The comfort of visiting Sikkim depends mostly when you are planning about which Places to Visit in Sikkim. To really see this Himalayan state, it is necessary to travel to the remote areas. It will be an unforgettable experience to travel among Sikkim’s lush hills, leaping waterfalls, thundering rivers, and placid lakes. The people, sculpted by lives of low-tech farming and mountainous travel, have behind them generations of communal intermixing. Sikkim is basically divided into four districts. In southern districts main attraction is Ravangla. Capital Gangtok is in the eastern District. Pelling and Yuksom are located in the western Districts, having beautiful treks at Dzongri. The northern district bordering China has been recently opened to tourists. The most common destination here is Yumthang. We would like to provide you clue about Places to Visit in Sikkim as follows.
Gangtok is a bewitching hill-station located amidst the mountains of Sikkim. Being the capital, Gangtok is the hub of all political and legal activities of Sikkim. The literal meaning of 'Gangtok' is Hill top. Located in the lower Himalayas, Gangtok is a perfect destination to spend some quality moments in solitude. Gangtok the capital of Sikkim, is a unique hill resort of northeast India and undoubtedly one of the most often visited ones. Perched on the ridge of a hill at an altitude of 1700 mts, Gangtok is famous for its scenic beauty and spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga, highest mountain in the world. The town offers a mild temperate climate with a temperature of around 230 C in summer and around 6 0 C during winter. This hill resort is 110 km from Siliguri and well connected with other major places of the region. The city is a centre of Buddhist learning and culture, the most famous Buddhist site in the city being the Enchey Monastery. We cannot confine the beauty of this city in words one has to experience it on his own.
Himalayan Zoological Park
This Park exhibits a wide species of Himalayan fauna like the black beer, barking deer, snow leopard, civet cat, red pandas and the spotted deer.
Nathu La is a pass on the Indo-Chinese border that serves as a trade link between the two countries. Located at a distance of 56 km from Gangtok, Nathu La pass once was the main access for Sikkim -Tibet Trade. Nathu La used to be known as the Silk route. At an elevation of 14,450 feet, Nathu La is renowned for its diverse alpine flora and fauna. The terms 'Nathu' means 'listening ears' and 'La' literally mean 'pass' respectively in Tibetan language. It is a calm place to visit.
It is one of the oldest monasteries in the state which was established by Lhatsun Chempo, the Lama who is said to have performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal of Sikkim. This Monastery is located at the hill top and gives a wonderful view of the Himalayan ranges and the surrounding hills of the region.
This lake located at East Sikkim is considered to be one of the most sacred lakes in the city both for Hindus and Buddhists. This lake lies in the rich forest cover and is believed that the birds in the region never allow a single leaf to keep afloat on the water of the lake.
It is situated on a ridge and is only 7 km. from Gangtok. From this spot one gets birds view of sprawling Gangtok town down below while across the hills Mt. Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu loom over the horizon.
Places to Visit in Sikkim can be grouped into the places to be visited in North Sikkim, South Sikkim, East Sikkim and West Sikkim.
Places to Visit in North Sikkim
This historical place is 17 km. from Gangtok on the North Sikkim highway. This is where the historic treaty of blood brotherhood between the Lepcha Chief Te-Kung-Tek and the Bhutia Chief Khey-Bum-Sar was signed ritually. The spot where the ceremony took place is marked by a memorial stone pillar amidst the cover of dense forest.
The place offers one of the most spectacular views of Mt. Khangchendzonga and its ranges. A well known tourism wayside accommodation for visitors is also available. The area also has a number of interesting short nature trails for 1 to 3 days along the higher ridges of the surrounding hills.
On the meeting point of Lachen and Lachung Chu and the starting point of river teesta, has emerged as a major sub-division settlement in North Sikkim. It is the nodal junction for the two passes, Lachen and Lachung. The valley is believed to have been blessed by guru Rimpoche and one can visit the Holy Guru Ihedu to see the foot and palm left behind by the patron saint. The place rich in Bio-Diversity with a large variety of orchids, plants and wild life is 95 km from Gangtok, 3 km from Lachung , 29 km from Lachen, and is predominantly a Lepcha region.
