Bordered by China, Nepal and Bhutan, Sikkim has long been regarded as ane of Himalayan Shangrila. The place is very soothing to the soul for a mountainous beauty and ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture in Sikkim. It is situated at the foot of Mt Kanchenjungha and boasts of thrilling beauty. The lofty mountains dominate the skyline of Sikkim and invite tourists in its snowclad peaks, green emerald slopes and rushing streams.
Most attractive tourist spots in Sikkim
Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is a charmingly picturesque town, straddling with striking houses spilling down the hillside. The town has a fusion of traditional customs and modern way of living which makes the place unique.
Tsomgo Lake (also called Changu Lake) is about one kilometre long, oval in shape, and is considered very holy by the locals. Between May to August, the lake area is spectacular with a display of rare flowers including the primulas, iris and blue and yellow poppies. The lake has a number of aquatic and aerial species and is a perfect habitat for the red pandas. The lake freezes in winter.
Yukson was the first capital of Sikkim. The place is considered sacred since the history of Sikkim began here. It is also the base camp for the trek to the famous Mt Kanchenjungha.
Dzongri Trail is the most popular trek in Sikkim, a trekker’s paradise. It passes through the unspoiled forests, magnificent rhododendron flowers, streams and Kanchenjungha National Park. Additional trekking permits are mandatory for foreigners. These are available at tourism offices at Gangtok.
Rumtek Monastery is the magnificent monastery which is among the top tourist attractions in Sikkim. It provides as a residence for the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. The monastery features some extraordinary works of art. The Golden Stupa is the most significant segment of the monastery.
Pelling is rapidly becoming a popular tourist destination. At an altitude of 6,800 feet, it is the most excellent place to get a close view of the world’s 3rd highest peak Mt Kanchenjungha. Apart from the innate beauty of the place, other attractions in Pelling are the Sanya Choeling Monastery and the Marma Ka.
Teesta River Rafting is the latest adventure activity to arrive in Sikkim. It offers some world-class opportunities with high cliffs and gorges, along with boulder-strewn riverbeds.
Nath La Pass and the Old Silk Route can give the travellers some really feeling adventures. It is an incomparable journey along the former Old Silk Route to Nathu La, three hours from Gangtok on the Chinese border. The border is protected with a barbed wire fence, and a tourist can get the strange thrill of seeing the Chinese soldiers on the other side. However, only Indians are allowed to travel this far, and only on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. A permit is also required, obtainable through a registered travel agency. Foreigners can go up to Tsomgo (Changu) Lake, 27 km short of Nathu La. This spectacular high altitude (12,400 feet) glacier lake remains frozen until May. For a quirky experience, a tourist can ride a yak there.
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology is a nationally well-known centre of Tibetan Studies & Research. The institute is renowned for its huge collection of rare manuscripts, Buddhist books and icons. The building is an excellent example of Tibetan architecture, surrounded by small forests of oak and birch trees. The institute also houses religious works of art and amazing silk embroidered paintings.
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden is situated near Rumtek Monastery under the care of the Forest Department of the Sikkim Government. The garden is distinguished by enchanting lush woodlands of oak, and different kinds of trees and orchids.
Flora and Fauna Sanctuaries in Sikkim are renowned for the astounding varieties of birds, animals and flowers and orchids. Two of them are Deoral Orchid Sanctuary in south Gangtok and Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary on the way to Changu Lake and Nathu la.
So a tourist feels very happy in visiting the tourist spots in Sikkim, one of the northern states of India.