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Sikkim - Sikkim is one of the north-eastern states in India, which are collectively known as the ‘Seven Sisters’. Situated amidst picturesque beauty and bewitching locales, Sikkim is counted amidst the smallest states of the country. However, this does not lessen the magnificence of the state even slightly. Adorned with soaring mountains and tranquil lakes, Sikkim lures visitors from various parts of the world. The rich geography of the state is made up of snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, gushing rivers, steep gorges and exotic flora. Home to the majestic Mt. Kanchenjunga, Sikkim also has a number of monasteries that seem to fill its atmosphere with spiritual calm.
Main Cities / Towns
Gangtok , the capital city of Sikkam,
The capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok is a hill resort nestled amidst the towering hills. It is the natural beauty of the hill station that lures tourists from far and wide. A visit to its numerous monasteries, Pemayangtse, Rumtek, Labrang and Tasuk - la-khang (Palace Monastery), seem to satisfy your soul. You should also visit Deer Park, Namgyal Institute, Dul Dul Chortena, Keochalpari Lake, Tashi Viewpoint and Phurchachu Hot Springs. While in Gangtok, make sure to explore its rich flora and fauna.
Tourist attraction in Gangtok,
National Park -
Access to the heart of
Kanchenjunga National Park, including the vast Zemu Glacier, is generally
only permitted to mountaineering expeditions or experienced trekking parties
using the services of a recognised travel agency. Gangtok travel agencies
are best acquainted with the system and usually have the best contacts.
Mountaineering expeditions interested in climbing peaks over 6000m need to obtain clearance at least six months in advance from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (Ph 011-4671211, fax 688 3412), Benito Juarez Rd, Anand Niketan, Delhi 110021. Many peaks are off limits because they are regarded as sacred; climbers have always stopped short of the very top of Kangchenjunga for this reason.
Gezing - The road from Legship leaves the river and ascends high up above the village for 15 km to Gezing. On Friday, villagers from outlying regions bring their produce into town and a colourful and busy market dominates the main square. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at the Central Bank of India, down a lane behind the town square.
Jorethang - Set in the forested Rangeet Valley, the pleasant market town of Jorethang lies 30 km north of Darjeeling. Across the river in West Bengal is Naya Bazaar.
Pelling - Pelling is perched high on a ridge, 2.5 km from Pemayangtse Gompa, and is rapidly developing into a Bengali hill resort. There are great views north to Kanchenjunga and also to the south when the weather is clear. The town has a post office, but no foreign exchange facilities. In Lower Pelling, the Cottage Industries Training Centre sells pullovers, hats and scarves.
Pronounced 'catch a perry', and sometimes spelt Khechepari, Khecheopairi or
Khechupherei, this place is a popular objective for trekkers. The sacred
lake lies in a depression surrounded by prayer, flags and forested hills.
Resist the temptation to swim, as it's a holy place. If you feel like a dip,
you can swim in the river downhill from Felling en route to the lake. Take
By the lakeshore is the small Lepcha village of Tsojo, and about 1.5 km above the lake is the Khecheopari Gompa.
There's one bus daily between Felling and Khecheopari, leaving Felling at 3 pm (two hours), and returning at 7 am.
Phodong Gompa, north of Gangtok
along a winding but largely tarmac road, belongs to the same order (Kagyupa)
as Rumtek, but is much smaller and less ornate than that gompa. After the
16th Karmapa fled from Tibet and before he established himself in Rumtek in
1959, Phodong was the most important of Sikkim`s three Kagyupa gompas (the
third is Ralang Gompa). The gompa sits high up above the main road to Mangan
and there are tremendous views down into the valley below.
Phodong is a fairly recent structure, although the original gompa here was founded, like Rumtek, in 1740. The gompa has a community of about 60 monks, many of them born in India after the Chinese occupation of Tibet. They`re very friendly and are happy to show you around.
Yumthang Valley - The Yumthang Valley lies 140 km north of Gangtok, at an elevation of 3564m. This region has recently been opened to foreigners, but trekking is still prohibited. The best time to visit is in April and May, when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. There are hot springs, covered by a wooden shelter. To get here, you'll need to join a tour and the travel agency will arrange the permit. The road from Gangtok follows the Teesta River, crossing a spectacular gorge over the Rang Rang suspension bridge.
Gompa - Rumtek,
on the other side of the Ranipul Valley, is visible from Gangtok though it`s
24 km away by road. This huge and wealthy monastery is the seat of the
Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Kagyupa order of Tibetan Buddhism. The order
was founded in the 11th century by Lama Marpa, the disciple of the Indian
guru Naropa, and later split into several subsects, the most important of
which are Drukpa, Kagyupa and Karmapa. Since 1992 there has been a bitter
and sometimes violent dispute over the successor to the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa
who died in 1981, with the factions led by two Rumtek abbots, Samar Rinpoche
and Situ Rinpoche. The Dalai Lama chose Situ Rinpoche after performing the
Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) ceremony in 1993, however they`re still
struggling for power. There are police stationed at Rumtek to keep the
situation under control.
