India's 22nd state is unsurpassed for scenic beauty. It has a greater variety of vegetation - which includes 4,000 species of plants, almost all rare - and more mountains 7,300 m and more in height per sq. km., than anywhere else in the world. Once a remote mountain kingdom, Sikkim is today opening up and proving to be an enchanting new world of friendly, extroverted people, fantastic flora and fauna, fabulous vistas and serene monastic settlements.
Best Places to Visit & Things to do in Sikkim
The precise meaning of the name Gangtok is unclear, though the most popular meaning is "hilltop". The capital city of Sikkim is located on a ridge overlooking the Ranipool river at a height of 5500 feet. Mount Kanchenjunga (8,598 m or 28,208 ft) - the world's third-highest peak is visible to the west of the city.
Once an important transit point for traders traveling between Tibet and India, it is today a busy administrative and business center and presents an interesting mix of cultures and communities.
The word 'Kalim' means King's Minister and 'Pong' means the stronghold of the King's minister. It is also called 'Kalibong' or the black spur by the hill people. Kalimpong is located on a ridge overlooking the Teesta River. Nestling in the lush green mid ranges of the Himalayas, this hill station of " the Raj", has an incredible stunning backdrop of towering snow-capped peaks and offers a quiet and relaxed holiday against the backdrop of Kanchenjunga. Horticulture is also important to Kalimpong: it has a flower market notable for its wide array of orchids; nurseries, which export Himalayan grown flower bulbs, tubers, and rhizomes, contribute to the economy of Kalimpong
literally means the "Perfect Sublime Lotus". It is a small town in West Sikkim and is nestled at an altitude of 2,150 m (7,200 feet). Along with its Monastery, it is very famous for the majestic view of the magnificent Mount Kanchenjunga. It also affords a panoramic view of other snow-capped Himalayan peaks.
literally means the "meeting place of the three learned monks" as three monks who came from Tibet selected Phuntsog Namgyal as the first King of Sikkim and gave him the title Chogyal. 'Chogyal' means "Religious King" or "the king who rules with righteousness".
Yuksom is a historical town located in West Sikkim. It was established as the first capital of Sikkim in 1642. It also boasts of the first Monastery in Sikkim, the Dubdi Monastery. Being at the head of theKhangchendzonga National Park and as the base camp for trekking to Mt. Khangchendzonga, it has a large influx of mountaineers from all parts of the world. The village people, as stakeholders in biodiversity preservation, have played a significant role in the promotion of eco-tourism in the area. The inhabitants of this village have most successfully adopted the promotion of ecotourism not only in the region but also for other similar areas in Sikkim. Yuksom is thus considered a model village for eco-tourism.
Built on the site blessed by lama Druptob, a tantric master known for his power of flying. This 200-year-old Monastery has in its premises images of gods, goddesses, and other religious objects.
Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom
Instituted with the aim of promoting and keeping alive the State's traditional arts and crafts.
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology (SRIT)
The most prestigious of its kind in India-this institute is a treasure trove of the vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare Thankas and has over 200 Buddhist icons and other prized objects of arts. Today, it is a renowned worldwide centre for the study of Buddhist philosophy and religion.
It is a Tibetan refugee monastic institution established in 1961 by His Eminence Luding Khen Rimpoche, Head of Ngorpa, sub-sect of the Sakya Order, with the blessings of H.H. Sakya Trizin and H.H. Dalai Lama.
This was built by the venerable Trulshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism in 1945. Inside this stupa, there are complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba (Bajra Kilaya), a set of Kan-gyur relics (Holy Books), complete 'Zung' (Mantras) and other religious objects. Around this Chorten, which is one of the most important stupas of the Sikkim, are 108 Mani-Lhakor (Prayer wheels). These prayer wheels are turned by the devout Buddhists while chanting 'Hail to the jewel in the Lotus', to invoke the Bodhisattva. The Chorten is surrounded by Chorten Lakhang and where there are two huge statues of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava).
Tourist Places In West Sikkim
Situated at 6,800 ft it is a fast-growing urban Settlement. Due to tourist influence, it has hotels, lodges in and around the city. There is a bus service that links Pelling to the West District headquarter town of Gyalshing.
Situated on a ridge above Pelling and Peymayangste Monastery, one has to spend at least 40 minutes walking up the steep hilly slopes which leads through rich forest covers.
One of the sacred lakes (reachable by motorable road from Pemayangtse) both for the Buddhist and the Hindus. It is believed that birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the surface.
First Capital of Sikkim, where the first Chogyal of the Kingdom was consecrated in 1641 AD by three learned lamas. It is considered as sacred as the evidence of the consecration ceremony is still intact at Norbugang Chorten in the form of stone seats and a footprint of the Head-Iama on a stone.
Located on a hilltop above Yuksam, it was the first Monastery established soon after the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal and can be approached by trekking only.
Located on top of a heart-shaped hill with the back-drop of the sacred Mt. Kanchenjunga. According to Buddhist scriptures, Guru Padma Sambhava had blessed the sacred land of Sikkim in the 8th century AD from this spot. The Monastery was built in 18th century AD by Nadak Sempa Chempo, one of three Lamas who had performed the consecration ceremony of first Chogyal. Every year, on the 15th day of the first Tibetan month, the Bhumchu Ceremony is celebrated with devotees coming from far and near to get the blessings of the holy water.
Tourist Attractions Of South Sikkim
Temi Tea Garden
The only Tea estate producing one of the top quality teas in the International market.
Situated at an altitude of 10,300 ft. Kanchenjunga and its surrounding ranges dwarf this richly forested and rugged hill. On a clear sunny day, it is possible to see the plains of Bengal spanning across Kalimpong and Darjeeling hills in the south, right across to the Indo-China border towards the north.
At the base of Menam Hill, this is a small township and a transit point to various tourist destinations in South and West Sikkim. The trek to Menam from Ravangla takes about 4 hours and from Menam, hilltop one has the option to take the gentle trek to Borong village or follow the more treacherous trails taken by the famous British botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker, down to Yangang village.
A picturesque village with beautiful landscape, and the hot-spring 'Borong Tsa-Chu', can be reached by motorable road from Ravangla or trek via Menam.
It lies at an elevation of 10,000 ft. and has motorable road access up to Hilley. An easy 4 km trek from there takes one up to the Versey Rhododendron Sanctuary. One can also trek from Soreng or Dentam in West Sikkim.
Popular Tourist Places Of North Sikkim
The place is situated on the gentle. slop stretching from Kabi to Phodong with perhaps one of the best landscapes in the region. The Phensong Monastery, under the Nyingmapa Buddhist Order, was built in 1721 during the time of Jigme Pawo. The annual festival of Chaam is performed on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the lunar calendar.
One of the six major monasteries in Sikkim this Monastery is located in the north. Four km beyond Phodong is the recently renovated Labrang Monastery, unique in its architectural design.
The place offers the most spectacular views of Mt. Kanchenjunga.
On the confluence of Lachen and Lachung Chu and the starting point of the Teesta river, the valley is believed to have been blessed by Guru Rinpoche and one can visit the Holy Guru Lhedo to see the foot and palm prints left behind by the Patron Saint.
A tourist destination and a monastery are situated on the slope of the mountains.