We welcome you to the State of Sikkim!
The State of Sikkim is one among the Eight Sister States of India belonging to the North Eastern Region of the Country. Sikkim is blessed with unending natural beauty and it borders China in the North, Bhutan to its East, Nepal in the West and the State of West Bengal in the South. Notable for its biodiversity, the State of Sikkim is home to the highest Mountain Peak in India and the third highest Peak on Earth i.e. the Kanchenjunga. Sikkim is also the least populous State and the the second smallest State of India.
Sikkim is a land of immense natural beauty and is the only handsome brother among the seven pretty sisters. Infused with ancient history and Buddhist mysticism, its mountains are a trekker’s paradise and its mighty rivers provide some of the world’s wildest spots for water rafting. Standing as a sentinel like over this ancient kingdom is the magnificent Khangchendzonga range. Greatly revered by the people of Sikkim who believe that their guardian deity dwells there, its trekking trails lead to hidden lakes and ancient monasteries. The drive up to the Teesta gorge to Gangtok is simply spectacular.
Sikkim in one of the smallest states in India and the place is nestled amidst the Eastern Himalayas located in the North Eastern part of India. Gangtok is the capital of the state of Sikkim and most parts of the state is covered with vast biodiversity that includes subtropical and alpine vegetation and almost 35% of the state’s area is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park. Sikkim is known for its tourism and every day thousands of tourists visit Sikkim to explore its numerous tourist offerings in the form of landscapes, snow covered peaks, monasteries, wildlife, people and culture, etc. The State of Sikkim is divided into four districts and these are East Sikkim (district headquarters Gangtok), North Sikkim (district headquarters Mayan), South Sikkim (district headquarters Namchi) and West Sikkim (district headquarters Gyalshing). The four districts of Sikkim are further subdivided into 156 subdivisions. When it comes to exploring the various districts of Sikkim, in the East district, Gangtok is the most populated city and it is also the business and administrative centre of the State. In addition to being the business centre, the east district is also home to the beautiful Tsomgo lake, Nathula Pass and the various important monasteries and temples as well.
The North district of Sikkim with Mayan as its capital is a very natural and pristine landscape area of Sikkim. The Yumthang valley of Sikkim is located at the North district and it is known for its grand panoramic views and often called as the valley of flowers. At the North district of Sikkim, do not miss out to visit the Hot springs and take the opportunity to witness the vibrant traditions and culture of the people of Sikkim. At Mayan an annual 3 day music festival in the month of December is must visit. The West district of Sikkim is the one that is most favoured towards history and religion and the place is home to some of the most important and holiest monasteries of Sikkim. The first Chongal of Sikkim was established at Yuksom in 1642 and also the first monasteries of Sikkim were built here in the West district. West Sikkim is one of the natural paradise as well and the place has numerous trekking routes that have abundant waterfalls and lakes. South Sikkim with its headquarters at Namchi is the place that contains the various tourist attractions of Sikkim. The Khangchendzonga range spreads across the South district and therefore the place offers sight of picturesque village and high mountains.
People of Sikkim
When you explore across Sikkim you will find people from three principal communities namely Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali. The above three are the dominant communities of Sikkim and along with them various other migrant communities also inhabit the state that include Bengalis, Biharis and Marwaris who are mostly engaged in business related activities and are known to inhabit the southern region of Sikkim mostly around Gangtok. Because of this, Sikkim is a land that has Buddhist Monasteries, Hindu Temples, Mosques, Churches as well as Gurudwaras. The primary communities of Sikkim are still the Lepchas, Bhutias and Neapli. The Bhutia people of Sikkim are believed to have migrated from the Kham district of Tibet in the 14th century while the Lepchas are believed to have migrated from the Far East. The blend of the culture of these three major tribes of Sikkim gives essence to the unique Sikkimese culture but the people have ensured to preserve their original identity by protecting their culture and traditions. The official language that are spoken across Sikkim are English, Nepali, Sikkimese (Bhutia) and Lepcha. Hindi is also spoken across the main town centres because of the presence of the migrant communities but English is spoken across most parts of the state as tourism is a backbone of the economy of Sikkim and visitors find it comfortable to interact in this language as many of the visitors who come to explore the vast natural beauty of Sikkim are from abroad.
Fairs and Festival of Sikkim ~
Sikkimese festivals follow the Buddhist calendar. One of the most intriguing dance forms is the Chaams. Lamas wearing colorful masks drive away evil spirits. Loosong (jan/Feb) is the Sikkimese New year. Saga Dawa (the triple blessed day) is the holiest of the Buddhist festivals. Celebrated in June, it is believed that Buddha was born, enlightened and attained nirvana on this day. Drukpa Tsehi (August) celebrates the preaching of the four noble truths by Buddha. Pang Lhabsol (Aug/Sept) is unique to Sikkim and commemorates its guardian deity Khangchendzonga. Lamas portray the mountain as a fiery red-faced God with crown of five skulls riding a snow lion.
During the traditional festivities of the three ethnic communities of Sikkim, the people perform several unique folk dances and songs that are a part of the culture of Sikkim and these songs and dances are related to the beauty of the nature around them and focussed on the harvest season seeking the blessings for a bountiful harvest crop. The Nepali people of Sikkim celebrate the dance of ‘Maruni’ and ‘Tamang selo’ while the Bhutia people of Sikkim celebrate the dance of ‘Tashi Sabdo’. Other forms of Bhutia dance of Sikkim are the Kagyed dance, Denong Neh Nah and Ta-Shi-Yang-Ku. The winter season of Sikkim is a time for vacation as most parts of the state remain covered with snow and this attracts tourists who want to experience snowfall across the state. This is also a time for festivals for the local people who celebrate various festivals with traditional songs and dance of the ethnic communities of Sikkim. Once you visit Sikkim during the winter season you will witness festivities all around the State in the streets and markets across the place.
Sikkim being a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual state due the presence of various communities of India residing in the state, therefore these communities has several traditional festivals that are celebrated to mark special occasions. Some of the prominent festivals are Dasai – this is a very important festival of the Hindu Nepali community of Sikkim that usually happens in October coinciding with the Hindu festival of Durga Puja or Dusshera and the worship of Goddess Durga happens across the nine days of festival and on the 10th day of this festival of Sikkim, the elders of the family apply ‘Tika’ on the forehead of the young ones and bless them. Another important festival of Sikkim is the Pang Lhabsol that is a very unique festival because it is celebrated across Sikkim mainly by the Lepcha and the Bhutia Communities to offer worship to Mount Kanchenjunga – the third tallest mountain peak in the World and the tallest in India. This festival of Sikkim also signifies the unity of the Lepcha and the Bhutia communities of Sikkim and it commemorates the treaty of brotherhood among them. This festival is celebrated in the months of August/September and Mount Kanchenjunga is worshipped because it is considered to be a guardian of the state of Sikkim and it is widely celebrated in the Tsuklakhang Monastery.
Another important festival of Sikkim is the Saga Dawa that is considered to be the most famous and biggest festival of Sikkim that is celebrated by the followers of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism and this festival of Sikkim is celebrates the birth of Lord Buddha and his attainment of salvation and enlightenment. To all visitors to Sikkim, this Saga Dawa festival offers a treat to the eyes of the various indigenous religious ceremonies and processions. Another important festival of Sikkim is that of Temi that is a festival celebrated to promote the tea gardens of and Cherry Blossoms in the month of November and the main aim of this festival of Sikkim is to promote new tourism destinations across South Sikkim and also to promote the tea of Sikkim (Temi) globally. Another important festival of Sikkim is the Pelling Winter festival that is celebrated in the month of December to promote the rich and varied cultural heritage of Sikkim and also along with it the place of Pelling (where the festival is celebrated) offers a lot of adventure activities to tourists like trekking, rock climbing, Paragliding, mountain biking, etc.
Another important festival of Sikkim is that of the Bumchu festival that is celebrated every year in the month of March at the Tashiding Monastery and it generally falls on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. This festival is marked with the opening of the vessel that contains the holy water and the water level in the vessel in signifies the sign of fortunes for the coming year from the water level. To witness this festival of Bumchu in Sikkim devotees come to the Tashiding Monastery from various neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan. Each year the vessel at the monastery is checked to verify the water level inside it and the water level signifies the fortunes of misfortunes like droughts, diseases and natural calamities. A special ritualistic of Buddhist chants is conducted at the monastery before the water level in the vessel is checked. Once the vessel is opened, the monks take out seven cups of water and mix it with the water of another holy stream and distributed it among the devotees who come to witness the Bumchu festival of Sikkim.
Another important festival of Sikkim that is celebrated by the Lepcha people is the festival of Tendong Lho rum fat that is celebrated in the month of July and August. The word Tendong is derived from the Lepcha dialect and it translates to ‘The hill of the raised horn’. This is a beautiful festival of Sikkim that is celebrated to pay respect to the Lepcha ancestors and also to pay respect to the hills that the people of Sikkim revere. As per the customs, the Lepcha people of Sikkim make a model of the hill at their house making use of 9 stones and they worship it and also dance and sing wearing traditional clothing and also seek the blessings of the almighty. The Hindu communities of Sikkim also celebrate the festival of Makar Sankranti in the month of January and the people take a dip in the waters of the Teesta and Rangit rivers to cleanse themselves. Various fairs and festivals are organized all across Sikkim to mark this festival and people from nearby states also join the festivities. The biggest celebrations happen at a place called as the Jorethang and even adventure sports are conducted for the tourists here as well.
