This is a little known fact that under the shadow of the majestic Kangchenjunga, there is a kingdom of rubble nesting silently on a hilltop near Pelling, a place in west Sikkim frequented by tourists. Though Pelling is known as the nearest civilised point to enjoy Kangchenjunga’s breathtaking beauty, this is also a place to get acquainted with the past.
Needless to say, not many are aware of this 350-year-old saga. The ruinous structure of Rabdentse is a burning testimony of Sikkim’s ancient glory, which for long was not known to people living in other parts of India. Once a bustling human settlement, Rabdentse — which was the ancient capital of the royals of Sikkim — is now a crumbling ruin of Indus civilisation. However, that is only if it is seen from a distance.
The historical saga of Sikkim’s royal family was no different from that of any other royal family ruling another part of the country. In 1670, the capital was shifted here from Yuksam by King Tensung Namgyal of Chogyal dynasty, and soon a stone city was built. Tensung’s son Chador Namgyal, who was born from his second wife, took the power after the death of his father in 1700. However, his authority was challenged by his step-sister Pendiongmu, the daughter of Tensung and his first wife, who was a Bhutanese. She also took help from the Bhutan royals.
But The Elgin Mount Pandim, a heritage hotel revokes the old world charm created by its first owners – the royal family of Sikkim and offers a peaceful retreat about one hundred and fifty kilometers from Siliguri, with a glorious view of the Singalila range. The three hundred year old Pemayangtse monastery, is right next to the resort on a verdant hill top covered by moist temperate Oak forests. The bedrooms are set in the midst of an atmosphere of greenery in the heart of Pemayangtse.