Sikkim Travel Information

SIKKIM TRAVEL INFORMATION

GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION 

Sikkim is a land of superlatives, with its magnificent mountains, rich cultures and pristine beautiful environment. A tiny jewel of a state, its total population is only 619,000 and it covers just over 7,000 square kilometres. Yet within Sikkim’s Himalayan Boundaries, there are many worlds to discover, as you travel from Buddhist monastery to Hindu mandir, or trek from alpine meadow to cascading waterfalls, visiting cities and villages along the way.

Cultural diversity is one of Sikkim’s hallmarks, from the Dzongu indigenous Lepcha reserve in North Sikkim, to traditional Bhutia villages in the West and Nepalese agricultural settlements in the south. Each of these cultural groups celebrate their own rituals and festivals throughout the year, so that there is never a dull week in sikkim. For those interested in nature as well as culture, the Sikkim’s biodiversity is unsurpassed, Ranging from subtropical to alpine eco-zones, it’s flora and fauna includes a number of rare species such as the Red Panda, the Snow Leopard and the Himalayan black bear, not to mention a huge variety of brightly coloured rhododendrons and exotic orchids.  Bounded to the north and northeast by the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, to the west by Nepal, to the southeast by Bhutan and to the south by Darjeeling. Sikkim occupies an important strategic niche along one of the oldest Himalayan Trade routes.Much of the state’s north and west is perpetually snow covered and dominated by the Kanchendzonga massif, India’s highest and the world’s third highest mountain. Each of the Sikkim’s four districts holds its own treasures.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Sikkim is said to have derived its name from ‘Su-khim’ Which in Limbu means ‘New Home’. While little is known or documented of the ancient history of Sikkim, it dates back to 13th century when a prince from Tibet, Guru Tashi was summoned in a vision to go to this country in the south of Tibet and seek his fortunes. The reference was then made on Bayul Demazong, the ‘ Valley Of Rice’. Guru Tashi along with his five sons traveled to Sikkim. Their travel, the signing of the blood brotherhood between the Lepchas and Bhutias is a separate story which is being given a special mention in history of Sikkim. It was also called ‘Nya Mel Liang’ for the Lepchas, the original inhabitants of Sikkim Which means ‘Abode of the Gods’. Nestled in the lap of the Eastern Himalayas, Sikkim a former Himalayan Kingdom joined as the 22nd state of India on 16th may 1975 after a referendum  to merge with the union.Prior to that Sikkim was ruled by the Chogyals of the Namgyal dynasty, the lineage dating back to 333 years.The first ruler of  Sikkim Chogyal Phuntshok Namgyal was consecrated king in 1642 at Norbugang, Yuksom in West Sikkim by three high lamas(Buddhist saints) Who reached there from Tibet. 

LOCATION :

27.33°North  88.62° East

AREA:

 7,096 km2 (2,740 sq mi)

ALTITUDE : 

Ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,586 metres (28,169 ft)

 

TEMPERATURE: Summer: Max. 21 c and Min 13 c

Winter: Max 13 C and Min 05 C

Annual Rainfall : 3,894 mm LANGUAGE SPOKEN:

Sikkimese (Bhutia), Lepcha, Hindi, Nepali , Tibetan and English Other languages include Dzongkha, Groma, Gurung, Limbu, Magar, Majhi, Majhwar, Nepal Bhasa, Rai, Sherpa, Sunuwar, Tamang, Thulung,Tibetan, and Yakha.. NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: New Jalpaiguri Station (Broad Gauge) 114 km away from Darjeeling NEAREST AIRPORT: Bagdogra Airport is about 124 km (77 mi) from Gangtok

CLOTHING REQUIRED:

Light woollens and tropicals in summer (umbrellas and raincoats are useful) and heavy woollens in winter.

IMPORTANT ROADS:

National Highway 31A and National Highway 31 link Siliguri to Gangtok A branch of the highway from Melli connects western Sikkim. Towns in southern and western Sikkim are connected to the hill stations of Kalimpong and Darjeeling in northern West Bengal. The state is furthermore connected to Tibet by the mountain pass of Nathu-La.

