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Perched in the lap of the mountains, Ravangla, South Sikkim is a peaceful hamlet amidst the clouds. I happen to be lucky enough to have been posted there for about a year or so before getting into research. Once you are there you would feel that you are in one of the most tranquil places you could ever be.


A clear sunny view from 14th Mile in Ravangla
Best time to visit: November to March. Although the month of December and January faces chilling cold at the nights, the mornings would be clear and sunny. Other months of the year, Ravangla faces severe rainfall being on the windward side of Maenam Hill.

Amidst the clouds_DoiBedouin
Amidst the Clouds
Aboard your train and get down at New Jalpaiguri station or if you opt for flight your destination would be Bagdogra domestic airport at Siliguri. Therefrom get into a shared bolero or a reserved one (which would fare around 3000 INR) to Ravangla. There are two roadways you could reach Ravangla, one through Singtam (sometimes via Temi), the other being Namchi.
Day 1: NJP (New Jalpaiguri)/ Siliguri- Singtam- Temi- Ravangla (6hrs), check in a hotel, go and visit the market place and Kunphenling Tibetan Settlement.
Day 2: Visit Ralong Monasteries- Buddha Park-Ravangla Gompa- drive towards Legship- visit Mt. Narsing resort only if it is a sunny day- Tashiding bridge- Kirateshwar Mandir- back to Ravangla. 
Day3: Visit Rayong Busty pine forest (if you wish to view sunrise leave this for the return journey)- Sunrise view point- Tareybhir- Namchi rock garden- Namchi central park- Chardham- Samdruptse- Return to Ravangla
Day4: (optional Trek Maenam)/Get on early morning bus to Siliguri (ticket cost-170/-)
Places to visit:
Ravangla itself is an amazing rural land. Once you get on the road you would find even the roadside views charismatic. It is as if Mother Nature has painted the slopes with the best strokes of her brush. The mountain ranges visible are Mt. Siniolchu, Mt. Narsing, Mt. Pandim and Mt. Kabru i.e. the twin peaks of the Kanchenjunga range. The stepped farming is a frequent food to the eyes here. A horticulture farm is also here wherein various medicinal samples are also cultivated.
Tathagatha Tsal, commonly known as the Buddha Park, is the main attraction of Ravangla featuring a 130 ft of Buddha statue at the centre of the park. The entry fee is 50INR for common people and 10INR for students. Cars are available for aged persons for 200INR. As soon as one enters the premises of the park, one get to hear a faint humming of "Om Mani Padme Hum" which inherently refreshes the mind. The park also holds a souvenir shop, a cafe, a prayer hall and a restaurant wherein delicious momos are available.
  Buddha Park with Mt Kabru in the Backdrop_DoiBedouin
Buddha Park with Mt Kabru in the Backdrop




  Buddha Park with Mt Kabru in the Backdrop full frame_DoiBedouin
In one frame

Beside the Buddha park is situated the old Rabong Gompa, a century old pilgrimage centre which later on extended to the present day Tathagatha Tsal.
Rabong Gompa_DoiBedouin
Rabong Gompa


Have your stay preferably at Mt. Narsing Village resort. It is a quiet and unperturbed resort at the top of a hill. The view from the resort is breathtaking; the whole of the range is visible with a little more of the twin peaks. The car would not go up there, so one has to trek, a tad bit of it though. However the awestruck destination would just subdue the tiresome journey, no doubt. Also there is a cafeteria alongside the main road, so if you are not up for the trek you can have a cup of coffee here.
Dorling Monastery is a small monastery down the Barfung road. Cars are available from the market at 150INR which would take you down to it. Beside the monastery a small lake is there which goes by the local name of Seven Sisters Lake (this should not be misinterpreted with the Seven sisters waterfall). 
Dorling Monastery at Ravangla _DoiBedouin
Dorling Monastery
While returning from the monastery one may have a detour through the Barfung Retreat which is another resort with a discreet surrounding.Another spectacular resort is Khachoe Residency which is situated just opposite to the National Institute of Technology Sikkim. It is a cluster of small huts and a perfect stay for couples.
Kunphenling Tibetan Settlement is a bit of an offbeat tour attraction of Ravangla. Positioned on the top of the adjacent hills paving the road, visiting it requires a little bit of uphill walk. The settlement has a Carpet Centre, Workshop, Restaurant, two monasteries and a school.
Kunphenling Tibetan Settlement at Ravangla_DoiBedouin
Kunphenling Tibetan Settlement
Kunphenling Tibetan Settlement Carpet Centre_DoiBedouin
The Carpet Centre


