Pelling is a picturesque town located in the district of West Sikkim. The town is at a distance of about 10 km from the district headquarters of Geyzing.
History of Pelling
Pelling has had an interesting history. It is said that it was the first capital of Sikkim. It is also believed that the Chogyal dynasty lived and ruled here. It is famous for its view of the snow-capped peaks of the Kanchenjunga. Situated at an altitude of 6,800 ft, it offers a great view of the complete mountain ranges like the Koktang, Kumbhakarna, Dom, Kanchenjunga and others. The great Himalayan ranges and the Kanchenjunga can be sighted at close quarters from Pelling. Pelling also serves as the base camp for treks in West Sikkim.
People & Culture of Sikkim
Pelling and its surrounding areas are home to many tribes and communities such as Bhutias, Lepchas, Tamangs, Limboos and Marwaris among others. These people have contributed to the diversity of Pelling; its food and its culture. They are involved in cattle farming, agriculture to being businessman and owning small shops in the main markets of Sikkim. The town also has a spiritual feel to it as it is home to many Buddhist monasteries. Most of the local inhabitants of Pelling are Buddhists and speak the local Sikkimese language. The other languages spoken here are Nepali, Hindi, and English.
Things to do in Pelling
Places to visit in and around Pelling include the local monastery, the rock garden and waterfall near Rimbi, the double-pronged Kanchenjunga Falls
, Singshore Bridge
, Changey Waterfalls
and Khecheopalri / Khechuperi Lake
, which is considered sacred by Buddhists.
The Pemayangtse Monastery
is one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Sikkim. Pemayangtse literally translates to 'Perfect Sublime Lotus'. On the third floor of the monastery, there is a seven-tiered painted wooden model of the abode of Guru Rimpoche. In January or February every year, a religious dance called 'Cham' is performed in Pemayangtse. Another attraction of Pelling is Sangachoeling Monastery
, which is located on the top of the mountain behind the town. Khecheopalri Lake
is considered as one of the sacred lakes of Sikkim. The lake is actually hidden in the forest. There is a belief that birds prevent leaves from floating on the lake surface.
Another place to visit in Pelling is the Rabdengtse Ruins
that are hidden from the main road and are at a walking distance from Pelling and the Pemayangtse Monastery
. Also, the Sangay Waterfalls are about 10 km from Pelling. However, with the invasion of tourists, the area is going through a transformation, with the roads being refurbished and new hotels coming up.
Food & Shopping in Pelling
Pelling offers the usual food delights such as thukpa and steaming momos. The town has a few restaurants and street stalls that serve these delicacies. As for shopping, Pelling has a few options. Tourists can buy handicrafts made by the local tribes such as tribal jewellery, woolen garments and bamboo products. Travellers can also try the locally made drink called tongba which is made from whole grain millet.
Travelling to Pelling
Due to its beneficial location, many hotels and lodges are situated in and around Pelling offering a range of accommodation options. Tourists can reach Pelling
from Gangtok, which is 115 km away. Pelling is 135 km from Siliguri, the nearest rail connection. The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport near Darjeeling. Pelling has a designated helipad area though there is no actual or regular air service. Helicopters connect Pelling with Gangtok on request. Shared jeeps are available regularly from Gyalshing. There are also frequent services to Gangtok via Ravangla and one jeep daily to Siliguri. Buses are also available from Siliguri via Jorethang.
Travelling within Pelling
Travelling within Pelling
The best way to explore Pelling is on foot. Tourists can also hike or trek their way up to discover attractions like local monasteries. The government tourism office in Pelling also organises guides for nature walks across Pelling.
Accommodation options in PellingHotel options in Pelling
are aplenty. Upper Pelling has a number of budget hotels while other areas have a few luxury accommodation options. Resorts located near popular monasteries like Pemayangste and Dubdi can be contacted directly or by signing up for holiday packages in Pelling
Pelling can be visited throughout the year apart from the rainy season, i.e. from mid June to August. An umbrella is anytime handy though. The monsoon season which starts from June experiences heavy rainfall. Summers, from March to May, are pleasant with the maximum temperature remaining well within 30⁰ Celsius. However, temperatures fall at night making it essential to carry a light jacket or sweater. Winters can see the temperatures drop to as low as -5⁰ Celsius with the maximum daytime temperature not going beyond 10⁰ Celsius.