 
 
PLACES OF INTEREST
  Kingdom of Flowers, Switzerland of the east, The Jewel in the Crown are some of the adjectives used to describe Sikkim.   Sikkim is an ideal destination for eco-tourism, adventure tourism, mountaineering, treks and a sojourn to to the lap of nature with beautiful landscapes and abundance of flora and fauna. It is also a pilgrim centre for devotees, a   land blessed by Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rimpoche the patron saint of Sikkim. From the pristine and unspoiled natural  beauty to the snow capped peaks, alpine landscapes, Luxuriant forests, the rivers,flora and fauna many of them rare, sacred and icy lakes, picturesque waterfalls Sikkim has it all in abundance.

Most tourists visit Sikkim in autumn (October and November) and spring (mid-March to mid-May) when skies are dry, panoramas are clear and temperatures are pleasant. Winters can be cold here, so bring an extra jumper if visiting from December to February. The rainy months (June to September) can be extremely wet and are best avoided.

EAST SIKKIM

Gangtok

Gangtok is the capital of the Sikkim. It derives its name from Gan tok  (Gan means Hill and Tok means Cut ) therefore a hill cut or ridge. It is also the seat of the state administration as well as the headquarters of the east district. The most famous landmark in Gangtok is Mahatma Gandhi Marg(MG Marg ) Which is the main commercial centre. M.G. Marg has been converted into a litter and spit free zone and one can be fined if found going against this rule here. In the Evenings M.G. Marg is closed to vehicular traffic between 5-9 p.m. to give the feel of a Mall and one can take leisurely walks in the evenings with soothing music provided through a PA system by Sikkim police. There is also the Titanic park Where one can sit and relax or read newspapers or chat with friends and acquaintances. Gangtok provides all modern facilities one needs including telecommunication, mobile services and internet facilities.It has a cosmopolitan fee. The citizens residing here are a mix of various communities with their own cultures and traditions but living in perfect harmony and bless. The best things about Gangtok is its cleanliness and traffic management.Gangtok has many places of interest within the town area as well as on the outskirts. While some of these places are within walking distance and can be covered by short treks one can hire a Maruti Van or taxi to take you to the various spots. Most of these places around can be covered in a day and the taxis offer 3 point, 5 point and 7 point sightseeing etc. Another day has to be spared for visiting places in east Sikkim like Tsomgo lake and Nathu-la Pass etc.

Enchey Monastery

It is located above Gangtok, a kilometers drive uphill from the main market. One can get a good views of the Kanchendzonga from the monastery. it is also an architectural marvel and is a sacred monastery of the Nyingma pa order of Buddhism. It was built in 12901 by Chogyal Sidkeong Tulku. Lama Druptob Karpo a high Buddhist practitioner is said  to have resided here,where the monastery was built. Despite being damaged by earthquakes, the monastery is a heritage site of importance. The annual Kagyed dances are held here each year on the 18th and 19th day of the twelfth month  of the lunar calendar heralding the new year and end of all harvests.

Tashi View Point

Built by the late King of Sikkim Sir. Tashi Namgyal, it is situated 7 km from Gangtok town from where one can get a panaromic view of the mountain ranges, clear view of opposite hills, besides Mt. Khangchendzonga and also the sunrise in the early morning.  one can see breathtaking views of the hills and the valley around. A cafeteria and the New Observatory Tower is an ideal place to take shots from cameras.

 Ganesh Tok

Located above Gangtok from here one can get an aerial view of Gangtok. A temple devoted to Lord Ganesh, it is more polular as a view point from where one  can get a panoramic views  around. Next to Ganesh Tok is the Pinetum, a woods of pine trees an ideal place to take a walk in solitude. Further from Ganesh Tok is the Smriti Van maintained by the state forest department where one can plant a tree or a sapling in memory of near and dear ones.

 Hanuman Tok

It is a popular belief that one’s wishes can can come true if you pray here. Hanuman Tok  maintained and perched on the hill top above Gangtok at a height of 7000 ft. Close to the Hanuman Tok is “Lukshyama” the cremation ground of the Royal family of Sikkim.

Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology(NRIT)

Located in Deorali, this ia a store house of Tibetan Buddhism and is probably the biggest and the only one of its kind in the country.It is also renowned all over the world. It houses old Tibetan manuscripts and is the biggest library of books on Tibetan and Buddhism. It also houses an archive on Buddhist talismans, tools and practices.it is also a research centre. Some of the original teachings of the Buddha and the sacred texts of the Buddhist Kangyur and Tengyur can also be found here.It is open on all days except Sundays.   The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, after the late Chogyal of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal whose brainchild it was has since become one of the most prestigious depository of Tibetan literature, rare manuscripts, paintings, thangkas, statues and religious objects and other works of art and history. Today, it is a renowned worldwide centre for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion. 

