A short trip to Pelling

Pelling is situated in South Sikkim at a strategic location on Himalayas that Kanchenjunga can be seen very close if the weather is good. It is easy but not so easy to go there by public transport. Only one bus leaves from Shiliguri SNT bus stand at 10:30 in the morning.

I felt a little stressed with my duties and responsibilities at home. So to release the stress I planned a 4/5 days short trip to Sikkim on December 2022 . When I bought tickets for 9th and 14th of December in Padatik Express and Darjiling Mail respectively, they were on waiting list that time. I thought if they would get confirmed only then I should start. At this age I can’t take much risk to go in unreserved compartment. Ultimately at the last moment the tickets were confirmed. So the journey began.

After reaching New Jalpaiguri I took a shared auto and reached Shiligulri bus stand. I was late so there was hardly any seat left. I had to sit at the end in the middle seat of the bus, but my co passengers were quite supportive and they accommodated me so that I can sit properly.

There was a person “know all” type who kept on misleading us. We had a good lunch in a road side restaurant. After that bus kept on going. After Gyalshing I got a window seat. I had no idea where to stay. So I got down at the SNT bus stand at Upper Pelling.

There was quite a number of hotels but mostly were full booked. I entered into a less crowded one, “Hotel Greenland”. It was almost empty, and workable for me. Geyser was active and the bed was clean. It was owned by a doctor couple. So I entered there. Their kitchen was not functional so I took my dinner from the restaurant just in front of the hotel.

The room had a balcony from where sunrise could be seen. So in the early morning I got up and followed through the window. As soon as the sun rays fell on the peaks I captured Kanchenjunga in my camera.

The hotel manager arranged a cab for a short local trip for me at Rs 2200. After breakfast I went to Sky-walk, Rimbik falls, Orange garden, Khechiperi Lake etc. I liked the Orange garden beside Rimbik river. It was a private enterprise. I liked Khechiperi lake too. It was full of fish. People call it wishing lake too, but I did not wish anything.

In the evening I had Bengali Chicken thali in a meal corner. Next day I wanted to spend time in a leisurely manner so I after breakfast I walked to the famous Pemayangtse Monestery and bird sanctuary, I could not find birds because it was full of tourists and their hustle bustle. When I came back it was quite late so I laid on bed for the rest of the day. In the evening I thought to have a good dinner so I entered in an apparently good looking restaurant and ordered food. Chicken curry was not good there and very spicy.

Next morning I went to Gangtok by a shared jeep arranged by the hotel. Morning was full of haze. There was overcast all day long. I boarded in a small hotel on Tibet Road with the hope to see Kanchenjunga in the morning. There I realized I forgot to take back my Adhar Card from the previous hotel. With the help of the manager of hotel Kabur Inn of Gangtok I was able to contact the owner and they later sent my Adhar Card to my address by speed post.

In the evening I strolled around the Mall and ate momo in a Tibetan Restaurant. Next morning I could not see sunrise and left Gangtok.

Pelling in December is quite cold but not unbearable cold, at least the way it seem to me. it does not snow in the winter. The place is nice for a couple of day’s stay. One can go to Yuksom, Ravangla etc with Pelling.

My itinerary for Sikkim

North Sikkim

Sealdah – New Jalpaiguri – Singtam- Mangan- Dzongu- Lachen- Gurudongmar Lake- Lachen- Singhik- Mangan- Shiliguri- Kolkata.

Time – October 2018.

Passingdand, Dzongu Valley, North Sikkim

Durga puja is a great festival for the Bengali. It is celebrated in the Bengali calendar month Ashwin (September/October). Every year my son would stay with me during puja and we both enjoyed puja, cooking and eating together. But in this puja ( October 2018) he was not with me as he was in abroad for his higher studies. So, I found staying in Kolkata alone during puja was absolutely purposeless for me. I suddenly thought that it would be the best way to spend the time in the interior of Himalayas. I searched for a place in North Sikkim which would be serene even in the time of Durga puja. Normally most of the people in Bengal get 3/4 days vacation during this period and schools and institutions remain close for at least ten days. So many people travel during this period. Sikkim being a nearby destination there remains a rush for Gangtok or popular places of Sikkim.


I found out the name Dzongu after a few days home work. It is a Lapcha village. Lapchas are the original native residents of Sikkim. The valley is a protected area and one needs to get permit from the local DC office to go there. As I planned for Dzongu I also planned to visit Gurudongmar lake because during my last visit to Sikkim I could not manage to go the lake due to heavy rainfall.

On the way to Lachen

I boarded Tista -Torsha Express from Sealdah and reached New Jalpaiguri. Early in the morning when auto started plying to Shiliguri bus stand from the railway station I went to the bus stand and boarded a bus which was going to Gangtok. Buses ply regularly from Shiliguri to Gangtok every hour. I got down at Singtam and went to the taxi stand to get a shared jeep for Mangan. I reached Mangan Taxi stand at 1 pm. I found another shared jeep which would go to Dzongu. But there was no driver and no one could tell when the jeep would start. I also had to make permit for Dzongu and Lachen so I hired a taxi. The driver took me to the police station to make permit because DC office was closed then. The officer in charge inquired why I had been alone and then checked my documents. He gladly gave me the permit addressing me a brave lady. I reached Dzongu. As I did not have any previous booking and I did not know very well where to stay the driver took me to a home-stay at Paasingdang village.