Climate of Sikkim ~
Summer season in Sikkim as mentioned earlier has a pleasant climate and it not like the harsh summer season that is seen across other parts of the country and this is an ideal time to visit Sikkim. During the summer season of Sikkim, visitors can also get to experience the flower festival of Sikkim and visitors who go for trekking across Sikkim can witness the blooming orchids of the state. Summer season is an ideal time to go for the various adventure activities of Sikkim like mountaineering, kayaking, canoeing, river rafting, hang gliding, etc. One of the favoured treks in Sikkim for adventure seekers is the Rhododendron trek across the beautiful valleys of Sikkim.
One of the other best seasons to visit Sikkim is during the monsoon time when the nature rejuvenates with the rainfall. The rains are heavy from the Month of May through September and this is the time to witness the grand waterfalls of Sikkim. This time at Sikkim is also ideal for bird watching around the place and you get to sight some of the very rare bird species that come to this mountain state in India. You can visit North Sikkim in the monsoon season to witness the flowering around the Changu Lake and Nathula. Also this being the low tourist season across the state you can be rest assured to find accommodations at a much cheaper price and you will have the peace of exploring the state. The best time to visit Sikkim can be describes as you choice as the state remains open to tourists across the year. Each season in Sikkim has something different to offer as mentioned earlier and the natural beauty of Sikkim never stops to enthral any traveller to this place. Many of the tourists to Sikkim visit the place to experience the serenity of the atmosphere of the state wandering across the hill tops and spending time at the Buddhist Monasteries seeking solace.
If you are interested in general tourist sightseeing across Sikkim, then the best time to visit Sikkim is around the months from March to May and later from October to December. In the season of December, you can get to be a part of the various festivals of Sikkim and some of these festivals are Cherry tea festival, Red Panda festival, Maniram Bhanjyang Tourism festival, etc. Even though many tourists do not visit Sikkim during the time of the monsoon season but the rainy season is when Sikkim becomes a more beautiful and enthralling place with the entire state teeming with the bounties of nature. July is the wettest month of Sikkim and visitors can experience the blooming of the orchid during the season. Sikkim is also one of the coldest places in the country and being home to one of the tallest mountain peaks in the World where the temperatures are around -32 degree Celsius you can get a fair estimate of the cold weather of Sikkim and hence Sikkim is one among the few states in the country the receives abundant snowfall as well.
Cuisine of Sikkim ~
Food in Sikkim has evolved from the traditional wisdom and empirical experiences of generations. It encompasses a blend of cultures and traditions of Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet. Rice is the staple food.Meat and dairy products are also consumed. Their cuisine also consists of dals, bamboo shoots, wild flowers, mushrooms and nettle leaves. In non vegetarian foods, beef, pork and fish are relishing items here in Sikkim.
Visitors to Sikkim, discover a mystical wonderland of spectacular natural beauty. The panoramic view of the Snow Capped Himalayas, the scent of flowers, bedecked meadows, the vibrant culture and joyous festivals, infinite variety of flora and fauna makes it a holiday destination that is to be remembered and cherished for the rest of your lifetime.
The cuisine of Sikkim is often referred to as the Sikkimese cuisine and it is a blend of the cuisine of the Tibetan, Nepali and Lepcha tribes as these are the major communities of Sikkim. As Sikkim is a hilly state and also a state with a cold climate and the food is based to suit this climate to the local people. The Sikkimese cuisine is majorly based on a diet of rice as it is across the states of North East India and various vegetables like pumpkin, squash, soya bean, ferns, bamboo shoot, mushrooms, tomatoes, dale chillies, etc. Meat is an important part of the diet of the people of Sikkim and mutton, pork, beef, chicken as well as fish is a part of the everyday diet of the local people of Sikkim as it helps to bring the desired heat in the body in the cold climate as it is across several parts of the World where the climate is cold. The cold climate also needs to be dealt with alcohol and the local people brew various local beverages in their homes as well like the homemade whiskey and fermented miller beer.
Sikkim is an organic state and plastic Free State as well and most of the food is available at the local markets of Sikkim. People of Sikkim believe in eating organic food and do not eat ready to eat meals and so the cuisine of Sikkim is cooked from scratch and it is basically stir fry, boiled or steamed food. Some of the unique recipes of Sikkim are Sial Roti, She Phaley, Momo, Hand churpi, Sishu Ko soup, etc. The indigenous people of Sikkim are very adept in handicrafts and handlooms and the special Buddhist rituals like singing bowls, prayer flags and thangkul paintings that are desired by visitors to Sikkim who buy these as their memoirs of visit to this beautiful state of the country. The woollen carpets and paintings of Sikkim are very grand and are made up of pure sheep wool and come as decors for sofa, beds, etc. The colourful prayer flags of Sikkim are seen fluttering across the state on mountain tops, waterfalls, pathways and these are for the goodwill of everyone. The singing bowls found in the monasteries across Sikkim are metallic bowls that are made up of mixed metals.
Places of Interest and things to do in Sikkim ~
1| Gangtok ~ Sikkim
The center of Tibetan Buddhist Culture and learning, Gangtok is the capital of the State of Sikkim and is also the largest town of the State. Gangtok is surrounded by the eastern Himalayas and being located at an elevation of 1650 m, the town enjoys a mild temperate climate around the year making it a center of Sikkim’s tourism industry. Gangtok was once an important transit point for traders travelling between Tibet and India. However today, it is a busy administrative and business center that presents an interesting mix of cultures and communities.
The prime tourist attraction of Gangtok is the M G Marg. The M G Marg at Gangtok is the country’s first litter and spit free zone with no vehicular traffic allowed. A visitor here can choose to shop across the various shops lined across the street or simply choose to sit in calm at the Titanic Park.
Other tourist attractions near Gangtok are Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok and the Nangyal Research Institute of Technology.
2|Rumtek Monastery and Nehru Botanical Garden ~ Sikkim
The Rumtek Monastery is located around 23 kilometers from Gangtok and is dedicated to the Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kargyu sect of Tibetian Buddhism. Located at a place called Rumtek, the lush green hilly terrain and the magical mountains makes Rumtek an ideal place to spend some quiet time. Adventure sports like white water rafting and trekking can also be undertaken at Rumtek.
The primary attraction at Rumtek still remains of that of the Rumtek Monastery. The Rumtek Monastery is the largest Monastery of Sikkim and it houses some of the rarest Buddhist religious art objects found in the World.
Just ahead of the Rumtek Monastery is the Nehru Botanical Garden which has a mix of tropical and temperate plants as well as a big Green house of exotic orchid varieties.
3| Buddha Park ~ Sikkim
The year 2006 marked the 2550th birth anniversary of Lord Gautama Buddha. The State government of Sikkim in a policy decision had decided to observe the birth anniversary throughout the year. As a part of the celebrations, an initiative was taken by the people of Rabong to construct and install a statue of Lord Buddha at Rabong ,to commemorate the 2550th year, and also to develop the Buddhist Circuit in Sikkim. It was constructed between 2006 and 2013 and features a 130-foot high statue of the Buddha as its centerpiece. The site was chosen within the larger religious complex of the Rabong Gompa (Monastery), itself a centuries-old place of pilgrimage. Also nearby is Ralang Monastery, a key monastery in Tibetan Buddhism. The state government has already kicked off the Buddhist circuit and this project would give the much required impetus to boost tourism and attract pilgrim tourists to the area.
The Cho Djo lake is located within the complex, surrounded by forest.
Solophok ~ Sikkim
The construction of the Pilgrimage-cum-Cultural Centre at Solophok aims at promoting Religious Tourism, coupled with Village and Eco tourism. This unique Pilgrim Centre has a main temple of 108 feet height on which is based the 87 feet high statue of Lord Shiva on the sitting posture at the Solophok Hill. Apart from Shiva statue, this Pilgrim Centre also has replicas of the twelve Jyotirlingas, to offer one platform for Shiva devotees.
Lord Shiva incarnated as Kirateshwar in Indrakeel (Present Sikkim). Therefore, in this incarnation he is locally worshipped by the people of Sikkim as Lord Kirateshwar. A statue of 16 1/2 feet height of Lord Kirateshwar is also installed in the complex.
In order to attain Moksha, the Hindu belief is to perform pilgrimage to all the existing four Dhams. Thereby, replicas of these four Dhams, namely Badrinath, Jaganath and Dwarka dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Rameshwar, dedicated to Lord Shiva is also constructed.
The pilgrim centre is constructed on top of the Solophok Hill in South Sikkim which is about 5 kilometers from Namchi town over an area of 28.958 Ha of land. The built up complex covers an area of approximately 7 acres and is accessible by a smooth road.