Of late several photo exhibitions are held here regularly where old and rare photographs of Sikkim, its peoples and royalty are displayed.

Flower Show Complex:

At the Flower Show Complex one can find Sikkim’s world famous orchids on Show, along with seasonal flowers and bonsai. During tourist seasons like March- April, competitions are held to choose the best orchids, which are then displayed to the delight of the public.

Directorate of Handlooms and Handicrafts: Established in 1957, the Directorate of Handlooms and Handicrafts promotes and preserves the fine traditional arts and crafts of Sikkim state. Exquisitely carved wooden friezes and intricate bamboo work, along with beautiful hand-woven carpets and handloomed textiles are produced, exhibited and sold here. Tourists can watch the artisans at work to better understand their skills and works. Most famous purchase can be Choktse “Classic Tibetan Designed Table”  portable wooden tables with ornately-carved panels that can be folded for transport also.  
Do-Drul Chorten Deorali:

Do- Drul Chorten is also located very close to the NRIT near Deorali and is a stupa belonging to the Nyingma-pa Sect of Buddhism. It was built by Trul Shik Rimpoche, the head of the Nyingma-pa order. Now a  days, his eminence the Dro-Dupchen Rimpoche resides in the Chorten. An Institute of higher Buddhist studies is also located close by. It also has a monastery where large statues of Lord Buddha and Padmasambhava are located.

 
Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal Park

“This park is located next to the research institute and is named after the last ruler of Sikkim Palden Thondup Namgyal who is also the founder of NRIT. The Statue of the Chogyal is located in the park Which  also houses an orchidarium.  It is open to public on days and one can relax and spend time in the park.A life-size bronze statue of the late Chogyal, (Religious King ) is one of the main attractions along with a quiet gazebo perfect for meditation and reflection.

Ban Jhakri Water Falls  & Energy Park

If magic and mysticism catches one’s fancy, then about half hour drive from Gangtok will take to the Ban Jhankri Falls, a park built on and around the local folklores of shamanism and witch-doctors in Sikkim. It is built by Government of Sikkim to attract the tourist to enjoy half day sightseeing in and around Banjhakri Water Falls. Here one can find the workmanship of statues of ethnic Banjhari and Lamlamhe. Solar-powered lamps guide one through the pathways of the park that houses statues depicting the various characters and rituals of Shamanism in different cultures of Sikkim. 

Sa-Ngor-Chotshog Centre

At just half an hour’s drive from Gangtok, Sa Ngor Chotshog Centre is the only monastery of the Sakya order of Buddhism and  Tibetan refugee monastic institution established in 1961 by his Eminence Luding Khen Rimpoche, Head of Ngorpa, sub-sect of the Sakya Order, with the blessing of H.H. Sakya Trizin and H.H. the Dalai Lama.It is located on a beautiful hill-top just 5 kms away from Gangtok Sikkim.

Saramsa Garden

About 14 kms from outside Gangtok on the way to Siliguri lies the Ipecac Garden popularly known as ‘Saramsa Garden’, named after the medicinal Ipecac plant which grows there, the gardens is the home of Sikkim’s most exotic orchids and other rare tropical and temperate plants. Established and maintained by the Department of Forest, it is an excellent recreation and picnic spot.

Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden

Half a kilometer from Gangtok before reaching Rumtek Monastery, and maintained by the parks and Gardens unit of the Forest Department of the Government of Sikkim, the Garden is an enchanting and soothing experience among the lush green vegetation, rare plants and trees and certain species of Himalayan flowers and Orchids. Here one can find a mixture of well tended tropical and temperate plants and trees and huge green house containing many flowers. 

