Sikkim is located in northeastern part of India. It shares international boundary with China, Bhutan and Nepal. It is a part of the Eastern Himalaya, notable for its biodiversity and topography, it is home of Kanchenjunga, highest peak in India. Gangtok is the largest and capital city of Sikkim.
It is also among India’s most environmentally conscious states, having banned plastic water bottles and other similar product. Sikkim also got recognition for the cleanest village in India.
Tourist Attraction of Sikkim
|Gangtok- capital city of Sikkim and main center for tourists, located in the eastern Himalayan range, at an elevation of 1,650 m. A popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840.|
|Rumtek Monastery- built in the 16th century and was the main seat of the karma Kagyu lineage for some time and was eventually abandoned to ruins. When the 16th Karmapa arrived in Sikkim in 1959, he decided to rebuild the monastery as the site was considered highly auspicious.|
|Kanchendzonga National Park Covering almost 40% of the area of Sikkim with an elevation ranging 1829 mtr to 8,550 mtr. It is also a Biosphere reserve and one of the few high altitude national parks in India. The park is covered with vegetation that includes temperate broadleaf and mixed forests consisting of oaks, fir, birch, maple, willow etc. The vegetation of the park also includes alpine grasses and shrubs at higher altitudes along with many medicinal plants and herbs.|
|Pemayangtse Monastery Located around 140 Km west from Gangtok, it is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim founded in 1705 by Lama Lhatsun Chempo. The Monastery was built for “pure monks” (ta-tshang) meaning “monks of pure Tibetan lineage”, celibate and without any physical abnormality. This practice is still retained.|
|Nathu La Pass is situated at an elevation of 4,310 meters above sea level, and is an offshoot of the old silk route. The flow of tourists is regulated by the government of India as the soil here is shallow and prone to landslides, nevertheless, this is a must visit site as the location is a Hiker’s haven, as it offers picturesque views of the valley. The old silk route connects the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to the plains of Bengal to the south.|
|Changu Lake- located on the north of the Nathu La Pass, and it is a glacial lake. The lake has an average elevation of 3780 mtr. It falls in the restricted area and hence an inner line permit is required by Indians to visit this place. Foreign nationals are not permitted to visit this lake without special permission. The lake is about 1 km. Long, oval in shape, 15 meters deep and is considered sacred by the local people.|
|Pelling-It is a base for the trekkers and other adventurers who like to explore untouched beauty of West Sikkim. you can have a beautiful view of Himalayas and the Kanchenjanga from Pelling. Surroundings have numerous waterfalls and in winters area is covered with Snow.Pelling is 115 km from the state capital Gangtok and about 135 km from Siliguri.|
|Lachung-it is a hill station in North Sikkim, with an elevation of 2900 mtr. It is also the confluence point of the lachen and Lachung Rivers, both tributaries of Teesta River. From all over the world tourists come to visit the town, mostly on their way to the Yumthang Valley and the Lachung Monastery.|
|Yumthang Valley- located in North Sikkim, with elevation of 3500 mtr. Here you can enjoy the natural beauty of Sikkim, with river, hot springs, yaks and grazing . Located at a distance of 150 Km from the state capital Gangtok. It is popularly known as ‘Sikkim Valley of Flowers’ is home over twenty-four species of the rhododendron. Mainly Feb to June is flowering season, when countless flowers bloom in the valley.|
|Lachen- located in North Sikkim at an elevation of 2,750 mtr. The name Lachen means “big pass”. The town forms the base to the Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake. An annual yak race, the Thangu is held here in summer. Lachen is about 129 Km from the capital Gangtok, and can be reached via a six-hour road journey.|
|Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world, located at an altitude 5,430 mtr in the northern part of Sikkim. It is a lake which is considered sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus. The Lake got its name from Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, founder of Tibetan Buddhism who visited the lake in the 8th century.|
|Yuksom-It is a historical town in West Sikkim. It was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 AD by Phuntsog Namgyal who was the first Chogyal (temporal and religious king) of Sikkim. The Chogyal established the first monastery at Yuksom known as the Dubdi Monastery in 1701, which is part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit involving the Norbugang Chorten, Pemayangtse Monastery, ruins of Rabdentse, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, the Khecheopalri Lake and the Tashiding Monastery.|
|Namchi- located at an average elevation of 1300 mtr. The Namchi monastery, Ralong monastery and Tendong Hill are important Buddhist pilgrimage centres here. And world’s largest statue (118 feet) of the Buddhist Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, is on the Samdruptse hill opposite Namchi .|
How to reach Sikkim:
Air: Sikkim does not have a commercial airport. The nearest Airport is Bagdogra Airport (IXB) in West Bengal, which lies about 125 km from the state capital Gangtok. And Bagdogra airport is well connected to cities like Delhi and Kolkata by regular flights
Rail: Major railway station near Gangtok is at New Jagalpaiguri (188 Km) and Siliguri (145 Km). These railway stations are well connected with major cities and towns of India. You can further board a bus or hire a taxi to reach Sikkim.
Road: There are frequent public and private bus services connecting Sikkim with other neighboring towns and cities. You can also get easy access to taxis and jeeps for inter and intra state travelling.