Peaceful Pelling – Part II
We started out trip with a visit to the Pemayangtse Monastery (about 2 km from Pelling town), located on a hill top at an altitude of 6300 ft. The monastery is said to be one of the oldest and most important monasteries in Sikkim, Pemayangtse literally means 'Perfect Sublime Lotus'and belongs to one of the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism. There is a vast collection of wall paintings and sculptures in the 3-‐storied building. A religious dance called 'Cham'is performed in January-‐February every year in the monastery. Photo: Pemayangtse Monastery, Copyright Malini Basu 2013 Photo: painting in Pemayangtse Monastery, Copyright Malini Basu 2013
While descending from the Pemayangtse Monastery we took a left turn and walk for about 10 minutes took us to the gateway of Rabdentse Ruins (3 km from Pelling).
The ruins lie hidden from the main road and the 2 km trek towards Rabdentse (the second capital of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814) is through a winding forest interrupted with occasional chirping of birds. The area around the monastery and palace ruins is considered to be a bird sanctuary. Once we reached the top and saw the good view of the ruins, deep valley and magnificent Khangchendzonga ranges we forgot our exhaustion. The ruins with the king’s room, assembly hall, public courtyard and religious chortens have been fully excavated and restored by the Archeological Survey of India.
Our next visit was a drive to Singshore Bridge (4 km drive from Uttaray and 25 km from Pemayangtse) known to be Asia's 2nd highest hanging gorge bridge. This archaic suspension bridge is an engineering feat and is supposed to be the highest in Sikkim. It connects two hills, lays nearly 300 meters above the ground and is 260 meters long. The bridge offers spectacular views of the green hillsides and waterfalls. Watching the ground from above was thrilling and we felt butterflies in our stomach as we took a walk to the middle of the bridge.
Close to the bridge is a famous Alpine Cheese Factory, situated in the old village market center called Dentham Bazar. Alpine Cheese Factory is the only place which processes cheese in the state of Sikkim, one of which is the famous Swiss collaborated Gouda cheese.
On our way back, we stopped at Changey Waterfalls (10 km from Pelling) on the road side of Dentham Bazar, which is a major attraction with the water falling from the high cliff in different runs. There is also a footpath for visitors to climb up and sit closer to the falls.
A little tired, we returned to Pelling and looked ahead to the next day’s tour of Rimbi and Kanchenjunga Falls, Rock Garden and Khechuperi Lake.