10 Most Beautiful Tourist Destinations In Sikkim
Sikkim is a state in northeast India and is one of the smallest and least populated places in the country. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, Sikkim is blessed with both alpine and subtropical climates and the entire terrain is mostly hilly. While the Himalayan mountains around the northern, eastern and western borders of Sikkim, the southern territory of Sikkim in the Lower Himalayas is densely populated. This state is also the proud host of the Kanchenjunga mountain, the highest peak in India and the third highest on earth. Another astounding fact, is that 35% of the state is converted into the Khangchendzonga National Park.
A state of several mountain peaks, plenty of glaciers, hot springs, high-altitude lakes and more than 100 rivers and streams, this destination is a true delight to a tourist, as also one third of it is heavily forested. With temperatures going down to about 4 degrees in winter and not exceeding more than 28 degrees centigrade in Summer, the best time to visit this state would be in the months from October to June when the climate is awesome and the mountains and valleys are breathtakingly beautiful. With vibrant, exotic and beautiful flora as well as rare and interesting fauna, Sikkim is definitely one of the most enchanting tourist destinations in India.
How to reach :
By air – The nearest airport to Sikkim, is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal, which is about 124 kms away. From here one can hire a taxi, private vehicle or helicopter (depending on availability) to Gangtok.
By train – The nearest railway station to Gangtok is at New Jalpaiguri which is in Siliguri, 148 kms away.
By bus – Tourists from nearby places like Darjeeling, Siliguri, Kalimpong and Kokata can drive down to Gangtok or avail of the frequent public and private bus services to Sikkim.
Some must-visit attractions :
Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is tucked away in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 5,410 ft. This mesmerizing city with its dense green, beautiful forests, awesome walking trails, transparent gurgling streams and all-round beauty is almost irresistible to tourists visiting Sikkim. Gangtok offers all this and much needed serenity to the harassed urbanite. Adventure lovers can indulge in thrilling activities like river-rafting, mountain biking, cable car rides and so much more.
Tsomgo Lake :
The Tsomgo Lake is a very popular attraction for tourists visiting Sikkim. Situated just 38 kms from Gangtok, this lake is located at a height of 12400 ft and is one of the highest lakes in India. Winters cause the lake to freeze but summer brings the lake to life and the sparkling blue water adds a freshness and beauty to the surrounding mountain peaks. The winding path to the lake, through imposing mountains and rocky mountain terrain, is an exciting endeavor in itself.
This popular hill station in West Sikkim turns into a winter wonderland during the heavy snowing season and is famous for its ice skating terrain. The icing on the cake is the wonderful panoramic view that one can enjoy from here of the great Himalayan range and the Kanchenjunga Peak. The breathtaking waterfalls, natural, magical scenic beauty and offer of various exciting activities like trekking, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking etc. are a great lure for tourists.
Lachung is another virtually untouched city, situated at a thrilling height of 8610 ft and inhabited by Tibetan and Bhutia people. Located in the northern part of Sikkim, this beautiful mountain village has the Lachung Chu River coursing through it’s picturesque terrain and is also known for the Lachung Gompa where the largest Buddhist shrine is located. The fact that it is another snow destination and has an alluring beauty of its own, makes it a very popular tourist destination while visiting Sikkim.
Once the capital of Sikkim, Yuksom is yet another spectacularly beautiful hamlet located in the west of Sikkim. With a rustic charm of its own, this unexplored and fascinating village also houses one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim, making it a very tranquil and serene destination. It is also the entry point to several thrilling Himalayan treks and the Kanchenjunga National Park.
Ravangla is one of the best places to feast your eyes on breathtaking mountain views. Located between the Maenam and Tendong Hills in the south of Sikkim, this is one of the most popular places for bird-watchers as one can spot very rare and endangered species of birds here. This town lies between Pelling and Gangtok and its beautiful surroundings and terrain make it a great and popular place for trekking.
Though incredibly beautiful with snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys, Namchi, which is also known as the culture capital of Sikkim is more famous as a pilgrimage centre because of the presence of Buddhist pilgrimage sites like Namchi Monastery, Ralang Monastery and Tendong Hill. The world’s largest Buddhist statue of Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim) is located on the Samdruptse Hill, which is just opposite Namchi.
Located at an astounding height of almost 10,000 ft, Zuluk is a lesser known destination in East Sikkim. Located along the ancient ‘Silk Route’, Zuluk is better known for its 32 hair pin bends while going towards it. This place offers marvelous views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, gushing rivers and alpine vegetation. Summers bring with it beautiful vistas of innumerable colourful rhododendrons growing on the hill and in the surrounding areas.
Yumthang Valley :
Bounded in by picturesque snow-laden mountains, this breathtaking valley is the place where several rare, exotic and wild flowers can be seen. Cobra-lilies, Cinquefoils, Primrose etc are most commonly seen in this valley and the whole valley comes to life during the monsoons, when all the flowers bloom and turn this destination into a colourful paradise.
Gurudongmar Lake :
And finally, the Gurudongmar Lake! This is one attraction that should not be missed, if you can handle the high altitude terrain, as this spectacular fresh-water lake is situated at a mind-numbing height of 17,800 ft and is also famous as the Tso Lhamo Lake. The wondrous fact about this lake according to folklore, is that though the lake is frozen during winters, there is a portion of the lake that never freezes as this part of the lake was blessed by Guru Padmasambhava and thus the water from here is considered holy by devotees.
Picture Credits : Sikkim and Triptomato.in