Beauty personified in the robe of shimmering white snow, thick dark hair embellished with twinkling stars, enthralled the town with splendid charm. The Kanchenjunga bathed in moonlight, was glowing in between the earth and the sky. With eyes glued to astounding beauty of the sight, heart silently eulogizing the magnificent miraculous Himalayas, I heard our guide announce our arrival to Pelling, a small town in the state of Sikkim in India at an altitude of 2150 metres above sea level.
It took three hours road drive from the Bagdora Airport to reach Pelling. The road along the mighty Teesta River turned to the confluence of Teesta and Torsa rivers in the valley, where the pearl aqua color of Teesta mingled with Laurel green shade of Torsa, adding another hue to the palette of the coomb. The road then entered the copious Himalayan Cedar forest, shelter of the varieties of Himalayan flora and fauna, as we ascended through the hair pin turns along the serpentine roads. The splendour of the way to Pelling itself seemed like a dress rehearsal before the grand performance.
When we reached the hotel at 8 PM, thrill and exhilaration over the sight of Kanchenjunga were obvious in my expressions. The hotel staff beaming a beatific smile asked me to wait for the sunrise, to witness a truly captivating and alluring sight. At 5 am in the early morning, it was chilling cold and as promised I was woken up with a bed tea. Truly the tea felt like an elixir in the freezing temperatures. Drowsily sitting in the quilt, I asked the waiter how far was the view point from the hotel. Snickering without any response, he moved to the window, pulled up the curtains and announced “enjoy the sight Mam! Have a good day!”
Through the window frame, the glossy silver peak of Kanchenjunga turned into red as the first ray of the dawn kissed the Himalayas from the east. One by one the mountain peaks absorbed the red rhythmically from east to west, as the rays stroked gently. As if refashioning the attire, the hues at the snow clad peaks suffused with orange, and in moments transformed in to yellow and golden. Ultimately inundated with lustrous white, the Kanchenjunga seemed like a bud with calyx of thick green vegetation on the encircling lower mountain ranges of the mighty Himalayas.
Pelling is located between two old Buddhist Monasteries, the Pemayangtse Monastery and the Sangachoeling monastery. The divine and iridescent Monasteries have coddled the faith & devotion of believers for centuries. The place is blessed with beautiful waterfalls and lakes. I felt my heart swaying to the rhythm of exuberant Rimbi & kanchenzonga waterfalls, and my soul absorbing the serenity of the holy Khelcheopalri Lake.
Next day, we drove to Rabdentse, the ancient capital of Sikkim. It required a 500 metres trek on foot to witness the mark of history. Walking up the hill with thick forests of varieties of Himalayan flora, through age old trees, where chirping of birds, chittering sound of squirrels on trees, smell of wet soil mixed with herbs filled up the atmosphere. As if walking through a wall painting or calendar cover, we rejoiced at the sight of the ancient citadel. At the ruins of the royal palace we sat and enjoyed the view of the vast snow capped Himalayan peaks with cups of hot coffee, feeling the charm of the splendid royal era, which this place once had lived.
Slowly and rhythmically, as the evening progressed, shades of orange mingled with the blue of the sky, hues reflected on the Kanchenjunga Peak once again. Breathing in the charm, magic, wonder and beauty of Nature, we brought with us a part of Pelling as Cherishing Memories.