Thronged with the snow capped view of the magnetic Himalayas, a infinite lush green landscapes, multitude of gushing waterfalls, clusters of colourful flowers, Sikkim is made up of all this and more. This State is north eastern jewel that is famous for its rich biodiversity, the towering Kanchenjunga range, the spiritual Buddhist monasteries and the flourishing tea gardens. The whole of Sikkim is a piece of paradise, so make sure you have enough time when you visit this breathtaking hill town. Travolook picks up the Ten Best places to visit in Sikkim for your convenience.
Also known as the Changgu Lake, this glacial lake is one of the few high altitude lakes in India. Located approx 40kms away from Gangtok, Tsomgo has breathtaking beauty as it is huddled in the snow laden peaks of the Himalayas. It also carries a special religious significance for the local faith healers called shamans, they worship the lake. While it remains frozen in the winter months of Jan – March, Oct to Dec serves as a perfect time to visit the lake to experience it in pleasant weather and its full glory.
You can take a shared vehicle or can hire a private taxi that will take around one hour to reach Tsomgo Lake from Gangtok.
For all the wildlife lovers, a visit to this Zoological Park is a must. Spread across a large hilly terrain, this area is built on an area of 205 hectares. It is an abode to some exotic species of flora and fauna that include the Himalayan red panda, Himalayan palm civet, goral, snow leopard cat, Musk Deer, Blue sheep, Barking Deer, Himalayan Black Bear and others. The park in the middle of a mountain forest also offers a great view of the Mt Kanchenjunga. Best time to visit the sanctuary is from February to May and September to December.
This place is one of the biggest tourist spots lying in the west of Sikkim. The petite town had remained hidden from present day modernities for the longest time and therefore assumes its quiet charm, perfect for those looking for tranquility. It is strewn with creative monasteries, spurting waterfalls and shining lakes. The most attractive part of Pelling is the arresting view of the Kanchenjunga which proudly stands tall as the 3rd tallest mountain peak in the world. This place is a treat for all nature lovers and adventure junkies. An hour’s drive takes you to the visit to the mighty and stunning Kanchenjunga Falls. This is a perennial waterfall which is believed to be flowing from the glaciers of Mount Kanchenjunga is located on the roadside. The fall can be reached after climbing a few steps up the road. Another must visit place in Pelling is the Khecheopalri Lake, also called the Wishing Lake of Sikkim. This lake is considered sacred by both Buddhists and the Hindus as its believed that wishes are fulfilled here. Surrounded with flourishing green forests and hills, and decorated with Buddhist flags, the lake is a sight to behold. Besides this, Pelling is the house of various artistic monasteries which are either inside Pelling or around Pelling. A few of them are Pemayangtse Monastery, Tashiding Monastery, Sanga Choeling Monastery and Dubdi Monastery.
This is a small settlement within East Sikkim. Formerly it was once a transit point to the historic Silk Route from Tibet to India. There are many other places one can see such as Yak Golf Course, Ice Hockey Ground, and the waterfront of the lake. Yak Golf Course is the highest Golf Course in the world. Also, the Kupup Lake is famous for the water polo games and is also the highest water polo lake in the world. Zuluk is surrounded by wild forest where you can catch a glimpse of Deer, Wild Dog, Himalayan Bear and the red panda. A variety of birds can also be seen such as Blood Pheasant, Himalayan monal, Kalij pheasant, Snow Pheasant and others. The blooming rhododendrons surrounding the place add to the charm of the place even more. A special Inner Line Permit is required to reach Zuluk since it’s a restricted area of Sikkim.
For those with a religious bent of mind and keen to explore Buddhism as a way of life this place is a must visit. This Monastery, is sitting on top of a hill overlooking the city of Gangtok. Also famous by the name of Dharma Chakra Centre, Rumtek houses a beautiful shrine temple and a place of abode for the monks. Established with the aim of spreading Buddhism across the world, the architecture of this monastery is designed as per Tibetan Buddhism. The pretty murals and frescos, sculptures and paintings all depict Tibetan form of art and tradition. The monastery has significant value not only because it preserves the golden stupa but also the relics of 16th Karmapa. The religious text, Thangkas, silk banners, and the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha are all worth a dekko. You can also check out the Buddhist College named Karma Shri Nalanda Institute, located close to the Monastery to encourage higher studies in Buddhism.
