Sillery Gaon, a small village surrounded on all sides by tall pine trees, at a height of about 6000 ft in the Darjeeling district, is an upcoming tourist destination, lovingly called by the locals as New Darjeeling. It is located at a distance of around 8 km from Pedong and 5 km from 21 Miles. This sleepy village of New Darjeeling offers a magnificent view of the Kanchanjungha, the third highest peak in the world. The shimmering silver peak and the serenity around entice every traveller visiting the village.The name “Sillery” is derived from the name of a plant that grows in abundance in the region. This area also abounds in Cinchona Plantation which was introduced in this region by the British, as a source of Quinine used for the treatment of Malaria.However, cultivation still continues today, despite alternative quinine derivatives. So let Sillarygaon or New Darjeeling be your next offbeat destination.
How to Reach
You need to drive for about 30 minutes to reach Sillery Gaon from Pedong. From New Jalpaiguri Railway station or Bagdogra Airport, you can hire a car to reach Pedong via Teesta Bazar and Alagarh. Alternatively, you can also take shared cars or buses to Kalimpong and catch shared taxis to Pedong.
Places to Visit
Sillery Gaon is surrounded by Pedong, Reshi and Aritar.
A major attraction of tourists visiting Sillery Gaon is Sangchen Dorjee Monastery near Pedong. This 300-year-old monastery was built during the reign of Bhutanese in Pedong. The old section of the monastery is admired with some exquisite wall paintings depicting Tantrik Buddhism. The major attraction of the new section is the mummified body of a most revered Bhutanese priest. The annual “Chyam” dance is also held at this place in April-May.
You should also visit Cross Hill near Pedong, built by Fr. Augstine Desgodins in 1882. It stands grandly, overlooking Jelep-La and Nathula and is considered as a place of Pilgrimage for the local Christian Community.
Another “must visit” location is the Shahid Park located 2 km from Pedong bazaar. A memorial stone has been laid at the park to commemorate the memory of a local young soldier of Indian army, Let Palender Raj who sacrificed his life at Thangdhar J & K sector (Kargil War). The park offers clear view of Sikkim on the opposite side.
A visit to Rikisum, a majestic viewpoint on the way from Algarah to Lava is also rewarding.
You would also appreciate the natural splendor of Kashyone village, located 8 km from Pedong bazaar. Savor the majestic view of the union of Rongpo Khola and Tista River, behind this village. The village is dotted with Cinchona plantation.
Walk a little ahead to visit Ranibon that has been declared as a preserved forest. You will also find a 300-year old Lepcha house here, which is the sole specimen of the rich Lepcha craft works.
Many tourists also make trip to Reshi Bridge and Reshi Khola, located 15 km from Pedong Bazaar. Rishi and Mudum Khola merge to form Rishi Khola just before the bridge. The place nurtures a romantic natural atmosphere.
The Aritar Lake or Lampokhri is an amazing eco tourism spot, located 16 km from Rishi Bridge in East Sikkim. The top point here, popularly known as Mankhim offers a spectacular view of Mt. Kanchenjungha on the southwest and Jelep La and Nathu La towards the north-east. Another major viewpoint at Aritar is Love Dara.