Ravangla or Rabangla town situated on the ridge between the Meanam and Tendong hills in Sikkim. An ideal place for quiet stay to enjoy natural bliss and short treks. Surrounding villages of Yangang, Tinkitam, Kewzing, Barfung & Bakhim are ideal for short stays in the homes of the villagers. Situated in the southern part of Sikkim, a perfect destination for village tourism, flora and fauna, mountains, waterfalls, tea gardens, quaint villages, local Sikkimese people, culture, monasteries and fresh cold winds.
Very verdant with monasteries around Ravangla, old historical market of Kewzing, Bonn Monastery, Ralong Monastery, Borong Hot springs, Maenam Peak at 10300 ft holding breathtaking views of Sikkimese Himalayas. For nature ,village tours, caves, rich forests, soft treks, its all there in this zone. Ravangla attracts a lot of Himlayan birds and a bird watcher’s paradise. Birds like Verditer Flycatchers, Blue-fronted Redstarts, Grey Bushchats, Dark-throated Thrush, Blue Whistling-thrush, Green-backed Tit and White-browed Fantails can be easily spotted.
Major Tourist places In and around Ravangla
Temi Tea Garden : Established in 1960s by the Sikkim government under the last King, Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal, the only tea garden in Sikkim is located 18 km from Ravangla. The tea produced from this garden has a rare combination of liquor & flavour and fetches some of the highest rates offered in the international markets. A visit to Temi offers one an opportunity to see the plucking of the tealeaves in the garden also to observe the processing of tea in the factory.
Tinkitam Village : 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.
Kheunpheling Carpet Centre : The carpet-weaving centre is in the Tibetan Refugee Settlement Camp located just above Ravangla town. The traditionally designed & woven woolen carpets produced here are amongst the finest Tibetan carpets one can buy anywhere.
Rayong Sunrise View Point : Located 8 km drive from Ravangla on the road to Damthang the view point offers a spectacular sight of the red ball of fire emerging from the eastern horizon and throwing the first rays of the sun on the snowy peaks of Mt Narsing, Jopuno, Kabur, Rathong & Pandim.
Doling Gompa : This Gompa or monastery follows the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism, which is also the oldest sect and commonly referred to as the Red Hat sect. Located about 4 kms away in the Barfung village amidst cardamom plantations, a hike to the monastery also allows one a close experience of the rich flora & avifauna of the area.
Ralang Monasteries : 13 kms from Ravangla are the two monasteries at Ralang which follow the Kagyupa sect of Buddhism. The Old monastery was built in 1768 AD and legend has it that the 9th Karmapa, head of the Kagyupa sect, gave his blessings by throwing some grains of rice from Tibet. The monastery built on the site where these grains of rice fell. ” Pang Lhabsol ” the worship of Mt Khangchendzonga & ” Kagyed ” Chaam (masked dances) are held every year on the 15th day of the seventh month of the Buddhist calendar coinciding with August/September and on the 29th day of the tenth month just before Losoong – the Sikkimese New Year in December.
The new monastery – Palchen Choeling Monastic Institute was built by the XII Th Gyaltsab Rimpoche and completed in 1995. The sacred Mahakala Dance is held here every year in November.
Borong and Ralang : Cha-chu or hot sulphur springs at Ralang & Borong are traditional winter spas visited by the locals as well as by people from far away Bhutan and Nepal. Visitors spend a week or more soaking in these springs that have medicinal properties believed to cure many skin & other ailments of joints, bones & muscles.
Ralang Cha-chu can be reached after a 1 hr. downhill walk to the Rangit valley from the Ralang monastery. Borong Cha-chu is a 7 km drive from Ralang and a further 45 mins downhill walk.
Both these hot springs are located along the banks of the Rangit river and can be visited from December to February. For overnight stays temporary huts are available at nominal rates but all bedding and cooking utensils have to be carried along. During the hot spring season small shops selling basic vegetables & provisions are setup and the local villagers sell dairy products.
Bon Monastery : The Bon faith flourished in Tibet upto the 8th Century AD prior to the advent of Buddhism. It is believed that many of it’s rituals were assimilated in Buddhism like the prayer flags, burning of incense etc. and with the passage of time this faith was also influenced by Buddhism and has now been accepted as a part of Buddhism.
