Go west for history. This is where the first Chogyal or monarch Sikkim was coronated in 1641. A short distance away from Yuksom, the first capital of the Namgyal dynasty are the ruins of Rabdentse the second capital of the erstwhile kingdom. The West also has the oldest and most sacred of monasteries in Sikkim.
Playing witness and guardians to time are the awe inspiring peaks of Khangchendzonga, Pandim, Kabru, Narsing that rise up from the
dappled verdant silence of virgin woodlands ofoak and walnut.The mountain ranges of West Sikkim are also famous for their azure, sacred lakes. There are seven lakes in and around Pemayangtse. The Khecheopalri Lake-the most sacred lake in Sikkim considered by many as a wish-fulfilling lake. Other lakes in this region are Sungmoteng Tso, Lamchho and Kabur Lamchho. Yuksom is fast developing into a base for tourists. The residents are engaged in providing lodging and pack animals or as guides and porters. The farm families in this region produce potatoes for sale to trekkers.West Sikkim has about 47 bird species and hillsides of different tree species including rhododendrons. The most popular trekking route in Sikkim-the Yuksom-Dzongri trail begins from here. The trek takes you into Khangchendzonga National Park, Samiti Lake and Goechla pass. The forests are very diverse, and non-forested areas such as cliffs, high alpine, and cascading streams provide ideal habitats for the avifauna. This is an ideal spot for bird watching as here can be found birds of various species.
PLACES TO VISIT AT SOUTH SIKKIM :
Pemayangtse Gumpa 2.5 kms. from Pelling and standing at 2085m. The Perfect Sublime Lotus, perched on a wooded hilltop, commands
the most sublime view of the Khangchendzonga.
Built during the late 17th century, it is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of the Nyingmapa order of Buddhism in Sikkim. To the present day, it is only the monks of this monastery who enjoy the title of Tasang’ or pure monks. The importance of this monastery grew with time and reached its peak when only monks from this monastery could anoint the reigning sovereign of the land with holy water: Pemayangtse monastery follows the Mindroling tradition besides holding the lineage of Lhatsun Chenpo. Mindroling monastery was founded by Minling Terchen Gyurme Dorje whose famous daughter Jetsun Migyur Paldon lived near Pemayangtse and taught there during her exile. Her stone throne is still to be seen in this
monastery which has 108 monks. The main attraction of the monastery is the wooden replica of Zangdog Palri, the celestial
abode of Guru Padmasambhava built by Serdup Lhundrup Dorje Rinpoche in 1971. The annual chaam (monk dance) is held here on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
Sangacheoling Gumpa- Sangacheoling Gumpa: About 2 kms. from Pelling, it is the second oldest Gumpa by Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo.
Sikkim’s second capital. The ruins of Rabdentse are worth exploring. The winding track through the forest brings you to a small set of ruins of the early town and eventually on to the ruins of the palace with chortens (stupa) nearby. Farther afield are the Changay Falls.
Shingshore Suspension Bridge-
Shingshore Suspension Bridge is worth seeing length & gorge eight is 680ft. It is the second highest bridge in Asia. The area also has its Khandu Sangphu or Hot Springs and Cave.
Khecheopalri Lake –
Khecheopalri Lake past the ruins of ancient towns below monasteries tended by red robed lamas lie the crystalline, wish fulfilling waters of Khecheopalri lake. The sacred lake lies in a
depression surrounded by prayer flags and forested hills. Above (1.5 km) is the Khecheopalri Gumpa.
The first capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim and site of the coronation of the first Chogyal. Evidence of the enthronement ceremony can still be seen in the form of stone seats and a footprint of the Head Lama on a stone. The stone throne constructed for the great event stands today at Norbugang and has been declared a Heritage Site Located on a hilltop above Yuksom is the Dubdi Monastery (1701),
the first monastery established after the consecration of the first Chogyal. Surrounded by verdant forests, it is an ideal place for lamas
seeking meditation and recluse. Dubdi means “he Hermit’s cell (hermit here, refers to Lhatsun Chenpo). Yuksom is a trail head for trekkers to Dzongri. Kathok Tsho at Yuksom is a sacred lake.
Dzongri-the Yuksom-Dzongri trekking trail is the most popular trek in Sikkim. The route passes through almost entirely uninhabited and remarkable pristine forests past tiny yak herders summer settlements, remote monasteries up to an extensive alpine pasture 4000m to Dzongri which has the breathtaking views of the mountains. The areas around Bakhim feature a profusion of orchids growing in abundance. Not far from Bakhim is Tshoka, the last village on this trekking route. The route from Tshoka to Dzongri is almost entirely lined with rhododendron and silver fir. The trek from Dzongri to Thangshing is through the Onglathang Valley, formed by the
Onglathang glacier and is of special interest to birdwatchers as 27% of all birds found in the Indian Subcontinent have been spotted here The camping ground at Thangshing is located in a vast, open valley by the side of the glacial lake, Samiti. The last camp is at Zemathang(4572m). To the north is Goecha Peak while on the north east is the splendid pinnacle of Mount Pandim with its glaciers and icefalls. This region is considered the natural habitat of the bharal (blue sheep) and the snow leopard.considered the natural habitat of the bharal (blue sheep) and the snow leopard.
Tashiding Gumpa – Sikkim’s most sacred monastery is perched atop a conical hill. A mere glance at the monastery is believed to absolve
one of all sins. Common sights around the Gumpa are mantra engravings.Built in 1716, Tashiding was described as the heart of “Bayul
Demoshong” (Sikkim was earlier known as Bayul Demoshong) by Guru Rimpoche. The complex in also the location of the “Thongwa
Rongdol” Chorten. A mere glance of this sacred Stupa is said to was away one’s sins. The monastery is also revered for the “Bumchu”
festival during which the ‘Bumpa or vessel containing holy water is ed and a small quantity distributed to the devout. The origin of the water dates back to the time of Guru Padmasambhava in the 7th century and is said to contain sacred soil, water and precious jewels from all the holy places in India. The level of the water each year is considered the indicator of the times ahead for this land.
Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary-
Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is one among the five wildlife sanctuaries where most of the varieties of rhododendrons are found besides many medicinal herbs and plant Rinchenpong is a base for treks to the Barsey Rhododendron
Sanctuary and the Singalila Range. The panoramic view of the Khangchendzonga massiffrom here is unparalleled.