Mountains to Mangroves


Eastern Himalayas Sikkim Himalayas

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Gangtok – Draped in clouds, Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim located at an altitude of 5500ft gives a phenomenal view of Kanchendzonga. Mild and temperate climate and pleasantly exuberant nature of this city attracts tourists throughout the year. Gangtok sets its preference among the tourists for its monasteries, sanctuaries, lakes and temples.

Pelling OR Pemayangtse – The little town Pelling is located at an altitude of 6,800 ft is famous for majestic view of entire range of ice capped Kanchenjunga including Koktang, Kumbhakaran and others. A heavy influx of tourists is witnessed in the summer season for its pleasant nature. The attraction of Pelling includes waterfalls, lakes, rolling hills and ancient monasteries.

Lachung – A small and beautiful town of North Sikkim located at an altitude of 9600 ft is the gateway to the Yumthang Valley. The beautiful snow – capped peaks of Lachung arrests the attention of tourists all over the world. Apart from its scenic beauty and historical significance Lachung is famous for its apples, peaches and apricots.

Lachen – A remote village in the northern district of Sikkim located at an altitude of 9000 ft  is known for its rich wildlife, spectacular view of the Himalayas. Lachung witnesses a stream of tourists during winter and the onset of summer. The Lachen Gompa gives an insight to the simple lives of the villagers.

Tsomgo Lake – A glacial lake also known as Changu Lake located at an altitude of 12,310 ft, arrests the attention of the tourists with the reflections of the surrounding hills on the water. Tsomgo or Changu Lake can be counted as one of the few high altitude lakes in India.

Rumtek Monastery – The largest Monastery in Sikkim located at an altitude of 5800 ft at Rumtek, 24 km away from Gangtok. The Sixteenth Karmapa built this Monastery to preserve his relics and hold remnants in the Golden Stupa in the main building.

Pemayangtse Monastery – A Buddhist Monastery located in Pelling, 140 km away from Gangtok is considered to be one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim. The scenic backdrop of snow-capped mountains on two sides captivates the tourists heart. Statues of saints and Rinpoches and paintings are depicted on the walls of the monastery thus showcasing of a rich past & legacy.

Rabdentse Ruins – This archaeological site was once acknowledged as the second capital of Sikkim. Gradually with course of time Rabdentse was desolated and this royal capital turned into ruins. Rabdentse reflects the history of Sikkim for which the ruins have been preserved by Archaeological survey of India.

Dubdi Monastery – A Buddhist Monastery of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism is the first capital of the state of Sikkim at Yuksom. Tourists can get an insight at Dubdi Monastery established by Chogyar Namgyal wherein various pictures of divinities, saints and other symbols and collection of manuscripts and texts of the period.

Gangtok - the cleanest city in India - A minimum of 03 nights is recommended to properly cover the sightseeing points at Gangtok.

The local sightseeing at Gangtok can begin with a drive to the Rumtek Monastery (24Kms) one of the largest Monastery of Eastern Himalaya – constructed by His Holiness the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in 1960. It is the main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage in Sikkim, "The Dharmachakra Centre, a place of erudition and spiritual accomplishment, the seat of the glorious Karmapa." A Golden Stupa contains the relics of the 16th Karmapa. Opposite that building is a college, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies.

Later visit the Chorten or Stupa built by the venerable Truslshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1945. Institute of Tibetology (Closed on Sunday) established in 1958 it is a treasure trove of vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare Thankas and has over 200 Buddhist icons. Institute of Handicrafts and handlooms (Closed on Sunday)

A half day trip can cover the Banjhakri Falls - this 100-foot waterfall is located in a landscaped park with forested area at about 12kms from Gangtok town. The entire park is themed on Shaman culture - the figurines in the park illustrates rituals, some healing ceremonies and others the induction     process in the life of a shaman. 

Ranka Monastery, lies a little further from the Jhakri falls. Also known as Lingdum Monastery it is a visual treat being spread out in a vast area and surrounded by green mountains on all sides.

If Buddhism or monasteries interest the guest they can also visit the 200 years old Enchey Monastery which lies about 3Kms from the main town. It belongs to the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism. The location was blessed by Lama Drupthob Karpo, a renowned exponent of tantric art adept in Buddhism with flying powers.