This pilgrimage center has been dedicated and designed to place Sikkim in the very conscience, heart and minds of the citizens of India and beyond. Apart from providing a unique religious and cultural ambiance, the Pilgrimage-cum-Cultural Center established on a grand scale hereafter ought to be a tourist attraction at the National as well as International level. The existing linkages have been explored and the tourist activities targeted are Pilgrimage, cultural activities, seminars, religious discourses, nature study and passive recreation.
Nathula ~ Sikkim
Nathula Pass was a major corridor of passage between India and Tibet before it was closed in 1962. Located around 56 kms from Gangtok at an altitude of 14450 ft, the road to Nathula passes through the Tsomgo lake. It is one of the highest motor able roads in the world and is richly surrounded by varied flora. On a clear day you can even see the road winding down the Chumbi valley. Tourists are allowed to go close to the international border from where you can see Chinese soldiers on the other side of the barbed wire.
Nathula is open for Indian nationals on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays. Foreign nationals are not allowed to visit Nathula. Photography is strictly prohibited. One can find ATM facility here which is the worlds highest Automated Teller Machine (ATM).
Baba Harbhajan Shrine ~ Sikkim
Major “Baba” Harbhajan Singh (30 August 1946 – 4 October 1968) was an Indian army soldier who died in 1968 near the Nathu La in eastern Sikkim. He is revered as the “Hero of Nathula” by soldiers of the Indian army, who built a shrine in his honour. He was accorded the status of saint by believers who refer to him as the Baba (saintly father). Many of his faithful – chiefly Indian army personnel posted in and around the Nathula Pass and the Sino-Indian border between the state of Sikkim and Chinese-occupied Tibet – have come to believe his spirit protects every soldier in the inhospitable high-altitude terrain of the Eastern Himalayas. As with most saints, the Baba is believed to grant favors to those who revere and worship him.
Tsomgo Lake ~ Sikkim
Located at about 38 km from Gangtok and at an altitude of 12,400 ft, the ethereally beautiful Tsomgo lake is a must visit for every visitor to Sikkim. A winding road through rugged mountain terrain and sharp cliffs takes you to Tsomgo, which means source of the water in Bhutia language. The lake derives its water from the melting snows of the mountains surrounding the lake. Of legendary beauty, the lake looks different at different seasons. In winter the placid lake remains frozen with the area around it covered in snow while in late spring the profusion of flowers in bloom adds a riot of colors around the lake.
Tsomgo (Changu) Lake The lake is associated with many myths and legends and is revered by the Sikkimese as sacred. It is believed that in olden times, Buddhist monks would study the color of the water of the lake to forecast the future.
For the tourist a visit to the lake offers a wonderful outing. Rides on colorfully decorated yaks and mules are offered at the lake site, which also has a variety of eating stalls serving snacks and beverages.
Khangchendzonga Tourist Villa ~ Sikkim
Located 15 kms. from Gangtok coming up over sprawling 16 acres of land is the Khangchendzonga Tourist Villa. The project comprises of 24 tourist accommodations of traditional Sikkimese architecture, Villa Club with bars, restaurant, indoor swimming pool, multi- gym, open-air theatre, children’s park, Food Court, Exhibition Halls showing arts, handicraft, ornament, musical instruments etc.
The park spreads over 16 acres of land has many cultural attractions like the dome shaped Sikkim Panaroma, swimming pools, bowling alleys, colorful and musical fountains and laser shows. The Sikkim Panaroma houses relief features of important places of Sikkim including the state’s low lying areas and going higher up to Mt Khangchendzonga. These relief features are made from fiber glass. There are also murals of the ethnic communities of Sikkim in the Sikkim Panorama along with traditional huts. Also in keeping with the serenity and surroundings of the region, the park has a rain forest café, a unique food joint with glass floors over a natural stream with lots of greenery.
Ranka also has other tourist attractions such as Lingdum Monastery and Banjakhri Falls. Also with limited recreational and entertainment facilities in Gangtok, the locals can visit Khangchendzonga Tourist Villa cum park for their own entertainment benefit as well. Khangchendzonga Tourist Villa cum Socio-Cultural Amusement Park is a pioneering standalone project of its kind, celebrating the many gifts Sikkim is endowed with. Itis a landmark not only in the state but in all of Northeastern India. It is the pride of the people of Sikkim and brings joy to visitors to this enchanting land.
Lachung and Lachen ~ Sikkim
Lachung ~ Located in North Sikkim, Lachung is a place of vast unadulterated natural beauty. Bordering Tibet, Lachung is at an elevation of 9,600 feet at the confluence of the Lachung and Lachen Rivers. Approximately 125 km from the capital of Gangtok, Lachung is an important forward base of the Indian Army. Often referred to as the most picturesque village of Sikkim, Lachung is home to the Lachung Monastery and a stop over to reach the Yumthang Valley of Sikkim. Lachung is also famous for its fruit species of apples, peaches and apricots. The Lachung Monastery built around 1880 is situated amidst apple orchards across the River from the town center.
Lachen ~ Located at about 129 km from Gangtok, Lachen is a small town of North Sikkim at an elevation of 2750 m. Lachen, not being a big tourist destination retains a freshness which is very appealing. The small town comprises of less than 200 houses and it is the starting point of some of the most exotic trekking destinations of North Sikkim as well as the gateway to the Holy Guru Dongmar and the Tso Lhamu Lakes. At Lachen, one can also visit the Lachen Gompa and get a glimpse of the simple life of the ‘Lachenpas’
National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Sikkim
Sikkim is the land of diverse flora, fauna and avifauna because around 35% of the area of Sikkim falls under the Khangchendzonga National Park and there are three other wildlife sanctuaries in Sikkim as well. The dense forest cover of Sikkim are home to various rare and even endangered animal species of the likes of Red Panda, Musk Deer, the Himalayan Black Bear, Snow Leopard and even the Blue Sheep. Other fauna species to be found across Sikkim are that of the Golden Jackals, Red Fox, Leopards, Flying Squirrels, Palm Civets, etc. Reptile species known to inhabit the forests of the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Sikkim are Burmese Pythons, Geckos, Chinese Pangolins, Porcupines, etc. Sikkim is an ideal bird watching destination as well because the place is home to vast forest reserves and around 550 species of birds and 1400 species of butterflies are known to be found across the forests of Sikkim. Some rare bird species to be found are Great Pied Hornbills, Chestnut Breasted Partridges, red jungle fowls, etc.
Some rare butterfly species to be found are Bhutan Glory, Kaiser-i-Hind, yellow Gorgon, etc. Some of the Wildlife Sanctuaries of Sikkim are identified as Important Bird Areas (IBA) and the area of Sikkim is home to 22 restricted range bird species and at least 19 put of these are endemic to the state itself. The Khangchendzonga National Park covers an area of around 1784 sq. km. and as mentioned earlier it covers almost 35% of the area of Sikkim. This National Park of Sikkim harbours some of the very rare and endangered wildlife and bird species and the Khangchendzonga National Park is bounded in the North by the tent peak and it is located along the ridge of the Zemu glacier. The eastern part of the park is bounded by mount Lamaongdan and the south is bounded by the mountains of Narsing and Pandim. With tall mountain cover all around its sides, this National Park of Sikkim has been able to successfully protect the flora, fauna and avifauna species. Important animals found in this National Park are snow leopards, red panda, barking deer, Himalayan black bear, etc. This National Park of Sikkim welcomes visitors around the year but the best time to visit is said to be between the months of March to May as well as September to December from 9 AM to 4 PM.
Fambong Lho Sanctuary is another popular wildlife destination to explore in Sikkim and this place is located around 20 km from the capital city of Gangtok and in case you are halting at Gangtok you can travel to the Fambong Lho Sanctuary and get the opportunity to sight the varied and diverse fauna of the place. This Wildlife Sanctuary of Sikkim covers an area of 5200 hectares and is known for the population of the Himalayan black bear, civet cats, red panda, barking deer, etc. This place is also abundant in orchids and rhododendrons and very rare bird species of the likes of Rufuous headed hornbills and laughing thrush is found here. Barshey Rhododendron Sanctuary is another popular wildlife sanctuary of Sikkim that is located in the western part of the state. This place of Sikkim is known to harbour many flora species that are not to be found anywhere else apart from Sikkim and some are even known to fight diseases like cancer and AIDS. The best time to visit the Barshey Sanctuary is when the time the Rhododendrons flower and you can opt to visit from November to May and enjoy a peaceful and tranquil experience at the Barshey Rhododendron sanctuary in Sikkim.
Another wildlife sanctuary of Sikkim that is located around 31 km from Gangtok in East Sikkim is the Kyongnosk Alpine Sanctuary that is rich in flora and fauna and also very rare and endangered grand orchids and rhododendrons. This is a smaller Wildlife Sanctuary and it covers an area of around 31 sq. km. There are also tall junipers and tall riverine ferns among the plants present here in the Kyongnosk Alpine Sanctuary in Sikkim. Kyongnosk Alpine Sanctuary is a part of the sacred Himalayan Landscape. Another very popular wildlife sanctuary is the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim. This is an ideal place for nature lovers and the place is filled with medicinal plants and visitors who come here can enjoy its rich flora and fauna. The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary in Sikkim is home to several animal species like that of Red Panda, Barking Deer, Leopard Cat, Civet Cat, etc. Various bird life to be found here are common tailed partridge, blood pheasant, magpies, black eagle, etc. The Maenam wildlife sanctuary in Sikkim is a perfect place to enjoy wildlife trekking and also a nice place for adventure seekers where the trek trail takes visitors up to the Maenam peak. From this place visitors can get amazing views of Mount Kanchenjunga and the Teesta River.
