SIKKIM & DARJEELING

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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.

Sikkim & Darjeeling – Overview

SIKKIMGANGTOK (Monasteries, Bazaars, Alpine Lakes & Flora)NORTH SIKKIM(Snowscapes, Yaks, and Flora)WESTERN SIKKIM(Monasteries & Delights of Trekking)SIKKIM SINGELILA RANGE ( Trekkers Paradise)RINCHENPONG & VERSHAY (Flora, Great Views and Nature Treks)SOUTH SIKKIMDARJEELING & KALIMPONGKURSEONG(Premier Biodynamic Tea Gardens)DARJEELINGSANDAKPHU TREKKING CIRCUIT(Everest & Khangchendzonga Views, Forests & Flora)KALIMPONG(More Monasteries, Colonial Buildings, Exotic Flora, Lovely People, Exotic Bazaar, and Great Views)AROUND KALIMPONG(virgin forests, exotic flora, Lepcha culture, & great views)

Small but beautiful, Sikkim is the Jewel of the Eastern Himalayas, spread below the crowning glory of the 8534 meters high, Mount Kanchenjunga; which is not just a mountain, but the Sikkimese protective deity.
Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, lush valleys fast flowing rivers, terraced fields, live a friendly people with deep belief in their culture and religion. This region offers her visitors rare and singular experience. Forest and flora, Buddhist culture and hill top monastries, thriving bazars, ancient handicrafts, holy lakes, and the delights if high altitude treks, can all be yours, within the span of a few days.

All this and more in a land peopled by an amazing ethnic mix of beautiful, cheerful, Lepcha , Tibetan, and Nepali people forming a unique sub- culture of their own.
Sikkim is a restricted area but is open to foreign tourists for 15 days at a time. Foreign nationals can easily get a Sikkim entry permit endorsed on their India visa, by applying for the same to the nearest Indian mission.Entry permits are now also available at the Entry check posts at Rangpo and Malli. Contact us in case of difficulty.

The capital of Sikkim, is located in the shadow of the Chola Range at an altitude of 1767 m. It has a rich cultural heritage, bustling modern bazaar, exotic handicrafts, and lovely people. The main attractions are:-
Rumtek Monastery, for its gilded “chorten”, traditional architecture, exquisite paintings, intricate woodwork, treasures of manuscripts and icons.
The Tibetology Institute, displaying Buddhist icons, religious paintings, and literature.
The Directorate of Handicrafts, where ancient skills are kept alive.
The old bazaar for atmosphere.
Day trip to the holy Tsangu Lake at 3800 m altitude, on the old trade route to Tibet, with its rugged snow peaks, mountain & valley views, and the Kyangnosla Nature Park, for Alpine Flora.
Day trip to the Buddhist monasteries at Phodong and Labarang.
International flower show showcasing Himalayan flowers & orchids.
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.

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.

