Pelling, Sikkim

 
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Hilly area symbol © Sumit Sen
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Pelling / Pemayangtse

 Mt. Kabru © Sumit K Sen 2003
Singalila Range from Pemayangtse

Introduction:
150 kms from Siliguri, the western towns of Pelling and Pemayangtse present breathtaking views of the beautiful Singalila range. Pelling is on the state highway connecting Gangtok and Yoksum and rests at the foot of snow capped Mt. Kanchenjunga (28156 ft). The important Pemayangtse monastery is a few kilometers from Pelling and is situated on a hilltop (7000 feet) which is covered by moist temperate Oak forests decorated with moss and lichens.

Pelling and Pemayangtse are well wooded and the moist forests hold Maroon-backed and Rufous-breasted Accentors, Green-tailed Sunbirds, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatchers, Blue-fronted Redstarts, Brownish-flanked Bush Warblers, Scarlet and Long-tailed Minivets, Coal, Green-backed and Black-throated Tits, various Yuhinas, Fulvettas, Shrike Babblers, Scimitar Babblers, Laughingthrushes and Babblers. Overhead, migrating Steppe Eagles, Greater Spotted Eagles and Oriental Honey Buzzards added colour in cold November.

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Bird Images:
Greater Yellownape
Steppe Eagle
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Yellow--bellied Fantail  
~ pic Sujan
Grey Treepie
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
Blue-fronted Redstart
Striated Bulbul
White-tailed Nuthatch

Yellow-cheeked Tit ~ pic Sudhir
Black-throated Tit
Grey-hooded Warbler   Another
Hume's Warbler
Rufous-breasted Accentor
Rufous-winged Fulvetta 
~ pic Sujan  Another
Nepal Fulvetta
Chestnut-tailed Minla
Whiskered Yuhina
Stripe-throated Yuhina
Grey-throated Babbler 
~ pic Sujan
Rufous-capped Babbler ~ pic Sujan
Black-eared Shrike Babbler ~ pic Sujan
Rufous Sibia
Streaked Laughingthrush
Striated Laughingthrush
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker  
~ pic Sujan   Female
Crimson-browed Finch (f) ~ pic Ramki
Dark-throated Rosefinch (f) ~ pic Sujan

How to reach:
Pelling is a 6 hour journey from Siliguri by road. it is also connected to Gangtok 120 kms (4.5 hrs). Pemayangtse is a short ( 2 kms) drive from Pelling. Buses and taxis are available from both these places. Foreigners need a permit to enter Sikkim (available at Siliguri).

Places of Interest:
Pemayangste
Monastery founded in 1705, is one of the oldest and most important gompas in Sikkim. It is the main gompa of the Nyingma-pa (“Red Hat”) order. The monastery has paintings and sculptures on the interior walls and a good collection of thangkas. Pemayangtse means “Perfect Sublime Lotus.” Rabdanste, a couple of kilometers from the monastery was the 2nd capital of Sikkim and was established in the late 17th century.

© Sumit K Sen 2004
View from Rabdantse

The ruins are preserved. The Pelling area holds the Sanga Chelling Monastery, considered the oldest in Sikkim. 

Where to bird:
1) Around the Pemayangtse monastery. A path goes round the monastery through dense forest.
2) The area around the Sanga Chelling Monastery is very good with a mix of scrub and dense forests. 
3) Rabdanste area.

Where to stay:
Mount Pandim Hotel at Pemayangtse  provides the most spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and is situated on a hilltop surrounded by forests. Ideal.

References:
1. The Birds of Sikkim ~ Salim Ali  (Oxford University Press). 
2. A Birdwatchers' Guide to India ~ Krys Kazmierczak and Raj Singh (OUP). 

Websites:
Sikkim Information

Sumit K Sen
Kolkata, India

   
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