COVID-19 Advisory

Rabdentse Ruins

AN ELGIN EXCLUSIVE FEATURE​ By Surabhi Sunil

According to historical records, Rabdentse was the second capital of the former Kingdom of Sikkim after Yaksum.
Its lifetime as the capital from 1660 to 1814 was marred by the invasion of the Gurkha army, which left it destroyed. What remains now of the once flourishing capital are the ruins of the palace and the chortens that the royal family is believed to have offered prayers to.

Image by ESikkimTourism, Webpage

Exploring the ruins of Rabdentse, the medieval capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim, is like peeping through a looking glass into the intriguing past of this Himalayan kingdom.

Amidst the dense forests that carpet the hills near Pelling, up and down a winding path with chestnut trees and past an enchanting lake comes the old stone Chorten that marks the beginning of the walkway up to the main grounds of the ruins.Upon crossing the gateway to the capital, what lies before you is the centre of authority and residence of rulers of the past.

The approach to the ruins is shrouded in thickly wooded forests giving one a feel of the strategic thought behind the location.

Photo by @subharnab, Instagram 

Remains of well laid out stone structures with steps for elevation in different areas serve as evidence of the erstwhile palace. The antique nature of the ruins can be judged from its architectural style and quite simply from its moss-covered stones. The main structure is said to be the royal quarters and it has two large living spaces and an open stone courtyard that leads to the Three Chortens, where the royal family is said to have offered prayers.

The Three Chortens of Rabdentse

Photo by @travelsafaraurhum, Instagram 

Standing on an elevated area of the living quarters, there is a clear view of the Pemayangtse Monastery on the hill opposite, look a bit further and at a higher elevation, you can also see the Sangak Choeling Monastery.
Moreover, the palace grounds also give you a spectacular view of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges and the famed Mt. Kanchenjunga.

The Rabdantse complex also houses the Sidkeong Tulku Bird Park with about 200 of the 550 bird species found in Sikkim. 

Breathtaking views from Rabdentse

Photo by @wildflower_bloomin, Instagram 

A mark of the rich history of Sikkim, this beautiful monument is accessible from The Elgin, Mount Pandim via a walking trail spanning just over two kilometres.Enjoy the beauty of lush forests and the chirping of exotic birds on your way to the ruins of a royal past.

Explore Pelling Destinations