Tsongo Lake - Foreigners have recently been permitted to visit this lake (also known as Changu Lake), which is 35 km north-east of Gangtok; technically you should be in a group of four, and need to join a tour (US$ 12). Permits are valid for a day visit only. Numerous agencies in Gangtok offer tours to the lake, and can arrange the requisite permit.
- Yuksom (also
spelt Yoksum and Yuksam), 35 km by road from Pemayangtse, is the farthest
north you can get by road in West Sikkim and is the trailhead for those
intending to trek to Dzongri. It's a very peaceful village surrounded by
cardamom plantations on a wide shelf above the valley of the Rathong. It was
here that the three lamas of the Nyingmapa order arrived to establish
Buddhism in Sikkim; the coronation of the first chogyal of Sikkim took place
here. The stone throne is next to a big chorten in a small hall not far from
the Hotel Tashi Gang.
Sikkim, one of the most esteemed tourist attractions in India and the world, appeals travelers in millions. Tourist attractions in Sikkim are too good to resist for the travelers. Sikkim is a small stretch of land sandwiched between the Kingdom of Nepal in the West and the Kingdom of Bhutan in the East. Kanchendzonga, the third highest mountain peak in the world in one of the major tourist attractions in Sikkim.
Sikkim is blessed with one of the best natural scenic beauty. Tourists are often spellbound by the majestic view of the snowcapped mountains, lakes, wild animals, Monastery, and many more tourist attractions. Here is a bird eye view of the major tourist attractions in Sikkim.
Tourist attraction in Sikkam
Monastery - Sikkim has over 194 age old Monasteries of great spiritual and historical importance. Some of the major Monasteries are Rumtek, Pemyangtse, Pemayangtse, Sangacholing, Dubdi, Tashiding, Phensong, Phodong and many more.
Mountains - Sikkim has a picturesque mountain treasure. Singalila on the West and Chola on the east are the major mountain ranges in Sikkim. Sikkim gives a panaromic view of the Mt. Kanchendzonga.
Glaciers - The most picturesque glaciers are: Zemu Glacier(the largest glacier of eastern Himalayas), Rathong Glacier and Lonak Glacier in North Sikkim. Several Icefalls and waterfalls have formed at the junction of the Zemu glacier with tributary glaciers which allure the tourists.
Passes - The mountain ranges are interspersed with passes, which are of prime attraction for tourists looking for some fun and adventure. The most important passes are the Nathu La and Jelep La, Chiwabhangjang, Kang La, Kongra La.
Wild life - Sikkim has an unbelievable array of flora and unusual fauna, untouched forests, peculiar to the Himalayan environment with major highlights like the Himalayan black bear, brown bear, panda, numerous species of deer, including musk deer, yaks, wild goats, sheep including Bharal or blue sheep, goral, Tibetan antelope, tiger and leopard. The Red Panda, an endangered animal is the symbol of Sikkim. Sikkim is home to the elusive Snow Leopard and the rare Clouded Leopard.
Other Major Attractions - Namchi, Tendong Hill, Temi Tea Garden, Ravangla, 'Shar Chok Bephu' cave, Menam Hill, Borong, Versey, Do-Drul Chorten (Stupa), Saramsa Garden, Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre, Water Garden, Tsomgo Lake, Tashi View Point, Hanuman Tok temple, Ganesh Tok temple, Sa-Ngor-Chotshog Centre, Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary, Kabi Lungchok, Rabdentse Ruins and many more
Sikkim's famous mask dances provide a
spectacle, perhaps nowhere to be experienced in the entire world. Performed
by lamas in the Gompa courtyard to celebrate religious festivals, these
dances demonstrate perfect foot work and grace.
Costumed Lamas with gaily painted masks, ceremonial swords and sparkling jewels, leap and swing to the rhythm of resounding drums, trumpeting of horns and chanting of monks.
Saga Dawa - Saga Dawa is a very auspicious day for the Mahayana Buddhists. On this day people go to monasteries to offer butter lamps and worship. A huge procession of monks goes around Gangtok with holy scriptures.
Phang Lhabsol -
Phang Lhabsol is a festival unique to Sikkim. It is celebrated to offer
thanks to Mount Kanchendzonga, the guardian deity of Sikkim and to Yabdu the
Kagyat Dance - Kagyat dance is performed every 28th and 29th day of the Tibetan calendar. The solemn nature of the dances is interspersed with comic relief provided by the jesters.
Dasain - Dasain the biggest and most important festival of the Hindu-Nepali population is celebrated in September - October. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
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