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.
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.
Nestling in the lush green midranges of the Eastern Himalayas, with an incredibly stunning backdrop of towering snow capped peaks; Darjeeling and Kalimpong, are twin hill stations of the “Raj”. Premium tea gardens, colonial bungalows and churches, Buddhist monasteries, exotic bazars, handicrafts, orchids, and the world heritage “toy” train, are the main attraction. The sparsely populated and least visited areas around Kalimpong are your best bet. These comprise forests, mountain streams and rivers, and the picture postcard valley of Samthar. All this and more, in a land peopled by an amazing ethnic mix, of Lepchas, Tibetans and Nepalese, forming a unique sub culture of their own.
Relax and laze, raft the white waters, explore forests and flora, hike, mountain bike, trek, or Para glide, and take in the breathtaking sunrise and sunset views. Apart from hotels and resorts, the area is rich in home stays scattered around several villages.
Kurseong is a a tiny town, at an altitude of 1200 m, named after the wild white orchid.
Famous for tea gardens, producing premium Darjeeling tea; it also has a forest Museum. It offers a chance to explore a tea estate producing bio-dynamic tea for the international market, You can go round the estate, and the factory, peep into methods of tea tasting and buy some premium tea, and take short walks.
The “Raj” hill station of Darjeeling is perched amongst the clouds at 2134 m. It retains some of its old colonial flavour. It is the heartland of premium tea. All round are waves of tea bushes flowing down the slopes, lovely vales and dales, with magnolias and pines.
A ride in the heritage “toy” train through the engineering marvel of the Batasia loop at an elevation of 2557 meters, is an indelible experience.
Close by Tiger Hill provides breathtaking views of the Khangchendzonga , and Everest group of great Mountains. Local sights include the Everest Museum at The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Buddhist monasteries, Peace Pagoda, Zoological park with snow leopards and other animals, Tibetan Handicrafts Center, Botanical gardens, and the bazaar.
This ridge, is part of the great Singelila Range, at an altitude of 3600 m. With its forests, and view- points, it is a popular trekking area, located close to Darjeeling. There are unforgettable views of Mount Khanchendzonga and the Everest group, We offer several trekking options ranging from 2 to 7 days
Kalimpong, is an exotic town of beautiful people, mystical and enchanting? Ruled by Bhutan for 155 years, and annexed by the British in 1865, it was developed as a center of the wool trade with Tibet. This trade flourished until the Chinese took control of Tibet, in the 1950’s The Lepchas, who were the original inhabitants, were subjected to Bhutanese, Tibetan, British, and Nepalese influences. A gentle and docile people, they have almost lost their identity, and are now called “The vanishing tribe”. However history has left behind a fascinating ethnic blend of Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepalese people. Here Buddhism rubs shoulders with Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. Gompas, churches, temples, monasteries, monks and missionaries; all coexist in a jovial and tolerant society.
Located at a comfortable altitude of 1400 meters, it is famous for its panoramic views of the snow ranges, nature walks and flower and orchid nurseries. Colonial bungalows, churches of the “Raj”, and Buddhist monasteries are there to explore. A quaint bustling bazar, is a Pandora’s box of surprises?
Kalimpong is a wanderer’s delight. Buddhist “tankhas”, hand beaten silver, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, hand crafted paper, Lepcha daggers, Nepali Khukaris and Buddhist masks, are some of the shopping attractions. The Wednesday and Saturday “Hat”, or village market, brings together people from surrounding areas, selling an amazing variety of products.

The picture post card countryside around Kalimpong, is framed by the panorama of snowcaps, dominated by the mighty Khangchendzonga. The wild and protected Neora Valley is a store house of Himalayan flora and wildlife. The forested ridges and Buddhist monasterty of Lava, heritage forests of Lolegaon, the serene and enchanting Samthar Plateau, with its breathtaking sunrise & sunset views, virgin forests, the deep valleys, the lush plateaus – are all nature’s gifts
Holidays in this area are forays into the remoter countryside. They provide jeep based and walking holidays to explore the area and meet people. Walking enthusiasts have a wonderful menu of treks; ranging for day treks exploring nearby villages, hidden valleys and the remote Neora National Park, reaching upto the Rache-la – the 3152 m high pass opening into Bhutan. Also you can river raft on the Teesta, visit remote Buddhist Gompas, explore forests and flora, bird watch, ride a mountain bike, and para sail over the mountains, and and meet the people. The Samthar Farm House, and several village homestays are suitable as a base, to live in comfort and to experience the finest hospitality.

You can walk everyday along different trails to explore nature and culture, watch birds, ride a mountain bike and enjoy the hospitality of premium village home stays.
An added attraction is the unique experimental Awake & Shine Primary School, which is bringing quality education to rural children. Visitors are welcome to visit the school and join the children in various class room and outdoor activities. The Awake & Shine guest room, and village home stays hosted by local families provides hospitality.
For details about our exciting activities in this region click on the appropriate button at the top of this page.