The western region of Sikkim is surely will woo your heart with its pristine nature. With its grand view of snow-capped mountain peaks looming above the emerald green forest West Sikkim has emerged as the place of destination for nature lovers and adventurers. The first and second capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim was here. Yoksum was the first capital and Rabdantse the second capital situated in between Pelling and the district capital of West Sikkim Geyzing. Travellers can still feel the essence of the regal Sikkimese era while walking through the ruins of ancient palaces. The views of cascading waterfalls, lush green forests, numerous astounding trekking routes and breathtaking view of snow-capped mountain range has mesmerised many travellers. Pelling and Kanchenjunga National Park which are situated in West Sikkim has lured nature lovers from around the world. Most of the places of West Sikkim are blessed with a temperate weather. Trek through the virid forested area towards the snowy ice base of the third tallest mountain peak or learn about the rich history by observing the ancient ruins in the western district of Sikkim.
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Pelling is a small town of West Sikkim which was developed only because of tourism. Situated on the foothills of Mt Kanchenjungha with an elevation of 7,053 ft. Pelling has emerged as the second favourite tourist destination after Gangtok in Sikkim due to the lurid view of worlds 3rd highest mountain peak and its surrounding ranges. From Gangtok the road distance of Pelling is 115 km. There are many spectacular and heart winning destinations to be visited while travelling to Pelling. One of them is Pemiangtse Monastery built in 1705 is one of the oldest and famous monasteries of Ningma sect of Tibetan Buddhisim. Apart from watching the painting on the walls of monastery, visitors can relish the impeccable view of Rabdantse ruins and Kanchenjunga range from Pemiangtse. Just crossing Pemiangtse Monastery the way to Rabdantse ruins will be found. But to see the ruins traveller has to walk for half an hour. Arguably the second oldest monastery Sanga Choeling of Sikkim is also situated very close to Pelling just above the Helipad. According to a legend Lahtsun Chempo first reached here from Tibet. This monastery receives the first reflection of rising sun on Mt Kanchenjungha. Watching sunrise from here will be a life time experience. 10 km away from Pelling is a spectacular waterfall named Changey Fall, a three steps water fall. Pelling is a serene nature bound place which has enthralled visitors with its regal essence and panoramic view of Mt Kanchenjunga thus made it a must visit destination.
Yuksom situated at an altitude of 5,840 ft in the central most part of Sikkim is a scenically blessed hamlet. It was the first capital of The Kingdom of Sikkim. Yuksom is endowed with rich flora and fauna, located at the periphery of the world heritage site Kanchenjunga National Park. As it was coronation ground of first Chogyal, many people consider Yuksom as the birth place of Sikkim. Visitors on a clear day can catch a spectacular view Mt Kabru from Yuksom. Yoksum is the starting point of various trek routes including Dzongri, Goecha La and Kanchenjungha base camp. Because of this Yuksom has become a hub for trekkers visiting West Sikkim. Historical structure of Dubdi Monastery also known as the Hermit’s Cell is located near Yoksum. Dubdi Monastery built in 1701 AD is located at an hour walking distance from Yoksum. The nature trails of Yuksom are laid through the thick forest of rhododendron and conifer trees. Yuksom has become the getaway destination for many tourists because of its tranquil ambiance, rustic style and rich history. Far from the cacophony of city life feel the essence of royal era and breathe the freshness of nature in this beautiful hamlet of western Sikkim
Darap is a small and sleepy village situated 8 km away from Pelling. It is a mainly a Limbu village at an altitude of 5100 ft. Promoting village tourism, Darap has attracted travellers who want to experience the ethnic culture of this region. In Darap visitors can learn about the culture and tradition of the Limbu people by staying here as few home stay has now operative here at Darap. Experience the taste of their cuisine as well as their song and dance. Visiting their temple might catch your attention. There are few interesting hike routes starts from Darap like Rani Dhunga, a vantage point to catch a mesmerizing view of Kanchenjunga ranges. The 20 decades old Limbu traditional house is a prime attraction of Darap. The view of verdant terraced fields and serene mountain stream enclosing the quaint hamlet of Darap creates a visual treat for the tourists. Let your hearts be swelled by the warm Limbu hospitality while learning and enjoying the rural style of living.
