Pemayangtse monastery: This is one
the oldest monasteries in the State, originally established
by Lhatsun Chempo, one of the revered Lamas to have performed
the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal (religious
monarch) of Sikkim. This ancient monastery belongs to
the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and has been considered
as one of the premier monasteries in the State, having
been entrusted with the task to perform all religious
functions of the erstwhile monarch. Originally, it was
established as a high class monastery for “Pure Monks”
(Ta-Sang). Inside the monastery there is a wooden structure
depiciting the Maha Guru’s heavenly palace (Sang-tok-plan),
which is considered a masterpiece created by the late
Dungzin Rimpoche. The monastery, located on a hilltop
at an altitude of 6840 ft. commands a magnificent panoramic
view of the Himalayan ranges and the surrounding hills
and countryside. A well-furnished tourist lodge is located
just across the monastery on a smaller hill top.
Rabdentse Ruins: This was the second
capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim after Yuksom
and till the year 1814 AD, the King of Sikkim had ruled
the State from this place. Today, the ruins lie hidden
from the main road at a walking distance from the tourist
lodge and the Pemayangtse monastery. It can be approached
by following a footpath which branches off from the main
road just below the Pemayangtse monastery. The scenic
view from the top of the ruins scanning across deep valley
to the mystic heights of Kanchendzonga ranges is something
to be cherished in memory.
Pelling: Pelling is a fast growing
urban settlement due to tourist influx. Situated at an
altitude of 6,800 ft, it offers a good view of the entire
mountain ranges and due to this locational advantage,
many hotels and lodges have mushroomed in and around Pelling
offering various categories of accommodation facilities.
There is a bus service which links Pelling to the west
district headquater town of Gyalshing, situated at a distance
of 10 km from Pelling.
Sangacholing monastery: This monastery
is situated on a ridge above Pelling and the famous Pemayangtse
monastery. Built in 1697 AD, it is considered to be one
of the oldest monasteries in the State. It takes at least
40 minutes to reach this monastery on foot up the steep
hilly slope which leads through rich forest covers.
Singshore Bridge/Uttarey: It is the
highest bridge in Sikkim, about 25 km from Pemayangtse.
About 20 minutes drive is Uttarey, a base camp of adventure
tourism for Singalila range trail. A place worth visiting.
Khangchendzonga Twin Waterfalls: About
an hour's drive from Pelling are the Khangchendzonga waterfalls.
A must visit site.
Khecheopalri lake: Khecheopalri lake
is considered as one of the sacred lakes in the State
both by the Buddhists and the Hindus. 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. There is a motorable road from Pemayangtse right
up to the lake area. For those interested in spending
a night or two in the peaceful environment, a trekkers’
hut has been provided by the tourism department. Local
food and chang brew made of fermented millet are available.
There is also a pilgirm’s hut, managed by the tourism
department, which is meant to provide accommodation to
Yuksam: This was the first capital
of Sikkim, where, according to historical records, the
first Chogyal of the kingdom of Sikkim was consecrated
in 1641AD by three lamas. The evidence of consecration
ceremony is still intact at Norbugang Chorten in the form
of stone seats and foot-print of the head lama on a stone.
Since the history of the State began from this place,
these areas are now considered sacred by the people of
Sikkim. Yuksam is served by all-weather road from Pemayangtse,
32 km. From Yuksam, the trek to Dzongri and to the base
camp of the famous Mt Khangchendzonga begins. Several
categories of accommodation are available in Yuksam for
those desiring to spend a few days there.
Khangchendzonga: The famous Khangchendzonga,
on the Nepal border, can be reached from Yuksam. It takes
16 days trekking from Yuksam to the base camp at Khangchendzonga.
From Gangtok to Yuksam it takes 5 hours by taxi costing
about Rs 500 per person. There is a 4-person capacity
chopper service from Gangtok to Khangchendzonga base costing
Rs 90,000. The Sikkim (Govt) Tourism Development Corporation also
conducts mountain biking expedition to Khangchendzonga,
Dubdi monastery: This was the first
monastery established soon after the consecration ceremony
of the first chogyal. The monastery is located on a hill
top above Yuksam surrounded by verdant forest. It can
be approachd by trekking only, negotiating steep slope
for over half an hour. It is an ideal place for lamas
seeking meditational recluse.
Tashiding monastery: This monastery
is constructed on top of a heart-shaped hill with the
backdrop of the sacred Mt Khangchendzonga. According to
Buddhist scriptures, Guru Padma Sambhava (Guru Rimpoche)
blessed the sacred land of Sikkim in 18th century AD form
the spot. The monastery, however, was built in 18th century
AD by one Nadak Sampa Chempo, one of the three lamas who
had performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal.
Tashiding is also famous for the most holy chorten known
as “Thong-Wa-Rang-To” which literally means “Saviours
by mere sight”. It is believed that the mere act beholding
it will wash away all the sins of the devotee. Another
important feature of Tashiding is the sacred water festival
popularly known as “Bhumchu”. It is a religious tradition
unique to Tashiding monastery only. Every year, on the
15th day of the first Tibetan month, the Bhumchu ceremony
is celebrated with devotees coming from far and near to
get the blessings of the holy wter. The sacred holy water
is officially sealed for safety by the Government and
the lamas of the monastery and it is taken out once a
year on the auspicious occasion, only to be put back with
some fresh additions. The sacred water which is taken
out partly is mixed with normal water to be distributed
among thousands of devotees.
Versey: It lies at an elevation of
10,000 ft and has motorable road access upto Hilley. An
easy 4 km trek from there takes one up to the Versey Rhododendron
sanctuary. One can also trek from Soreng or Dentam in
West Sikkim. The place provides a magnificent view of
the mountains. Visitors can halt at “Guras Kunj”, a trekkers’
Shiva Mandir: Situated on the banks
of Rangit river, it is also known as Kirateshwar Mahadev
temple. It is believed that whoever worships here will
be blessed with the virtues of two life-times.