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West Sikkim

The district has a wide variety of fauna and flora to offer. Since most of the district is hilly it enjoys a temperate climate. Above 3,800 m (12,000 feet) the slopes are full of rhododendron forests. West Sikkim also has the ancient capital of the state Yuksom. It served as the capital beginning in 1642 for almost 50 years till it was shifted to Rabtense. The district was under the occupation of the Nepalese for many decades in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. After the Gorkha War, the district was returned to Sikkim. Rabdentse Palace- West Sikkim The economy is mainly agrarian, despite most of the land being unfit for cultivation owing to the precipitous and rocky slopes. Attractions include the Khecheoperi lake which as legend has it, not a leaf is allowed to fall on the surface of the lake and the Pemyangtse monastery, the first monastery of the state. The people are mainly of Nepali descent. Other ethnic groups include the Lepcha and Bhutia communities. Nepali is the most widely spoken language in the district. The region has many power projects and enjoys almost uninterrupted electricity. Roads however, are in a poor condition owing to the frequent landslides.

Pemayangtse Monastery

It is one of the oldest monasteries of the State. Originally established by Latsun Chempo, one of the revered Lamas to have performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal (Religious Monarch) of Sikkim. This ancient monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa Sect has been considered as one of the premier monasteries in the State. It had 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 depicting the Maha Guru’s heavenly palace (Sang-tok-palri), which is considered a masterpiece created by Late Dungzin Rimpoche. The Monastery, located on a hill at an altitude of 6300 ft. commands a magnificent panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges, the surrounding hill and the countryside.


Pelling is a fst growing urban settlement. Situated at an altitude of 6100 ft, it offers the closest view of Mt.Kanchendzonga range. Due to its locational advantages many hotels and lodges have mushroomed in and around pelling. Picturesque Darap Waterfalls and Sewaro Rock Garden, Rimbi located closeby should not be missed.

Rabdentse Ruins

This was the second capital of the erstwhile Kingdom after Yuksom and till the year 1841 A.D., the King of Sikkim ruled from this place. Today, the ruins lie hidden from the main road at a walking distance from the Pemayangtse Monastery. The scenic view from the top of the ruins scanning across the valley to the mystic heights of Khangchendzonga range is something to be cherished and etched in memory.


This monastery is situated on a ridge above Pelling facing the Pemayangtse Monastery. Built in 1697 A.D. it is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries of the State. To reach the monastery a comfortable trek of forty minutes can be undertaken.


Situated at a distance of 25 kms. From pelling, it is considered to be one of the sacred lakes of the state both by the Buddhist and the Hindus. The lake remains hidden under the rich forest cover. The birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface. There is motorable road from Pemayangtse right up to the lake area. For those interested in spending a night or two in the peaceful environment, a trekker’s hut is available. There is also a Pilgrim Hut.


After an hour and a half drive from Pelling, one comes across Kahangchendzong twin Water Falls. On way to Yuksom, it is a place not to be missed by the tourist for its breathtaking beauty and grandeur.


Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim, where according to the historical records, the first Chogyal of the Kingdom of Sikkim was consecrated in 1642 A.D. by three learned lamas. The evidence of the consecration ceremony is still intact at Norbughang Chorten in the form of stone seats and a foot print of the Head Lama on a stone. Since the history of the state began form this place, these areas are now considered sacred by the people of Sikkim. Yuksom is connected by all weather road form Pemayangtse, a distance of about 40 kms. The trek to Dzongri and to the base camp of the famous Mt.Khanchen-dzonga begins here. Several categories of accommodations are available at Yuksom for those desiring to spend a few days in quiet and serene surroundings.


This was the first monastery established soon after the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal. The monastery is located on a hill top above Yuksom surrounding by veredant forest. It can be approached by trekking only, negotiating steep slope for about half an hour. It is an ideal place for lamas seeking mediation recluse.

Tashiding Monastery

This monastery is constructed on top to a heart shaped hill with the back drop of the sacred Mt.Khanchen-dzonga. According to Buddhist scripture, Guru Padmasambhava blessed the sacred land of Sikkim in the 8th century AD from this spot. The monastery, however was built in the 18th Century AD by Ngadak Sempa 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 ‘Thog-Wa-Rang-Dol’ which literally means ‘Saviours by mere sight’. It is believed that the mere act of beholding it is supposed to wash away all the sins of the devotees. Another important feature is the sacred water festival unique to this monastery only. Every year, on 14th and 15th day of the first Lunar month, the Bhumchu Ceremony is organized with devotees coming from far and near to get the blessing of the holy water. The sacred holy water is officially sealed for safety by the lamas of the Monastery. It is taken out once a year on an auspicious occasion, only to be put back with some fresh additions. The sacred water is partly mixed with normal water for distribution among the devotees.


There are other attractions around Tahiding like Sinon Monastery, Tso-Nim-Dawa (Pokhri Dara) Hungri Monastery and Pao-Hungri. The Paha Khola falls on the way to Kongri is worth visiting. The wild beehive on the side of the falls makes the visit more interesting. It is also an important point for the trekkers visiting Kastura Orar adjoining Khang-chen-dzonga (Dzongri) trail. One can also visit Jhang Lhari Nyinpo, one of the most sacred caves of Sikkim from Labdang.


It lies at and elevation of 10,000 ft. it has a road access from Hilley. An easy four kms trek from there takes one up to the Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary which is in bloom from March to April. One can also trek from Soreng and Dentam. The place provides a magnificent view of the mountains. Visitors can halt at ‘Guras Kunj’ trekkers hut.


Situated at an altitude of 1700 mt, the drive from Gangtok to Rinchenpong takes about four hours via Zoom. It is also accessible from Siliguri and Darjeeling. It is a picturesque village with beautiful landscape and a panaoramic view of Khang-chen-dzong arrange. A visit to Resum Monastery is and interesting experience. One can also trek to Khandi Dara/ Melanpso, a rich forest area known to be the home to various species of wild animals and birds. Decent accommodation is available at Kaluk and Rinchenpong. A night spent in an old British Guest House or a newly built resort could be a memorable experience.

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