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West Sikkim

West Sikkim –Historically Significant District of Sikkim

West Sikkim is one of the four areas in Sikkim. The capital of the locale is a Geyzing, which is otherwise called Gyalshing. With two sub-divisions in Gyalshing and Sorreng, this locale is arranged around 3500 m height. On the off chance that you are on a West Sikkim visit arrangement, you ought to have legitimate thought regarding all the littler and greater areas which takes you to radiant situations. Prevalent particularly amongst the outside activists, this district in Sikkim is appropriate to dispatch a trekking or mountaineering trip and sightseeing in the historical locations.

Places to visit in West Sikkim

Pemayangtse Monastery

Distance - 140 km (from Gangtok)
Built in - 17th Century
Pemayangtse is situated in Pelling, around 6 km from Gyalsing, West Sikkim and commands an impressive view of Mount Khangchendzonga. It was originally a small Lhakhang built by Lhatsun Chempo in the 17th Century. Later during the rule of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal, Jigme Pawo, Lhatsun Chenpo's third reincarnationextended it and rebuilt the structure. It is perched at a height of 2085 mts and is the second oldest and perhaps the most important monastery in Sikkim. This monastery belongs to the Nyigma order and all other Nyigma order monasteries in Sikkim are subordinate to it. The monastery houses numerous religious idols and other objects of worship, most of which are precious because of their antiquity. On the top floor of the monastery there is a wooden sculpture depicting the Maha Gurus Heavenly Palace "Sanghthokpalri". This master piece was completed by the late Dungzin Rimpoche, who took five years to craft it single handed. Pemayangtse Monastery

The main festival of the monastery is on the 28th & 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan calendar, normally corresponding to the month of February. During these two days religious dances are performed and pilgrims come from all over Sikkim to watch them. Dressed in costumes of rare magnificence, the Lamas represent Mahakala and Guru Drag-dmar. The dance ends on the third day with the unfurling of the `Ghyo- ku' - a gigantic embroidered Buddhist scroll as the devotees bend down in homage.

The second oldest monastery, it is situated at a height of 6,840 ft is the head of all others and belonging to the Nyingma-pasect. Presenting a gorgeous view of the mountain ranges, it is now equipped with 50-bed Tourist Lodge catering to travellers who want to visit this ancient and holy place which is an ideal base for those who would like to explore the unspoiled charms of the neighbouring spots and trek to Yuksom and Dzongri.

The main hall has an area of 1500 sq.ft. The monastery houses religious idols and priceless antiques. On the top floor of monastery there is a wooden sculpture portraying the Mahaguri's Heavenly Palace Sangthokpalri. The main festival is on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan calendar, normally corresponding to the month of February.

Rabdanste, which is couple of kilometers from Gyalshing bazaar and near the Pemayangtse monastery, was the second capital of Sikkim and was established in the late seventeenth century by the second Chogyal of Sikkim. It was abandoned towards the end of the eighteenth century because of the threat posed by the Nepalese and the capital was shifted to Tumlong. The Rabdanste Palace is in ruins and one has to trek about two kilometres from the main road near Pemayangtse monastery through a thick forest to reach it. The chortens around the palace have however withstood the elements of nature. The ruins are now being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India and have been declared as a monument.

Pelling

Pelling A quiet village in West Sikkim houses the famous Pemayangtse Monastery and has now turned into a bustling tourist destination and has come up with numerous hotels and lodges.

From here one can view Mt. Khangchendzonga, Pandim, Siniolchu and other ranges. At The hillock is Pemayangtse monastery, the sublime lotus, the premier monastery in Sikkim belonging to Nyingmapa sect and is head of all other monasteries of the sect in Sikkim.

Sanga Choeling Monastery

sangachoeling-monastery Built in 1697, Sanga Choeling means 'the island of esoteric teaching'. 45 minutes walk from Pelling and 7 km from Pemayangtse will take you to this second oldest monastery in Sikkim. A 4 km trail rises from the playing fields just above Pelling to reach the small monastery of Sanga Choeling is one of the oldest gompas in Sikkim. This gompa is another of Lhatsun Chenpo's creations, and is highly venerated among the Nyingmapa. Gutted by fire, it has been rebuilt and houses some of the original clay statues.

Khecheopalri Lake

Khecheopalri LakeDistance - 24 or 33 km (from Pemayangtse)
This lake is also known as the wishing lake. This unusually tranquil lake, surrounded by verdant forest is considered as one of the sacred lakes of Sikkim both by the Buddhist and the Hindus and no water sport or other activities besides prayers are allowed around it. It is believed that birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface. The vicinity of the lake is an ideal place to find the Lepcha Houses and their communities. Khecheopalri lake is considered as one of the sacred lakes of this state both by the Buddhist and the Hindus. The lake remains hidden in the rich forest cover. It is believed that the birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface. There is a motorable road from Pemayangtse right up to the lake area.

