LINGTHEM From Passingdang one can trek through bamboo groves and terraced rice fields to Lingthem village. The trek offers breathtaking views of the Mt Khanchendzonga, worshipped as protector and the original source of all life by the Lepchas.
The village is located in the heart of an alpine forest and also has a monastery. A unique form of rural Sikkimese Nyingma Buddhism is practised here. You can even witness a traditional mask dance at the monastery, if you come here around December.
HEE GYATHANG Hee Gyathang Village lies in Lower Dzongu and can be easily reached by jeep from Passingdang. Here, a small lake decorated with prayers flags is nestled between the trees and bushes. The Lepchas believe that the small silver fish in this lake were created from the lice of a goddess. It is said that a supernatural being fell in love with this divine princess. Their children and the subsequent generations are called the Heemo, a Lepcha clan which inhabits the village. The Heemos believe that if the silver fish in the lake becomes extinct, all the people from their clan will die and thus the lake is extremely sacred to them. This is another example of the intricate bond the Lepcha feel that they share with the nature around them. If you have time in your hand do spend a night with the villagers here.
PENTONG Pentong is one of the last inhabited areas in Dzongu and is quite close to the snow peaks. You can trek there through dense forests and along spectacular cliffs. The area is in a relatively flat ground, some of which turns into lakes during the monsoons. Two hillocks here offer great viewpoints. They are called Tarbi and Tarbot by the locals and are considered the guards of Khanchendzonga. Tarbi is a local deity, whereas Tarbot is a demon. Both are considered powerful so the villagers give them offerings to keep them satisfied and calm. On the opposite side of the valley the Lepcha village, Sakyong can be seen.
THOLUNG MONASTERY You can venture on a day-long trek through a beautiful riverbed to Tholung monastery. The monastery was founded in the late 18th century by Lhatsun Chenpo Lama to keep Buddhist manuscripts and sacred relics safe from the invading Gorkhas. Every three years, in spring, the Tholung treasures are opened up and shown to the pilgrims. From the monastery, you can see a waterfall, thundering through a deep gorge. Lepchas believe that the souls of departed pass through here on their way to the afterworld. In the surrounding hills there are caves in which Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated and hidden treasures. Enjoy the serenity of the place and spend some time meditating. A traditional bamboo bridge from here takes you to a hot water spring. Spend some time soothing your tired limbs here.
LEPCHA HOUSE MESEUM A Lepcha traditional house, which has been converted to a museum is located at Namprikdang. It is only a short drive from the Passingdang village, where our homestay is located. The construction of this house displays the ingenuity of an age old tradition of laying the super structure on open surface (over stone slabs) to counter the effects of powerful earthquakes. Another unique feature of a traditional Lepcha house is that no nails are used in this construction. The confluence of the Rongyung Chu, with the majestic Teesta is just a 5 minutes walk from there.
TINVONG AND KUSONG Tinvong and Kusong are two villages, quite near to each other. Tinvong village can be easily reached by road, while Kusong village requires a 45 minutes hike, upwards from Tinvong. Both the villages are located on gentle slopes overlooking deep valleys. Beautiful terraced farms of mustard and millets add colour to the hills. The villages are surrounded by Snow clad mountains during the winters. Kusong is a small village consisting only of a few hamlets. Come here to seek peace and calm and to visit monasteries in the nearby areas.
WATERFALLS Anywhere you go in Dzongu, you’ll never be too far from a waterfall. Dzongu is full of numerous big and small waterfalls cascading down the hills or falling off the sheer cliffs. Probably the best amongst them is Lingzya falls, on the way to Pentong. It is easily accessible by road and only about half hours drive from Passingdang. These falls forms a small pond at it’s base, for which you have to get off the road and accross some vegetation. It forms an ideal, secluded picnic spot. While here, we suggest you shed your inhibitions and get into the water. Stand at the edge of the falling water and experience bliss as pure mountain water washes over you in great streams. Experience something unique here. Something which you may never be able to experience at any ‘popular’ tourist spot, anywhere.