Rumtek Monastery & Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre

Rumtek Monastery is situated 24 kms away from Gangtok. It includes the World Dharma Chakra Centre, Which is the sect of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, Who is the head of the Kargyud order of Tibetan Buddhism. Behind the main monastery is the lavishly decorated Karmae Nalanda Institute of Buddhist studies, Which attracts students from all over the world. Opposite the entrance to the institute is a small hall featuring the jewel studded Golden Stupa, which contains the ashes and remains of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. According to legend, upon finishing a lengthy meditation retreat, the first Karmapa  was visited by 10,000 fairies, each  one of whom congratulated him by offering a strand of her hair as a gift. These divine hairs were woven into a black hat, which was passed down through the lineage and is still housed at Rumtek Monastery even today. It is a belief and said that unless held on the to by the wearer(who can not be anyone else but Karmapa himself ) or kept in a box, the hat will fly away. These all things in Rumtek monastery are main attraction for tourist and pilgrims.

Tsomgo Lake

only 35 kms. from Gangtok Tsomgo Lake is situated at an altitude of 12,400 ft. The drive from Gangtok takes about 2½ hours by bus. The lake is bout 1 km. long and oval in shape, 50 ft. deep and is regarded extremely Holy. Lakef reezes over in winter and is fed by melting snows from the surrounding mountains. Local legend hold that lamas could forecast the future by studying the colour of the lake’s waters.It is also a home of Brahmini ducks besides stopover for various migratory ducks.

 May and August is flowering season and  it is possible to see variety of flowers in bloom, including the rhododendrons, various species of primulas, blue and yellow poppies, iris and many other species of floras. It is also an ideal habitat of the Red Panda and various species of birds.Open for both the Foreign and Indian nationals. Foreign visitors have to be in a group of two or more and have to apply for the visitors permit through a registered Travel agency.

 Nathu-La Pass

At an altitude of 14,200 ft, the Nathula Pass is  56 kms from Gangtok.  This is the highest point in Sikkim reachable by car without the extra exertion of a trek. However tourists  with heart conditions or concerned about high altitude sickness are advised to avoid this destination. The historically important Nathu La pass was the Gateway to Tibet and was used extensively by traders and porters travelling from Kalimpong and the plains on their way to Shigatse and Lhasa in the land of the Snow. Now open once again after several decades, visiting the pass is once in a lifetime experience. One can walk up to the army personnel with red stars on their caps stand to attention. All around them, the stark alpine landscape is interspersed with delicate primula blossoms and the unique Himalayan rhubarb shrub. Tourist are advised to start for Nathula as early in the day as possible to avoid inclement weather which typically arises in the afternoon.     Nathu la is open only for Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.The visitors have to get the permit to visit the place by applying to the Tourism Department through a registered Travel Agency. 

Baba Harbhjan Sigh Memorial Mandir

Built in memory of Harbhajan Singh, a lost sepoy from the 23rd Punjab Regiment, the Temple lies between the Nathu la and Jelep La passes. Legends has it that he appeared to his colleagues in a dream a few days after he went missing and requested that a monument be built in his memory. His fellow soldiers then erected this monument, Which over the years acquired the status of a pilgrimage site. Devotees leave a bottle of water, Which they collect a few days later to take back home, blessed by the spirit of this hardy soldier.

Aritar

Aritar is a Small Village about 4 hrs drive from Gangtok takes you to reach this beautiful Village. Which gives you a pleasure of perfect place to experience the rhythms of village life. The Aritar Lake also known as Ghati Tso, Welcomes tourist with its cool blue coloured water. One can easily spend a night to enjoy peaceful environment. A trekker’s hut , a few lodges and a private resort provides accommodation

WEST SIKKIM
 West Sikkim is a destination with rich historical heritage and sacred landscape. The Kanchendzonga National Park lies in this area and it is regarded as one of the most important hot spots of biodiversity in India. The West Sikkim spans varying ecological zones from temperature to alpine and the tourist will be stunned by the diverse altitude variations in landscapes, flora and fauna offering a range of tourism activities which includes Trekking, Mountaineering, Paragliding, Village Tourism, Bird watching, pilgrimage and local sightseeing tours etc.     
 Yuksam

The first Chogyal or religious king, of Sikkim was crowned in the original capital of Yuksam in the 1640 s. A short distance from Yuksam are the ruins of Rabdentse, the second capital of the erstwhile kingdom. Yuksam is fast developing into a base for tourists. Local families provides lodging, hire out pack animals and work as guides and porters. They also produce delicious potatoes which can be purchased for your trek.The Yuksam to Dzongri trail begins at Yuksam and has rapidly grown into the most popular trek in Sikkim. Which is known as ‘Goecha-La Trek’ . The trek route takes one to Kanchendzonga National Park, Samiti Lake, and Goecha-La pass. Thick diverse forests envelop one in their pristine environment, while the cliffs, high alpine meadows and cascading streams provide ideal habitats for flora and fauna of all varieties making the trek perfect for both the trekker and bird watching, expeditions.

