Home > General, Hill Stations, Sikkim, West Sikkim > Walking Tour of Pelling, West Sikkim

Walking Tour of Pelling, West Sikkim

Walking Tour of Pelling, West Sikkim

Chenrezig Statue, Skywalk, Sangachoeling Monastery, Rabdantse Ruins, Sidkeong Tulku Bird Park and Pemayangtse Monastery

Also see: Chalamthang and Yuksam, a family tour of South and West Sikkim

Pelling in West Sikkim offers breathtaking views of Mt Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak of the world, no wonder it is one of the most visited tourist spots in the whole of Sikkim.

Pelling Sky Walk 1

Giant statue of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara), Pelling

Apart from Kanchenjunga Pelling also has a host of other tourist attraction, which includes Rimbi & Kanchenjunga Waterfall, Khecheopalri Lake, Rabdentse Ruins, Pemayangtse Monastery and Singshore Bridge.

Pelling Sky Walk 2

Giant statue of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara)

A day long jeep trip is enough to cover these places and would also include the latest in the list of attraction is the giant statue of Chenrezig, (also known as Avalokitesvara) which comes along with a skywalk.

Apart from a few, most of the tourist attraction are located within or near Pelling and can be covered on foot in just half a day.

If you are staying near the helipad in upper Pelling the walking route covering the statue of Chenrezig, Sanga Choeling Monastery, Rabdentse Ruins and Pemayangtse Monastery according to Google Map will take about two and half hours.

Pelling Sky Walk 3

Giant statue of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) and Skywalk

With the added time for exploration, rest and a short breakfast the total time would sum up to about 5 – 6 hours.

So if you are starting at about 8 in the morning you would be back in the hotel for a late lunch.

It is better to start early and head for the Giant statue of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) which comes along with the skywalk.

As this is a prime tourist attraction and it is better to visit the places early and before the jeep loads of tourist starts invading the place.

The 137 feet tall statue of Chenrezig dominates the Pelling skyline. Chenrezig, also known as Avalokitesvara, “One who looks with unwavering eye,” is the most revered of all Bodhisattva, embodying the compassion of all Buddhas. The Dalai Lama is said to be the incarnation of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara).

Sangachelling Monastery 1

Paroramic view of the Sanga Choeling Monastery, Pelling

It is pretty similar to the giant Buddha statue of Buddha in Buddha Park in Ravangla and also has some resemblance with the Sandruptse statue near Namchi. The statue is approached by  a long flight of stairs lined with prayer wheels. Next to the long  flight of stairs is the skywalk.

Rabdantse 9

Heading for the Rabdantse Ruins

The skywalk, although is more famous, is not the primary purpose of this project. It is just an additional attraction to the gigantic statue.

The flight of stairs lead to the pedestal  of the gigantic statue housing a small shrine. The pedestal houses a shrine, centered around another statue of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara).

This statues with 11 heads is the most common manifestation of the 108 different forms of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara).

The inner walls of the shrine contains bright coloured fresco depicting the life of Lord Buddha. A ramp spirals along the inner walls of the shrine and leads to an open terrace offering breathtaking birds eye view of the Pelling town, crowned with the eternal snows of Mt Kanchenjunga. Sadly during our visit in late May the clouds blocked every possible view of the snow peaks.

Rabdantse 6

Rabdentse Ruins, Pelling

Next to the gigantic statue is the Sanga Choeling Monastery. Built in 1701 it is one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim. (Skkim Tourism claims it to be the oldest monastery in Sikkim, while ASI claims the Dubdi Monastery in Yuksam to be the oldest)

Rabdantse 4

Rabdentse Ruins, Pelling

Walk past a few black stone stupas with glittering golden tips to reach the monastery. Sadly the age old monastery have been renovated or rather rebuilt several time, thus wiping out centuries of history.

The interiors are dark and gloomy and contains statues of Buddhist deities including that of Ati Buddha.