A day excursion trip will take the guests to Tsomgo Lake (pronounced as Changu Lake) (12400ft), which is only 32kms from Gangtok City, the lake is almost about 1Km long, oval in shape and 15Mt deep. The lake is considered sacred by the local people.

12Kms further to the Lake lies the new Baba Mandir – dedicated to the soldier Baba Harbhajan Singh who is still believed to protect the soldiers at the border. There is a strong belief that water kept in the shrine of Baba gains healing property and turns into sacred water that can cure all possible ailments.

Pelling - the second capital of Sikkim - Being the nearest motor able point to the base camp of Kanchenjunga expeditions this little town has much to offer for nature lovers. Minimum of 02 nights is suggested to sample the flavor of this place.

A full day sightseeing tour would ideally start by taking a short drive to the entrance of the Rabdentse Palace Ruins the 2nd capital of Sikkim. From here enjoy a 500 meter thrilling walk through the dense forest to the ruins of the palace which was founded by the 2nd Chogyal of Sikkim Tensung Namgyal in the year 1670 and subsequently destroyed by the invading Nepalese army in 1814. The view from this place is breathtaking.

Walk back and visit the Pemayangtse Monastery (02Kms) - the oldest monastery of Sikkim established by Lhatun Chempo, one of the revered Lamas to have performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal (Religious Monarch) of Sikkim. This monastery is meant only for ta - sang (pure) lamas. Lhatsun Chhembo is believed to have described "pure monks" thus – monks of pure Tibetan race, celibate and without any physical deformities. To the present day, it is only monks from Pemayangtse who can enjoy the title "ta-sang".

Drive (35Kms / 1.5Hrs) to the small village of “Yuksom” - the first capital of Sikkim which is situated at an altitude of 5500ft.  Three great Buddhist monks from Tibet arrived here around four hundred years ago and eventfully they enthroned the first King by name Phintsog Namgyal in the year 1641 which marked the beginning of the Namgyal dynasty which ruled Sikkim for the almost 332 years. Walk and explore this Himalayan village along with the coronation throne with a great Stupa and the remaining of the palace.

Visit the Khecheopalri Lake while driving back to Pemayangtse which is about 7kms from the village. The lake is the most holy and wish fulfilling. According to Buddhist belief the lake is the emanation of goddess Tara blessed by Guru Rempoche. The miraculous part of the lake is that surface of the lake remains clean in spite of it being surrounded by thick forest.

Alternately a half day trip can be taken in a different direction towards the Singshore Bridge – it is believed to be one of the highest bridges in Asia. The total length span of the bridge is approximately  200 meters - view from the bridge is overwhelming with the sight of beautiful waterfalls and green hillsides. On the way enjoy the beautiful Dentam Valley.

Yumthang Valley - Lachung - 

Lachung is the base to visit the Yumthang Valley, a minimum of 01 night stay at Lachung is required in order to cover the same.

In order to visit this valley set out after breakfast, en-route visit Hot Spring and Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary has 24 species of Rhododendron flowers which bloom from April to May end. Yumthang Valley situated at a height of 11800 feet is popularly known as `Valley of Flowers`. While driving towards the valley, one can see cascading waterfalls and streams. 

Guests can take more time to explore the valley if they spend 02 nights at Lachung; if they are lucky they can also visit Yumesamdong or Zero Point (subject to army prohibitions)  - the last point of human civilization, here the road ends and nobody can go beyond this point. The extra charges for the same can be settled directly.

Afternoon the guests can visit the Lachung Monastery - an old Buddhist monastery and forms the base for the Green Lake trekking and mountaineering activities in Sikkim. At an altitude of 2700 m, the monastery is preferred by experience seekers and photo fanatics. Belonging to the Nyingma sect of Mahayana Buddhists this 1880 monument was reconstructed in 1979.

Gurudongmar - Lachen -  located by and deriving its name from the river Lachen Chu is another destination in North Sikkim. The base to visit the Thangu Valley and Gurudongmar Lake. Both the places can be visited in a half day excursion from Lachen.

About 30Kms from Lachen lies the Thangu Valley - at an altitude of 13000 feet, the place remains covered in snow for most of the time; but in May this valley is a riot of colours as the flowers blossom. Thangu is acclaimed for its natural beauty bestowed from the hand of God. Foreign nationals are allowed till this point.

The Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world, located at an altitude of 17,100 ft. It takes 3 to 4 hours from Lachen and is considered sacred both by the Hindus and the Buddhists.