Yumthang is at an height of 11,800 ft. & 140 km. from Gangtok, is a paradise for nature lovers with a fascinating blend of flora & fauna and breathtaking scenic grandeur. Yumthang "Tsa-Chu" or the hot spring on the left bank of Lachung Chu is immensely popular for its curative and healing power. Covered with rhododendron shrubs and trees, the entire valley erupts into a riot of colors in May. On the way to Lachung is Singhik where one can see the magnificent Kanchendzonga range in its splendor.
Places to Visit in South Sikkim
Its meaning sky high, nestled among the hills at an elevation of 5500 ft., commands panoramic view of the snow capped mountains and vast stretches of valley. It is also the Head Quarter of the south district. The area is fast developing into a tourist destination with its immense potential for all round tourist activities. It is about 78 km from Gangtok and 100 km from Siliguri.
Above Damthang overlooking South District Headquarter town Namtse, there is a small flat stretch of land at an altitude of 8530 ft. surrounded by lush green ancient forest which is popularly known as the Tendong Hill. Historically, this has been a place of recluse for Buddhist Lamas who spend years in meditation amidst the silent scenic grandeur. The view from the top of the Tendong Hill is something to be cherished and enjoyed as it spans across plains of Bengal to the majestic heights of the Himalayan ranges. One can also proceed to Namtse by trekking via Tendong Hill following the traditional route used in the old days. Such trekking is also possible throughout the year except during monsoons, that is if one is scared of ubiquitous leaches.
At the base of Maenam Hill is Ravangla, a small township and transit to various tourist destinations in South Sikkim and West Sikkim. It is also an upcoming tourist spot and transit point for trekkers to Maenam Hill and Borong. There are accommodation facilities and numerous short nature trails. A trek down to the sacred cave "Shar Chok Bephu", one of the holiest caves in Sikkim.
Maenam towers above Tendong Hill on the other side overlooking the Ravangla Bazzar settlement situated at an altitude of 10,300 ft., the scenic view from this height is perhaps unmatched in this part of the world. The trek from Maenam from Ravangla takes about four hrs. and from Maenam Hill-Top one has the option to take the gentle trek to Borong village .
Facing the snow-capped mountains is Borong, motorable from Ravangla or a trek via Maenam. A picturesque village with beautiful landscape and magnificent view is also host to the hot spring "Borong Tsa-Chu". The trek trail, originating from Namchi or Damthang to Tendong-Ravangla-Maenam-Borong is one of the most interesting trails scaling the hill tops along the route.
Places to Visit in East Sikkim
Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom
Founded 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 in Lepcha weaves and exquisitely-carved 'Choktse' or table and many other gift items.
The White Hall only has historical value and is situated on the Ridge. It is a two storied structure and has typical British architecture and was built in 1932. It is so called not because it is painted white but because it was built in memory of the first Political Officer of Sikkim, Claude White. There is an Officer’s Club and a badminton court in the White Hall.
The Ridge is a small stretch of plain and flat road above the town of Gangtok. It is just about fifteen minutes walking from the main market. The Ridge has the White Hall and the Chief Minister's official residence, known as the Mintogang, meaning "blossomed crowned hilltop" on one end and the beautifully designed Palace Gate with a Pagoda roof top on the other end. A statue of Nehru, the late Prime Minister of India, adorns the roundabout above White Hall. Situated on the Ridge is also a resting shed using Tibetan architecture. The Ridge is lined with plants and trees which when bloom are a riot of colors. Flower shows which attract tourists from all over the world are held just below the Ridge.
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology (SRIT)
The most prestigious of its kind in India, this Buddhist Institute is a treasure trove of vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare Thankas and has over 200 Buddhist icons. Today, it is the renowned worldwide center for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion.
Sikkim Time Corporation Ltd (SITCO)
Situated at a distance of two Km from Gangtok town is one of the first industrial units set up in Sikkim. The Sikkim Time Corporation Limited (SITCO), set up in 1977, has grown from strength to strength & now has 4 units which manufacture quality mechanical watches and top class watch crowns. In its twenty years of existence, besides attaining the distinction of producing over 7.5 million HMT mechanical watches, the unit is presently involved in marketing its own brand of fashionable digital watches having Functional, Versatility and Analog Watches with exquisite dials and various color options These quality watches are reasonably priced & available in all the leading outlets of the country. Located in the beautiful campus is a showroom in the factory premises from where the watches can be brought at ex-factory cost.
Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre
About 45 minutes drive from Gangtok, 24 km. away, is the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center the seat of the Kagyu order, one of the 4 major Tibetan Buddhist sects. Since the late 1960 traditional in design, it is almost replica of the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet. The centre has a collection of some of the most unique religious art objects.
Situated along the North Sikkim highway it is only 8 km. from Gangtok. From this point you get a breathtaking view of Mount Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu, one of the most graceful peaks in the world.
Places to Visit in West Sikkim
This was the second capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim after Yuksum and till the year 1814 A.D., the king of Sikkim had ruled the state from this place. Today the ruins lie hidden from the main road at a walking distance from the tourist lodge and the Pemayangtse monastery. It can be approached by following a footpath which branches off the main road. The scenic view from the top of the ruin scanning across deep valley to the mystic heights of Khanchendzonga ranges is something to be cherished and etched in memory.
Pelling is fast growing to be an urban settlement due to tourist flow. Situated at an altitude of 6,800 ft, it offers a good view of entire mountain ranges and due to this location advantages, many hotels and lodges have mushroomed in and around Pelling offering various categories of accommodation facilities. There is a bus service which links Pelling to west district headquarter town of Gyalshing, situated at a distance of ten km from Pelling.
This was the first capital of Sikkim, where according to the historical records, the first Chogyal of the kingdom of Sikkim was consecrated in 1641 A.D. by three learned Lamas. Since the history of the state began from this place, these areas are now considered sacred by the people of Sikkim. Yuksum is served by all weather road from Pemayangtse which is at a distance of 32 km from Yuksun. Several categories of accommodations are available in Yuksum for those desiring to spend a few days there.
Sikkim is distinguished for its natural scenery, which gets further enhanced by the picturesque lakes of the state. Actually one could not think of locating lakes in a craggy terrain like that of Sikkim in India. However Sikkim has many lakes even though they are not very big in volume. The alluring glacial valleys along with austere mountain peaks provide the perfect setting to the eye-tempting lakes of Sikkim.
Tsongmo Lake has perhaps one of the most beautiful landscapes in Sikkim. On Gangtok - Nathu La highway, Tsomgo Lake is situated at an altitude of 12,400 ft. Also known as Changu Lake, Tsongmo Lake is regarded as a sacred lake by the local Buddhists and the Hindus. Tsomgo Lake extends to one km in length and oval in shape.
Khecheopalri Lake is a tranquil lagoon amidst the dense forests in West Sikkim. Located at a distance of 30 km Khecheopalri Lake can be easily reached from Geyzing via Pemayangtse. The significance of Khecheopalri Lake lies in the fact that it is worshipped both by the Buddhists as well as the Hindus. The serene waters of this lake appear to comprise a celestial charisma. Pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the world come to visit this placid lake.
Gurudongmar Lake is the largest perhaps the highest lake in Sikkim. The very appearance of serene waters of the lake brings a sense of relief to the beholder. Situated at an elevation of 17,100 feet, Gurudogmar Lake rests on the northern side of the Khangchengyao range, in a high plateau area next to the Tibetan Plateau. Gurudongmar Lake is a watercourse of high reverence for the Sikkimese and Buddhists.
Tso Lhamu Lake / Chola Mu Lake
Near Donkiala Pass Chola Mu is a charming lake to be found on the plateau that extends from Sikkim into Tibet. At an altitude of 18,000 ft, Tso Lhamu Lake is surrounded with snow crowned mountains. The renowned Teesta River emerges from this moderate-sized lake. In winters, the lake gets frozen but before getting frigid it doesn't forget to flirt with ice. The beauty of this lake gets further enhanced by the reflection of adjoining mountains in its waters. The chilly water of this lake, invites many migratory birds from Russia, China and other parts of India, to take a placid halt.
Menmecho Lake is located at a distance of 20 km from Tsomgo (Changu) Lake. Nestled between the mountains, Menmecho Lake is the prime source of Rangpo-Chu River (a tributary of Teesta River). In summers, Menmecho gets its water from melting snows of the surrounding hills and with rains in the monsoons.
As expected Green lake doesn't comprise any greenery on its banks nor has green waters. In 1899 the lake disappeared and today this lake is just a lake basin. Recently, Green Lake has been developed into a take-off point for mountaineers, who go for expeditions in this area.