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Pelling

The pleasant little town of Pelling is famous for its magnificent views of the snow-capped mountains of Kanchenjunga and it is as close as you can get to the mighty range without leaving behind material comforts. The town itself is somewhat overlooked by the jaw-dropping mountain views that circumnavigate it and most visitors make time to head out and enjoy scenic strolls. Particularly recommended at sunrise, watch as the orange fingers of dawn colour the mist-swirled mountains. Visitors can also soak up the greens of the area in the verdant forest, foliage-clad lakes and thriving tea plantations of the area.

One of the oldest and most important monasteries of Sikkim is Pemayangtse, literally meaning 'Perfect Sublime Lotus’. Pemayangste is an easy walk from the village and is a must-see in the area. The monastery, located on a 2,080 metre hilltop with a vantage point overlooking the Rangit River, exudes a calm and soothing atmosphere, set around a shady forest and backed by the Himalayas. Inside the building are interesting ancient idols, Buddhist scriptures and Tibetan painting which can be seen adorning the walls of the prayer hall and around the frames of the windows.

The Sanga Choeling Monastery is another important monastery in Pelling. Situated amongst a scattering of stone stupas, and reached by climbing up through a dense forest, this gompa, like the Pemayangste Monastery, is also one of the oldest in Sikkim, with some statues dating back to the 17th century. Inside, visitors will discover colourful and ornate paintings, including an ‘wheel of life’ which depicts the Buddhist cyclic existence. Outside, a panoramic view of the snow-peaked Himalayas make this a supremely relaxing spot to soak up views around Pelling.

For those who want to experience the beauty of nature in this area, head to Khecheopalri lake and falls. The mirror-like lake, located around 30km west of Pelling is clad in temperate forest and is considered to be a scared site. A wooden pontoon offers pilgrims the chance to make offerings with colourful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. A few kilometres further towards Yuksom is the stunning Khecheopalri waterfall, which cascades down into several pools. Visitors can climb up to view the falls or take in the spectacle from a nearby Sikkimese restaurant.

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