Sikkim The Land Mystic Splendor
It is the second smallest state of India. It was an monarchy ruled by Chogyals till 1975 before it joined the Indian union. Sikkim shares border with Nepal in the west, Tibet in the north, Bhutan in the east and the rest with the state of West Bengal in India. Situated in the Himalayan ranges it is known for its diversified flora and fauna. The state is ranges ranging between 300 meters and 8583 meters. The highest elevation is Mount Kanchendzonga, the third highest peak in the world. The state is divided into four district i.e. East district, West district, South district and the North district. Sikkim is home to the Mahayana form of Buddhism and it has more than 150 monasteries also known as colourful Gompas. Kanchendzonga National Park, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Shingba Rhododendrons Sanctuary and Meanam Wildlife Sanctuary are the four main wild life center of Sikkim. State animal is Red Panda / Ailurus fulgens, State bird is Blood Pheasant, State flower is Noble Orchid and the State tree is Rhododendron.
The Places Of Tourist Interest In Sikkim Are
Sikkim has become one of India’s most visited states, owing to its reputation of cleanliness, scenic beauty and political stability. It is secure and safe as there are friendly people, strict administration and lovely surroundings and will rejuvenate one’s life. Small but beautiful is situated in the eastern Himalayas. Spread below the Mount Khanchendzonga (8534 mts), wrapped in mists and clouds, a garden state with an incredible variety of orchids, rhododendrons, gladioli and a host of other flowers is paradise on earth. Rustling, tumbling streams, torrents, mountain with wildlife and monasteries makes Sikkim the land of wonders. There are a total of eight towns and nine sub-divisions in Sikkim. The four districts are East Sikkim, West Sikkim, North Sikkim and South Sikkim. The district capitals are Gangtok, Geyzing, Mangan and Namchi respectively. These Four Districts are further divided into Sub-Divisions. “Pakyong” is the sub-division of East District. “Soreng” is the sub-division of West District. “Chungthang” is the sub-division of North District. “Rabangla” is the sub-division of South District.
Gangtok – The 25th state capital of Sikkim and is the nodal center for all tourist activity in Sikkim. Yumthang, Gurudongmar, Pelling / Pemayangtse, Nathula pass and all other important tour originates from Gangtok.
Five Points and Seven Points Tour – All private and Government travel agents, even the local Taxi Operators can take you for five points and seven points’ tour popularly known as the local sight seeing. Lead Tourism can also arrange the same for you. The tour includes points or places given below
Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom – Instituted with the aim of promoting and keeping alive the state’s traditional arts and crafts, the directorate of handicrafts & handloom is a storehouse of hand-woven carpets with traditional motifs, blankets, shawls and many other gift items. Closed on Sunday
Flower Festival – Rare Orchids are collectively reared to be exhibited in flower show throughout the year. Orchid shows held during the tourist season is one of the most admired shows organized in the state. In recent years this show has become quite popular and famous as there are flower exhibitions throughout the year.
Tashi View Point – Situated along the North Sikkim highway it is only 8 kms from Gangtok. From this point you get a breathtaking view of Mount Khanchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu, two of the most graceful peaks in the world.
Ganesh Tok – It is a very small temple of Ganesh, a God worshipped by Hindus situated on a ridge and is only 7 kms from Gangtok. From this spot one gets birds eye view of sprawling Gangtok town down below while across the hills Mt. Khanchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu loom over the horizon. A cafeteria serves you hot tea / coffee and snacks. A Sikkim Government nursery is just nearby.
Hanuman Tok – Higher up, and 11 kilometers from the town, this is yet another view point for a majestic gaze into the valley below and the horizon ahead. A Hindu temple where the devotees offer prayers. Besides offering prayers, one canenjoy the scenic beauty of Gangtok town and have a satisfying glimpse of snow clad. Mt Khanchendzonga.
Do – Drul Chorten – The Do-Drul Chorten or Stupa was built by Truslshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism. Inside this Stupa are 108 prayer wheels. These prayer wheels are turned by the devout Buddhist while chanting “hail to the jewel in the lotus”, to invoke Bodhisattvas.
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology – The most prestigious of its kind in India – this Buddhist Institute is a vast collection of Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare Thankas. Today, it is the renowned worldwide center for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion.
Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre – About 45 minutes drive from Gangtok, is the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center, the seat of the Kagyu order, one of the four major Tibetan Buddhist sects. Traditional in design, it is almost replica of the original Kagyurpa Monastery in Tsurphu, Tibet. The centre has a collection of some of the most unique religious art objects. The seat of the 17th Gyalwa Karma, late His Holiness Rangjung Rigpae Dorjee, it was built in 1960.
Botanical Garden and Shanti View Point – These are the two places which tourist visits during the local sight seeing. Rare orchids, flowering plants and medicinal plants are grows here. Botanical / Ipecac this garden is located at a distance of about 14 kilometers downhill from Gangtok. The garden has been named after the medicinal plant Ipecac which is grown here. Besides this plant, this garden also contains a wide variety of other flora including numerous types of orchids and medicinal plants. A large green house also accommodates manyother species
One day Sight seeing in Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula pass is a must for all tourists. About 40 kms away from Gangtok, this serene lake is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft on the Gangtok Nathu La highway. The lake is considered sacred by the local people. Its scenic beauty is worth watching. It is most tranquil place to visit. The pass is not navigable in winters as it receives heavy snowfall. Temperatures in Nathula regularly dip below −25 °C i.e. (−13 °F) in winters. At present domestic tourist are given permit to visit Nathula 4 days a week (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday). Lead Tourism will arrange for the permit etc.
Other important places of interest in Sikkim are:
Lachung – It stands on an alpine meadow from which rise the pine clad mountains with their snowy peaks. One has to stay at Lachung to visit Yumthang or katoa. The road from Gangtok has rhododendron lined along the way and is also known as ‘Valley of Flowers’, the best time to visit is in April & May, when the rhododendrons are in full bloom.
Yumthang - Yumthang, at a height of 11,800 ft. & approximately 135 km. from Gangtok, is a paradise for nature lovers with a fascinating blend of flora & fauna and breathtaking scenic grandeur of the rhododendrons. The roadside is covered with rhododendron shrubs and trees, the entire valley colors in May. Yumthang “Tsa-Chu” or the hot spring on the left bank of Lachung Chu is well known for its hot springs
Lachen – It stands on an alpine meadow from which rise the pine clad mountains with their snowy peaks. One has to stay at Lachen to visit Gurudongmar Lake. The road from Gangtok has rhododendron lined along the way makes a fantastic view. The best time to visit is in April & May, when the rhododendrons are in full bloom.
Gurudongmar Lake – Situated at a height of 5425 mts and at a distance of approximately 185 kms from Gangtok. It is considered one of the sacred lakes of the state both by the Buddhists and the Hindus. The Lake remains milky in color throughout the year and it is the source of river Lachen Chu.
Pelling / Pemayangtse - Its vicinity has numerous waterfalls, soft trek routes and soothing atmosphere for all discerning. At an altitude of 6,800 ft, Spectacular close up views of Mt. Khanchendzonga and her subordinate peaks is the major highlight of this location. A full day guided sightseeing of Pelling town including Kecheopari Lake, Kanchendzonga falls, Changey falls, Rimbi falls, Yuksom, Pemayangtse monastery, Singshore Bridge, Legship hot spring, and much more