Lingthem Monastery

It was a pleasant stay at Dzongu . I stayed there for 3 days. The home-stay owner helped me to get a taxi to go to Lachen. I could go by shared jeep too but I had pain in legs due to 10 km down hill trek from Lingthem monastery previous day. I went to Lachen. I stayed in another home-stay there. I went to Gurudongmar by a Scorpio arranged by my hostess. It was a beautiful experience watching autumn colours of the trees on the way with Lachen river by the side. Weather was quite clear this time and I watched the magnificent turquoise blue lake.

On the way to Gurudongmar from Lachen

From Lachen I got down to Mangan. I visited the Monastery of Mangan and Shinghik view point. Shinghik is a place on the way from Chungthang to Mangan. Then I came down to Shiliguri again by Sikkim Government bus and caught Kolkata -Shiliguri Volvo bus.

Gurudongmar Lake, West Sikkim

Dzongu, a quaint Lapcha valley in North Sikkim

My experiences at Lachen(Sikkim)

Lachen is a small village in North Siikim. People come here not only for its natural beauty, but also to halt one night here to go to the holy lake of Gurudongmar. I visited Lachen few years ago, but I could not reach Gurudongmar due to heavy snowfall. When I suddenly planned to visit Dzongu I thought I should try again to visit Gurudongmar lake. So, from Dzongu I hired a taxi which dropped me at Lachen.

I reached Lachen at 1 PM. I did not have any previous booking for accommodation. It was the season of Durga Puja, so there was a huge rush of Bengali tourists in Sikkim. Though Gurudongmar is not very much popular due to its altitude, many people do not feel comfortable at the high altitude of 17,800 ft, but still there were many groups of traveler. Not many hotels were there in Lachen, so getting down from the car I entered into a hotel which was in front of me. The owner was not there. A hotel stuff was there, he called up the owner. The owner was a young fellow. He said that his hotel was completely booked but he could accommodate me in their house. There was a home-stay run by his mother.

The home-stay was also booked but the lady somehow managed a room for me. We were of the same age. When she came to know that I have severe pain in my legs and knees, she massaged hot oil mixed with local herbs for a long time sitting beside the fireplace in their living room. It worked miraculously. I felt very much comfortable after that. A neighbour woman came there to talk to her. When she learnt that I wished to visit Gurudongmar lake next day, she arranged a Scrorpio car at a reasonable price for me talking to her husband. She was very young and never came down from the hilly region. She asked me lots of questions about my city, she was surprised to know that no one in Kolkata lived in wooden house. I had Sikkimese cuisine there cooked by my home stay owner.

Next morning at 5 o’clock I went to Gurudongmar lake and came back in the evening. A group of visitors from Assam was there, the lady of the home-stay was busy preparing food for them. Her grand daughter was helping her who came from Gangtok with her brother in law. Her brother in law was surprised to hear that I came all alone. He rebuked me for taking such kind of risk and advised me to come with someone next time. He eagerly arranged my return to Mangan next morning, and while leaving he warned me that if I would come with someone then only I would be accommodated.

Dzongu, a quaint Lapcha valley in North Sikkim

Dzongu is a valley in North Sikkim. This is a protected area for Lapcha tribe, who are the original inhabitants of Sikkim. I had no previous plan for going there. I suddenly decided to plan a short trip during 2018 Durga puja vacation. During Durga puja millions of Bengalis go out for their yearly trips. Sikkim being one of the nearest and cheapest destinations, the rush is maximum there during this period. So I thought to choose a place that is a bit different and not so popular among common people. After taking opinions of few of my travel freak friends I got an idea how to reach there.

I reached New Jalpaiguri by Tista-Tosha express at 3 Am. I waited 2 hours in the waiting room of the station. At 5 o’clock in the early morning when auto rickshaw service started I went to Shiliguri bus stand by an auto rickshaw. I boarded a bus which was going to Gangtok. I told the conductor that I wanted to get down at Singtam, a small transit town. The driver stopped the bus in front of a small bridge on the highway and informed that I have to enter into the town to get a shared jeep for Mangan. When I reached Mangan Taxi stand it was 1 PM, I found a shared jeep for Dzongu but there was no certainty when would it reach there. So I hired a taxi for myself on condition that the driver would help me to get permit from the police station as the DC office was closed during Durga Puja.

There were few villages in the Dzongu valley. I had no idea which village was suitable for stay. The driver arranged a home stay at Passindang village for me. At night I had a nice authentic Lapcha dinner with 2 types of ferns cooked in two different methods, daal, and fried beef with 2 rotis. They were very tasty, I was hungry too, I enjoyed the meal very much. I slept quickly as soon as I went to bed with the symphony of cricket and the sound of the stream that flowed nearby. In the mid night when I woke up I heard that the chirping of cricket had stopped, instead there was sound of rain drops.

In the morning Dzongu looked mystic with clouds everywhere. After breakfast I went to Lingthem monastery by the car of my home stay owner. They had black cardamom plantation field there. The monastery was small. There were few stupas. It was a long way which I had to come down by myself. Though it was quite tiring I enjoyed the picturesque and tranquil views of the villages of green Dzongu valley, river Tista, beautiful birds, butterflies, unknown wild flowers, quash hanging here and there in plenty.

N.B. I stayed in Pasingdang village where there was only one home stay at that time. The village is good but the village Lingthem is in a more strategic position from where the Kanchenjunga view point is very near. Normally tourists stay there. It is almost at the center of the Valley. It is situated between Lingthem Monastery and Pasingdang village. There are three/four home stays in the Village Lingthem and Tingvong. If someone books accommodation, they take required documents and make permit as well as pick up from Mangan and again drop to Mangan.