Head back to the base of the giant statue and grab a quick breakfast. After a quick and heavy breakfast take the Pelling – Geyzing (Gyalshing) road. After about 3 km from Pelling their is diversion on the left leading to Pemayangtse Monastery, don’t take the diversion and follow the main road. Soon you will be at the entrance of Rabdantse Ruins and the complex also houses Sidkeong Tulku Bird Park.

Rabdantse 1

Rabdentse Ruins, Pelling

Rabdantse is the second capital of Sikkim. As per historical records the first king of Sikkim Chogyal Phunstok Namgyal was crowned in Yaksum in 1641 by the three holy lamas and Yaksum became the first capital of Sikkim.

Rabdantse 7

Royal Complex of Rabdantse

His son Tensung, however, shifted the capital to Rabdanste. In 1780, their descendant Tenzing ascended the throne.

His reign was marked by the invasion of Sikkim by Nepal. Large chunks of the kingdom were ceded to the Nepalese and many residents, including the king of Sikkim, were forced to flee to Lhasa.

The king of Nepal went on to capture parts of Tibet, which led to Chinese intervention and his eventual defeat.

A Sino-Nepali treaty was signed and although Sikkim lost some of its land, the monarchy was restored. Meanwhile, in Lhasa, Tenzing Namgyal died and his son Tsudphud returned to Rabdanste. He, however, considered the capital unsafe due to its proximity to the border and moved it to Tumlong, in north Sikkim.

Rabdantse 10

Sidkeong Tulku Bird Park

Today, the ancient palace of the Namgyals? declared a monument of national importance? lies in ruins on a ridge overlooking Pelling and on a clear they there are amazing views of Kanchenjunga.

Today the ruins of Rabdantse are approached by a walking trail passing through a thickly wooded moist temperate Oak – Chestnut forest.

The ruined complex can be divided into two parts. The northern flank served as the residence of the royal family.

Further north lies an open courtyard, with three chortens (stupas), where the members of the royal family used to offer prayers. The southern section was meant for the common people and is marked by the durbar, with its stone throne.

Pemayangtse Monastery 1

Pemayangtse Monastery

The Rabdantse complex also houses the Sidkeong Tulku Bird Park is named after the 10th king (Chogyal) of Sikkim Sidkeong Tulku Namyagal.

The bird park houses about 200 of the 550 bird species found in Sikkim. The birds  includes ows, eagles, bulbuls, flycatchers, pheasants, babblers and many more.

An elevated walkway in the park helps visitors helps visitors to experience the thrills of close encounter with their feathred friends.

Now its time for Pemayangtse Monastery and a series of fluttering prayer flags welcome visitiors to the age old monastery. The three-storeyed monastery houses some wonderful paintings and other artwork. It also has a large collection of rare books.

The complex also doubles up a a Buddhist research and a lama training centre. It has 1000 + register monks out of which 150 are resident of the complex. Finally its time to head back to your hotel for lunch and much needed rest.

Note: This trip was part of Chalamthang and Yuksam, a family tour of South and West Sikkim and was not done on foot but for Pelling staying in Pelling (we stayed at Yuksam) the walking tour is adviseable.

Travel Tips:

  • Giant statue of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara): Entry free but Rs 50 (Rs 20 for Sikimies) for the skywalk. Photography inside the shrine is prohibited
  • Rabdantse Ruins: Entry of Rs 25 including Sidkeong Tulku Bird Park, OPen from 10 am – 4 pm
  • Pemayangtse Monastery: Entry fee of Rs 25. Photography inside the shrine is prohibited
  1. April 16, 2020 at 9:40 PM

    I have visited that place in 2017..but now the place is too crowdy

  2. March 19, 2021 at 6:25 PM

    Good information to read. This post is very effective and the images also helping us to understand your point. Thank you share this. superb post, we enjoyed each and everything as written in your post. Thank you for this article because it’s really informative, I love reading your blog.

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