Sikkim(also known as “Shikim” or “Su Khyim“),is a small state bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Sikkim is situated at the base of Mount Kanchenjunga and possesses endless and enchanting beauty. The lofty Mountains invite travellers in its green emerald slopes, snow clad peaks, rushing streams and sparkling orchids. Although the state is small, its vertical terrain makes a little difficult to traverse. Sikkim is divided into four districts namely East, West, North and South. One of the Himalaya’s best-kept travel secrets,Sikkim is a diversion from all conventional notions of an Indian Holiday.
There are many places to visit in Sikkim which are more than just tourist places. The overwhelming multitude of flora and fauna accompanied with the geographical diversity makes Sikkim as one of the best energetic and refreshing places to visit. A strong preserve of Tibetan Buddhism, Sikkim’s public aesthetics are executed in shades of ritualistic vermilion,gold,blue and green which makes stringing photo-ops.
Sikkim’s Hot springs are renowned for their medicinal and therapeutic values. Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 meters to 8586 meters. Sikkim is the ultimate destination for travellers and tourists and can provide them a life-long fascinating experience.
Here are the top attractions and places to visit in Sikkim to include on your travel itinerary.
It is the capital of Sikkim and it is an undoubtedly charming and picturesque straddling with striking houses. The city is refreshingly clean and well organized, and many tourists spend many days there to make travel arrangements and see the beautiful and fascinating sights. It is considered as one of the best place for Buddhist Pilgrims around the world. Several Restaurants, Banks, Travel Agents and Tourist offices are situated in this city. Furnished with considerable high peaks of the Himalaya and enjoying a year of mild climate, Gangtok is at the spot light of Sikkim’s tourism Industry and is one of the most visited place by tourists in north eastern part of India.
2. Nathula Pass
Located at an altitude of 14200 ft, the pass is located on the Indo-China Borderland which connects Sikkim to Tibet Autonomous Region In China. Nathula has moderately shallow, excessively drained,coarse,and loamy soil on a steep slope with gravelly loamy surface. Vegetation emerges from sub-tropical forest. It is just 52 kms from Gangtok and is one the best places to visit in Sikkim. The border consists of wire fence, and one can get a strange thrilling experience by seeing the Chinese soldiers on the other side. If permit is granted, tourists can go upto tsangu lake which a high altitude glacier lake and it remains frozen until may. It adds an extra flavour to the taste of geographical diversity of Sikkim.
3. Hanuman Tok
This is a Hindu temple complex located in the upper parts of Gangtok. Lord Hanuman is worshiped in this temple. It is one of the best places to visit in Sikkim and is the major attraction for tourists. The temple is open for tourists to enjoy the beautiful scenario and enchanting view as the temple is located amidst the hills of Sikkim. Excellent Kanchenjunga views can be gathered from the temple. Hanuman Tok is maintained by an unit of the Indian Army. The temple view and peaceful surroundings is just breathtaking. One of the major attraction here is undoubtedly the circular temple unique of its kind. It is a “must visit” destination for all visitors.
4. Zemu Glacier
This is the largest glacier in eastern Himalaya. It is located at the base of Kanchenjunga. Trekking can be done towards zemu glacier, where the zemu river merges with the Thangu River. The glacier is about 26 km in length. It is said to be one of the sources of the Teesta River. The trek to the green lake is the most fascinating among all treks with a variety of flowers. Best season is April-May and October-November. Since there are no huts or bungalows along this route, so any team attempting the trek must be entirely self sufficient with equipment, foods etc.The ending point is Bhadrapur Airport.
5. Gurudongmar Lake
This is one of the highest lakes of the world, located at an altitude of 17,800 ft. It lies in the district of north Sikkim. The excursion to Gurudongmar begins with a 4-5 hour drive from Gangtok through snow covered peaks and mountains. Named after Guru Dongmar,the lake has a religious appeal. The view of Mount Siniolchu and Kanchenjunga is breathtaking from that point. The beauty of the lake is splendid and out of the world spectacle. It is occupied by snow covered mountains and cold water. People considers it to be a holy lake. The water of this lake is said to have curative properties and a lot of tourists carry the water with them on their way back. The best time to visit the lake is November-June
6. Rumtek Monastery
Also called as “Dharmachakra Center” is a gompa located in Sikkim near the capital Gangtok.This picturesque depicts typical Buddhist architectural style and impresses the first comers magnetically. It is one of the largest monasteries in Sikkim. The impressive part of the shrine is the golden stupa containing replicas of sixteenth Karmapa. For sight-seeing in Sikkim, this is the best place to start with. Cool breeze, calm surroundings and variety of flora and fauna encompassing the area which makes it the best place for tourists to explore the beauty and diversity of Sikkim.
7. Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden
This botanical garden was established in 1987 and is the home to different varieties of botanical species. It is located near Rumtek Monastery and houses rare flowers,plants,trees and orchids. It contains dense temperate forests of Oak too. A huge green house has been erected in the garden, where different varieties of Orchids are grown and nurtured. A pavement made of concrete ensures a stress-free walk through it. On the opposite hill, one can experience the splendid view of the Gangtok City. March to Late May and from October to Mid-December is the perfect time for visiting this garden
8. Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology
This is a Tibet Museum in Gangtok,Sikkim. This museum was inaugurated by Late Pandit jawaharlal Nehru in the year 1958. This fantastic museum is built in a traditional Tibetan Style mansion boasts a jaw dropping collection of artifacts related to Vajrayana Buddhism. Research works related to Tibetan language are being carried out in this museum. It is perched on the top of a beautiful hill, and one can enjoy views from the top of the hill as well as learn a lot about Tibetan language and culture. The institute stacks the largest number of Buddhist Books, rare manuscripts and Tibetan Cloth paintings. This museum has promoted research on religion,history,art and culture. It is surely one of the best places to visit in Sikkim.
9. Ganesh Tok
Most of gangtok can be seen from the observatory tower at Ganesh Tok. This tok is just 5-6 km from Gangtok main city. Close to the tashi view point is a temple of Ganesha.It is located at an altitude of 6,500 ft. The devotees have to literally creep into the temple to get a glimpse of lord Ganesha due to less space.The sacred Flags sky as seen in the Ganesh Tok temple is a very rare scene near any Ganesh Temple in India. Ganesh tok offers a splendid and fascinating view of the surrounding regions. The premises of the Raj bhavan can also be seen from this temple. If one visits Ganesh Tok on a cloudless day, then he/she might be lucky enough to capture a sight of the magnificent Mt..The tok along with its fascinating and enchanting views is one of the best visiting places for any tourist in Sikkim.
10. Sa-Ngor-Chotshog Centre
This is a Buddhist monastery. It was established in 1961 by the combined effort of Luding Khen Rinpoche. It is actually located on a hill top. The whole surrounding is area is calm and the fascinating view of flora and fauna provides a breath-taking experience to all the visitors..This is the only monastery of the sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim. It is one of the most recurrently visited spots as it is bestowed with unparalleled beauty and splendor.
Last but not the least, there are many more places in Sikkim which one can visit like Khecheopalri Lake, Nathang Valley, Labrang Monastery, Tashding Monastery etc.One can visit these places in order to get the perfect taste of the geographical diversity of Sikkim. These places undoubtedly refreshes mind and provides and enchanting experience to all the visitors and one will remember the memories of the trip during his/her whole life.