The quaint little town of Rinchenpong adjacent to Kaluk in West Sikkim is an excellent place to be in for a weekend getaway. Situated nearly 6000 metres above sea level, in a thickly forested area, Rinchenpong has much in store for both the lovers of adventure and history. Locals, mostly comprising of people from the Bhutia, Tamang and Gurung community, believe that the town first emerged as a monastic village back in early 1730s. The monastery, nearly three hundred years old, is still in function with more than 84 monks residing in its quarters.
One of the distinguishing features of Rinchenpong is the proximity that the villages still share with the monastic community and the monastery. This makes way for a memorable experience whereby one can live very much within the monks, accompanying them in their quotidian activities and imbibe the tranquillity that such a stay promises. Adventure lovers can trek further up to the forest where there is much to tickle their sense of mystery – the Kalapani (dark water lake) and the bikh pokhri (poison lake) are two such sites. The monastery houses one of the few Ati-Buddha or Adi-Buddha images associated with the Tibetan Buddhism of the Nyingma order. The forest is also a bird-watchers delight. One of the primary attractions of Rinchenpong is the sun-baked golden view of the five peaks of Kanchendzonga.
Rinchenpong is conveniently connected with the main tourist centres of West Sikkim. You can easily avail share taxi services from Jorethang market area which will take you straight to the Rinchenpong market area. Jorethang can be reached easily from Siliguri by hiring one of the share taxis that ply regularly on this route. There are private taxi services connecting Rinchenpong to Pelling, Gangtok and Gyalshing. There are a few hotels in the market area and one adjacent to the Rinchenpong monastery delivering decent services. So, if you want to wake up to the mystical notes of the Tibetan bagpipes or if you want some time alone with the Himalayan birds then Rinchenpong is worth a visit.
Author: Samyak Ghosh