Sunday, 7 December 2014

Buddha Park, Rabong Monastery in Ravangla

DAY 7 –  GANGTOK – RAVANGLA – PELLING

After seeing Gurudongmar Lake, Zero Point and Rumtek Monastery, today’s plan was to reach Pelling. You can take the direct route to Pelling from Gangtok or take a detour via Ravangla or Namchi and then reach Pelling. In Ravangla you can see the Buddha Park and the Rabong Monastery whereas in Namchi you can see the replicas of Char Dham. We chose to go via Ravangla.

Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
Rabong Monastery
We had already booked an Innova through our hotel (for Rs 4,000) from Gangtok to Pelling. We were supposed to leave at 8:30 am but left at 10:00 am. The driver was late as he had returned from North Sikkim today morning itself. It made sense to let me sleep and start late from Gangtok and as Pramod said, “We can’t put our family at risk”.

Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
Can you see the small statues of Buddha?
Pelling is in west Sikkim and is around 140 kms from Gangtok making it approx 5 hours drive. As we had decided to take a longer route and see Ravangla on our way to Pelling we took around 8 hours to reach Pelling. The driver charged us Rs 1500 extra for the detour to Ravangla.

The Buddha Park, Ravangla

The Buddha Park also known as the Tathagata Tsal houses a 130 ft high statue of Buddha and is located near the Rabong monastery. You need to buy an entry ticket of Rs 50 per person to this beautiful park. Everything about the park is grand. The red coloured gate of the park is adorned with intricate Sikkimese design. Numerous stairs takes you down to the main park.  

Buddha Park, Ravangla
Buddha Park, Ravangla


Buddha Park Entrance
Buddha Park Entrance
In the park, there are speakers playing the soothing chant of Om Mani Padme Hum, the chant immediately relaxes you and takes you in a trance. Again a no of stairs will take you up to the main prayer hall.

Buddha Park, Ravangla
Buddha Park, Ravangla
Under the giant statute of Buddha there is a prayer hall. In the middle of the prayer room a statue of Buddha is kept. All around this room there are numerous colourful statues of Buddha of the same size. There is a spiral pathway which take you up so that you can have a view of the Buddha from above. All around the spiral pathway you can see the entire life of Buddha depicted through paintings. All around this pathway white colour silk cloth was tied up.

Cup of water at Buddha Park, Ravangla
Huge Cup of water at Buddha Park, Ravangla
Next, we walked around the main building. Prayer flags were put up around the walkaways which were fluterring with the wind. Around the giant Buddha on the walkway, seven huge golden colour cups of water are kept. How can there be no prayer wheels? Just behind the prayer room you will find prayer wheels in golden colour.

Buddha Park, Ravangla
Golden Prayer Wheels at Buddha Park, Ravangla


Buddha Park, Ravangla
Buddha Park, Ravangla
The Buddha Park is beautifully maintained. Manicured gardens, flowers, and fountains - everything is perfect. The Park has a shop where you can have maggi and aloo chiwda. There are two shops from where you can buy souvenirs for your loved ones.

Rabong Monastery

Rabong Monastery is located just behind the Buddha Park. When we went to the monastery it was closed. So we could see it only from outside. Since the monastery was closed, there was hardly any tourist. We had the entire place to ourselves. The monastery is simple but beautiful.

Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
Prayer Wheels at Rabong Monastery


Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
There are a line of red coloured prayer wheels when you enter the monastery premises. On your left you will find the monastery. Few steps up and you are at the beautiful monastery.

Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
Line of prayer wheels at Rabong Monastery

Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
View from Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
We took around two hours to see the Rabong monastery and the Buddha Park. After the Buddha Park, we went to another monastery located in Ravangla – Bon Monastery. It is a very small and simple monastery.

Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
Beautiful Rabong Monastery, Ravangla

Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
Rabong Monastery, Ravangla
Continuing our journey, we reached Pelling around 6:00 pm. Our Hotel was located at upper Pelling - two mins walk from the new helipad. We had pre booked two rooms in this hotel on the top floor so that we can enjoy the majestic Himalayan range from our rooms.

Since we were hungry we ordered for tea and pakodas. Around 8:00 pm we went downstairs for dinner. Post dinner, we arranged for a car through the hotel reception for tomorrow’s sightseeing in Pelling.

Points to remember:
  • As the sun sets early here start your day early.
  • Book an Innova, bolero or a Xylo for a comfortable travel. As the roads are bad and travel in Sumo or Maxx can be cumbersome.
  • Although the distance between places is not far because of the rough terrain it takes a considerable time to go from one place to another. So plan accordingly.
  • Please carry warm clothes including sweater, jacket, cap, mufflers, socks and gloves. Wear shoes and not sandals or chappals.
  • While going to Pelling from Gangtok take a diversion to Ravangla and see the Buddha Park and Rolong Monastery.
  • Sikkim is plastic free zone. Please don’t litter and maintain the beauty of nature.
  • Please remain quiet, maintain the discipline and follow the rules at Monasteries and other religious places.