My backpacking experience in Pelling
With every travel there are new experiences and learnings about people, culture and nature. I am not sure if there are other routes to reach Pelling but the one I took from Kalimpong was through Jorethang and Geyzing. Though the ride was not that smooth because of landslide and road work going on but it was adventurous 🙂 . It took me around 7 hours to reach Pelling but could have been quicker if the roads were good.
If you ever visit Pelling I recommend staying in Hotel Garuda provided you are ok with a simple accommodation. I will also suggest asking for room 18 or 19 because the view of Kanchenjunga is amazing from here. There is also a small balcony in front of these rooms where you can sit with a cup of hot tea and enjoy the view of the icy mountain. More importantly the owners of this hotel looks after you really well and gives you a homely feeling. Food too is really good and can try some local dishes.
I visited during December and you can imagine, the climate was really cold and below zero degrees in some places. Loved it though.
The people here are very down to earth and helpful. The local language seems to be Nepali but the Buddhist folks speak slightly different which I couldn’t understand. Very religious people and I was fortunate enough to see some of their tradition while staying at the hotel. These people love telling you about their land and take pride in it.
This was one of the first places where Bhim Bahadur, the young boy and taxi driver from Pelling took me. I could see an excitement every time I ask him about the town and its heritage. He talks quite maturely for his age (must be around early 20’s).
This place has many mythological stories but mainly it’s a sacred place for Buddhist and Hindus. I was also told that it’s one of the few natural lakes in Sikkim which never dry up.
You have to reach the lake by foot through a quiet forest. Before entering to the foot track there is a monastery on the right hand site. The lake is a worship place for local Buddhist and the wooden walkway leading up to the river has prayer wheels on either side.
This is one place which will remain etched in my mind forever. Serenity is the word!
Waterfall seems to be everywhere in this town, some small and others big. Since I was there in December and it’s really cold, some of these waterfalls were frozen. Waterfalls are always interesting tourist spots for travelers like me coming from outside of Sikkim. Sangay Falls is another such waterfall with beautiful background and people love to take selfies and pictures as a remembrance. What caught my eyes was an old bridge opposite to Sangay Fall and I didn’t spare a moment to click my camera. For some reasons it looked very photogenic to me.
One of the oldest monastery’s in Sikkim. As you go inside, the sound of monks chanting quietly along with the bells and drums will make you sit there and not leave. There is such serenity in these Buddhist monasteries.
The Lamas or the monks are very hardworking and disciplined. You could also see the young monks practicing martial arts.
The monastery was built initially for pure monks which means “monks of pure Tibetan lineage or ancestry”. Do visit this place if you ever come to Pelling because spending some time here will give the stressed brain and soul a much needed peace and calmness.
It’s very famous for being the second highest suspension bridge in Asia. A long hanging bridge surrounded by a beautiful valley. By the time I reached the place it was a bit late and most of the people were gone except for a small shop selling local snacks. Believe me or not but I walked through the bridge from one end to the other and back. It’s really scary to walk alone but I did it.
Like I said before, there are umpteen number of waterfalls in Pelling and it’s always interesting to watch. Don’t know the exact story about why this is named as Kanchenjunga waterfall but Bhim Bahadur tells me that this one comes straight from the Kanchenjunga Mountain after the ice melts down. The falls is very near to the main road and has many local shops around it. Though shops are there but it’s very costly because a small cup of tea is around 20 rupees (Sometimes I don’t blame them because its only during the tourist season the locals make some money).
Finally, the food here has been amazing and I enjoyed all of it. Tried many local cuisines and especially the soupy noodles which they call it Thukpa. If I had stayed in Pelling for some more time then I would have become a fatty man (I didn’t say am not now).
It’s a beautiful place to visit and I hope you too will like it if you ever make a trip to Pelling. It’s worth the pain of driving through some rough roads to reach there.