Nestled by the borders of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan, scenic Sikkim is an incredibly beautiful destination in India with a tranquil, meditative environment that is immersive.
The pristine beauty of the Himalayas, the tranquility of the monasteries, vast lavish lush full forests, and the calm and cool climate of this peaceful place create a lesser-known destination that has an unbelievable charm.
For easy understanding, we have categorized the destination into four regions, so visitors can easily locate and enjoy the amazing attractions in Sikkim.
This picturesque region is the largest of all the four regions in Sikkim. The waterfalls and mountains make your travel in this region an ever-lasting memorable experience. The Phensang monastery, Seven Sister falls, Yumthang Valley, and Gurudongmar lake are the must-visit places here. You can reach here by air at the Bagdogra Airport and the Pakyong Airport and by train to the New Jalpaiguri Station.
With vibrant and majestic Buddhist architecture, the Phensang Sangag Choling Monastery is one of the biggest monasteries accommodating the largest population of monks, founded by the 3rd Lhatsun Jigmed Pawo in 1721 and was later rebuilt in 1840.
Visit this place during the festival months from October to December to experience the traditions and rituals. A calm meditation and walk around the serene monastery add a wonderful spiritual experience to your journey. A 40 km road trip from Gangtok will take you to this monastery in Phodong, which is located off the north Sikkim highways.
Rightly named the ‘Valley of Flowers’, this destination is situated at a height of 3500 metres and will leave you awestruck with its scenic natural surroundings. This flower sanctuary houses exotic blooms, yaks grazing the pastures and meadows with the river flowing in the midst of the lush mountains and hot springs.
Like an artist’s color palette, Yumthang Valley is filled with colorful species of rhododendron flowers, primulas, poppies, iris, geraniums, and many other floras, apples, and strawberries according to the seasons.
A stroll along the river banks with a picturesque view of the Himalayas makes the trip totally mesmerising. Plan a trip here during the months of March – June to witness the valley beautified by the blossoms. Book a taxi from Gangtok to Lachung and travel to Yumthang.
Fenced by the snow-capped Himalayas, the Gurudongmar lake is situated at an altitude of 17000 ft. close to the Tibet and China border. With a crystal-clear reflection of vast blue skies and white snow-covered mountains, the lake is named after the guru Padmasambhava who is said to have visited Tibet through this place. It is believed that the water in the lake holds a boon for childless couples and is respected by both Hindus and Buddhists.
Visit Gurudongmar lake from March to June for a memorable experience. Since the lake is located very near to the border, special permits have to be obtained through tour operators and only Indian tourists are allowed to visit this place. Book a taxi from Gangtok to Lachung and travel to Gurudongmar.
Widespread with agricultural lands and lush forests on lush slopes, the South Sikkim district lies at the altitude of 400 metres to 2000 metres and is the smallest of the four regions. Reach the region by air from Bagdogra airport about 102 km from Namchi in West Bengal or by train from the New Jalpaiguri Station in West Bengal about 96 km from Namchi. Once you reach Siliguri, you can enjoy a calm road trip along the Testa river to Namchi.
Walk your way on this great path amid the tall trees and grassy pastures to witness the jaw-dropping view of the Himalayan ranges and the hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong. This magnificent cliff is located near Sadam at an altitude of 10000 feet.
Experience the freshness of the region during the trek along the winding path and enjoy the breath-taking view it offers of the merger of the waters of the Teesta and Rangit rivers flowing down the valley. A 16 km road trip from Namchi towards Sadam will take you to this amazing viewpoint. Visit Tarey Bhir and its surroundings during the months of March to May or September to November for a wonderful experience.
With the backdrop of the bright blue sky and majestic mountains, visible in the distance is the magnificent 108 feet statue of Lord Shiva sitting on the platform amid the replicas of the Jyotirlingams Chardham from various parts of the country such as Rameshwaram, Dwaraka, Badrinath, and Jagannath Puri. The platform on which Lord Shiva sits showcases scenes from Shiva Purana such as his marriage to Sati and his tandavas.
Also known as the Char Dham, this place is situated at Solophok hill and is a 5 km drive from Namchi. Opened in 2011, it is believed to be the spot where Lord Shiva presented the divine weapon to Arjuna before the Mahabharata war. The Kirateshwar avatar of Lord Shiva with a bow placed at the entrance is worshiped by the Sikkimese people.
