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Ravinder Malik Jun 30 2015

Explore the unexplored in Sikkim

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Take the road less travelled this season and visit Sikkim, the wonder from Eastern India. There is something for everyone here, whether you are a trekker, nature lover or just a photo enthusiast, Sikkim will not disappoint you!

1. Ravangla

A trekker’s paradise,this small town in Sikkim is worth a visit for its interesting and beautiful treks to places like Maenam Hill, Reshi Hot Spring and Tendong Hill. The trek from Ravangla to Maenam is the best one if you want to see the exotic flora and fauna without spending too much time.


Ravangla

Don’t miss the 3-day long Phang Lhabsol Festival if you are planning to visit the place between August and September. The local festival is celebrated with much ardour and fervour, beautifully showcasing the tradition and culture of Sikkim.


Ravangla City

Distance from Gangtok: Approximately 65 km.

2. Yumthang Valley

At 11,000 ft above sea level and 150 km from Gangtok, Yumthang Valley is nothing short of spectacular heavenly view. The tiny villages and monasteries add character and colour to the natural beauty and picturesque sights of northern Sikkim.


Yumthang Valley

Yumthang is a vibrant valley of flowers, including large rhododendrons and orchids. The Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary here has over 20 varieties of rhododendron. It looks breathtaking during winters with snow all over, but accessibility might be a problem between December -March as the roads remain blocked due to heavy snowfall.


Yumthang Valley

3. Namchi

A vacation in Namchi spells out verdant valleys and misty mountains with a dash of lush greenery and beautiful monasteries. Located approximately 80 km south-west of Gangtok, the hilly town offers lovely views of the Kanchendzonga Range.


Namchi Monastery by black vanilla

Namchi also offers convenient options for short treks in adjoining areas. Be a part of the famous Namchi Mahotsav if you are there in months of October and November. Sikip, just 10 km from Namchi, is located on the banks of the river Rangeet and makes for an excellent fishing spot and riverside camping. Don’t miss the sprawling Temi Tea Garden, one of the oldest tea estates in Sikkim.


Temi Tea Garden

4. Lachen

Located at a height of 9,000 ft and 126 km north of Gangtok, Lachen is a picturesque Lepcha village. This beautiful place serves as a gateway to Gurudongmar Lake and Chopta Valley.


Lachen

It is one of those areas where the Sikkim government has recently allowed tourists and that is the reason why it still remains untouched and unexplored, leaving a lot to be seen and experienced.


Gurudongmar Lake

5. Pelling

Pelling is a dream destination for trekkers with a number of interesting and exciting trekking trails. Plan a trip to Pelling for lovely mountains walks and unmatched views of the snow-capped mountains from your hotel windows.


Peymayangtse Monastery

Visit the famous Pemayangtse Monastery to know what “bliss” actually means! Sanga Choeling, the second oldest gompa in Sikkim, is perched on a ridge above the town and is a 40 minute walk from the monastery. Don’t forget to visit Rabdentse to take a close look at the ruins of the erstwhile capital of Sikkim. It has been recently excavated and restored by the ASI.


Rabdentse

6. Yuksom

Located 112 km from Gangtok is the city of Yuksom, which was the first capital of Sikkim. This is where the Namgyal dynasty rule began when Phuntsog Namgyal was consecrated as the first Chogyal in 1642. It is a must-visit if you want to know more about the history of Sikkim as it is not just a one-street village.


Yuksom

It takes about an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Pelling to get to Yuksom and enroute one can enjoy the views of the gushing Rimbi Waterfall. Khecheopalri, an hour’s drive from Yuksom, gets many visitors. Khecheopalri, literally means ‘wishing lake’ and has a diameter of 500 m and is situated in a bowl-like structure.

7. Tashiding

A scenic paradise near Pelling, Tashiding is home to the famous Tashiding Monastery. Built in 1716, Tashiding means ‘elevated glorious white rock’. The chief attraction of Tashiding is its holy chorten (a monolith shaped like a sarcophagus), the most common religious symbol in Sikkim. Called Thong-Wa-Rang-Dol, the very sight of this monolith is supposed to wash away all sins.


Photo by Retlaw Snellac Photography

8. Rumtek

Just an hour’s drive from Gangtok, Rumtek is a quiet retreat which is blessed with picturesque natural beauty. It is home to the Rumtek Monastery, one of the most famous monasteries in Sikkim.


Rumtek Monastery

There are actually two Rumtek monasteries, separated by a distance of about a kilometre-and-a-half. The first one was built way back in 1740 and can still be seen, but is hardly visited by any tourists. The new, and far more imposing, monastery complex was built in the 1960s, largely with the personal resources of the Gyalwa Karmapa, and is the seat of the Kargyu-pa (Black Hat) order of Tibetan Buddhism. Rumtek also offers other sightseeing options and adventure activities such as trekking and whitewater rafting.


Photo by souravdas

9. Zuluk

Once a transit point to Silk Route, this small hamlet is like a connecting point for places like Padamchen, Lungthung, Nathang, Kupup Lake, Tukla Valley which fall under the Silk Route circuit. An emerging destination in Sikkim, Zuluk is all about natural beauty and unmatched sunrise views.



Silk Route of Zuluk

Zuluk has some lovely home stay options where you can enjoy a comfortable stay amidst decent facilities.

10. Gangtok

Last but not the least, Gangtok is there in the list of people visiting Sikkim. Like in any other hill station, Gangtok’s most accessible peaks have been converted into viewing points but we are not complaining!



Gangtok has the usual huddle of souvenir shops, though the greatest bargains can be found outside Gangtok. In the city, most people make a beeline for the Handicraft Cottage Emporium situated below Raj Bhawan.

We are sure you are already planning your next trip to Sikkim after reading about these places! Happy vacation.

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