Khangchendzonga Water Falls

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

Yuksam/ Yuksom

yuksam Distance - 124 km (from Gangtok) ; 40 km (from Pemayangtse)
Altitude - 1780 m
The hamlet of Yuksam is set amidst pristine hills and lakes, where according to the historical records and it was here in 1641 AD the first Chogyal (King) Phuntsok Namgyal of Sikkim was consecrated by the three wise lamas. Yuksam literally means the meeting place of the three learned monks. This was the first capital of Sikkim. The Norbugang Chorten and the Coronation throne are the silent witnesses to the event of 1641. This quaint little village is also the starting point for all the treks into West Sikkim like Dzongri and Goechala.

Dubdi Monastery

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

Phamrong Water Falls

Phamrong Water FallsLocated between Yumsom and Gerethang this highest waterfalls of West Sikkim presents a magnificent scenario especially during Monsoon. A gentle footpath takes one to a viewpoint for a closer view of this mighty discharge of water. A cafeteria is being constructed for the benefit of tourists and the picnickers.

Norbugang

NorbugangDistance - 15 min walk from Yuksam
True to the prophecy of Tibet's founder of Buddhism, Guru Rimpoche, some nine centuries prior,three learned Lamas, Lhatsun Namkha Jigme, Kathok Rigzin Chenpo, Nga-Dak Sempa Chenpo, gathered at Yuksam in 1642 from various directions and enthroned Chogyal Phuntsog as the first religious king of Sikkim. A stone throne shaded by a 300 year old fir still stands here today. A foot print in stone in front of the throne is said to belong to Lhatsun Namkha Jigme, and a nearby chorten (stupa) contains soil and water from all over Sikkim. Thus Yuksam occupies an important place in Sikkimese history as the first capital, and Norbugang as an historic cultural site maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. Norbugang is easily reached on a 15 minute walk from Yuksam.

Tashiding Monastery

Tashiding Monastery About 16 km away from Yuksam and about 40 Km from Gyalshing, via Legship is this important monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order. It was built on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathong River and the Rangit River, where a rainbow emanating from Mount Khangchendzonga came to an end. At first only a small Lhakhang was built by Ngadak Sempa Chempo in the 17th Century. The main monastery was built by Pedi Wangmo during the reign of Chakdor Namgyal and some of the statues built then still exist. The sacred objects of worship in Tashiding are the chorten Thongwa Rangdol and Bumchu( holy water). The chorten was built by the Lhatsun Chenpo and it is believed that merely to view the chorten is enough to cleanse one of all sins.Carved skillfully on flagstones surrounding the monastery are holy Buddhist mantras like 'Om Mane Padme Hum' by the master craftsman Yanchong Lodil.

The heart of Sikkimese Buddhism as Guru Padmasambhava considered so and houses the Tashiding Monastery along with Sacred Thongtwa Chorten. It’s so holy that even a slight glimpse of cleanses all sins. Rich environment flooded with oranges and cardamoms and gateway to Borong hot springs, ideal for soft treks and perfect Sikkimese village in the setting.

Rinchenpong

Rinchenpong

Rinchenpong is a town in West Sikkim, India. It is situated in West Sikkim, about 40 km west of Gangtok, 10 km due south of Gyalshing, close to the village of Kaluk. It sits at an altitude of 5576 feet (1,700m) above sea level amidst a heavily forested area. It is famous for the Rigsum Monastery and trekking routes.

Near the town is the site of a historical battle between the forces of the then Chogyal (King) of Sikkim and the invading British forces. The Lepcha tribesmen used a concoction of unidentified herbs to poison the only water source, a lake (local term: pokhri). As a result more than half of the British forces were wiped out which stopped the British invasion and resulted in an accord. The lake remains poisoned even to this day and is known as bikh-pokhri locally (poisoned lake).

Varsey

Varsey Near Hilley, in West Sikkim is the Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. Sandwiched between the Singalila National Park in the south and Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in the north, this small 104-sq-km sanctuary is at an altitude of 10,000 ft and supports a wide variety of bio-diversity. But the main attractions of the sanctuary are the rhododendrons which bloom in April-May coloring the Sanctuary in wild abandon.

Hilley is the last motorable point before Varsey. A four-km walk through beautiful pine forests takes you to the Sanctuary.

Rabdantse

Varsey Rabdentse was the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Gurkha army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now. However, the ruins of this city are seen close to Pelling and in West Sikkim district in the Northeastern Indian state of present day Sikkim; Pemayangtse Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim which is close to the ruins. From the vantage point of this former capital, superb views of the Khanchendzonga ranges can be witnessed. This monument has been declared as of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. It was first established in 1670 by Chadok Namgyal son of Phuntsog Namgyal by shifting from the first capital of Yuksom that was consecrated in 1642.