Singalila Range from Pemayangtse
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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Oriental Honey Buzzard
Yellow--bellied Fantail ~ pic Sujan
Yellow-cheeked Tit ~ pic Sudhir
Rufous-winged Fulvetta ~ pic Sujan
Grey-throated Babbler ~ pic Sujan
Rufous-capped Babbler ~ pic Sujan
Black-eared Shrike Babbler ~ pic Sujan
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker ~ pic Sujan
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.
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.
1. The Birds of Sikkim ~ Salim Ali (Oxford University Press).
2. A Birdwatchers' Guide to India ~ Krys Kazmierczak and Raj Singh (OUP).
Sumit K Sen