Nestled on the foothills of eastern Himalayan at an elevation of 1700ft in the western Sikkim region is a new found jewel of Sikkim tourism called Rinchenpong. Located 40km from Gangtok and 33km from Pelling, Rinchenpong also known as the silent valley is a scenically blessed hamlet sited in the periphery of the Varsey Rhododendron. The Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary or Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is a reserve situated in Singalila Range which forms a natural border with Nepal in The West. The sanctuary also acts as a natural border for West Bengal and Sikkim. Tourists are attracted towards Rinchenpong for its astounding view of majestic Mt Kanchenjunga and serene ambiance.
Situated on the periphery of Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Rinchenpong is blessed with rich flora and fauna making Rinchenpong the paradise for nature lover. In the past Rinchenpong was not famous for its scenic beauty but for being a prominent hamlet with a historical significance during the colonial years. During 1860’s when the British sent expeditionary forces to invade Sikkim, the Lepcha, native people of Sikkim, used a potion of unidentified herbs to poison the only water source located near Rinchenpong. As a result more than half of the British forces were wiped out which stopped the British invasion and resulted in an accord. The lake remains poisoned even to this day and is known as bikh-pokhri which means a poisoned lake. In the native language the word “bikh” stands for “poison” and “pokhri” for “lake”. In the present time Rinchenpong being blessed by the lush forested area attracts many trekkers towards it. The forest enclosing Rinchenpong is dotted with numerous trekking trails. One such trekking trail is located on the opposite side of the legendary Poison Pokhri that leads the tourists towards Rinchenpong Monastery. Built in 1730 Rinchenpong Monastery is the third oldest monastery of Sikkim and one of the favored sightseeing spot of Rinchenpong. The decades old Rinchenpong Monastery is famous for its singular ‘Adi-Buddha’ statue or “the Primordial Buddha” in the ‘yab-yum’ position embracing a woman, enlightening the love and union between a male and female on earth. The forest further leads the tourist towards Rishum Monastery, an 18th century monastery. Little further on the route is another favored sightseeing spot of Rinchenpong a traditional Lepcha House. The Traditional Lepcha House of Rinchenpong is known for providing a great insight into the tradition and culture of Lepcha people. The dense forest of Rinchenpong houses numerous species of Himalayan birds making the forest trail an excellent place for birding. Tourists who want to spend more time in Rinchenpong while being close to the Mother Nature can stay inan vintage 10 decades old British Bungalow which is only made with the help of woods and stone. Surrounded with the dense forest in the upper region of Rinchenpong, this age-old British Bungalow is the perfect place to stay and enjoy the freshness of Sikkim region. There are many picnic spots in and around Rinchenpong with some magnificent view and serene ambiance. One of the trekking trails in Rinchenpong lead travelers to Maggi Dara which is famous for offering a breath taking view of sunrise over the snow capped mountains of the Himalayan Range. About 8 km from Rinchenpong, the Shrijanga Temple site is a common picnic spot for the locals. The Limbu tribe of Sikkim worship at this temple. A waterfall sited near Shirjanga Temple is an added charm of this place. Bestowed with abundance of natural beauty the quaint hamlet Rinchenpong has ensnared the heart of travelers visiting Rinchenpong.
Let your senses be calmed with the serene ambiance while your eyes feast upon the surreal sunrise over the majestic snow capped Kanchenjunga. Far from the maddening crowd amidst the nurturing lap of nature, a place rich in flora and fauna with a tinge of history if you are looking for such place, Rinchenpong is the ideal destination for you.
Every season has its own charm to relish in Rinchenpong but spring season (mid March to April) and winter season (mid September to mid December) is considered as the best time to visit Rinchenpong. During spring season the rhododendron of Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary covers Rinchenpong in the beautiful shade of red and during winter tourist can enjoy unhindered view of the snow capped Himalayan range.
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