Located amidst the virid forested area of West Sikkim Rinchempong is a place of historical significance. At an altitude of 5,577 ft. Rinchempong has got the attention of tourists for its spectacular panoramic view and adventurous trekking routes. Rinchempong is an upcoming tourist destination of West Sikkim at a distance of 104 km from Gangtok. There are many historic event embraced with the scenic Rinchempong that has made it a hamlet of West Sikkim. Bikh Pokhari or the Poison Lake of Rinchempong is a place of historical importance. To prevent British invasion Lepcha Tribesman poisoned the only drinking source of Rinchempong. To reach this historic place traveller need to trek through the dense forest of rhododendron. The trail further extends towards the Rinchempong Monastery. Rinchempong Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim and was built in 1730. Tourists who want to spend some lone time to enjoy the beauty of Rinchempong can halt in the British Bungalow. The view of virid forest spread in the foothills of Mt Kanchenjungha viewed from the Rinchempong has left many travellers mesmerised.
Khechiopalri Tsho commonly known as Khechiperi Lake is situated at a distance of 31 km from Pelling in the West District of Sikkim. This sacred lake is situated at an altitude of 5,600 ft and considered the largest lake of Sikkim region. Surrounded by dense alpine forest Khechiopalri Lake is said to be blessed by the revered sage Guru Padmasambava and considered as a wish fulfilling lake. Khechiopalri or ‘Kha-chot-palri’ means the ’Heaven of Guru Padmasambava’. According to legend the shape of the lake is in the form of foot of Guru Padmasambava that could be witnessed from the surrounding hills. The serene and tranquil ambiance of Khechiopalri Lake is only hampered by distant chirping of exotic birds. According to another legend these birds picks the fallen leaves from the surface of this sacred lake. Even if you are not a follower as a traveller you must visit Khechiopalri Lake without disturbing its sanctity to feel the serenity of this nature bound place.
A serene hamlet named Yangtey is situated at an altitude of 6000 ft in the west Sikkim and lying very close to Pelling only at a distance of 9 km. Yangtey with its panoramic view of Eastern Himalayan snow-capped range emerged as a new destination of West Sikkim. Surrounded with virid forest this place allures nature lovers for a short stay while visiting West Sikkim. Yangtey with its serene ambiance has become a place to find solace away far from the madding crowd. The beauty of Yangtey can be relished throughout the year but winter season is considered the best time to visit Yangtey when the sky are clear and visitors get an unhindered view of Mt Kanchenjungha.
Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary or Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is sandwiched between Singalila National Park at South and Kanchenjungha Biosphere Reserve at North is situated at an altitude of 10,000 ft covering 104 square km area. Varsey is a favourite trekking destination of Sikkim especially for the beginners was founded in 2004. Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is endowed with thick wooded forest of pine, rhododendron, primulas and oak trees. Trekkers required walking for around 50 minutes to reach Varsey from Hiley, which is the last motorable point to reach the gateway of Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. The best time to visit Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is during March to Mayto witness colour riot of blooming rhododendron and primulas.
30 km from there is a small sleepy village named Uttarey at the south western part of West Sikkim. Close to Nepal border Uttarey valley is located at an altitude of 6,600 ft. On your way towards Uttarey you have to cross a cable stayed bridge named Singshore Bridge which is happens to be the second highest bridge in Asia. The tranquillity and virid nature compels travellers to fall in love with this place. Visit the old Kagyu Gompa just walking 10 minutes to a hill top. From her you will be amazed to see the spectacular panoramic view around you. Uttarey is place for numerous trekking routes including Varsey, Singalila range or Kanchenjungha base camp.