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What makes Pelling one of the most compellingly sought-after tourist destinations today, not only in Sikkim, but in the entire northeastern belt of India. Is it its untainted natural beauty that can easily conjure the most romantic ballads of praise from a bard? Or, is it the spiritual antiquity that still holds its ground against unfavorable influencing (read commercial) elements in spite of the amazing metamorphosis of Pelling into a fast developing town? Pelling is really all that and much more as this cozily tucked away lofty town offers a really close and fantastic view of the mighty snow-capped Kanchenjunga – a sight that you would love to wake up to every morning. Sounds interesting, you say? Then by Jove, pack your bags and be prepared for a real joyride, because there’s more to where these good things actually come from.
It was in the year 1641 that the first Chogyal or monarch of Sikkim was blessed by three renowned lamas in Yuksom, the oldest capital of this princely state. Yuksom literally means the meeting place (Som) of the three (Yuk) and is named so because it was here that the great lamas met to consecrate the king. Located at an altitude of 2150 meters (7,053 feet), Pelling is 125 kilometers (77.67 miles) from the present capital Gangtok and about 44 kilometers (27.34 miles) from Yuksom. The predominant language here is Sikkimese, followed by other prevalent languages like Nepali, Hindi, and English, while Buddhism is the majorly practiced religion.
Hired jeeps and taxis are easily available to explore nearby attractions, although you can comfortably trek around and check them out at your own sweet pace. Pelling is literally a heaven for hikers who love navigating on their own through lush nature trails, even as mountainous wildflowers, gleefully chirpy birds and waterfalls dramatically add up to the bliss quotient.
Rhododendrons, orchids, magnolias, and marigolds run riot in this hill town, filling the whole valley with their beautiful aroma. Not to be outdone from the race of being an equally important arm of a unique ecological diversity, the fauna of Pelling include varieties like the red panda, musk deer, and several exotic species of butterflies. Try to walk around leisurely to soak in the real essence of this exotic place.
Tourist Traps in the City
Very unlikely to have any given its relative remoteness. Watch out for the usual suspects (read cabbies) though!
Pelling is a very peaceful place with equally peaceful locals. Do not forget to remove your slippers and shoes during your visits to the monasteries there and always seek permission before clicking pictures of lamas and monastery artifacts.
Shopping in Pelling can be a real rush and a wonderful experience, especially when you walk up towards the middle and upper part of the town where the real action is. Here you will find yourself gleefully cavorting through souvenir shops and bistros promising goods and food that look and sound equally exotic. Lower Pelling also offers great buys in a small handicraft centre where you will find lots of Bhutia and Lepcha clothes and souvenirs.
Pelling offers all modern communication options. Most of the known telecommunication providers such as BSNL, Airtel, Aircel, Reliance, Tata, and Vodafone are active in the region. You will find several internet cafes in Pelling, offering pretty decent services too.