The sublime white peak of Khangchendzonga towers above West Sikkim's breathtaking landscape of formidable mountain ridges draped to the shoulders in lush green forest. A handful of intriguing monasteries, villages and waterfalls add to the overall appeal. With a little preparation and suitable permits, there is some fabulous trekking, including the week-long adventure to Goecha La, which approaches close to the icy base of Khangchendzonga.
Top Sights in West Sikkim.
Pelling is a small town in the north eastern Indian state of Sikkim, at the foothills of MountKhangchendzonga. The late-17th-century Buddhist Sanga Choling Monastery has mountain views. Pemayangtse Monastery features wall paintings, sculptures and a gold-plated statue of Guru Padsambhava. Overlooking a valley, the 17th-century Rabdentse Palace.
SINGALILA NATIONAL PARK
National park ranging from around 8,000 to 12,000 ft. in altitude, with many walking & jeep trails.
The ridge between Ralang and Yuksom ends with an upturned promontory (1450m) on which sits the multi-building complex of Tashiding Gompa, an important Nyingmapa monastery. At its heart, a beautifully proportioned prayer hall has a delicate topknot that contrasts with the two lower stone floors.
Yuksom means ‘meeting place of the three lamas’, referring to the trio of Tibetan holy men who crowned the first chogyal of Sikkim at this historic site in 1641. Aflutter with prayer flags, the charming woodland garden contains a small temple, a huge prayer wheel, a chorten containing earth from each corner of Sikkim and the supposedly original four-seat Coronation Throne (Norbugang).
Beyond a car park lined with shack restaurants, a 10-minute walk leads you through mature woodland fluttering with prayer flags, emerging at the northeast corner of this tranquil lake ringed with steep, forested ridges. Locals consider it holy, believing the water to fill the gigantic footprint of goddess Tara. Legend has it that birds assiduously remove any leaves from the lake's surface, keeping it clean throughout the year.
Legship is a small town in west district of the Indian State of Sikkim. Legship is the gateway to West Sikkim. It is located on the main road connecting West Sikkim with the rest of the state, on the banks of river Rangit. A place of interest is the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple which is believed to be one of the holiest and oldest lord shiv temple in Sikkim. The place is known as Rangit Water World and rafting facility is available here.
VARSEY RHODODERNDRON SANCTUARY
The Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary or Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary occupies 104 km² in the Singalila Range in western Sikkim. It borders on Nepal to the west, and on the state of West Bengal to the south across the Rambong Khola stream. The rhododendrons bloom during March and April.
High on the ridge above Yuksom, this compact, peaceful gompa is beautifully set in tended gardens, with dawn views of white peaks between high green folds of forested foothills. Established in 1647 in honour of Lhatsun Chenpo, Dubdi is said to be Sikkim’s oldest still-functioning monastery, though many signs oddly misdate it to 1701.
A few partially rebuilt wall-stubs are all that remains of the palace complex at Rabdentse, which was Sikkim's royal capital from 1670 until it was sacked by Nepali forces in the 18th century. Its main selling point today is the fabulous viewpoint on which the ruins are located, best photographed between a trio of small, bare-stone stupas.
Explore the fertile heartland, showcasing lush forests, rugged mountains, and steep gorges. Get off the beaten track and you'll be richly rewarded.