Since my last visit to Sikkim, Pelling had always been on my wishlist. Finally, after an overnight journey by Darjeeling Mail, we reached New Jalpaiguri. Due to the just concluded monsoon season, the road to Pelling was full of potholes and gravels. The locals recommended us to hire a bigger vehicle instead of a smaller one as bigger the vehicle, less would be the chances of it getting upturned. So we hired a Mahindra Bolero.
The journey on NH-10 started with the hills on our left and river Teesta on our right. The zigzag ride continued for the next five hours with the hills and the river exchanging sides more often. By the end of it, Adong, our driver turned out to be a nice guy. Before we could reach Pelling, he had already shared many interesting facts about Sikkim and stories from his past experiences.
The days are becoming shorter and nights longer as we are approaching the end of the year. On reaching Pelling, dusk had just started to settle in. Since it was getting dark, there was no sign of Mt. Kanchendzonga. Our hotel manager assured us that we will be getting a clear sight of it the next morning. That evening, being tired of the long train journey followed by the giddy road trip, we had our dinner and slept off by 8pm.
The next morning, we woke up to the extravagant Mt. Kanchendzonga, we saw the first rays of sun fall on the mighty snow-clad mountain. It was not that we were seeing it for the first time, but this time we were closer. The nightlights were still on in some far away houses as the rays of the sun slowly touched the hills one by one. It was morning! The sky was clear, there were no clouds and the majestic Mt. Kanchendzonga stood in front of us.
We covered almost everything in Pelling over the next two days. Pelling has numerous waterfalls by the road, some are big like Chhange Falls and Kanchendzonga Falls, and some are just water streams by the hill. To name a few of the must visit places, there is the famous archaic Singshore Bridge, the sacred wish fulfilling Khecheopalri Lake, the Rabdentse Ruins, the Pemayangtse Monastery and the Yuksom Lake. Many mountaineers visit Yuksom throughout the year as it is the base camp for trekking to Mt. Kanchendzonga. The nature is at its best in Pelling where the lakes, the waterfalls and the forests among the hills are a treat to the eyes. The clear skies and the sunny weather just added to its beauty.
I quickly ticked off Pelling from my wishlist and was more than excited to write this post. It has not been a day that I have returned from Pelling, yet I am certain to go back sometime again. Till then I have these evocative photos to keep me going.
Edit 1 – Special thanks to Adong (our driver and tour guide), Yap Chung Bhutia (Managing Director of our hotel) and his wife Yangden Bhutia for there love throughout our stay.
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