 Tashiding

Sikkim’s most sacred monastery of Tashiding is perched atop a conical hill. A mere glance at the Tongwa Rongdol Chorten here is believed to absolve you of all sins. Founded around 1716 Tashiding was believed to be the heart of ‘Bayul Demoshong’ “the hidden fruitful valley”. During the famous ‘Bumchu’ festival, a bumpa or vessel containing  holy water is opened and a small quantity distributed to the devotees. The contents of the vessel date back to the 7th century, When Guru Rimpoche is said to have stored sacred soil, water and precious jewels in it from all of the  holy places in India. Each year, the water level is checked as an indicator of the times ahead.

  Dubdi Monastery

  Located on a hilltop above Yuksam at 5580ft.( 17o1 m), stands Dubdi Monastery, the earliest religious institution established after the first Chogyal’s enthronement. Dubdi means ‘ the hermit’s cell’ and this site surrounded by verdant forests is indeed an ideal place for meditation.

 Pelling

Pelling is a relatively new settlement that has only recently become a major stopping point for tourists visiting the region. Located centrally with easy access  to most West Sikkim’s attractions, you can tour the rugged hills, sacred monasteries and historical ruins by day and sleep comfortably in one of  Pelling’s many hotels at night.    

 Pemayangtse Monastery

Not even 2.5 kilometers away from Pelling lies this monastery at an altitude of 6840 feet. Perched on a wooded hilltop, this monastery whose name means “Perfect Sublime Lotus” indeed offers a Sublime view of Kanchendzonga and its foothills. Built during the late 17th century, Pemayangtse is one of the oldest and most important Nyingma monasteries in Sikkim.For generations monks from this monastery had the exclusive right to anoint the reigning sovereign of the land with holy water and Sikkim’s Chogyals required Pemayangtse’s support in order to rule successfully. Only the monks of this monastery, Who come from special Bhutia lineages, are considered to be pure monks of the highest level.    Pemayangtse monastery follows the Mindroling tradition and belongs to the lineage of Lhatsun Chenpo. Tibet’s Mindroling monastery was founded by Minling Terchen Gyurme Dorje, Whose famous daughter Jetsun Migyur Paldon lived near Pemayangtse  and  taught there during her exile. one can still see her stone throne in this monastery, Which is home to 108 monks. With three floors open to public Pemayangtse displays a wealth of Buddhist statues,traditional paintings, ritual texts and wooden masks. On the top floor, one will find the monastery’s main attraction a wooden replica of Zangdog PAlri, the Celestial abode of Guru Padmasambhava, built Serdup Lhundrup Dorje Rimpoche in 1971. With extraordinarily detailed woodwork and bright colours, it offers a feast for the eyes and spirit.Pemayangtse’s annual Cham or Religious dances, are held here on the 28th  and 29 th day of 12th month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar. 

 Sangachoeling Monastery 

It is located on a hilltop about 2 kilometers from Pelling market  and and is sikkim’s second oldest monastery. Constructed by Gyalwa Lhatsun Chenpo in the 17th century , the building maintains its traditional style with wooden floors and ornate wall paintings . It’s  well worth the exertion , since when one reach the top one can relax on a sunny rock and soak up the beautiful view or even enjoy a cup of tea at a newly built guest house.  

 Rabdentse Palace Ruins 

The Second capital of Sikkim was at Rabdentse and the ruins of the fort have extensively renovated by the Archaeological Survey of India to create a historical site . From the roadside gate, a winding track leads through a forest preserve for almost half a kilometer before you arrive at the ruins of the early town and the royal palace. Looking out in all directions, with sacred chortens nearby, it is easy to understand why ancient kings would have chosen this beautiful sheltered hillside for their fortress. 

 Shingshore Suspension Bridge

At 680 feet Shingshore Suspension Bridge is the second highest bridge in Asia, and well  worth a visit. Nearby you will find the Khandu Sangphu  medicinal hot springs and a sacred Cave.

