Sikkim is like a fine water-color painting, with green rolling slopes, rushing hills streams, Rhododendrons, sparkling orchids as well as hilltop monasteries peeping from the rugged terrains with multicolored prayer flags waving in the mountain breeze.
This remote Himalayan region, wedged between Bhutan, Nepal and Chinese-occupied Tibet, has at one time or another been invaded by all three. The royal family of Chogyals (kings) ruled over the tiny territory from the 17th century, and although it became part of India in 1975, its complicated past is evident in its population of predominantly Buddhist mix of Bhutias, Nepalese, Lepchas, Gurungs, Sherpas and Limbus.
Sikkim is India’s least populous state and though its the second smallest state in India (112km north to south, and 64km from east to west) , Sikkim ranges in altitude from a mere 244m in the valley of the Teesta river to 8,540m at Mt Kanchendzonga, the guardian deity of the state. The extreme north of the state (beyond Yumthang 3,564M) is a high-altitude desert.
Sikkim is the only Indian state with monasteries of all 4 schools of Buddhism.The four schools of Buddhism are – Nyingma, Gelug, Sakya and Kagyu.
Nature at its best
Sikkim records as many as 533 species of bird, including some rare species. Also there are 690 species of vivid colored butterflies.
It is not only home to 35 species of Rhododendrons, it also houses as many as 600 types of orchids, 240 species of ferns and trees and 150 varieties of gladioli!
Sikkim has become the first fully organic state of India!
Sikkim is the first state of India to go completely green with no use of single use plastic and plastic bottled water.
Nearest Airport : Pakyong (31 Km from Gangtok) & Bagdogra ( 116 km / 4 hrs from Gangtok ) connected with direct flights from Delhi and Kolkata
Nearest Railway Station : New Jalpaiguri ( 116 km / 4 hrs from Gangtok )
Best Time to visit and climate:
The best time for this trip is March- May & October - November. June onwards is it starts raining in the mountain areas leading to bad road conditions and landslides. December - February is very cold.
March- May is a pleasant, flower blooming season of the region. June- September is Monsoon. October- November is the best time for a perfect view of Himalayas. Sikkim receives heavy snowfall during January and February and almost half of the destinations remain closed.
|Best Time to Travel
Travel Ci4cuits in Sikkim
West Sikkim : Pelling-Yuksom-Ravangla-Gangtok
North Sikkim : Gangtok-Chungthang-Lachen-Lachung-Gangtok
Places to visit in Sikkim
Gangtok : Gangtok was a small hamlet until the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840 made it a well-known destination. It became a major stopover between Tibet and British India at the end of the 19th century. Following India's independence in 1947, Sikkim became a nation-state with Gangtok as its capital. In 1975 the monarchy was abrogated and Sikkim became India's twenty-second state, with Gangtok remaining as its capital.
Ravangla : Set amidst the hills of Meanam and Tendong, the little town of Rawangla is a visual treat. Enjoy a refreshing sip of the mellow and aromatic Temi tea at Sikkim’s only tea garden in the village of Temi. One of Sikkim’s most significant monasteries, the Ralong Monastery, also lies in Rawangla. The aura of tranquility that surrounds the Rawangla’s stunningly grandiose golden statue of Buddha stays in one’s mind for a long, long time.
Barsey : Located in West Sikkim, Barsey is known for its vibrant and colourful Rhododendron Sanctuary. Trekking through this sanctuary (teeming with wildlife such as the rare Red Panda) to the Guras Kunj trekker’s hut is an exhilarating experience. Soak up the warm rays of the sun at this picturesque hut while you enjoy a panoramic view of the rugged Singalila range.
Kaluk-Richenpong : Located in West Sikkim, Kaluk is a quaint Himalayan hamlet with abundant natural beauty. Take a local hike to Rinchenpong nearby where clouds hovering over the forested mountain ranges and the gorgeous village monastery gives a surreal feel to the ambiance. However, it is the looming presence of the mighty Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, that casts a mystical spell on every visitor to Rinchenpong.
The spectacular terrain of North Sikkim makes for some rough, but excellent driving. Mangan, the small headquarters of North Sikkim is 65km north of Gangtok. Chungthang, 40km further north, is set in a deep valley at the confluence of the Lachen and Lachung rivers. The road then forks—Lachen, 24km further north, stands on a small bit of grassy flatland, from the periphery of which rise snowy peaks. About 30km further you come to Thangu (13,000 ft) where the high altitude desert starts. Head on to the Chopta Valley (20 minutes from Thangu), which is a riot of colour in summer.
Yumthang Valley: Perched 3500 metres above sea-level, Yumthang Valley is a pristine alpine valley blessed with a wealth of natural treasures, including the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary . Glistening wildflowers spill across the spectacular meadows in this valley that that also offers a stunning view of the towering peaks of Pauhunri and Shundu Tsenpa. Lachung is the nearest inhabited town to the Yumthang valley.