Sikkim & Darjeeling – Overview
Wedged between Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and the North Bengal Plains of India, this region is a tangled mass of mountains drained by the Teesta, and Rangit Rivers.
From the visitors angle, Sikkim Himalayas include the geographical area of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
The grain of the country rises from near sea level to 8500 meters, in a short distance, forming a giant amphitheater, hewn as it were from the great mountains. This provides an arc of the most magnificent snow clad mountains as a backdrop to your holidays.
This region is connected to Delhi, , Calcutta, Guwahati by daily air services. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra. Train service from NJP railway station are avalable to all parts of India.
North Sikkim – Snowscapes, yaks, and flora
This most rugged and spectacular district of Sikkim, has its Headquarters at Mangan. Is 76 kms from Gangtok. It comprises the valleys of Lachen, Lachung (the valley of flowers), Dzongu and Tholung.
Each of these is formed by fast flowing glacier fed rivers originating from The Great Himalayan Range and its offshoots, the Singelila Range and the Chola Range. Mighty peaks ranging between 6000 to 8500 meters, enclose it on three sides. A part of North Sikkim, even lies across the Himalayas, on the Tibet Plateau. The visitor can visit the high altitude, Yumthang Valley of Rhododendrons, the tribal villages of Lachung and Lachen, With special permits you can stay at the remote Lepcha reserve called Dzongu, and trek through the remote Tolung Valley to the Kishong-la .Indian nationals can also visit the 5136 m high Gurudongmar Tso which is located acress the Great Himalayan Range.
Western Sikkim – Monasteries & delights of trekking
The legendary installation of the Namgyal dynasty, by three monks in 1642, introduced Buddhism in Sikkim. They came together at Yoksom, and as it had been prophesied, in sacred texts, they searched, and found Phuntsog Namgyal; anointed him with holy water, gave him the title of “chogyal” – meaning king of religion, and urged him to spread Buddhism, amongst the ethnic Lepchas. At that time the local people were animist worshipping nature spirits. On various hill tops inter- visible to each other, are located a string of holy sites.
All the holy Buddhist sites can be visited by staying at Pamayangtse ( Pelling and Gayalshiling) and Yoksom.
Around Pamayangtse, the main attraction is the Pamayangtse Monastery-the sublime perfect lotus. It was built in 1705, and is the paramount of the Nyingmapa monasteries of Sikkim, being regarded the most prestigious. It is well known for its seven level wooden pagoda structure of mind boggling intricacy, depicting paradise. The late Dongzin Rimpoche crafted this, over five years of solo effort. Sangacholing Monastery-the place of secret spells, was founded in 1697. Clay statues dating back to the 17th Century are amongst the oldest in Sikkim. Another reason for visiting Pamayangtse are the splendid sunrise views of Mount Khangchendzonga.
The Kechepheri Lake and Monastery – the noble heaven-reaching mountain, nestles in a forested bowl, at 2000 meters, elevation. Here the legendary guardian bird is always on duty to pick up dead leaves falling on its surface, to keep the holy lake clean.
Around Yoksom, the Coronation site, where the three monks appointed the first king of Sikkim, is a simple stone bench. Dhubdi Monastery – The hermits cell, dates back to 1701. This was the monastery of the first capital of Sikkim. The Norbugang Chorten, where offerings given to the first king by the people were buried by the monks as holy relics, is located is short distance from Yoksom. Tashiding Monastery – The temple of the Religious king, was constructed atop a eart shaped hill, at the very spot where according to the Buddhist scriptures Guru Rimpoche, the founder of Buddhism in Tibet, blessed the sacred land of Sikkim. Built in 1716, it is famous for Thong-wa-rang-to – the sacred chorten, which means savior by mere sight. It is believed that the mere act of beholding it washes away all the sins of the devotee. The sacred holy water from Tashiding is distributed to pilgrims at the Bamchu festival, from an ancient bowl, which never dries up.
Sikkim Singelila Range – trekkers paradise
This ridge rising up to the great peaks of the Khangchendzonga group, offers a combination of treks reaching up to the 5000 m high Goche-la. The 15 days Sikkim Singelila Traverse explores the entire ridge upto the Goche-la. There is also the 8 days Dzongri trek and the 10 days direct Goche-la trek. Shorter 3-5 days treks are available from Uttery, to viewpoints offering panoramic views og Khangchendzonga and Everest.
Rinchenpong & Barsey (Vershay) – Flora, great views and nature treks
For those who want to be lost in nature, and enjoy a secluded holiday, Rinchingpong at elevation of 1500 meters offers, home-stay at a Sikkimese heritage farm, and at the village of Hi Barmoik, There are easy nature walks, in forests of Oak, pine, fir, Rhododendrons and many other flora, bird watching, visits to Buddhist Gompa built in 1730, and a unique heritage Lepcha tribal home. There are superb views of all the great peaks, including Everest and Khangchendzonga group.
We offer several nature treks ranging from 4 to 7 days, traversing the Barsey Rhododendron sanctuary reaches up to 3696 m. The Rhodedendrons bloom in March- April – but the autumn trek in Oct-Nov is equally enchanting with better views.
South Sikkim lies astride the massive ridge running from Maenam, 3263 m to Tendong, 2660 m. Tourist interest is centered around the towns of Namchi , Rabang la and the village of Kewzing- all are located on the Southern slopes, against a backdrop of magnificent view of mountains that include Mt Narsing and Mt Kabru The area is rich in Flora, fauna, and avifauna, as it lies just below the ridge line of the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary has an altitudinal variation ranging from 2300 m – 3263 m. Temi Tea garden – the only one of its kind in Sikkim is located close by on the Northern slopes, with magnificasnt views of Mt Khangchendzonga.
Rabang la-Kewzing- Namchi, are home to the Dalling Monastery the Mangbrue Monastery, the Kundragling Monastery (called the Bon Monastery) – the only one of its kind in Sikkim, The Ralang, Monastery, the Doling Monastery, Samduptse famous for the largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world, and the Namchi Rock Garden.
Holidays based in south Sikkim offers nature treks, bird watching, Buddhist monasteries, and a chance to explore rural lifestyles, agriculture, and stay in a tea garden. Several home stays, hotels and resorts are scattered around this area.