You can visit this place from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm during summer and from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm during the winter. You can opt for a bus, jeep, or a taxi ride to reach this place.
You cannot afford to miss East Sikkim when you plan your vacation. Housing the capital city, Gangtok, this region holds many mesmerizing attractions like vibrant monasteries and tranquil nature. Fenced by the beautiful Himalayan ranges, it falls near the Indo-Tibetan border. Home to many popular tourist places, East Sikkim holds Gangtok, many sacred monasteries, and Nathula Pass – which are hot spots in this cold region.
Surrounded by hills, monasteries, waterfalls, snow and a vast range of flora and fauna, Gangtok and its surrounding regions are heaven on earth in their scenic beauty. This place is a treat for all nature and adventure lovers.
Offering a beautiful view of and from the Himalayas, this destination lures people with its natural beauty and attractions such as Tsomgo Lake and Ban Jhakri Falls, and provides a fulfilling spiritual trip through the monasteries such as Ranka Monastery and Enchey monastery.
The Bagdogra airport is the closest airport and New Jalpaiguri is the closest railway station and from there it takes a maximum of 4.5 hours by road to reach Gangtok. The best time to holiday here is during the summer season.
The Tibetan words, ‘Nathu’ and ‘La’ mean listening ears and the whistle of the wind can surprise you as much as the total stillness and silence at other moments in this astonishing destination.
If the location on your mobile shows that you are nowhere, don’t be astonished. That’s because you are on the trading border of India and China. A staircase while the snow takes the visitors to the Indo-China International border where the soldiers of both countries can be seen. Just a look around the place will make you feel energized despite the bumpy road travel.
People from several parts of India pay their respects to the soldiers at the Watershed War Memorial and visit the Army exhibition center and canteen. On your way to the Nathula, plan a visit to the beautiful Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, Menmecho Lake, and Zuluk Wildlife sanctuary for a complete experience.
Make sure to get your permits through travel agencies or at Tourism and Civil Aviation to enter Nathula. This place can be best experienced during the months of May to October.
Located at nearly 12,313 feet from the land, the Tsomgo Lake or the Changu Lake takes your breath away. The clear water with the reflection of the mountains surrounding it makes the two hours journey from Gangtok memorable.
A rope car near the lake takes tourists from the lake to the hilltop to get a more vivid view of the lake. The line to the rope car is outnumbered by the number of people wanting to go on a yak ride and experience something thrilling and new.
Fenced by lush mountains, the Ranka or Lingdum Monastery is the newest addition to the many monasteries in Sikkim. Welcomed by a huge line of prayer bells, the monastery represents tranquillity.
The colorful monastery stands opposite to the prayer bells and the green hills amidst the rolling mist provide a picturesque view. Inside the building is a huge Buddha statue in the prayer hall and the walls are covered with beautiful paintings.
The main prayer hall is surrounded by the classrooms of the young lamas. Please note that visitors must take permission before they can click pictures with the lamas. The monastery is open from dusk to dawn for visitors and can be reached by a 20 km ride by road from Gangtok.
Adventure lovers must visit this place! Being the second-largest region of the four, West Sikkim has diverse landscapes, flora, and fauna, and is perfect for varied adventure activities like trekking, mountaineering, paragliding, and birdwatching. Reach this region by air at Bagdogra airport or by train to NJP railway station and get a cab.
Khangchendzonga National Park
This biosphere reserve is home to endangered flora and fauna, green valleys, pure lakes, and glassy glaciers. Named after the third-highest peak, Kangchenjunga, this national park and biosphere reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the first Mixed Heritage site of India.
The Tolung monastery is situated amid the Alpine grasses, oaks, fir, birch, maple, and willow along with the fauna like snow leopard, Himalayan Tahr, Tibetan wild ass, Himalayan blue sheep, serow, goral, and takin, as well as reptiles including rat snake and Russell’s viper.
Khangchendzonga National Park also houses about 550 species of birds such as green pigeon, Tibetan snowcock, snow pigeon, impeyan pheasant, Asian emerald cuckoo, sunbird, and eagle. If you are a nature and adventure lover, then obtain the necessary permits and start your trekking at Yuksom or from Dzongri Base Camp!
Experience the national park in pleasant weather during the months of March to May. A 50 km bumpy road trip from Gangtok will take you to this marvelous nature reserve that will leave you enthralled.
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