The Bon monastery at Kewzing, the only one of its kind in Sikkim, is located 5 km from Ravangla. This monastery was established in the latter half of 1980s and is a symbol of the determination of a community of people at Kewzing to preserve their religious traditions.
Handicraft centre, Kewzing : A training centre set up by the government to keep alive the tradition of Sikkimese handicraft & handloom. At the centre one can observe young boys & girls learn the intricate art of wood carving & weaving. This is also a place to pick up some local souvenirs
Khandosangphu and Sharchog Bephug : These are two of the four holy caves where Guru Padmasambhava, the saint who spread Buddhism in Tibet in the 7th century AD, is said to have meditated during his journey to Tibet.
Khandosangphu – the cave of the occult fairies is located 34 kms from Ravangla (8 kms beyond Legshep). The legendary fight between Guru Rimpoche & a female demon who was terrorising the area is manifested in the rock formations in the cave. A place for Temples to the devout, there is also a hot sulphur spring “Phur Cha-chu” where people come to bath during the winter months.
Sharchog Bephug is at Sangmo village about 8 kms from Ravangla is the largest of holy caves and it is said to extend into the Menam and Tendong hills.
Rangit Water World : The dam built, across the Rangit river, for a hyroelectric project has formed a unique water body. Situated 26 kms (1 hr approx.) downhill from Ravangla, it is an ideal place to enjoy a day – boating in rafts, fishing, swimming & just having a good time in the water.
Shiva Mandir : Located 26 kms from Ravangla on bank of the Rangit river at Legshep, the Shiva Mandir is a shrine revered by the local people And an annual festival is held every year during Shivaratri in February.
Tashiding Monastery : Located 39 kms/1.45 hrs drive from Ravangla and a 20 mins walk, Tashiding literally meaning the “Central Elevated Glory” is the most sacred monastery complex in Sikkim and was described by Guru Rimpoche as the heart of “Beyul Demazong”. Built in 1716 AD the complex is also the location of the “Thongwa Rongdol” Chorten. Just a sight of this sacred Stupa is said to wash away one’s sins. The monastery is also revered for the “Bumchu” festival during which the barrel containing holy water is opened and a small quantity distributed to the devout. The origin of the water dates to the time of Guru Padmasambhava in the 7th century AD and is said to contain sacred soil, water & precious jewels from all the holy place in India . The level of the water each year is considered the indicator of the times ahead for this land.
Trekking In Ravangla
At Menam: (10,600 ft) is located about 12 km up hill trek from Ravangla. A traditional meditation site for the monks it is also vantage location for a spectacular view the mountains at sunrise. The trek takes about 2.5 hrs to 4 hrs (depending on one’s speed) and winds through a thick forest of oak, chestnut, magnolia and rhododendron trees. The forest is a riot of colours during spring (March/April). A natural habitat of the red panda, Himalayan black bear and many species of deer, this area is designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary and the motto of leaving only footprints & taking back only photographs & good memories is required to be followed strictly to maintain the area.
At Tendong Hills : A 20 kms drive to Damthang & 2.5 hrs trek takes one upto the Tendong peak (8500 ft) for a spectacular 360 deg. view of Sikkim & the distant plains of North Bengal.
Ravangla Bed and Breakfast
The best time to visit Ravangla would be October to June. As this is season time hotels may be fully booked around this time and it is recommended accommodation is booked in advance. AC accommodation is absolutely not needed as the maximum temperature in summer is 28°C. Heavy snow fall takes place during winter, so heavy woolens might be recommended.
Ravangla has a lot of budget hotels. The cost per room for budget hotels start from Rs.400 and goes up to Rs.700 per room per night and medium priced hotels range from Rs.1000 to approximately Rs.1800 per room for one night. These hotels offer various facilities such as postal services, doctor on call, travel desk. Car rental can also be availed from hotels so that tourists can look around the city.
How to Reach Ravangla
Ravangla is well connected by state highway to all important places of Sikkim. Situated on between Pemayangtse and Gangtok Ravangla is 65kms from Gangtok, 134kms from NJP, 142 kms from Bagdogra, 55kms from Pelling and 75 kms from Darjeeling.
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