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Sikkim located in the northeastern part of India is a quaint landlocked State. Founded in 17th century by the Namgyal Dynasty, Sikkim is situated on the historic Silk Route, an ancient network of trade routes. Enclosed by scenic gorge and daunting hills, Sikkim is a known for its biodiversity. Although the second smallest state, there are many picturesque places to visit in Sikkim. Valley dotted with subtropical and alpine forest, snow capped fortress looming above the meandering river streams are few things which awaits the visitors travelling to Sikkim. Apart from witnessing the abundance of nature, Sikkim is one of the few places where visitors can see two different cultures co-existing in peace.
Gangtok, situated in the eastern side of Sikkim is the largest city of this scenic landlocked state. It is also the capital city of Sikkim. Snugly tucked amidst the alpine forest Gangtok is base for exploring the endless boundaries of this Himalayan Kingdom. One of the most famous tourist interest points of Gangtok is MG marg. Located in the heart of this bustling city in MG marg is the country’s first litter free and vehicular traffic free zone. It is also the venue ground of the Gangtok’s annual Food and Culture festivals. Rope way of Gangtok is another highlighting which has hyped the interest of travelers. Visitors can catch the panoramic view of the Gangtok city and on a clear day they can even gaze upon the majestic snow capped Mt Khangchendzonga from the Ropeway of Gangtok. From bustling shopping street to idyllic monastery Gangtok of Sikkim is the places to find it all. Apart from acting as a base Gangtok open up the window towards the vast opportunities of experiencing mind boggling adventure activites in Sikkim.
Rumtek Monastery also known as Dharma Chakra Centre is one the oldest and largest monasteries of Sikkim. Founded in 16th century Rumtek Monastery is located close to the bustling city of Gangtok. The distance between Rumtek Monastery and Gangtok is 23km. Rumtek Monastery houses ancient artifacts and sacred relics brought out from Tsurphu Monastery, the Karmapa's seat in Tibet. The spiritual and aesthetic appeal offered in Rumtek Monastery has made it an abode to for the travelers who want to find tranquility. Enclosed by thick wooded pine tree, Rumtek Monastery is a must visit destination in Gangtok Sikkim from the travelers who want to learn more the Buddhism culture.
Nestled in the foothills of daunting mountains in East Sikkim is Tsomgo Lake. Tsomgo Lake also known as Changu Lake is a glacial lake. It is located at a distance of 40km from capital city Gangtok. Fed by the melting ice Tsomgo Lake at an altitude of 12400ft is one of the highest lakes in India. During summer season the sapphire colored Tsomgo Lake reflect the astounding view of snowcapped mountain enclosing it. Apart from being a popular tourist destination of Sikkim Tsomgo Lake is the venue for the Guru Purnima festival. During this auspicious day the faith healers known as Jhakris of Sikkim assemble at the lakeside area of Changu to derive benefits from the healing qualities of the lake waters. Whether it is during winter season when the lake is hidden beneath the thick sheet of ice or during summer season when the valley enclosing Changu Lake is dotted with vibrant colors of blooming rhododendrons, the beauty of Tsomgo Lake never ceases to amaze the onlookers.
Nathula Pass is a mountain pass in Sikkim located close to Indo-China border. Once a part of historic Silk Route, Nathula Pass is famous for offering an outstanding view of the Eastern Himalayas and Tibetan Plateaus. Perched at an altitude of 14140ft Nathula Pass is one of the world’s highest motorable pass. The distance between Gangtok to Nathula Pass and Changu Lake to Nathula Pass is 52km and 16km respectively. The road leading towards Nathula Pass is one of the most pictorial routes in Sikkim. Nathula Pass Timings: Open only on Wednesdays and Sundays for the visitors.
Perched at an altitude of 2150mt is Pelling a scenically blessed town of Sikkim. Located in the western side of Sikkim, Pelling has emerged as a favored tourist hub. Offering the surreal view of Mt Khangchendzonga and its surrounding range Pelling has become a must visit destination in Sikkim. Blessed with rich flora and fauna, the forest area enclosing Pelling is dotted with astounding trekking routes which leads towards majestic waterfalls. Pelling is located at a distance of 115km from Gangtok. Visitors who want to enjoy a peaceful weekend amidst the nature Pelling is one of the perfect destination in Sikkim.
Lachung, situated near the Indo-Tibet border is an offbeat destination of Sikkim. Far from the hassle of city life Lachung is nestled on the foothills of snow capped mountain range. Lachung is described as the most picturesque village of Sikkim in the Himalayan Journal by Joseph Dalton Hooker, a British Explorer. At an altitude of 2700mt Lachung experience heavy snowfall during winter season. Overlooking the valleys sprawled with thick forest of rhododendron trees the most highlighting feature of Lachung is the Lachung Monastery. Lachung Monastery is a vantage point to catch the panoramic view of this scenic village of Sikkim.
Tucked on a ridge between Maenam and Tendong Hill is nature bound tourist destination called Ravangla. Ravangla also spelled as Rawangla or Ravongla is a quaint town located in the southern part of Sikkim. It is located at distance of 65km from Gangtok. Still unexplored by many travelers Ravangla is known for being the base for trekking towards Maenam Hill. Perched at an altitude of 8000ft on a clear day Ravangla offers the unhindered view of Greater Himalayas. The emerald green forest surrounding Ravangla is a birding paradise for many avid bird watchers. Ravangla has become a place to find solace amidst the abundance of nature.
Namchi, situated at an altitude of 1675mt is the most scenic Sikkimese city. It is located at a distance of 98km from Gangtok. Namchi is rapidly emerging as a major tourist hub of Sikkim. Apart from being a major tourist destination in Sikkim, Namchi houses the tallest statue of Guru Rinpoche in the world. Overlooking the Rangit valley and Mt Kanchenjunga, Namchi is a must visit destination for pilgrims and tourist visiting Sikkim.
Yumthang Valley at an altitude of 11693ft is known as the “Valley of Flowers” of Sikkim. Enclosed by daunting Himalayan Mountain ranges Yumthang Valley is located in the northern part of Sikkim. Home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, during spring season (April to May), Yumthang Valley is sprawled with the rosy hue of the blooming rhododendrons and primulas. The view of serene water stream cascading through luxuriant valley of flowers with a back drop of snow capped mountain range in Yumthang Valley has captivated the minds of many travelers. Yumthang Valley has become a favored destination for nature lovers travelling in Sikkim.
Gurudongmar Lake, located at a distance of 175 km from Gangtok is a sacred lake for Buddhist and Sikhs in Sikkim. At an altitude of 17800ft, Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world. Gurudongmar Lake is said to have been blessed by a reversed saint due to which even in extreme winter a portion of lake remains untouched by thick sheet of ice. Lying in the foothills of rolling mountain, Gurudongmar Lake with its aquamarine water has charmed travelers and devotees.
How to Reach Sikkim: Almost All the modes of transportations are available to visit Sikkim. It is well connected by airways, railways and roadways. The closest airport and railway station to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport and New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. The distance between Gangtok to Bagdogra Airport and Gangtok to NJP is 125km and 120km respectively.
Best time to visit Sikkim: Blessed with temperate weather during summer season (March to June) Sikkim acts a getaway destination from scorching summer heat of plain region. Post monsoon season (September to December) is the best time to visit Sikkim if visitors want to catch an unhindered view of snow clad mountain range of Greater Himalayas.