Being the capital of the north-eastern state of Sikkim, Gangtok is a popular Buddhist centre. It’s also a famous hub for people hiking and trekking through Sikkim’s Himalayan ranges. It’s got lush greenery and a rugged terrain. The nearest airport, about 124 kilometres away, is in Bagdogra, West Bengal. The nearest train station, 148 kilometres away, is in New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri, West Bengal. You could hire a vehicle and reach your destination in a few hours.
Sikkim offers some of the finest trekking experience in the Himalaya. The state’s vast unspoiled mountain range is a trekker’s delight and its Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary passes through forests of silver fir, hemlock, magnolia and rhododendron with a view of Kangchendzonga peaks in the background. The Dzongri- Goecha La Trek is the most popular trek in Sikkim and famed for great mountain views, a floral spectacle in summer, bird and views of pristine forest.
The trek to Green Lake, the base of Mt. Kangchendzonga on the Zemu glacier in the North Sikkim is the most enchanting of all treks in this area with a variety of flowers such as rhododendrons, primulas and blue poppies. Trek to this route needs a trekking permit from Tourism Department after getting clearance from Defense, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi.
Visit Kanchendzonga National Park
KNP encompasses an area covering 1784 sq km. It is bounded in the north by the Tent Peak and the ridge of the Zemu glacier. The eastern boundary of this park comprises of the ridge of the Mountain Lamaongden. The southern boundary includes Mount Narsing and Mount Pandim. The western boundary comprises of the mighty Kanchendzonga which presides over its namesake park and the Nepal Peak.
Being bounded by such formidable features, it is no wonder that the park has remained ecologically untouched and therefore has provided a natural protection to the flora and fauna it shelters. The fauna includes the Snow leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Barking deer and many other species. The KNP is surrounded by biosphere which combines nature conservation with sceintific research, environmental training, environmental education monistoring and demonstration. Many places in this park have perhaps never been trod by man and it is very likely that new species may be discovered here.
Take a nature walk at Kewzing
Bon farmhouse welcomes you to Sikkim for back to nature experience of staying in a typical village farm ambience of Sikkim in Kewzing Village with a Bonpo Family. The Farmhouse stay is different from a typical hotel or a resort mainly because you can enjoy the comforts of a homely environment the best part being all meals prepared from freshly grown organic vegetables from the nearby fields.
The farmhouse has rich livestock inventory for providing fresh milk and eggs for a healthy and nutritious meal. The Farmhouse has an area of four acres of cultivated fields, tea gardens and six acres of lush green cardamom forest surrounding the Farmhouse making your stay relaxing and peaceful amidst the natural village atmosphere promising a nice breakaway from the din and bustle of daily life.
River rafting on the Teesta
From gentle rides through amazing mountain landscape to thundering rapids that only the most experienced rafter can navigate, river rafting on the Teesta can be the most adrenaline pumping adventure ever. Meandering down the rough and rugged mountain river is a great way to enjoy both nature and adventure. Rapids of classification 2 to 4 are interspersed with placid floats, making rafting an enjoyable experience. A trip down the river also allows you to take in the beauty of the countryside. Most of these have good riverside camps, and are well-frequented by organised rafting groups during peak season.
35 km from Gangtok and at an altitude of 12,310 ft is the ethereally beautiful Tsomgo Lake. Colourfully decorated Yaks with woolen knitwear over the horns and forehead and strings of bells around the necks are ready to take you for a ride around the lake or go up the mountain.</p
Moutain Biking is another adventure that has been recently introduced in Sikkim and the state is fast becoming a favourite destination for mountain bikers. There are a number of mountain bike routes throughout the state. While some are ideals for a technical mountain biking experience, other routes offer landscape to ride through.
The Four Sacred Holy Caves Of Sikkim
Sikkim has Four Great Holy Caves – ‘Phug Chen Zhi’, which are included in ‘gNas-chen-InGa’ (Paanch Dhaam) of Sikkim. These Caves are located at four cardinal directions of Tashiding (West Sikkim), namely –Sharchog Beyphug in the East, Lho Kando Sangphug in the South, Nub Dechenphug in the West and Jhang Lhari Nyingphug in the North. Tashiding, according to Holy text, is the Navel point of “Bayul Demajong”, and is considered as the 5th Dhaam of this Holy Land.
Sikkim Holy Caves Guru Padmasambhava sanctified these Caves as the abodes of various Protective Divinities of the Esoteric Buddhism. Today, these Caves have become the most important pilgrim destination of the Buddhist followers of Sikkim, Darjeeling and for the devotees of Bhutan. For the Sikkimese Buddhist, these Caves are like ‘Char Dhaam’ of the Hindus. The ardent Buddhist devotees especially from Sikkim make pilgrimage to these caves at least once in their lifetime.
It is one of the oldest monasteries of the State. It was originally established by Lhatsun Chempo, one of the revered Lamas to have performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal (Monarch) of Sikkim. This ancient monastery belonging to the Nyingma Sect has been considered as one of the premier monasteries in the State. It has been entrusted with the task to perform all religious functions of the erstwhile monarch.
Originally, it was established as a high class monastery for “Pure Monks. Inside the monastery there is a wooden structure depicting the Maha Guru’s heavenly palace, which is considered a masterpiece created by Dungzin Rimpoche.
Paragliding in Sikkim
Witnessing the surreal beauty of this mesmeric land flying above the hilly abodes, lofty mountains, and unbound greenery let one feel rejuvenated and brings memories to be cherished for a long time. However, for the best paragliding experience try visiting Sikkim during the annual Sikkim Paragliding Festival. The festival is held in Gangtok during the month of October and November when the temperature remains moderate and the sky look clear and sunny.
Sikkim is a land of dramatic contours. Rugged mountains, deep valleys and dense forests consort with raging rivers, lakes and waterfalls to create a visual feast.