Sikkim being surrounded by the Himalayan mountain range is home to several lakes and glaciers. While a lake of Sikkim can be defined as a place that is filled with water localized in a basin that is surrounded by land and is fed by a river or small stream as well. A stop at the numerous lakes across Sikkim is a sight to behold and will surely overwhelm any visitor as the lakes of Sikkim are very captivating and thrilling as well. These pristine lakes of Sikkim like the Gurudongmar offer some of the most scenic views and are major crowd pullers to this Himalayan State in India. The glaciers across Sikkim are dense ice masses that constantly move under its own weight and the accumulation of snow has continued over the centuries. Sikkim has a total of around 84 glaciers that is the highest number compared to any other state and if seen globally there are around 198,000 to 200,000 glaciers in total. The very popular lake in Sikkim that attracts tourists from around the World to Sikkim is the Gurudongmar Lake that is located at an altitude of 17,800 feet in the North district of Sikkim. The Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim is considered to be holy by the Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs alike and this lake is named after the founded of Tibetan Buddhism who visited this place in the 8th century thereby allowing us to relate to the age of this lake. The Gurudongmar lake is located in the district of North Sikkim and the place can be accessed via Lachen.
The popular belief across the region of Sikkim is that as the holy Rinpoche had blessed a particular part of this Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim and so that part of the lake never freezes how hard the winter season might be. This is indeed a true magic of nature and hence Gurudongmar lake is considered to be sacred by the Buddhists and the Hindus. The followers believe that worshipping this lake of Sikkim will bless them in case they are not being able to conceive for a child. The Gurudongmar Lake remains frozen from mid-November to mid-May and one part never freezes as mentioned. The area surrounding the Gurudongmar Lake is home to Yaks, Blue Sheep and various other wildlife species as well. Another lake of Sikkim that is popular in the tourist circuit is the Khecheolpalri Lake that is located in the West Sikkim district and it translates to the heaven of Padmasambhavana. This is another revered lake among the Hindus and Buddhists as the people believe that their wishes are granted true once they pray at this lake. As per the legend it is believed by the local people of Sikkim that this lake was formed around 3500 years ago and it is situated at a pristine altitude of around 11,700 feet near the Tsozo village.
The periphery of this lake is in the shape of the foot and this lake drains a catchment area of the Ramamana watershed in Sikkim. Another popular lake in the East Sikkim district if that of the Tsongmo lake or the Changu lake that is just located 40 km from the capital city of Gangtok and the Tsongmo lake remains frozen in the winter season. The Tsongmo Lake in Sikkim is situated at an elevation of 12,313 feet and the unique characteristic of this lake is that the surface of the Tsongmo Lake reflects various different colours with the change in the season and this is also another reason as to why the local people of Sikkim believe in the holiness of this lake. The area around the Tsongmo Lake in Sikkim is filled with various flowering plants species of the rhododendrons, yellow poppies, irises, etc. The Red Panda species are spotted here along with several bird species including the Brahminy duck. A small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is present at the bank of this lake.
Among the glaciers, the Zemu glacier in Sikkim is the largest glacier in the eastern Himalayas and it spans across 26 km in length and is located at the base of Mount Kanchenjunga in Sikkim and this Zemu glacier drains the east side of the mountain here in Sikkim. The Zemu glacier is not on the regular tourist map of Sikkim and instead it is present on the adventure tourist map of Sikkim as this is a moderate difficulty trek that takes you to the Zemu glacier and the roads to this glacier is filled with waterfalls, twinkling rivulets and wonderful views of landscapes. To your surprise you will be amazed to see the flora and fauna in this snowy region with blue poppies and even rhododendrons flowering. The trek trail to the Zemu glacier reaches to a height of around 5000m and this is challenging as well but it is a once is a lifetime experience that adventure seekers need to try out once on their visit to the Himalayan State of Sikkim. The Zemu glacier is located at the foot of the third tallest mountain peak in the World and this mountain range is visible from most of the tourist spots in Sikkim.
Another important glacier of Sikkim is the Rathong glacier that is present in the West Sikkim district and it reaches an elevation of almost 4500-6700 feet above MSL. The Rathong glacier in Sikkim is well known for its trekking routes and also the glacier extends from Rathong la in the North to the Chowri-Kiang valley to its south. This Rathong Glacier is well known to many mountaineers from across the World as they come here to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and learn about the practices of ice crafting here. The trek to the Rathong glacier starts at a place called as Yuksom that was earlier the capital of Sikkim and across the trek visitors can get the unique opportunity to sight the Frenzi peak, Koktag, Kabur, etc. Another popular attraction in Sikkim that is also considered sacred by certain communities are the caves and Sikkim is home to four great holy caves and these caves are located at four cardinal directions. These holy caves of Sikkim were sanctified as abodes of Buddhism by the great Guru Padmasambhavana.
The holy caves of Sikkim are very sacred among the Buddhist people and they consider a visit to these caves a very sacred moment and a visit to these caves is like the ‘Char Dham’ Yatra for the Hindus. Some of the holy caves of Sikkim are the Khando-Sangphu (located at around 7 km from the legship market area), the Lha-ri-Nying-Phua cave that is also called as the Heart of God’s cave and this cave is located above the Tashiding trek route that starts from Labday village, the Shar-Cho-Bey-Phu cave that is also called as the secret cave of the east and this cave in Sikkim can be accessed from Rebangla and also has a Monastery at the vicinity, the Dechen-Phu cave also referred to as the cave of happiness and this cave is located at the Dalap village near Pelling in West Sikkim. These caves across Sikkim are very holy among the Buddhist people and so to visit these caves you need to respect the sanctity of these caves and ensure to not commit any acts of nuisance on your visit to these caves. It is recommended that you hire the services of a local travel agent of Sikkim to plan a visit to these caves.
Sikkim is a Himalayan State bounded in North East India and this state is home to the tallest mountain peak in India and the third tallest in the World after Mount Everest and K2 that also is in the Himalayas. There are four mountain peaks that are above 5000m and Sikkim is also home to 28 mountain peaks, 80 and more glaciers, more than 200 lakes, five hot springs and numerous rivers and streams that make this state a very favourite adventure tourism destination in the country. Sikkim can be considered as one of the best destinations for mountaineering across India and various other adventure and water sports that are going to provide a unique thrill to its visitors. Sikkim is home to some of the very pristine trekking tails that offer amazing vies of nature and the beautiful mountains views and valleys of Sikkim as well. Some of the very popular trekking trails across Sikkim are Rhododendron trek, Green Lake trek, Dzongri trek, Goechala trek, Village trek, Monasteries trail, etc. Also visitors who seek the thrill can enjoy the river rafting experience on the rapids of the Teesta and Rangit Rivers of Sikkim.
Skiing on the snow is also a popular adventure activity that is gradually catching up in Sikkim and visitors can travel to the Yumthang valley of Sikkim from the months of November to March to enjoy the thrill of skiing on the snow of the Himalayas. The Yumthang valley in Sikkim is located at around 21 km from Lachung and another skiing destination in Sikkim is in the Phuni Valley around 18 km from Lachung. Some of the other popular adventure sports in Sikkim are Paragliding, Mountain Biking, Rapelling, etc. For the mountaineering adventure related activities in Sikkim, visitors need to obtain special permits and all the mountaineering expeditions are to be conducted by the registered tour operators and these tour operators of Sikkim have to adhere to all code of conduct of ecotourism and have to keep the mountains of Sikkim litter free. Insurance covers are compulsory for all tourists who go for mountain expeditions and a total of 10 expeditions are allowed in a year with 6 foreign and 4 domestic expeditions only. Though mountain climbing has been long going on at the Everest trek and base camp it has been included in the adventure activities of Sikkim recently and the mountaineering season in Sikkim starts from April to June and later in September to November as the temperatures are favourable during this time of the year for mountain hiking.
The main mountain peaks where visitors can go for mountaineering in Sikkim are Frey Peak, Mt. Jupono, Mt. Brumkhangsa and Mt. Thinchenkhan. Apart from adventure tourism one another circuit that is for the touristy crowd to Sikkim is that of the pilgrimage tourism. Some of the popular Monasteries across Sikkim are Enchey Monastery that is located at Ashtok in Sikkim and this Monastery name translates to ‘The Solitary temple’. The Enchey Monastery is surrounded by tall pine trees, flowering meadows and beautiful view of the Kanchenjunga Mountains of Sikkim that provides the visitors with a unique serene and calm view of nature. Located just 3 km away from the capital of Gangtok, the Enchey Monastery was established more than 200 years ago and at present, this place is home to around 90 Buddhist Monks. The place follows a grand architecture and the roof of the wall is painted with numerous images of Gods, Goddesses and Tantrics.
