there is a variety of such pulses available here. The locals are also a fan of meat and beef cooked foods. Although there are not many restaurants and eating joints visible at this place still you can find some good and finger licking eateries that present you with the traditional cuisine of the region.
Some of the best eating places in Pelling are:
- Pellingare Melting Point Restaurant
- Kasturi Restaurant
- Saikripa Hotel
- Angela Restaurant.
Day 1- It’s absolutely delightful to start your trip by visiting one of the oldest and popular monasteries of Sikkim that is Pemayangtse Monastery, surrounded by colourful paintings and sculptures all around the walls. Visit alluring cascading Kanchenjunga Falls that only take 30 mins from Pemayangtse Monastery, a hassle-free spot bestows serenity and tranquillity to visitors. After having lunch, you can spend some time at Singshore Bridge Bungee Jumping, set amidst the lush greenery this 328 ft high bridge gives you the pleasant scenic waterfalls, for ardent photographers this place is like a paradise. At evening you can head towards Tashiding Monastery engulfed amidst mountainous landscape one can enjoy the attractive architecture of the monastery.
Day 2- If you have a keen interest in history stuff, then start your day by visiting Rabdentse Ruins, various vegetations and mountains surround the place, some relics are left as the epitome of pride of rulers of this place. After exploring this site, visit 17th-century pilgrim site Pemayangtse Gompa, this place sets in an elevation of 6840 ft offers vantage views of Himalayan ranges. You can spend your evening, and can organise a little picnic with your group at Khecheopalri Lake, said to be a sacred lake by locals, the site offers tourist view of pristine blue water surrounded by forest.
Day 3- Being the prominent pilgrim site, pelling has plenty of monasteries around, and one of them is Sangacholing Monastery considered as one of the oldest one, is a significant tourist destination. One has to climb to reach the monastery but its all worth. After this, you can have your lunch at any eatery out there. Visit Rimbi Water Falls, to enjoy the recreational activities in this place like fishing and swimming and let your soul get rejuvenated at the magical atmosphere.
Other important information
Religion and Language: The dominant religion practised in the town is Hinduism although the inhabitants also follow other religions like Christianity and Buddhism and certain tribal religions. Sikkimese and Nepali are the most common languages spoken by the people of Pelling; although some can speak Hindi too. Other languages spoken by the people are Limbu, Bhutia, Newari, Lepcha, Gurung, Rai, Sherpa, Mangar, Sunwar and Tamang.
Accomodation: As the city is growing its tourism market; there are a variety of tour packages mingled with sightseeing, adventure and religious visits. Other than that the hotels are quite comfortable and easy on pocket located in the suburbs with daunting and picturesque views decorated on your room’s windows. The mountains are going to lure you into enjoying a cup of tea with them, and the friendly and welcoming nature of the people is going to make you extend your visit. You can unfold the mystery associated with this quiet town, and all is going to make you fall in love with the peace and serenity tangled with it. Pelling is worth a visit.
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