Lying in Singalila Range in western Sikkim, this butterfly shaped rhododendron sanctuary sprawls across a distance of 104-sq-km. This wildlife sanctuary in Geyzing, is a perfect blend of flora and fauna. The diversity of rhododendron and several other blossoms like Oak, Primula, Pine and Magnolia will serve as a feast for the eyes. The kaleidoscope of colours within the sanctuary wills entrall you with their beauty. The fauna of the sanctuary consists of Leopard cat, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Himalayan Palm Civet, Himalayan Langur, Crimson Horned Pheasant, Monal Pheasant, Kaleej and many other species of birds. Due to its picturesque location in the Singalila Ridge, you can also see the majestic snowy peaks of Kanchenjunga. The best time to visit Varsey is during the months of October to May. Even the months of April and May witness the flowers in full bloom.
The name of comes from the point that the civilian road ends here and civilians are not allowed to go beyond this point. The international border of China lies at a stone throw distance from here. Even though it has less oxygen due to very high altitude 15000 ft, yet this place is worth a visit especially for those who are willing to go the extra mile. So high above is mesmerising as you see the frozen waters and snow capped mountains. If you visit between April and May you will find an array of stunning rhododendrons in pink, purple and wine, lining the entire route till the Zero Point. Zero point is a photographer’s delight and simply unforgettable.
Located between Maenam and Tedong Hill at an altitude of 7,000ft, Ravangla in South Sikkim is a sleepy town flecked with attractive villages full of alpine trees, and spellbinding views of the Himalayas. If you are looking for nature’s bounty with peace and quiet, or waiting to explore the spiritual side of yourself, make a beeline for Ravangla as you will be wowed by the alluring views and stunning monasteries. What’s more Ravangla’s two hot springs Borong and Ralong, are enough to soothe the worst of body aches as there is high amount of sulphur which serves as a healing factor for the tourists. Since both these therapeutic springs are on the banks of the Rangit River, you can enjoy the beauty of the flowing river too. The area is also great for gentle hikes and treks. Tourists from all over the country come and stay for months to get their medical ailments like arthritis, gout, ligament injuries, back issues, skin diseases cured.
Yumthang Valley is the perfect place to witness the breathtaking beauty of nature. This valley lies in north Sikkim and is about 25 kms from Lachung. The mountain stream flowing through it and the water is pristine clear as it flows down from the glacier, making it a spell binding view. At an altitude of 12000 ft the valley is surrounded with snow capped mountains. A variety of rhododendrons, primula, irises, poppies and magnolias are strewn all over the valley. The cool mountain breeze is so refreshing. Buttercups, Forget-Me-Nots, Geraniums, Louseworts, Cinqefoils and many more gorgeous varieties of blossoms welcome you as you walk through the pedestrian path that leads to hot springs in the gushing Teesta River. The whole environment is therapeutic.
This is a shrine is built as a mark of respect and reverence towards Baba Harbhajan Singh – a soldier who lost his life in a ferocious glacier while carrying supplies to a remote outpost. Despite several efforts made by the Indian army, his body was not recovered until the searching party themselves saw a dream where the soldier Baba Harbhajan himself guided them towards the exact location of his body buried under the heavy snow. Since then onwards it is a popular belief that in any event of war between India and China Baba warns the Indian Soldiers of any likely invasions at least three days in advance. This faith becomes the guiding light for soldiers positioned at the Nathula Pass on the Indo-China border and he has come to be known as ‘Saint Baba’ by both Indian and Chinese soldiers alike. Baba continues to prove his patriotism even in death as much as in life. Standing at a height of 13,000 feet, immersed in mythology and mystery along with immeasurable scenic beauty makes this temple worth a visit.
Book cheap flights are available to the Bagdogra Airport, located in Darjeeling (West Bengal) from almost all major cities in India. From there you can take a prepaid personal or shared taxi to reach the capital city of Gangtok that stands at a distance of 125 kms. Daily Helicopter service is also available between Bagdogra Airport and Gangtok.
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