 Khechuperi Lake

The serene Khechuperi Lake lies in a small valley surrounded by prayer flags and forested hills, and is about 90 minutes drive from Pelling along a bumpy road. Its crystalline waters are said to be wish-fullfilling, so take time and must visit lake. Which is just lies 1.5 kilometers further on. 

Hilley-Barsey  Rhododendron Sanctuary

 The Hilley-Barsey  Rhododendron Sanctuary is one of five wildlife sanctuaries Where you can view an enormous variety of Rhododendrons, in addition to many medicinal herbs and plants. Ringchenpong is the base for treks to the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary and the Singalila Range. The panoramic views of Kanchendzonga from here is also main attraction for trekkers.  

NORTH SIKKIM
North Sikkim has the largest land area but the smallest population of Sikkim’s four districts. Home to the indigenous Bhutia and Lepcha populations, the rugged terrain offers snow capped peaks laced with plunging waterfalls, fir forests dimpled with alpine pastures and medicinal hot springs bubbling out of rhododendron groves. The North Sikkim is famous for its stunning mountain views and many lakes of considerable size. Cho Lhamu at 17000 ft. and Yum Tsho at 16000 ft.  lie in the extreme north at the source of the Teesta river, While the southeast corner of the district boasts the lakes of Chola, Chokam, Yakla, Bhymsa or Jusa, Ninyetso and Beduntso at heights varying from 10,000 to 15000 ft. North Sikkim with its capital at Mangan has retained its typical Sikkimese culture and religious traditions. The Local Bhutia communities here are proud of their distinctive heritage, and typically derive their last names from the villages in which they live, with Lachenpas and Lachungpas hailing from mountain settlements with these names. These communities continue to rely on Dzumsa, traditional village councils, to manage local issues. Unique to sikkim, these councils are responsible for maintaining law and order and overseeing grazing cultivation and the population’s seasonal  movements.Little can be done without the permission of the Pipon, the chairman of the Dzumsa Village council.  
 Chungthang

Driving north one first reach Chungthang, a small town that straddles the confluence of the Lachen and Lachung rivers. One can purchase supplies here for onward journey, since little is available in both Lachung and Lachen.

 Lachung

Continuing to the northeast from Chungthang one soon arrive at Lachung, an exquisite valley town at a height of 8610 ft.. Resplendent with a crown of snow capped mountains, breathtaking waterfalls and sparkling streams, it is no wonder that as early as 1855, Joseph Dalton describe it as the most picturesque village of Sikkim in his famed Himalayan Journal.

 Yumthang

Less than an hour’s drive further north from Lachung, you will reach Yumthang at 11800 ft, Where the treeline ends and the high plateau begins. Also known as the “Valley of Flowers” on account of the rhododendron groves that burst into bloom and the wild alpine blossoms which dot the landscape during the spring season, Yumthang is also home to hot springs renowned for their medicinal properties. Take a dip and revel in the healing serenity of Sikkim’s mountain waters.

 Lachen

Lachen is a town in North Sikkim.It is located at an elevation of 2,750 metres. The name Lachen means “big pass”. The town is being promoted as a tourist destination by the Sikkimese government. The town forms the base to the Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake. An annual yak race, the Thangu is held here in summer. Lachen is about 129 kilometres (80 mi) from the capital Gangtok, and can be reached via a six-hour road journey. A short two-day-long trekking route also connects the Yumthang Valley to Lachen. It has a population of around 1,000. Lachen has its own system of rules and regulations known as Dzumsa. The heads of the Dzumsa are known as Pipon and Gyenbos. To the north there is the old town of Thangu where the daytime temperature varies from 4 to 12 degrees Celsius (40 to 55 °F), even in the months of June and July. Gurudongmar Lake can be reached from Lachen, a sacred lake in the Great Himalayas Region.

 Chopta Valley

Chopta Valley is situated in North Sikkim . It is located at an altitude of 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea level. It is a popular area for tourism containing alpine vegetation, orchids, rhododendrons and other high-altitude vegetation.

Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar Lake  is one of the highest lakes in the world, located at an altitude of 17,800 ft. in Sikkim. It is a lake which is considered sacred by both Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus. The lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, founder of Tibetan Buddhism who visited the lake in the 8th century. The lake is not only blessed by Guru Padmasambava but also by Guru Nanak, the spiritual leader of Sikhism while he had passed through this area, and hence regarded as sacred The lake can be reached by road from Lachen via Thangu. It is 190 kilometres (120 mi) away from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. The approach road from Thangu to Gurudongmar passes through a rugged and enchanting terrain with “stony moraine”, which has high alpine pastures covered with many rhododendron trees. While Indian tourists are allowed to visit the lake, foreigners need to get a special permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi.

