Sikkim
The paradise of mountains and monks

Welcome to Sikkim

Endowed with a distinct persona, Sikkim was an enchanting mountain kingdom till 1975 and it still retains its old-world charm. It is a perfect example of harmony which majestically reflects in the co-existence of mural adorned traditional monasteries of Tibetian Buddhism and the Hindu temples of the Hindu communities, both together making Sikkim a rich heritage land and a great travel destination.

Take a stroll around some of the world’s highest lakes, catch glimpses of mind-blowing views of the snow-capped mountains, gorge on the delicious traditional food at Gangtok, explore the colourful bazaars for beautiful handicrafts, enjoy tracking at The Goecha La with the backdrop of the third highest mountain range in the world, Kanchenjunga, treat your senses with jaw-dropping valleys dotted with flowers and landscapes, experience peace by spending some time at the monasteries and much more. You can experience and enjoy all this at Sikkim, the sparkling jewel of North East India.

Sikkim is not just a great tourist destination in terms of beauty and adventure but has also set a new standard for responsible travel in India.

Major attractions of Sikkim

Lakes

Gurudongmar Lake

This fascinating lake is located quite close, just 5 km away from the Tibetan border, at an altitude of 17,800 ft in Sikkim. It is one of the highest lakes in the world and is held in high regard by the Buddhists of the state. The water sources of this lake are snowmelt from the Tibetan plateau and glaciers. If you visit the lake in the winter, you will find it frozen, so the appropriate time to visit this lake is from March to June when. The surrounding environment of the lake is home to a plenty of high-altitude wildlife such as blue sheep and yak. It is around 5 hours drive from the capital city Gangtok.

Tsomgo Lake

Located at an altitude of 12,000 ft, this lake is truly a gem of Sikkim. It is surrounded by mountains and its water is serene. Its beauty attracts tourists from far and wide. It sprawls for a kilometer in length and is considered holy by Buddhists. In summer the crystal clear lake looks amazing as it reflects the blue colour of the sky. This lake is a great halt on the way to the famous Nathu La Pass. It is around 40 km from Gangtok.

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Gardens

Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden

Refresh yourself with the fragrance of a wide variety of colourful flowers and other plants and trees at the Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden in Sikkim. With its amazing beauty, it would be no exaggeration to call this garden a paradise for nature lovers. The garden is punctuated with lovely layouts, Sikkim endemic trees, several types of orchids and more than 50 species of trees Spend some time at this garden and you will surely feel refreshed to the hilt! The garden is located at a short distance from the famous Rumtek Monastery and around 24 km from Gangtok.
Other lovely gardens of Sikkim are Temi Tea Garden, Saramsa Garden and Sewaro Rock Garden.

Monasteries

Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery, also known as Dharma Chakra, is the largest Gompa in Sikkim. It reflects a rich cultural heritage of Tibetan Buddhism in India. The complex of the monastery signifies the greatness of sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, who wanted to spread the teachings of Buddha throughout the world. The monastery is located only 23 km from Gangtok. One of the major highlights of this monastery is the Golden Stupa where pilgrims, monks, and visitors perform Kora (a stringed instrument). Other significant spots to visit in the monastery are the main Buddhist temple, nunnery and protector’s shrine and Karma Shri Nalanda Institute (a college for higher studies in Buddhism). In summers the monastery open from 8 am to 5 pm and in winters from 10 am to 5 pm.

Other wonderful monasteries you can visit in Sikkim are Pemayangste, Tashiding,  Enchey , Phensang , Ralong and Phodang.

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Mountain Passes

Nathu La Pass

A must-visit destination, Nathu La is located at a height of 14,500 ft. It serves as a significant trade link between India and China. You can enjoy breathtaking views of the snow-covered mountain peaks from this Pass. It is an important military post of the Indian Army so one needs special permission (to be taken 24 hours in advance) from the Army authorities in Gangtok. It remains open for specific days in a week. The road to this Pass is prone to landslide and avalanches so it is advisable to check the weather forecast before heading to this Pass.

Other famous mountain passes of Sikkim are Jelep La Pass, Dongkia Pass and Chiwabhanjang Pass.

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Adventure in Sikkim

Trekking

It would be no exaggeration to say that Sikkim is a paradise for trekking lovers. The trekking trails of Sikkim beckon you to enjoy and experience picture-perfect landscapes, gorgeous green slopes, arresting orchards, milky glaciers, sparkling streams apart from oodles of adventure and thrill. Some of the famous trekking routes of Sikkim are Yuksom-Dzongri-Goecha La Trek, Green Lake Trek, Rhododendron Trek and the world famous Kanchenjunga Trek.