Another important Monastery of Sikkim that is very popular in the tourist circuit of Sikkim is the Rinchenpong Monastery that is located at Rinchenpong town at a height of 5,500 feet. This Monastery is perched atop a mountain and it offers breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range. This is a very important part of the heritage tourism circuit of Sikkim and it has held this position over the past three centuries as a part of the Rinchenpong village. The approach to this Monastery is from Rinchenpong village and this trek to the top is across the undulating meadows of Sikkim and the trek route is surrounded by the customary Buddhist religious flags and one gets to admire the various ancient structures of the place and the beautiful view of the nature all around. The Siddeshwara Dham is located around 5 km away from Namchi and it was founded in 2011 to promote the religious tourism circuit across Sikkim in the area of South Sikkim. This is a Hindu circuit and Lord Shiva’s towering statue almost 26m in height in a sitting posture overlooks the main temple. At this shrine the replicas of the twelve Jyotirlingas along with the four Dhams are present.
Devotees of Lord Shiva who come to Sikkim ensure to visit this place and today this has become one of the top tourist destinations of Sikkim. When you come to visit West Sikkim, then along with the Siddeshwara Dham you can also visit the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary and the Tendong State Biodiversity Park and also embark on two very popular treks across Sikkim viz. the Tendong Hills and the Maenam Hill trek. Many popular Monasteries are to be found along this area and some of these Monasteries are Ralang Monastery, Doling Gompa, Ngadek Monastry, etc. The giant statue of Buddhist Guru Padmasambhavana located at the Samdruptse hill is also an important tourist attraction near Namchi in West Sikkim. The Lachen Monastery that was built in 1858 that offers quite backdrop and majestic views. Lachung Monastery is a very sacred place that offers the picturesque views of Lachung. The best time to visit Lachung Monastery is from March to June and there are three other sacred attraction that is found in the Thangu village. Chapta valley and Gurudongmar Lake are other important destinations that are just around 2 hours away. Another temple that is very famous is the Sarva Dharma Sthala that is a very holy shrine.
Located atop the Rumtek hill is the Rumtek Dharma Chakra centre that is a place where it is believed that God left the Dharma Chakra here and the place was established in 1740 and to reach this place you need to drive for around an hour from Gangtok. This place is a very sacred site for the Buddhist people of Sikkim and it has numerous religious scriptures of rare objects relating to the Kagyud order of Tibetan Buddhism. Another important site of the pilgrimage tourism sector of Sikkim is the Pal Zurmang Kagyul Monastery that is a recent monastery built in 1999 and this too is located at around an hour’s drive from Gangtok. This Pal Zurmang Kagyul Monastery is one of the very fine examples of the Tibetan Monastic architecture that is located on a very green landscape and there are numerous sacred rooms at this Monastery in Sikkim.
Another important pilgrimage Site of the Hindu people of Sikkim and also the tourists who come to explore Sikkim in the religious circuit is the Ganesh Tok and Tok here means a hill signifying that this temple shrine dedicated to the Elephant God Ganesha is located atop the hill (altitude of 6500 feet) and just around 7 km from the capital of Sikkim viz. Gangtok. Visitors to the Ganesha Tok temple shrine can enjoy overwhelming views of the Gangtok town and offer their earnest prayers here and they can also get sprawling views of Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Sinolchu of Sikkim as well. Hanuman Tok or the Monkey God temple located atop another hills at Gangtok is another very important pilgrimage site for the Hindu people of Sikkim and this temple shrine was established in 1968 and its located atop a hill that has an altitude of 7200 feet. Hanuman God in Hinduism is considered as God of physical strength and he is widely worshipped across India. This temple shrine in Sikkim is managed by the resident units of the Indian army and the local people believe that their wishes and prayers are fulfilled here. Many devotees come here to offer their prayers and this temple shrine being located atop a hill also offers panoramic views of Gangtok town of Sikkim. The Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial temple in Sikkim was built in memorial of a Sepoy of the Indian Army who had gone missing during his patrolling encounters and it is believed that he came in the contact of his colleagues in their dream and told them where to find his missing body and expressed his interest of a Samadhi to be built in his memory. This memorial site over the years has achieved the status of being a pilgrimage site along the Nathula and Jelepla passes as the tourists believe that his blessings allow them to have a safe journey along the snow covered roads and they leave a water bottle here and collect it and consider this water to be blessed.
Another important aspect of tourism in Sikkim is the heritage tourism that is a sector that has been attracting many tourists especially from abroad and in the heritage tourism one gets to explore the various facets of the history of the place and this sector allows tourists to experience the cultural environment, lifestyles, landscapes, values, traditions, wildlife and also the visuals and performing arts of the place. The heritage sites in Sikkim that allow visitors to experience the culture, history and natural resources are the Pemayangtse Monastery, Dubdi Monastery Rabdenstse ruins, etc.
When it comes to exploring the offbeat tourist destination of Sikkim then one place that has to find a mention is that of Zuluk. Also called as Jaluk in the local language, this place is a small hamlet that is located at a height of around 3000m and is in the Eastern part of Sikkim and this place finding attractions due to the tall snow covered mountain peaks of the Himalayas including Kanchenjunga a. This was earlier the transit point along the silk route that connected Kalimpong to Lhasa in Tibet and the route spread across the valley of Zuluk to Chumbi valley in Tibet. Zuluk is a small village with around 700 people and this is also an Indian Army transit site and hence the Indian Nationals choosing to visit this place need to apply for PAP and then can enjoy the stay in one of the homestays here and enjoy grand views of the Kanchenjunga Mountains. The area being less populated has a pristine forest cover of Sikkim and these are absolutely virgin forests and visitors are often heard of sighting Red Panda, Deer, Wild Dogs, Himalayan Black Bears and even the tigers have been sighted here as well.
To reach Zuluk in Sikkim and to experience the varied beauty of Mother Nature at this place where the snowfall happens in winters and covers the roads and even the area upto 3-5 feet visitors need to obtain a special permit from the Govt. of Sikkim and visitors who want to visit Zuluk in Sikkim need to ensure to carry their passports, voter IDs, photos, etc. Visitors to Zuluk need to keep certain things in mind while travelling from the mainland to this remote village. This being a remote village so you need to carry adequate cash to last during your stay as the place doesn’t have any ATM service. Ensure to carry plastic water bottles for your use and dispose them in the dustbins around the village and not litter around. Zuluk being a cold place even in the summers you need to ensure to carry adequate warm clothing and not only here but across Sikkim you need to keep this in mind. The place is an economically poor area and so do not expect any modern luxuries at Zuluk and there are basic homestay accommodations where you can spend the night to explore the varied natural beauty of the place. Also ensure to carry a small medical kit as pharmacies are rare to find at Zuluk in Sikkim.
Namchi (locally called as Namstse) is the district headquarters of the South district of Sikkim and the name translates to Sky High in the local dialect of Sikkimese. Namchi is a very popular tourist destination in Sikkim mostly because of its good connectivity with major towns like Gangtok, Pelling, Siliguri and Kalimpong and regular jeeps and busses ply on this road thereby making its great holiday point for tourists from West Bengal and other parts of the country as well as the nearest raid head of Siliguri is located at a distance of 100 km from Namchi. Namchi offers great scenic views of the mountains of the Eastern Himalayas and also the site of the Bronx formation of Mawly that is a protected geological monument in Sikkim. The Baichung stadium that is built here by the Govt. of Sikkim to honour the great footballer of India – Baichung Bhutia who is a famous citizen of Sikkim and every year the Golden Cup football tournament is held to draw hundreds of visitors from across Sikkim to Namchi. Historically it is said that Namchi is the place where the treacherous princess who poisoned one of the Chorgyols of Sikkim was punished for here deeds here and the locals believe that her spirit still haunts the valleys of Namchi.
The second most popular and visited destination in Sikkim after Gangtok is Pelling that is a very beautiful town located in the West district of Sikkim. Pelling is located at around 130 km from the capital of Gangtok and the place offers breathtaking views of the Khanchendzonga and the neighbouring places as well. The Pemayangstse Monastery is a major tourist spot that is located near Pelling and the place also offers various adventure activities like mountain climbing, mountain biking, various trek routes, etc. Pelling can be described as a perfect holiday destination for all nature lovers and adventure lovers as well and the place offers village tours, meditation, etc. Pelling was initially covered with thick forests and dense vegetation and was home to various wild animals. Pelling is now a very important tourist site of Sikkim and hence numerous hotels and resorts catering to various categories of tourists have now come up and Khangchendzonga festival of Sikkim is celebrated every year at Pelling. Sikkim being one of the very popular tourism destinations in North East India sees footfalls in thousands and it can be easily said to be at par with the visitors who come to visit Kaziranga National Park in Assam. Tourism has become a principal revenue earner for the Himalayan State and hence various entrepreneurs have come up with initiatives to take tourism to the next level in Sikkim and it is not only restricted to sightseeing in Sikkim and visitors can get to experience various forms of activities like adventure sports, mountain climbing, etc. in Sikkim. To cater to the stay requirements of the various tourists to Sikkim there are Hotels, Resorts, Budget Lodges, Homestays, Guest Houses, etc.