 Phensong Monastery

Phensong Monastery  is situate d on a gentle slope stretching from Kabi to Phodong. it was built in 1840 and belongs to the Nyingma order. It’s name translates as ‘the excellent banner’ or ‘God bless’ and the monastery stands as testimony to the dedication of it’s monks, Who reconstructed it within a year after it burnt down in 1947.

 Phodong Monastery

It is situated about 38 kms from Gangtok and it is recognized for its exquisite mural paintings and frescoes. Built by Chogyal Gyurme Namgyal at the beginning of the 18th century in honour of the His Holiness Karma-pa, Phodong was the first Kagyu monastery to be established in Sikkim.

 Labrang Monastery

It is located slightly uphill from Phodong. Unlike the other monasteries, Which were razed by fires and reconstructed relatively, this one is much older and still retains its original design, It’s name literally means ‘ The Lama’s Dwelling’. 

Tumlong Monastery

Tumlong Monastery is near Phodong monastery.It is belief that, monastery is  a holy spot said to contain relics of the 17th century Lama Lhatsun Chenpo. Tumlong become the third capital of Sikkim in early 19th century. The palace ruins are now covered with a thick canopy of bushes. 

Kabi Lungchok

It is located just before Phodong, around 20 kms to north-west of Gangtok. On this heavily garlanded rock, a blood brotherhood was signed between the Lepcha Chief Thekong Tek and Bhutia Chief, Khye Bumsa, signifying the beginning of Sikkim as a multi-ethnic nation. Right now, an impressive life-size sculpture of the Lepcha and Bhutia ‘Blood-Brothers’ has been added to the grounds. 

Tolung Monastery

Tolung Monastery is one of the remotest and most inaccessible monastery in Sikkim. it is located in the Lepcha heartland of Dzongu. On the western banks of the Teesta in the Southwest reaches of North Sikkim, the Dzongu region is a bastion of indigenous culture and really worth to visit. 

SOUTH SIKKIM
Namchi is the headquarter of South Sikkim. Which is located  78 km. away from Gangtok. Though recently introduced as tourist spot. South Sikkim with its natural beauty and its panoramic locations,pilgrimage centres, ecotourism activities and scenic grandeur now offers multiple options for tourism activities.   Namchi has witnessed the widest range of tourism infrastructure development  in the decade with the installation of the highest statue of patron Saint Guru Padmasambhava (135ft.) at Samdruptse, Siddhesvara Dhaam at Solophok, Rock Garden, Indian Himalayan Centre for Adventure and Eco-Tourism at Chemchey and Buddha Park at Rabongla,  Tendong hill, Maenam hill, hot springs and caves etc are main tourist attraction in South Sikkim.  
Samdruptse

Samdruptse is located on the hill of Namchi, 7 km above Namchi. The popular 135 ft high Statue of Guru Padmasambhava stands here. Which is highest of its kind in the world.

 Pilgrimage-cum-Cultural Centre

The Pilgrimage-cum-Cultural Centre in Solophok, 5 kms from Namchi near the helipad is a representation of Chaar Dhaams. Which is combination of four major Hindu Shrines. The main attraction are Lord Kirateswar statue, 12 Jyotirlingas, a Sai Temple and 108 ft. high statue of Lord Shiva is main feature in the centre. It is already a huge attraction among tourists and locals alike.

Buddha Park  

The Buddha Park hosts a beautiful statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, which is clearly visible from all the directions of southwest Sikkim near Ravangla and some parts of west Sikkim. The park area is beautifully landscaped creating ample walkway, gardens and space for visitors to enjoy the serene surroundings. The site commands beautiful views of the mountains and the spiritual ambience of the location adds to the visitor experience. The site also has additional infrastructure created for a museum meditation centre and for Buddhist conclave.

