Pelling is a little Himalayan town, in the northeastern state of Sikkim, India. Little though it may be, the list of things to do in Pelling is a long one. It is 115 Kilometres from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Pelling is 7200 feet above sea level. It provides some breathtaking views of Mount Kangchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks. Pelling is nestled in the lap of nature, with mesmerising alpine forests, gushing waterfalls and serene lakes. It is also popular for some significant Buddhist sites.
Pelling can be visited all through the year. The summers are pleasant. The winters are snow lovers’ “Promised Land”. The rainy season conjures the magic of the clouds. During monsoons, the far off snow-clad peaks remain hidden, but the waterfalls are at their fullest. Pelling is easily accessible from New Jalpaiguri Junction and Bagdogra Airport. The distance of 136 kilometres is covered by a scenic 5 hours’ drive. So let’s virtually travel and have a look at things to do in Pelling. Some of the pictures and the video has been shared by my friend, Sanchari Dutta.
Do not miss the Sunrise
Sunrise is universal truth happening every day everywhere. Do not take it for granted at least when you are in Pelling. Watching the Himalayan peaks changing hues with the rising sun is an experience of a lifetime. Pelling is divided into 3 parts: Upper Pelling, Middle Pelling and Lower Pelling. From every part of the town, the sunrise can be observed and is equally gorgeous. As the sun rises, Mount Kangchenjunga turns pink, red, purple and then golden. It is a sight to behold. Kangchenjunga is considered sacred and this sacredness seems to be reflected during the sunrise. So waking up early and watching the sunrise is pivotal among the things to do in Pelling.
Tread on the Glass SkyWalk
Walking on Pelling’s skywalk tops the list of things to do in Pelling. It is India’s first glass walk. The glass walk leads to the base of 100 steps that go up to a 137 feet tall statue of Chenrezig and a 17th-century old monastery, Sanga Choelin Monastery. Chenrezig symbolises the manifestation of Buddha’s compassion. There are thousand Mani Wheels (prayer wheels) and giant prayer wheels too. You have to remove your shoes and start the walk. You can see below your feet. There’s nothing to be feared.
The panoramic view from the skywalk is unbelievable. With the surrounding snow-capped peaks, the greenery below the feet (as seen through the transparent glass) and the clear blue sky above, you are bound to feel one with nature. The skywalk is recent, inaugurated in November 2018, but the monastery was built in 1701. The monastery is very colourfully decorated. The view from the top is mesmerising. The gates remain open from 9 am to 4.30 pm. The entry charge is Rs.100 for an adult.
Visit Pemayangtse Monastery
Pemayangtse is one of Sikkim’s oldest and most premier monasteries. This vibrant monastery with a scenic backdrop is rejuvenating. Visiting this popular 17th-century monastery is one of the most notable things to do in Pelling. Tibetan décor, colourfully ornate doors and windows, prayer flags, gorgeous murals and thangkas create the magic. Buddha shrine and the statue of Padmasambhava with his two consorts are of prime attraction here. The monastery is free and opened from 9 am to 6 pm for visitors. If the tradition, culture and heritage of a place attract you, pay a visit in February. On specific days in the month of February, the Cham Dance Festival is held every year. The lamas of the monastery take part in the unique mask dance.
Do not miss Rabdantse Ruins
Rabdantse Ruins have been declared heritage monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. From 1670 to 1814, Rabdantse had been the second capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim. It is close to Pemayangtse. The ruins comprise sprawling chunky wall stubs and the three Chortens where Sikkimese Royal Family offered prayers. The spot provides 360 degrees views. The mesmerising views of Kangchenjunga and other snow-white peaks are unparalleled. One has to trek uphill for 15 minutes. The path runs through chestnut trees with sodden moss. If you miss out on visiting Rabdantse Ruins, you miss out on one of the best things to do in Pelling.
Visit Rimbi River Waterfall and Rimbi Orange Garden
12 kilometres from Pelling, you will encounter the Rimbi Waterfall. It is a beautiful whitish waterfall cascading over the rocks with a roar. As you draw closer the droplets around the fall dampen you. Well getting wet here, is medicine for dampened spirits. The water flows into the Rimbi River, a kilometre’s walk downhill. Sit or stand for some time on the rocks of the gargling river, surrounded by forests. Spending time in this area is one of the best things to do in Pelling. Rimbi Orange Garden is another attraction here. It is a well maintained orange garden with loads of plants and flowers. Buy oranges and cardamom from here.
Have fun at Kanchenjunga Falls
It is one of the largest waterfalls in Sikkim. This gorgeous perennial waterfall is surrounded by thick forests. It was discovered in the early 90s. It is believed that the fall originates from Mount Kangchenjunga itself. On sunny days, you can see more than one rainbow on the waterfall itself. The grandeur of the milky white waterfall proves why visiting Kanchenjunga Falls is one of the major things to do in Pelling.
Soak in nature’s bliss at Khecheopalri Lake
Khecheopalri Lake is one of the most serene places in India. It is a foot-shaped lake spread across 9.4 acres, surrounded by lush temperate vegetation, bamboos and dense forests. It is 3500 years old formed by the scooping action of a glacier. As the name suggests it is believed to be the abode of Guru Padmasambhava. The lake is considered holy by both Buddhists and Hindus. In spite of such dense vegetation around, not a single leaf is seen floating on the lake.
Whenever a leaf falls, a bird is said to pick it up instantly. There are numerous Trans-Himalayan birds here. The lake is full of fish. It is conserved biodiversity. The area is magical. Numerous colourful prayer flags flutter. There is a wooden bridge with prayer wheels on the bank of the lake. The locals burn high altitude ferns as incense. Nature brews unexplained magic here. This is why visiting Khecheopalri Lake is one of the remarkable things to do in Pelling.
Set foot on Singshore Bridge
Setting foot on Asia’s second-highest bridge is one of the coolest things to do in Pelling. Singshore Bridge is a suspension bridge, 100 metres high. The rivulet and streams flowing below look beautiful from above the bridge. On the way to the bridge, stop by Changey waterfall, another of Pelling’s awesome waterfalls. Visit the popular cheese factory at Dantam Village, close to the Singshore Bridge.
Eat and Shop at the Local Market
Trying out local Tibetan or Bhuitya dishes is one of the best things to do in Pelling. Shopping Tibetan handicrafts, jewellery and woollens from Rural Artisan Market is pure joy.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.