RAVANGLA TRAVEL GUIDE
Located between Pelling and Gangtok, Ravangla is one of the popular destinations in south Sikkim. It is a small town not meant to be touristy – a laid back spot nestled in the mountains, where you can slow down the pace of your life, and sooth your senses in nature. Ravangla – or Rabongla, as many locals call it – is located at an altitude of 7000 ft. Though the main streets are not best located for giving beautiful views of the Himalayas, treks starting in Ravangla are a great way to soak in the beauty of the mountains.
Travellers wanting to go off the beaten track often choose Ravangla as their base, from where they can travel to other towns in Sikkim. Ravangla is a unique town, with a myriad range of flora & fauna, small villages surrounding the main town where you can see the local lifestyle, splendid views, old monasteries, and cultural celebrations. The traditional festivals are celebrated here with a lot of gusto and are a delight for any traveller, Indian or otherwise.
Climate And Best Time To Visit
Ravangla has an unpredictable climate, and is known for being rainy at short notice. It is best to avoid the monsoon entirely. Autumn is the best season to visit – from September to December.
Getting There & Getting Around Ravangla
Ravangla can be reached directly from the airport and the railway stations. The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport, 124 km away, and the nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri, 119 km away. Ravangla is also well connected by road to major towns and cities of Sikkim and neighbouring West Bengal, like Gangtok, Pelling, Namchi, Darjeeling etc.
Many people prefer to trek around Ravangla. The other alternative to getting around is to book a taxi with a travel agent.
SIGHTSEEING & ACTIVITIES
Ravangla, though a small town, is perfectly equipped to capture the imagination of a traveller. At short distances from the main town, there are monasteries and other places of interest. The short journey to local sights is just as beautiful as the sights themselves.
Buddha Park was built in 2006 to commemorate the 2550th birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha. It is a part of the pilgrimage tourism circuit of Sikkim. It features a 130 ft high deity of Gautam Buddha, surrounded by a well maintained park, from which you can get views of the Himalayas, floating in the clouds. There’s also the Cho Djo Lake, which completes the natural beauty of the place.
Although the park is a man-made tourist spot, it has a spiritual ambiance, and blends in with the scenic surroundings. You can spend time here, savouring the cool mountain air and being in a meditative space. The park includes a meditation hall, museum and a Buddhist conclave.
The Bon Monastery or the Bon Monastery or Bon Yung Dung Monastery is located in Kewzing, a short distance away from Ravangla. One of the two monasteries in India belonging to the Bon sect of Buddhism, this monastery was built by Yung Dung Tsultrim in 1980. It is an institute of learning Bon teachings, with provisions for less privileged students as well. It displays some of the artefacts of Buddhists, paintings, Buddha deities, and gives a glimpse of the daily routine of the young monks of the Bon sect.
This is a unique monastery in Sikkim. It is unlike other monasteries in many ways. It has a stark symmetry of form, combined with brilliant execution in construction. Another differentiator is that this monastery is accessible only via trekking. Located at 13km from Ravangla, it is a symbol of opulence of Buddhists, built around a legend.
As per legend, upon return of the fourth Chogyal (king) of Sikkim, the Karmapa sprinkled a few rice grains of blessings in Tibet, some of which fell at the site of the current monastery. Thus, the monastery was built here.
The monastery organizes an annual cultural festival called Pang Lhabsol in the month of August. It’s a unique extravaganza that shows the Buddhist traditions in all their glory and celebration. To see the festival, please enquire on the dates of the festival before arriving.
RALONG HOT SPRINGS
Popularly known as “Ralong Cha Chu” locally, these are natural hot springs near Ravangla. Considered to be natural saunas, these are pools of warm sulphurous water that have therapeutic powers. What makes them even better are the surrounding scenery which one can enjoy. Located near some of the holy caves, they also carry religious significance. This is a nice spot to trek around and spend some time. They are best visited between March-May when the weather is pleasant.
Ravangla is a destination that is best not missed by anyone who wants to take a detour from the main destinations.