Sikkim – The Land Blessed With Abundant Natural Beauty
Located in the foothills of Himalaya, Sikkim is folded with all the natural beauties, which can leave any traveller spellbound. This second smallest state of India is enclosed by Nepal to the west, Bhutan to the east, Tibet to the north & east and West Bengal hanging to the south. The topography of the place is comprised of hilly terrain, mountain peaks, glaciers, innumerable rivers & rivulets, several mountain passes, hot springs, high altitude lakes and around one third thick forested area of the entire land. Due to its postcard beauty, culture and biodiversity, the state is one of the popular tourist destinations in the north east India.
Best time to visit Sikkim
The beautiful state of Sikkim usually enjoys temperate climate all over the year and hosts five seasons in a year – winter, summer, spring, autumn and monsoon. During winters i.e. December to February, the temperature varies from 4° C to 7° C with rare snowfall. During monsoon – June to September the state becomes prone to landslides and rivers and roads becomes difficult to pass. The best season to visit the state is from March to initial June and from September to November, when the place gets soaked in mild temperature ranging from 15° C to 22° C.
State’s Special (March Edition)
BEST DESTINATIONS TO VISIT IN SIKKIM
- Tsomgo Lake
Placed at a high elevation of 3, 753 meter, Tsomgo Lake is oval shaped, one kilometre lengthy and fifty meters deep water body. The water in the lake is result of the melting snow of the nearby mountains. The lake remains frozen during winters and blooms into a magical beauty in summer, when it gets lined with beautiful rhododendron flowers. The deep blue sky and the azure water of the lake presents a picture perfect sight to view.
- Scenic beauty
- Yak Ride
- Nathula Pass
Situated on the Indo – Chinese border, Nathula Pass is one of the highest passes in India with an altitude of 4,310 meters. Located around 50 Km from Gangtok, this pass is a part of the old ‘Silk Route’. It is noticeable and popular for stunning views of snow clad peaks. Closed after the Indo-China War in 1962, it was reopened in 2006. The Nathula Pass is very significant as it greatly reduces the travelling distance to some major Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage centres like Mansarovar Lake and Lhasa.
- Mesmerising beauty especially during sunrise
- Two beautiful spots – Jhakri Waterfall and Tsomgo Lake lies en route the pass
Located in the western part of Sikkim, Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim. Known for its untouched beauty and rural charm, the place is perfect to spend some quiet time with nature. As the hamlet is the starting point of the history of Sikkim, it is considered very sacred.
- Base camp for the trek to famous Mountain Kanchenjunga
- Serenity of the place
Nestled in the appealing Himalayan Range, Pelling is a beautiful town laced with many waterfalls, ample natural beauty and several adventure sports like trekking, mountain biking, rafting and kayaking. The town offers stunning views of the Himalayan peaks and Mountain Kanchenjunga to feast your eyes upon.
- Sanga Choeling Monastery
- Khecheopalri Lake
- Adventurous Sports
- Rumtek Monastery
Crowned as the largest monastery in Sikkim, Rumtek Monastery is one of the major tourist attractions in Sikkim. Being the seat of the Karmapa Lama – the third highest monk in Tibetan Buddhism, the monastery is very significant. Originally built in 16th century by the ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorge, Rumtek Monastery was rebuilt in 1979. An exemplary of Buddhist architecture and teachings, the place features sacred items and remains brought out from Tsurphu Monastery – the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet.
- Golden Stupa
- Spiritual appeal
Located on the ancient ‘Silk Route’, the small hamlet Zuluk is one of the least explored places of Sikkim. Set in a high altitude, the place promises spectacular views of Mount Kanchenjunga.
- Adventurous ride on the way to the village
- Breath-taking views of snow clad mountain peaks
Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim is one of the places of entire country, which will surely appeal you for its many charming places. Laced with lush greenery, rolling rivers and extra ordinary beauty, the place has become the main tourist spot of the state.
- Do-Drul Chorten
- Himalayan Zoological Park
- Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve
- Many adventurous sports
- Teesta River
Known to be the lifeline of the state Sikkim, Teesta River originates in Himalayas and runs through the Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh. Apart from providing means of support to thousands of inhabitants, the river aids to the rich biodiversity of the place and is the reason behind many verdant valleys of the state.
- River Rafting
Apart from beautiful spots to visit, Sikkim also offers many chances for extreme sports. One can enjoy river rafting in one of the beautiful rivers of the state i.e. River Teesta. The turbulent river has some of the ideal rapids for even the first timers to try their hands at. The turquoise water of the rivers and the beautiful landscape passing by are some additional charms of this extreme sport on Teesta. Mountain biking is another adrenaline gushing activity, which can be experienced in Sikkim. Gangtok-Rangpo is the longest mountain biking route of the state, which invites many mountain bikers across the country to fulfil their dream ride.
Gorge on some of the best authentic Sikkimese Dishes
The culture of Sikkim shows a fine blend of culture of Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet. And this uniqueness is also gets displayed in the food habits and cuisine of the state. Some popular local dishes, which are being relished by the inhabitants from centuries are – Thupka (noodle soup), Momos (rice dumplings), Kinema Curry (fermented soyabean curry), Gundruk & Sinki soup (fermented vegetable soup), Sel Roti and Pakku (Mutton Curry). The best known of all these dishes are Momos and Thupka. Besides this, must try Pakku with rice which is mainly a Nepali dish. Among drinks, Chhang is the main local alcoholic drink of the place, which is basically a rice beer. Apart from daily meal, this beverage has also social and ceremonial significance.
Art and Culture of Sikkim
Sikkim is mishmash of diverse cultures, languages, traditional art & crafts, lively dance & music. But even after this fine blend, its ethnicity is intact. Sikkim has sheltered people of different culture, religion and communities. The most followed religion of the place is Hinduism and Buddhism. The prime communities of the place are Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. Due to this multiplicity of population Sikkim becomes a multi-lingual state. Nepali is the main language spoken here. Hindi being the national language finds place in the native communication. Other local dialects are Tibetan, Bhutia and Lepcha. English is used as official language.
The rich culture of the state can also be witnessed in its art and craft. The place is renowned for its handicraft and handloom items like carpets, wooden furniture, thangkas (religious paintings) and wall hangings.
The culture of Sikkim is incomplete without mentioning its dynamic music and dance. Especially the spectacular mask dance of Sikkim is very popular. Enchey Chaam, Kagyed Dance, Rumtek Chaam and Gouthor Chaam are popular forms of the mask dance, which are performed as per different occasions. Other major dances which along with music forms integral part of the age old culture of various communities – Lu Khangthamo, Gha To Kito, Chi Rimu, Gnungmala Gnunghey, Rechungma, Be Yu Mista and Tashi Zaldha.
Now, you have enough reasons to head for this magnificent destination.