 Maenam Hill

Situated at an altitude of 10,600 ft and 12 km uphill trek from Ravangla. Which gives the scenic view from this height is, perhaps, unmatched in this part of the world. Mt. Khangchendzonga and its surrounding ranges looms above the dwarf the richly forested and rugged hill. On a clear sunny day,it is possible to see the plains of Bengal spanning across Kalimpong and darjeeling Hills in the South, right across the Indo-China border towards the North. A short distance away is the legendary Bhaley Bhunga, a kind of rocky spur which juts out from the ridge top and remains suspended in the air above Yangang village.

 Temi Tea Garden

Temi Tea Garden was established in the 1960’s by Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal.Timi Tea garden, the most famous and the only tea garden  of the State is located South Sikkim. Which  produces one of the top quality teas in the international market. The tea garden is spread out on a gently hill slope originating from the Tendong Hill and provides a magnificent view for the surrounding villages. The visit to the factory could be an eye opener for those wanting to know more about tea processing methods.

 Karma Rabtenling Monastery

This monastery was built in 1768 at Ralong, Which is 13 km from Ravangla. Legend has it that the 12th Karmapa, head of the Kagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, gave his blessings by throwing some grains of rice from Tibet,  and the monastery was built on the site where they landed. ‘Pang Lhabsol’ and ‘Kagye’ masked dances are held here every year.  Adjacent is a new monastery , Palchen Choeling Monastic Institute, Which is built by the 12th Gyaltsab Rimpoche in 1995. one of the sacred Mahakala Dance is performed here every year in November month. 

 Bon Monastery

The Bon Monastery at Kewzing, Which is located 5 km from Ravangla, is the only one of its kind in Sikkim. It is a symbol of the determination of this minority Tibetan community, Which follows pre-Buddhist traditions, to preserve their own identity.

 Tendong Hill

Tendong Hill is situated at altitude of 8500 ft. and Which means ‘Upraised Horn’ in Lepcha Language. Legend is that, the horn-shaped Tendong Hill rose out of the water during a great flood  to save the Lepchas. Every year at the beginning of the monsoon, locals gather on this hill top to pray that, Such a calamity does not recur. Spectactacular panoramic views of Sikkim and the distant plains of West Bengal reward those who will trek up the hill.  

 THINGS TO DO IN SIKKIM
 Treks  
 Tours  
 Paragliding  
Mountain Biking
Rock Climbing   
Rafting   
Nature Study Camp   
 Adventure Camp  
Bike Tours   
One day Camping    
DO’S and DON’TS
DO’S 
Always travel with a guide where it necessary.  
Respect our local culture and use taking permission for restricted places before taking photographs.  
Dress modestly. Be aware of the customs and manners and culture of the local people.  
follow designated route and trails.  
It is customary to leave a donation at a monastery and to circle shrines in clockwise direction.  
Avoid littering and deposit garbage at designated places.  
Keep all pollutants away from streams and lakes.  
learn local culture and spread it.  
 

DON’TS
Don’t spit in a religious area   
Don’t pluck plants or flowers.  
Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or talk loudly near sacred places.  
Don’t buy endangered species or antiques.  
Don’t disturb wildlife or its habitat.  
Don’t make any type of bad comments about religion, and politics.
 HOW TO REACH SIKKIM
Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state located in the Himalayan mountains. The state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China’s Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the east. The Indian state of West Bengal lies to the south.According to legend, the Buddhist guru Padmasambhava visited Sikkim in the 8th century CE, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the Sikkimese monarchy. Sikkim’s Namgyal dynasty was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. In the 19th century, it allied itself with British India, eventually becoming a British protectorate. In 1975, a referendum abolished the Sikkimese monarchy, and the territory instead became part of India.
Nearest Airport:

The Bagdogra Airport is nearest airport, which is about 123 km in distance from Gangtok take approximately 4 hrs drive.  

Nearest Railway’s Station:

The two closest railways stations are Siliguri Junction (114 km)  and New Jalpaiguri Junction ‘NJP’ (125 km) from Gangtok. These railway stations have direct railways connection with Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and other major cities of India.

Road way of Gangtok are connected  with  Kalimpong, Darjeeling, and siliguri.

Some important road ways of Gangtok with distance are as follows:

New jalpaiguri  (NJP) – Gangtok about 125 km. Time Duration 4 1/2 hours

Siliguri Junction- Gangtok – 114 kms. Time Duration 4 hours

 kalimpong -Gangtok -73 kms. Time Duration 3 hrs.

Gangtok – Darjeeling 115kms