Sikkim is one of the fond tourist destinations due to its splendid awe-inspiring mountainous views, the fresh rhododendrons bushes, firs and deodars, mighty waterfalls, monasteries and gompa’s that will ever keep your camera busy. Read on to learn more about the Sikkim Tourist Places.
The panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains makes Sikkim a beauty that soothes the eye of the beholder. The flowery meadows and the peaceful environment of Sikkim attract tourists. Sikkim is crowned by Mt. Khangchendzonga which is the third highest mountain in the world. The winters are magnificent with snow and the summers are pleasant. The simple lifestyle and culture of the people gives a special effect to Sikkim. It comprises a total area of 7,096 km with its capital Gangtok.
The name “Sikkim” is given by Nepalese which means “the new place” while the Bhutias call it “Demazong” that signifies paddy fields. The original inhabitants of Sikkim are the Lepchas who consider the place as the “abode of the Gods” naming it Nye-mae-el-lang. Teesta river accompanies Sikkim which is a tributary of the Brahmaputra River. The south of Sikkim has West Bengal. Sikkim is the best way to discover Eastern Himalayas. With travelling as hobby and a small duration of travel Sikkim suits the schedule.one does not need a lot of planning. When there is no pre-planned schedule and there is sudden urge to go for a holiday to relax from the busy humdrum life the choice of Sikkim will never go wrong.
How to Reach Sikkim
The nearest stations are New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. There are also buses that take the tourists to NJP station and from there one can get buses or rented cars to different parts of Sikkim. The nearest airport of Sikkim is the Bagdogra Airport in North Bengal which is 124 kms from Gangtok.
Sikkim Tourists Places
Chungthang lies at the emerging point of the river Teesta. The joining point of the two passes Lachen and Lachung is Chungthang. The place is well known as it considered being the place where the Holy Guru Ihedu has left his mark. There are different kinds of orchids, plants and wildlife making it a place rich in biodiversity.
Singiek is the best place to have the view of the mountain peak of Khangchendzonga. The surrounding hills have natural trails that take around 3 days to travel to the higher lands.
Kabi Lungtsok is a region that is 17 kms from Gangtok. It has a historical significance. The place is marked as the place of treaty of brotherhood between Bhutia Chief Khey-Bum-Sar and Lepcha Chief Te-Kung-Tek. There is a stone pillar surrounded by dense forests.
Yumthang is the place for nature lovers. Its 140 kms elevated from Gangtok. The scenery is simply magnificent with flora and fauna.”Tsa-Chu” is a hot spring which is considered to have the power of healing and curing. The valley gets covered with rhododendron in the season of May. Nearby is the village Lachung is a quiet place to stay which has untold beauty of lifestyle. From Lachung one can travel to Yumesamdong or the Zero Point. The temperature is very low and the altitude very high. The place is covered in snow and sometimes people faces problems of breathing due to the high altitude. The other places are Mangan, Gurudongmar Lake, Kabi and Singhik.
Namtse, the headquarters of the south district of Sikkim is magnificent for the snow-capped mountain peaks and the beautiful valleys. The word Namtse means sky high and the place suits the name because of its elevated height of 5500 ft. the place is 78kms from Gangtok.
Tendong Hill is a forest area with full of greenery. The place is peaceful and from the top of the Tendong Hill one can view the Himalayan ranges. One can trek through this area to proceed towards Namtse. The place is suitable for trekking all over the year but monsoon is a little problematic due to the overgrowing leaches.
Ravangla is situated at the base of Maenam Hill. It is a small peaceful town to stay. It is also a transit point for trekkers. There are nature trails along which one can reach the “Shar Chok Bhepu” which is a sacred cave.
The other notable places at South Sikkim are the Maenam Hill, Borong, Jorethang and Varsey which can be visited through trekking. Varsey has a rhododendron sanctuary. There are also several Buddhist monasteries. The Temi Tea garden is located in south Sikkim. Another Religious place worth visits is the Chardham that comprises all the important temples all over India.
Pelling is the urban settlement in Pelling. The town is divided into upper Pelling and Lower Pelling. The Pemayangtse Monastery is near to Pelling.
