Ralang Monasteries

At Ralang, around 45 minutes' drive below Ravangla, the splendid 1995 Palchen Choeling Monastery is one of Sikkim's most important Buddhist complexes, home to around 300 Kagyu monks. Behind an expansive central courtyard, the main prayer hall has vividly colourful murals and a two-storey, golden Shakyamuni Buddha statue. About 1.5km downhill on the same road, the peaceful (and still active) Old Ralang Gompa was established in 1768. The central temple has been rebuilt since 2012 but has wonderful views from its top-floor balconies, and some modest wood-and-stone cottages around it are now protected examples of old Bhutia architecture.

Chartering a taxi from Ravangla costs around ₹1000 return with an hour's wait. Come in the morning for the best photo-friendly light and consider getting dropped off at the Buddha Park on the way back.