Today Sikkim has various hotels that are from budget prices to Star Hotels and they offer various retreats to the visitors to Sikkim. While most of the high end hotels and resorts are found at the popular tourist destinations of Gangtok and Pelling and Namchi, you can even go to explore the more distant places in Sikkim and rest assured to find some place for your stay be it at a basic homestay or a Government Guest House. This provides a very good opportunity for you to mingle with the local people of Sikkim and learn more about their place that are not documented ion the internet. Some of the popular hotels and resorts around Gangtok and Pelling are: Bamboo Grove Retreat that is located just 300m from the MG Marg at Gangtok in Sikkim and the place offers various accommodation options across its 18 rooms and the view of the Kanchenjunga from the balcony. The amenities at the Bamboo Grove resort in Sikkim include free Wi-Fi, TV, Heater, Tea/Coffee maker, etc. The place in Sikkim offers a basic restaurant that provides the three meals and also a parking space is available in front that can accommodate around eight cars as well.
Anther hotel that is located very close to the MG Marg in Sikkim is the Bhumzang Hotel that offers all modern luxuries and is very attractive place to halt at Gangtok in Sikkim. The rooms are modern and well equipped with facilities that make your stay comfortable during your visit to Sikkim and the rooms are all having attached bathroom with regular hot/cold water and the place is located close to the Bagdgora and New Jalpaiguri stations. Another hotel that is away from the bustling market area is that of the Cardamom residency that offers visitors great view of the popular tourist spots across Gangtok and it is a very scenic location. The hotel offers Wi-Fi and strong mobile connectivity to the guests so that they can stay in touch with the rest of the World while enjoying their vacation among the Himalayas and without having to miss on their work or business. Enjoy some delicious local cuisine of Sikkim during your stay at the Cardamom Residency at Gangtok. The Crown De La Cruz Residency is a perfect place to stay for all the vegetarian tourists who come to Sikkim as this place follows a pure veg environment and this has made it a favourite place of stay in Sikkim for tourists who prefer to have a vegetarian course meal. There are a total of 24 rooms at the place and the view of the nature and landscapes are breathtaking and the place is at close proximity to the Banjakri falls, Tamay Gumpha, Institute of Tibetology Sikkim, Handlooms and Flower show areas.
Another nice Hotel for your accommodation at the heart of Gangtok town is the Denzong Inn Hotel that offers 15 rooms for the visitors to Sikkim accompanied by attached bathrooms. The bathrooms are very clean and neat and are fitted with hot water geysers and from the hotel you can get breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga of Sikkim. The place offers terrace double rooms, double rooms, deluxe double rooms and Denzong suite rooms at this place and all the rooms are budget priced to suit the pockets of the visitors. The 5 Star resort of Denzong Regency is one of the prime resorts at Gangtok and this resort offers majestic views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range. The Denzong Residency is located at close proximity from the various tourist attractions of Gangtok and most of the places of Sikkim like MG Marg, Flower Show, Handicrafts, Handlooms, Ganesh Tok are located nearby to this place. The Denzong regency resort offers 6 regency suites, 12 suites, 6 deluxe rooms, 1 dedicated room for the differentially abled guests. The rooms offer private balcony to its guests where they can admire the vast natural beauty of Sikkim.
The palace offers a multi cuisine restaurant, coffee shops, lounge bar, casino, spa, conference halls, banquet halls, etc. It is the only 5 Star property of Gangtok and the place is located at an elevation of around 6000 feet that is spread across 10 acres of land and the place is almost a century old and it si a family owned property here in Gangtok. Denzong Shangrila is another popular luxury hotel at Gangtok and the place offers accommodation in the form of deluxe rooms, premier rooms, superior rooms and suite rooms. The Denzong Shangrila is situated just a few minutes away from the main market area of the MG Marg at Gangtok in Sikkim and the place offers grand views of the Kanchenjunga Mountain, Rumtek Monastery and other places around Gangtok. The Dewpond Hotel at Gangtok is another popular place to halt during your visit to Sikkim and the place offers 3 Star amenities to its guests including Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast. It is located close to the Gangtok stadium and the rooms are categorized into standard rooms and premier rooms.
One of the very best hotels to stay during your visit to Gangtok in Sikkim is that of the Hotel Flora Fountain that is a very cosy place to stay and the place is nestled in the majestic hills of Gangtok. The place is a true creation of art and it uses various artefacts of Buddhism from the Tibetan and Sikkimese influence and the hotel is a beautiful blend of cultural representation of Sikkim along with the modern hospitality. The hotel can be described as a 5 Star par when it comes to experiencing the hospitality here as the place provides its guests with a unique relaxing and enriching experience. There are 17 rooms at the place and these rooms are elegantly designed and are classified under Deluxe Double Room, Deluxe triple rooms and Deluxe Family rooms. Another budget hotel located at the heart of Gangtok town is the Hotel Golden Imperial that offers Deluxe Rooms to guests at Sikkim at around INR 1500 and this place can accommodate both business travellers and tourists who are budget friendly. The hotel Golden Imperial is located at the Indira Bypass that is just 7 km away from the MG Marg in Gangtok. There are 24 rooms under the categories like Deluxe Rooms, Family Rooms and Premier Rooms and all the rooms are modern and well furnished. The Golden Imperial Hotel and Spa in Sikkim has an in-house restaurant called as the ‘Tandoori Express’ and also an in house Bar called as the Tiki Bar. The Spa is called as the Golden Spa and the place has a centre for small children to play and a grand dining hall for its guests. The place offers all modern amenities across its rooms.
The Ghonday Village Resort is located in West Sikkim that is located in the Kaluk village where the area is actually the buffer area of the Bersay Rhododendron Sanctuary and across the area you can get the sprawling views of the Kanchenjunga Mountains and get to hear the hymns of the monks resonating from the nearby monasteries. The Ghonday village resort is a very prime property in Sikkim that overlooks a beautiful countryside and the lush vegetation all around. This resort in Sikkim offers star category facilities and has a traditional reception with complimentary welcome drink and local food as well. The sprawling rice cultivation fields of the Kaluk village can be seen all around with the backdrop of the Kanchenjunga mountain range that illustrates the nature in a form of a true painting. The rooms at the Ghonday village resort at Sikkim are categorized into Suite cottage, Kanchenjunga rooms, super deluxe rooms, deluxe rooms, family room and junior family room. The Ghonday village resort in Sikkim offers parking, breakfast, Wi-Fi, restaurant, laundry service and geysers to its guests.
Another beautiful resort in West Sikkim is that of the Green Valley resort that is located in an ideal hamlet at an elevation of about 2320m and even this place in Sikkim is located in the Buffer zone of the Barsey Rhododendron sanctuary. This resort in Sikkim is located around 29km from the second most popular tourist spot of Pelling and the place is also located at the vicinity of the tourism base camp and the Singali trekking trail. The Green Valley resort is located in a beautiful countryside area and it serves an ideal retreat for all nature lovers who can come here and enjoy their stay in a nice environment and enjoy the rural lifestyle and the local cuisine of the people of Sikkim and experience the Sikkimese culture at its best. This Golden Residency resort also assists its visitors with the option of arranging their treks and tours across Sikkim as well and ensures to provide complete hospitality to its guests. Another very luxurious resort that is again located in the Kaluk zone of Sikkim is the Mandarin Village resort that offers panoramic views of the Khangchendzonga mountain range. The rooms at this fabulous resort are categorized into premium deluxe rooms, family suite rooms, cottage superior rooms, etc. The Mandarin village resort is spread across 23 acres of forested land that offers various vegetation and visitors here can get a glimpse of the village lifestyle of the Lepcha people of Sikkim and also enjoy their sumptuous cuisine and culture as well. The chanting of Buddhist hymns regularly in the morning and evening followed by the soft music makes this place stay worthy and the beautiful ambience and warm hospitality is also worthwhile.
Located in East Sikkim, another important resort to stay at is the Sterling Gangtok that is located near the Sikkim University. The place is set amidst the orange orchards of Sikkim and also provides a beautiful backdrop of the green mountains and the meandering river. The place offers its visitors 41 rooms that are spacious and very well furnished and the floor is of teak wood and each of the rooms is accompanied by a balcony as well so that visitors to the Sterling Orchard Gangtok can get a panoramic view of the landscapes all around. The place not only offer to its visitors an ideal setting to unwind and relax amidst the beauty of nature all around and visitors here can take a walk across the orange orchard here admiring the beauty of the place. This place is also good to host conferences for corporates as there is a well-equipped conference hall at the Sterling Gangtok where visitors can not only enjoy the comfort of the place and enjoy the conference and also explore the beauty and pristine natural surroundings of this Himalayan kingdom of North East India.
Another popular resort in West Sikkim is the Bliss Village Resort that is located close to the Bagdogra airport and the New Jalpaiguri station. This Bliss Village Resort offers 4 categories of rooms under the deluxe rooms, Super Deluxe rooms, Premium Rooms and Executive Cottage rooms that is located amidst the verdant hills of West Sikkim that overlooks the grand Kanchenjunga Mountains of Sikkim. The Resort is spread across an area of 7 acres and the rooms at this place are equipped with all modern amenities. The Pelling resort is located at the tourist area of Pelling in West Sikkim and it is a budget priced resort in Pelling that also hosts a nice restaurant and a garden as well. The rooms at the Pelling resort are classified into premium rooms and are priced at INR 2200 per night and the rooms offer a beautiful mountain view of Sikkim as well. The rooms at this place are offered with a seating area, modern bathroom and free toiletries as well. The restaurant at the Pelling resort in Sikkim offers a choice of Indian cuisines to its guests.