Kunphenling Tibetan Settlement The Carpets_DoiBedouin
The woven Carpets

The Stupa at the Monastery of the Tibetan Settlement at Ravangla _ DoiBedouin
The Stupa at the Monastery of the Tibetan Settlement


The gate to the Monastery


Localites


The playground of the school at the settlement_DoiBedouin
The playground of the school at the settlement
Trek the Maenam hill which has an altitude of 10,500 feet. The trek starts from Ravangla (7000ft). So if anyone is up for viewing the sunrise they should start from the preceeding night. Otherwise, a day is enough; starting from 4 am and coming down by 5 pm in the evening will do. A monastery is there at the peak of Maenam. The trek is tiring but if you are determined enough you will enjoy it. Carry some chocolates, fruit juice and lots of water lest you run out of calories.
Maenam Trek at Ravangla_DoiBedouin
The trees at the Maenam Peak


  Trekking to the Peak of Maenam_DoiBedouin
Trekking to the Peak


Neighbouring Spots:
Palchen Chosling Monastery or the new Ralong Monastery exemplifying Tibetan Architecture is located 6 km from Ravangla. Had you been to the Rumtek Monastery already, then this (Ralong) would seem a lot more familiar. The interior of the monastery has extensive collection of paintings and thangkas (Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton) and well maintained seats. One would often find young monks playing in the campus.
 Ralong Monastery_DoiBedouin
Ralong Monastery

Interior of the Monastery

Monks playing in the premises

The old Ralong Monastery or Karma Rabtenling Monastery hosts the festival of Pang Lhabsol, when Mount Kanchendzonga is worshipped, usually in August-September, on the 15th day of the seventh month of the Buddhist calendar. This is celebrated with the performance of masked dancers.
The old Ralong Monastery

About 9 km away from Ravangla, on the way to Namchi is Rayong Sunrise view point. It is on the Ravangla-Damthang Road. If you are visiting Namchi from Ravangla get down at the Rayong Busty; here a must visit is the pine forest, the trees are so tall that one would look puny underneath their shadow. As for the sunrise point, the place is not that well maintained. It’s all bushy and slippery. There are stairs, got hidden under the bushes, follow the trail and you would end up in front of a spooky resting place which is an unfinished monastery as it seemed. Had it been under maintenance it would have been indeed a notable place. The road from the busty to the point is a true delight to the camera lenses with the mountain peak and pine trees in the backdrop.
Rayong Road

The Pine Forest

Sunrise from Rayong Sunrise Point_DoiBedouin
Sunrise from Rayong Sunrise Point

Tareybhir is a steep sloped hill viewpoint at Sadam giving the panoramic view of the surrounding locales. One could see the Teesta Bridge given the weather is clear. The Namchi-Melli road is also visible from this viewpoint. The stairs would show all the way to the end, coming back is thus an uphill stairy journey.
  Tareybhir Suicide Point_DoiBedouin
Tareybhir Suicide Point

The Damthang road bifurcates into two- one towards Singtam another towards Namchi. The one to Singtam passes through the Temi tea garden. There is hardly anyone who haven't tasted the Temi tea. It is internationally famous tea with an aromatic flavour and is produced organically. The tea garden is on the gentle slopes of the Tendong hill and the road loops through it making it sublime to the eyes.