River Rafting

River Teesta is a well-known destination for river rafting in Sikkim. Its strong rapids make the rafting experience thrilling and exciting. On your river rafting tour, you will pass through scenic villages, dense forests, and gorgeous green terraced farms.

Hang Gliding and Para Gliding

These two adventure sports in Sikkim will surely push your adrenaline into high gear! Treat your senses with the amazing views of mighty mountains, lush meadows, flower valleys, thick forests and breathtaking glaciers.

Yak Safari

A trip to Sikkim is incomplete without experiencing a Yak safari. This safari can be best enjoyed at destinations like Chopta and Dzongri Valley and Tsomgo Lake. Getting photographed atop a yak is fun!

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Sikkim Destinations

Sikkim must-visit destinations

Gangtok- The Capital City

Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim ideally located in the eastern Himalayan range. The city has a pleasant climate and lots of attractions to keep your adrenaline level high. You will meet people of mixed ethnicity in this city which itself adds charm to its culture. The history of this destination dates back to the 18th century. The monasteries are found in abundance here making you feel spirituality in the air. The breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga Mountains will surely sweep you off your feet. The city also has great places to treat your taste buds with amazing food.

Some of the must-visit tourist attractions of Gangtok are Enchey Monastery, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Do-Drul Chorten, Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok and Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms emporium.

Pelling

This beautiful hamlet located in the West Sikkim offers mesmerizing views of the majestic Kanchenjunga range. Its picturesque surrounding and pleasant and serene environment attract many tourists here. Some of the must-see attractions of Pelling are Pemayangtse Monastery, Khecheopalri Lake, Rabadantse Ruins, Singshore Bridge and Dentam Valley. Pelling can be reached from Gangtok by covering a distance of 115 km.

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Ravangla

Located in the South Sikkim, Ravangla is a perfect place to get soaked in the natural beauty marked with snow-capped mountains, gorgeous waterfalls, lovely villages and fresh mountain air. What else one would need for relaxation and rejuvenation. Ravangla offers several other attractions such as Ralang Monastery, Buddha Park, and Ralong Hot Springs.

Lachung and Yumthang

When you are travelling around North Sikkim, it would be a great idea to spend a day or two at Lachung and Yumthang to experience the taste of a village in Sikkim. Lachung is a mesmerizing riverside town which never fails to win the hearts of travelers with its natural beauty, and Yumthang is a quaint valley interspersed with several kinds of wildflowers. At these two wonderful destinations, you will be greeted with rivers, picture-perfect valleys, villages, waterfalls and majestic views of the snow-covered Himalayas. It is a fantastic getaway from urban life.

Culture of Sikkim

Sikkim is home to people from diverse religions, communities and cultures. The most dominant communities here are the Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. It is a multi-lingual state where Nepali, Hindi and even English are spoken by the people. The predominant religion in Sikkim is Buddhism. Many colourful fairs and festivals are celebrated in this state. International Flower Festival, Losoong festival, Losar festival and Tendong Lho Rum Faat festivals are a few to name.

Sikkim Cuisine

When you travel to Sikkim, do not forget to try its traditional delicacies which will be a great treat for your taste-buds. The people here come from different ethnic backgrounds such as Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese and hence the cuisine of Sikkim is highly influenced by these groups. Rice, meat and poultry are the major foods used in making a variety of local culinary delights. Fermented beverages are also a popular part of the cuisine. Some of the traditional dishes of Sikkim that you must try are momos, thupka, kinema curry, gundruk and sinki soup, sel roti, pakku, mesu and Sishnu.

Shopping in Sikkim

Take a stroll through the local bazaars of Sikkim for a variety of beautiful handicrafts to take back home lovely souvenirs. The beauty of the famous Thangka painting is beyond words. Other things that you can buy are prayer wheels, Choksee tables (foldable tables with delicate Tibetan carvings), blankets, carpets and woolens crafted with traditional Sikkimese motifs and dyes. The edible souvenirs that you must buy are dried cheese made of yak milk, and Temi tea.

How to reach Sikkim

By Air: Bagdogra Airport of West Bengal is the nearest airport from Sikkim (124 km away from Gangtok). It is well connected to the major cities of India and Bangkok. Regular flights connect it easily to the metropolitan cities like Delhi, Kolkata etc., of the country.
By Rail: Jalpaiguri (188 km) and Siliguri (145v km) are the nearest railway stations from Sikkim. Most of the major towns are well connected to Sikkim through these railway stations.
By Road: The neighbouring towns and cities of Sikkim are well connected to it through cabs and public transport.

Best time to visit Sikkim

The most favourable time to visit Sikkim is during summer (April to June) when the temperature is pleasant (ranges between 5 degree Celsius to 25 degree Celsius).

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