Apart from the Hotels and resorts around Sikkim, the local people have now opened up their homes to offer accommodations to tourists where the guests can come and experience a stay with the local people of Sikkim. These homestays range from very basic to luxurious accommodations and this is a perfect way to accommodate the increasing influx of tourists to the Himalayan State and provide them with a unique option of exploring the diverse culture and traditions of Sikkim. The Aura homes in a homestay nestled at the top of a hill in Gangtok and the place provides a 360 degree view of the mountains and also allows a bird’s eye view of the city of Gangtok. Another homestay option for tourists in South Sikkim is the Chalamthang Homestay that is around 42 km away from the capital city of Gangtok. This is considered to be a perfect place in South Sikkim where visitors can get to explore the rich culture, heritage and traditions of the people of Sikkim. The place offers accommodation in luxury rooms and the beautiful views of the landscapes of Sikkim can be seen all around. The Chungda hidden homestay offers visitor’s accommodations in deluxe rooms and this is around 125 km away from the airport and this is a very quiet and peaceful accommodation that is ideally suited for family, honeymoon couples, birding tourist and even trekkers as well.
Another homestay around Zuluk is the Gurung Homestay that is a pleasant place to stay located along the silk route of Sikkim. As mentioned earlier, Zuluk offers grand views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range and also the forests around the place are known for the Red Panda and the Tigers of Sikkim along with varied birdlife as well. This is along the border of India and Tibet and some of the important sightseeing places near the Gurung Homestay ate the Old Baba Mandir, Nathang valley, Viewpoint, Elephant Lake and the Jelep La Pass. The Gurung homestay in Sikkim offers accommodation in standard rooms at budget prices of INR 1000 per room and each room can accommodate four people and have provisions like parking, attached bathrooms, geysers, breakfast, meals and intercom as well. Another budget homestay at Sikkim is the Kenjola Homestay that is located near to the Phalamchen check post and the place offers standard budget rooms in Sikkim with facilities like parking, breakfast and meals, geyser, etc. The Kenjola Homestay is located at an elevation of 6900 feet and offers grand views of the Himalayas and a homely felling in Sikkim.
The Lamakhang Homestay is located in a very picturesque surrounding of the Phadamchen village in East Sikkim and the place is run by a family that offers 7 rooms with attached bath facilities. The place offers free parking, Wi-Fi, restaurant and geysers in the bathrooms and the view of the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is mesmerizing from this place and so are the nearby farmlands of Sikkim. The Phadamchen village is located in East Sikkim is along the old silk route and the nearest town in Rongli that is at a distance of 23km. The places of interest around the Lamakhang homestay at East Sikkim are Kupup, Baba Mandir, Gnarthang, Elephant Lake, Nathula Pass, Tsongmo Lake, etc. One of the pioneers in the homestay experience in Sikkim is the Limboo Homestay that is in operation from the past two decades and the place is located nearby the Yuksom Bazar and also the very revered and famous Dubdi Monastery of Sikkim. The Limboo Homestay is visited by travellers from around the World who come here to Himalayan State of Sikkim and the homestay offers the option of a homely atmosphere away from home, hygienic rooms, clean and sanitized rooms and the guest who come at this homestay in Sikkim are always enthralled and leave the place with a smile on their faces. The various facilities are parking, breakfast, bar, restaurant, geysers, laundry service, tour and trek assistance, etc. At Yuksom in Sikkim the Limboo Homestay has always stood by its commitment of being the best homestay and the brand Limboo Homestay is recognized in the tourism industry of Sikkim.
Another grand homestay in Sikkim that offers visitors a unique stay experience is the Bokhim residency homestay that is nothing less than a hotel and offers accommodation at budget prices under attic rooms, balcony rooms, front side rooms and family rooms and the facilities offered across these rooms are parking, Wi-Fi, breakfast complimentary, restaurant, geyser in bathrooms, etc. This place is located around a km from the famous Aritar Lake in East Sikkim and the place is at the Dalapchad villahge. The very renowned tourist spots near the place are Kalimpong, Ram Dhura, Zuluk and Nathang valley of Sikkim. The unique thing about the Bokhim homestay is that the place is based out of a working farm and hence the place provides freshly plucked vegetables in their meals to their guests.
Another popular homestay in West Sikkim and located near the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary with close proximity to the Gorkhey Samadhen trek is the Royal Barsey Homestay. This place is situated near Okhrey in West Sikkim and the place is a unique homestay that is run by a family and the place displays the unique Sherpa heritage of Sikkim. The rooms are well designed and ensured to be cleaned and sanitized so that guests can enjoy a homely stay here and to nurture the stay of the guests there is a vast cover of nature all around the place. The Royal Bersey Homestay in West Sikkim offers accommodation in the two options of rooms like the standard room and the deluxe family rooms that have a private balcony as well and the place offers other facilities to its visitors like free parking, hot water geysers, laundry service and restaurant facility as well. Another homestay that is located in South Sikkim that aims to promote the heritage of the Terai Tea of Sikkim is the Sarika Sherpa Homestay that is located at the Terai Tea Estate in Sikkim. The place is nestled in a beautiful countryside campus at the Daragourm village and the place has all organic food and vegetables served to its guests.
The rooms at the Sarika Sherpa Homestay is based on the traditional Sikkemse style and it has standard rooms that offer facilities like breakfast, comfortable stay, hot water geysers and parking. The beautiful tea gardens of the Terai Tea Estate are present near the place and visitors can admire the lush green tea gardens of Sikkim here. The Sikkim Sherpa Homestay is located at Uttarey in West Sikkim and the place is just about a minute’s walking distance from the road and this unique homestay is run by a Sherpa family of Sikkim. The Sherpa people of Sikkim have a unique traditional culture and they do not shy away from wearing their traditional costumes and they do not like to wear modern clothes. At the Sherpa Homestay guests get to experience the unique Sherpa tradition of Sikkim and also enjoy and savour the traditional Sherpa food of Sikkim as well. The place offers accommodation to their guests in the form of standard rooms and also offers free parking, breakfast, and laundry service and geyser facilities to their guests.
The Sikkim Villa Tosca is a unique boutique homestay that is located at around 2km from the MG Marg at Gangtok and it is a short 20 minute walk to the hillock where the place is located and the tourists can enjoy the pleasant weather of Gangtok when they come to stay at the Sikkim Villa Tosca. This place is a small yet handcrafted boutique property of Sikkim that offers great hospitality to its visitors and it can be defined as a luxury apartment that is now serving as a traditional homestay to cater to its guest at Sikkim. The services at the Sikkim Villa Tosca are guaranteed to be peaceful, timely and best in class so that visitors get to enjoy their holiday experience at Sikkim at its best. The place offers Italian interiors and the best in class hospitality of the Sikkimese people and the kitchen is having a refrigerator, microwave and electric kettles to cater to the needs of the guests. The grand view of the Kanchenjunga Mountains can be seen from the homestay and the place comes with a terrace balcony. At the Sikkim Villa Tosca you can enjoy freshly cooked meals that are prepared with organic ingredients.
Coming back to the Hotels and Resorts around Sikkim, another popular budget hotel in the heart of Gangtok city in Sikkim is Hotel Arya that is near the MG Marg and has easy accessibility to the post office at Gangtok. This hotel is at very close proximity to the main bus stand of Sikkim viz. the SNT bus stop and this makes it an ideal stop over place for backpackers who prefer to stay on a budget and chose to hire the services of the local transport to explore the places around them and busses serve as a cheap mode of transport as well. The Arya Hotel at Gangtok in Sikkim offers accommodation in the standard double rooms that has accompanyi8ng facilities like parking, Wi-Fi, continuous hot water supply and a restaurant as well. In case you are not interested to have food here you can choose to visit the numerous local restaurants and fast food joints that are present on the street just outside the hotel in Sikkim and at the Arya Hotel you can be rest assured to have a safe and pleasant stay.
When you are at Pelling in Sikkim and you want to enjoy a stay amidst the beautiful natural surroundings and also do not want to compromise on the luxury keeping in mind the cost as well then the perfect stay option is the Hotel Blue Ben Alpine that is a budget priced accommodation with all modern facilities and deluxe interiors and top class service. A recently founded hotel in 2017, Blue Ben Alpine in Sikkim aims ot provide a unique homely stay environment to its guests offering all the amenities that are needed by the guests who come to Pelling in Sikkim to witness the grand views of the Kanchenjunga mountain range and enjoy a comfortable stay without having to burn a hole in their pockets and there are standard rooms, deluxe rooms and premier rooms that offer parkin, Wi-Fi, breakfast, restaurant, geyser and laundry facilities.