  Temi Tea Garden_DoiBedouin
Temi Tea Garden

Towards Namchi, on the Namchi Damthang road, first comes the Samdruptse hill atop which is located the Samdrupste Monastery. It is the abode of 135ft Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) whom I personally named as the angry Buddha. It is about 2 km away from the main road; a little drive uphill would do.
Samdruptse Monastery_DoiBedouin
Samdruptse Monastery

Namchi Central Park is the market place of Namchi from where the villages acquire their goods. The district hospital is also situated here.
Namchi Central Park_DoiBedouin
Namchi Central Park

Thereon move on to Chardham; replicas of the four dhams- Badrinath, Jagannath, Dwarka dedicated to lord Vishnu and Rameshwar dedicated to lord Shiva is built surrounding a 161ft high Shiva statue.
Shiva Statue

The Char Dhams_DoiBedouin
The Char Dhams

Namchi rock garden has an exotic view of the Kanchendzonga range; also lately the Namchi ropeway has been built here. So it’s a must visit too.
Although this is on the opposite direction to Namchi from Ravangla (towards Geyzing), Legship too is a tourist spot accessible from Ravangla. The Tashiding Bridge is yet another suspension bridge besides the Singshore of Pelling.
Tashiding Bridge

Also the Kirateshwar Mahadev temple is the preferred Shiva temple for the localites of Ravangla.
Mahadev Temple
On a special note, speaking of the place and not mentioning the institution for which I could detail out Ravangla would be like an ode without the epode. National Institute of Technology Sikkim has its campus here, so engineering aspirants if you want to study and travel simultaneously then this is for you.
National Institute of Technology Sikkim_DoiBedouin
National Institute of Technology Sikkim

Au revoir!!!!


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You May Also Read:

A Pocket Guide to Travelling Sikkim at Minimal Spending

Sikkim: The Neverland of  Your Dreams

17 Amazing Locales of Pelling Which are a Must Visit




15 comments:

  1. This looks like an awesome place. I love such small villages!

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  2. i love your picture so much !!! so lovely :) looking for more

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  3. There is just so much to see there I cannot believe it. I like that you suggest the best time to go, it is nice to know what the weather would be like at different times of the year

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  4. The trees at the peak look a little worse for wear. It seems like a great place to enjoy some time outdoors, which is how I mostly spend my time!

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  5. I've always felt that East India is so different from the rest of India, culture wise. The monasteries and temples look wonderful.

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  6. This place looks so peaceful and tranquil indeed! Especially I loved the pics of Rayong Sunrise view point!
    And as I can see there are just few people on your picutres, so I suppose this area is not overcrowded with tourists, am I right?
    How much time did you spend traveling around Ravangla?

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    Replies
    1. I was posted there for about a year

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    2. Amazing post on a hidden gem in the East. I love your blog for the way you cover this often overlooked part of India.

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  7. i surely get it! the place has everything an adventure would want for his/ her adventure! i think it is a great place to refresh the mind too!

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  8. such a comprehensive article detailing all the relevant requirements , i am sure going to bookmark this

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  9. Ravangla is a beautiful destination, almost too good to be true! I visited a couple of years ago and didn't see many tourists around. I'm glad to hear it's starting to get discovered. Thank you for sharing

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  10. Our love for Northeast India just grows everyday and when ever we see a post on the region, we want to go Backpacking North East India again! Even though we explored the region for 4 months, we still have to cover Sikkim fully and Ravangla will be on our list for sure!!

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  11. Everything looks sublime and refreshing. I'd love to come here and just immerse myself in my surroundings, take in the scenery and let peace course through my veins. Definitely adding Ravangla to my bucket list!

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  12. Amazing pictures of the mountains. And I loved the content on the Monasteries, they look beautiful. I visited one in Cyprus and it was pretty amazing :)

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  13. Hi! Thank you for your comment. It was a great experience for everyone in our group and we had an amazing time! small buddha statue

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