Provides a Clear and Mind-Blowing of the Greater Himalayas
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2006 marked the 2550th birth anniversary of Lord Gautama Buddha. The state government in a policy decision had decided to observe the birth anniversary throughout the year in Sikkim. As a part of the celebrations, an initiative was taken by the people of Rabong to construct and install a statue of Lord Buddha at Rabong ,to commemorate the 2550th year, and also to develop the Buddhist Circuit in Sikkim. The state government has already kicked off the Buddhist circuit and this project would give the much required impetus to boost tourism and attract pilgrim tourists to the area.
Borong and Ralong hot water springs are located within a distance of 7 kms from each other. Popular with visitors from all over the region, these natural spas are said to have strong curative powers. Ralang Cha-chu can be reached after an hour long walk from Ralong monastery while Borang Cha-chu is reached after a 7 km drive to Ralong and then a 40 min walk downhill. For overnight stay temporary huts are available but you have to carry your own bedding and cooking utensils.
Situated at an altitude of 10,300 ft the scenic view from this height is, perhaps, unmatched in this part of the world. Mt. KhangchenDzonga and its surrounding ranges loom above to dwarf the richly forested and rugged hills. On a clear sunny day, it is possible to see the plains of Bengal spanning across Kalimpong and Darjeeling hills in the South and right across the Indo-China border towards the North. A short distance away is the legendry Bhaley Dunga, a kind of rocky spur which juts out from the ridge top and remains suspended in the air above Yangyang village. The trek to Maenam from Ravangla takes about 3 hours.
From Maenam hill top one has the option to take the gentle trek to Borong village or follow the more challenging trail taken by the famous botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker, down to Yangang village. A modern ropeway from Yangyang to Bhale Dunga and a Cultural Village at Yangyang are to come up soon.
Facing the snow-capped mountains is Borong, motorable from Ravangla or by a trek via Maenam. A picturesque village, its beautiful landscape and magnificent view is also host to the hot spring, 'Borong Tsachu'. The trek trail, originating from Namchi or Damthang to Tendong - Ravangla Maenam - Borong (5-6 days) is one of the most interesting trails scaling all the hill tops along the route. The trekker can continue to Tashiding or terminate at Borong and then drive back to Ravangla.
The one and only tea estate existing in the State produces one of the top quality teas for the international market. The tea garden spread out on a gentle hill slope originating from the Tendong Hill provides a magnificent view of the surrounding villages. The visit to the factory could be an eye opener for those wanting to know about tea processing methods.
A night spent in an old British bungalow or a Getaway facility located at the tea garden could be an enthralling experience of linking the past to the present. A visit to the garden, enroute to the Tendong Hill, could be a rewarding experience for those who want to combine nature and culture as they keep trekking
Ralang Monastery is a Buddhist monastery of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism in southern Sikkim, northeastern India. It is located six kilometres from Ravangla.
According to legend, Ralang was built after the fourth Chogyal came back from his pilgrimage, when the Karmapa performed the Rabney (blessing). He threw grains from his residence in Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet and where the grains fell, eventually, became the site for the Ralang Monastery.
The monastery underwent reconstruction in 1975-1981 and in 1995, a new monastery, known as Palchen Choeling Monastic Institute was built by the 12th Gyaltsab Rimpoche, which retained its Tibetan architecture.
Ralang Monastery has an extensive collection of paintings and thangkas and is host to an annual festival, known as Pang Lhabsol when Mount Kangchenjunga is worshipped usually in September and ending in early December with the Kagyed. Chaam masked dances are also organized every year, on the 15th day of the seventh month of the Buddhist calendar (August-September) and on the 29th day of the tenth month of the Buddhist calendar (December). The Mahakala Dance takes place every year in the month of November.
A quaint Sikkimese village situated about 6 km from Ravangla is famous as the ancestral village of Bhaichung Bhutia, the popular football star. But known only to orchid lovers this village is also the natural habitat to a rare species of orchid - Paphiopedilum fairieanum Or lady's slipper, as it is commonly known. Unlike most wild orchids which grow on trees this beautiful orchid is terrestrial and flowers in October / November. An effort is underway to preserve the natural habitat of this beautiful flower.