When you visit Namchi that is now turning out to be a very popular tourist attraction in Sikkim, and you want to stay at a place that is a luxurious stay option then you can choose to visit the Hotel Hangkhim that is located at Namchi in Sikkim. You can visit the hotel as it is at a very short distance ahead of Namchi town and it is a very stylish property in Sikkim that offers very grand views of the picturesque landscapes of Namchi. The Hotel offers accommodation to its guests at Business Suite rooms, Honeymoon suite rooms, Super Deluxe rooms, Executive Double Rooms, Deluxe twin rooms and the place offers Television, geysers, Wi-Fi, modern bathroom, intercom, etc. It is a family run hotel in Sikkim and so you will be treated as a part of the family when you visit the hotel Hangkhim at Namchi in Sikkim. The hotel has some of the best amenities to cater to the needs of the guests and therefore visitors here can enjoy a very pleasurable stay. There is an in-house restaurant named as Melange that is known for its authentic taste of Sikkim and visitors who eat here are left enthralled with the food of the place in Sikkim.
When you are visiting Namchi in Sikkim and you want to pamper yourself by staying at a luxury accommodation, then the place to stay is the Hotel Hangkhim. This beautiful modern hotel is located around 15 minutes walking distance from the local taxi point at Namchi and the place can be called as a pioneer in the hospitality landscape of Sikkim. The Hotel Hangkhim at Namchi in Sikkim offers its visitors stay options at Deluxe Twin and Single Rooms, Executive Double rooms, Super Deluxe Rooms, Honeymoon suite and Business Suites. A beautiful tourist destination, the place is a stylish property that is located conveniently close to Namchi town and the able staffs at the Hotel ensures the visitors to Namchi in Sikkim ensure to have a complete entertainment and have a pleasurable stay. Another popular stay option at Gangtok in Sikkim that has come up is the Hotel Helia that can be described as a place from where you can admire the mountains of Sikkim while sipping your favourite drink at the rooftop bar.
The Hotel Helia at Gangtok in Sikkim is located just a short walk away from the MG Marg in Sikkim and the place even arranges for excursions to the famed Nathula Pass of Sikkim. This is a 4 Star property of Sikkim and the place has an appealing architecture that offers a contemporary touch to the place. This luxury hotel has a total of 18 rooms at present that are aesthetically decorated and has wooden furnishings and the rooms offer a beautiful view of the Eastern Himalayas of Sikkim. The rooms are categorized into deluxe mountain view rooms and executive attic rooms and each of these rooms have air conditioning, heater, intercoms, LED TVs, wardrobes, tea/coffee makers, mini Bar, Wi-Fi, etc. The Hotel ensures to provide each and every comfort to its guests and the bathrooms at the Hotel Helia at Gangtok in Sikkim are having the facility of continuous hot water supply and necessary toiletries.
MG Marg at Gangtok in Sikkim is one of the busiest centres of the state as well as the city and the visitors who come to Sikkim mostly arrive at Gangtok and so there is a provision that they would be staying at the city for a while. And to cater to this army of tourists who arrive at Sikkim, the MG Marg has numerous hotels, resorts and homestays that cater to the needs of the various tourists. The Hotel Heritage Sikkim aims to provide the accommodation to its guests in a unique environment with the motto of ‘Be at home, away from home’ and this budget hotel is located at just around 10 minutes walking distance from the MG Marg. The Hotel Heritage Sikkim offers accommodation to its guests in the 15 luxury rooms that are categorized under deluxe rooms, saver rooms, classic rooms, etc. and being a budget hotel it is pocket friendly to its guests and the place also offers a veg/non-veg multi cuisine restaurant along with free Wi-Fi to its guests. Coming to Pelling in West Sikkim, there are various hotels here as well as this area of the Himalayan State is gradually catching up as a prominent tourist destination.
One of the popular hotels at Pelling in West Sikkim is the Hotel Hungree Retreat that is located near the old helipad ground of West Sikkim. This is considered to one of the very good properties to stay during your visit to Pelling in West Sikkim and the place offers all the modern amenities that are needed for the comfortable stay of the guests and the beautiful views of the snow covered mountains can be viewed from all sides of the Hotel. Accommodation offered to its guests at the Hotel Hungree retreat at Pelling in West Sikkim is at premier rooms and family rooms. The Hotel Lasso Regency at Namchi in Sikkim is a premier stay option at Namchi that offers its visitors a unique comfortable stay in luxury rooms and all needs are catered to by the friendly staff at the hotel. The hotel Lasso regency is situated near the central park at Namchi in South Sikkim and the place offers stay options in deluxe rooms, premier rooms with balcony and suite rooms that offer host of facilities like TV, Geyser, Intercom, restaurant, etc.
The Hotel Ninamma is located around 15 min away from the MG Marg at Gangtok in Sikkim and this is a serene location that overlooks the beauty of the Kanchenjunga Mountain range of Sikkim. The Hotel offers accommodation that makes visitors feel at home and get the feeling of staying in a cosy atmosphere. Being located at the vicinity of the city, you can be rest assured that you are at the vicinity of most of the shops that sell essential needs when you are staying at the Hotel Ninamma in Sikkim. The place is at close proximity to the bus stop, local taxi stand and beautiful international level stadium of the polo grounds of Sikkim is located close to this hotel. The luxury rooms at the Hotel Nimanna in Sikkim are comfortable, convenient and unparalleled when it comes to hospitality. Located close by is the Hotel Nirvana that is true to its name as it provides a very peaceful atmosphere of stay here at Gangtok in Sikkim. The unique thing about the Hotel Nirvana is that the place serves Bengali and North Indian cuisine that is very good for tourists who come to enjoy food at this place. The place offers deluxe rooms at budget prices in Sikkim.
Another vegetarian hotel that is present close to the MG Marg at Gangtok in Sikkim is Hotel Madhawi that is at the heart of the city. Sikkim – the Himalayan State of North East India is by far the most visited state by tourists in this region because of the grandeur of the landscape views and the snow clad mountains of the tallest mountain in India – Kanchenjunga has to offer. This ensures that tourists from various parts of the country come to visit the state on their holidays to spend time with their friends and family here in Sikkim and later even travel to other parts of North East India like the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park in Assam, the majestic waterfalls, caves and living root bridges of Meghalaya, the legacy and traditions of the head hunting tribes of Nagaland, etc. And India being a country where a dominant part of its population practice a vegetarian diet so it is bound that people of such taste preference would also visit this part of the country and to cater to these category of guests a need has come to introduce various recipes in the vegetarian menu that is not only limited to one particular area like for example the vegetarian people of North India follow a very much different diet that is comprised of food such as paneer, soya chunks, rotis that are cooked in lots of butter and oil while the vegetarian people of South India mostly prefer food that are based out of rice like the rice and Sāmbhar, idlis, dosas, etc.
Vegetarian people from the west of the country are more into diets of Vada Pav, Poha, etc. and so now these hotels and restaurants of Sikkim have started to draw more visitors who practice a vegetarian diet and one has to include a variety of vegetarian delights to attract their guests and this will allow more of people to come not only to Sikkim but also to their respective hotels and restaurants because such people are very selective when it comes to their food and they will not want anything non-vegetarian to be cooked at the place they are staying and holiday means to savour good food with the family and the Hotel Madhawi in Sikkim aims to promote this itself and visitors to Sikkim and Gangtok are gradually taking a notice of this and ensure to make their reservations at this Hotel in Sikkim to enjoy a World Class hospitality at not only budget prices but also to savour the vegetarian food of their desire.
Keeping the growing trend of vegetarian cuisine preference, another hotel that has come up at Gangtok in Sikkim is the Hotel Royal Orchid and Spa. The growing army of tourists to Sikkim to sight the beautiful panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayas and the tallest mountain peak in India (Mt. Kanchenjunga) is never holding back and is growing at a healthy rate and people from across India and the World are now coming to visit Sikkim. The trend of going vegan has caught up across the Western countries as well and a dominant part of Indians have been vegetarians since times immemorial and the Hotel Royal Orchid and Spa aims to cater to such guests offering them not only the pleasure of having vegetarian meals but also to experience a 4 Star hospitality during their visit to Sikkim – the Royal Orchid Hotel and Spa boasts of serving guests from all over the World who have a liking for the vegetarian cuisine and also do not want to compromise on the luxury stay and this has made this place one of the most popular stay options at Gangtok in Sikkim. The Hotel can be described as one of the best when it comes to hospitality offering service, room amenities, cuisine, spa, conference halls, etc.
Located near Namchi at the town of Ravangla is the Hotel Ravongla Star that is a popular stay option towards Namchi and Pelling in West Sikkim. This hotel is built on the principles of sustainable tourism practices and the place makes use of the eco-friendly measures in their day to day operations including solar water heaters and usage of rain water harvesting to cater to the needs of the water requirement of the guests and also for the hotel operations. The Hotel Ravongla Star in a thinking of the future of tourism where owners will employ renewable energy measures to be compliant with the global requirements of sustainable practices. The promoters of this hotel in Sikkim strongly believe in giving back to the society and employ the resources of the local manpower and this way the locals find a source of income generation. Not only has this they harness the availability of the local produce and this provided the local farmers with an augmented income as well.
So why wait?! Plan your visit to the State of Superb Sikkim, North East India, Incredible India!
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