The Khecheopalri Lake is a holy lake for the Buddhist with a monastery. The lake has wide variety of fishes. Any interested tourist can stay in the trekker hut available there which is known as the Pilgrim Hut. Dentam is a village situated in West Sikkim. The place is surrounded by floral beauty of rhododendrons. Trekking and Mountaineering are available here. Sombaria is an ideal place for birdwatching. Rangit River flows through this area. Rinchenpong in the western part of Sikkim is famous for its beautiful sunrise and sunset points over the mountains. The area has rich forests covering the area with flora and fauna. It also has a historic value.
Other places to visit in west Sikkim are Soreng, Varsey, Gyalshing, Legship, Tashiding, Uttarey, Yuksam and HeeBermoik.
There is the Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom where traditional arts and craft works are available. The workers make everything with their hand. The handloom and the handmade carpets, shawls and blankets are worth a buy. The visiting hours are Monday to Saturday-9.30 to 12.30 and 1 pm to 3 pm. The flower festival is also famous in the area. During spring there is variety of orchids that colours the valley and flower shows are organised. These shows are organised near the White Hall. The White Hall is a British Made building made in 1932. It is a two-storeyed building made in the memory of Claude White, the First Political Officer of Sikkim. A badminton court is there inside the premises of The White Hall.
Above Gangtok, there is a Ridge Garden where there is Mintogang, an official residence. It is beautifully decorated with a pagoda rooftop and a Palace Gate., The decoration depicts the Tibetan Architecture.
There is stupa named Do-Drul Chorten built in 1945. This is one of the most important stupas of Sikkim. There are 108 prayer wheels. These prayer wheels are turned to worship Bodhisattva.
The Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology is the ideal place to find the rare manuscripts of the Lepcha and the Tibetan community. It is a renowned institute all over the world. It is open every day of the year from 10 am to 4 pm.
The Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre built in 1960 is traditional in its design. It contains several religious art objects. The Tashi viewpoint is one of the best viewpoints to enjoy the view of Mt Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu. If one loves bird watching Then Ganesh Tok is the right place to visit. There is a cafeteria to accompany the watchers with snacks and coffee. Another 11 kms from Gangtok one can visit the religious ground of Hanuman Tok which is temple for the Hindus.
Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 51.76 sq.km. Several ferns and wild orchids are found along with rhododendrons, oak, bamboo, kimbu and katus. There are also a large variety of wild animals and the best time to visit is from October to April.
One can also visit the famous Changu Lake, Rumtek monastery, and the Nathula Pass. From the Nathula Pass one can see the old Silk Route and a slice of the Great Wall of China.
Things to Remember
A guide is any essential for travel in the different places over Sikkim. As it is a hilly area it is advisable to be safe during monsoons. Lakes and streams should not be polluted. Photography should be done that does not disturb the local habitat. While circling the shrines it should be kept in mind to move it in clockwise directions. The antiques and endangered plants or things should not be taken without permission. The place is for scenic beauty. Any malpractice will spoil the beauty of the place. Smoking, drinking and talking loudly is prohibited in religious places. The rules are to be followed respecting the culture and heritage. Plants and Flowers are a part of the nature. It suits to be in nature rather than the hands of visitors. Devour its beauty not its presence.
The cost of the tour varies as per the facilities availed by visitors. A family of four for a standard tour will have to spent Rs19700, whereas the deluxe is at Rs24700, super deluxe at Rs 28500, luxury at Rs 39800 and premium at Rs 52700. Hotels are also available accordingly. Child below 5 years is complimentary. The tour plan of 10 nights and 11 days will cover most of the places of Sikkim but for a little more one can easily add few more days. Spring, summer and monsoon are the time for Religious tours, conference tourism, wellness tourism, village tourism, eco and wildlife tourism and adventure tourism while winter is the perfect time for the snow-peaked mountains and to enjoy the festivals of the place Sikkim. For trekking purposes one has to take the permit from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Issues Protected Area Permit (PAP) at Gangtok. This is only necessary if the trekking group has one or more foreigners. All these procedure are taken care of if the tourists contact a registered travel agency.