Sikkim is a state in northeastern India. It borders Tibet in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south. Sikkim is also located close to India’s Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh. Sikkim is the least populous and second smallest among the Indian states. A part of the Eastern Himalaya, Sikkim is notable for its biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, as well as being a host to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth. Sikkim’s capital and largest city is Gangtok. Almost 35% of the state is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park.
The Kingdom of Sikkim was founded by the Namgyal dynasty in the 17th century. It was ruled by a Buddhist priest-king known as the Chogyal. It became a princely state of British India in 1890. After 1947, Sikkim continued its protectorate status with the Republic of India. It enjoyed the highest literacy rate and per capita income among Himalayan states. In 1973, anti-royalist riots took place in front of the Chogyal’s palace. In 1975, the monarchy was deposed by the people. A referendum in 1975 led to Sikkim joining India as its 22nd state.
Modern Sikkim is a multiethnic and multilingual Indian state. Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali, Sikkimese, Lepcha, Tamang, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Magar, Sunwar and English. English is taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and as of 2014 the state had the third-smallest GDP among Indian states,although it is also among the fastest-growing.
Sikkim accounts for the largest share of cardamom production in India, and is the world’s second largest producer of the spice after Guatemala. Sikkim achieved its ambition to convert its agriculture to fully organic over the interval 2003 to 2016, the first state in India to achieve this distinction.It is also among India’s most environmentally conscious states, having banned plastic water bottles and styrofoam products.
Best Travelling places in Gangtok-Lachan & Lachung:
- 3-point Tour (Half Day)
1. Tashi View point – A great view point for watching the Kanchenjunga Snow Peaks on a clear day. Also an excellent place for sunrise view.
2. Hanuman Tok – A Hanuman temple with a wonderful viewing area.3. Ganesh Tok – A Ganesh Temple with viewing lounge and open balcony.
You will visit all the points in 3-point tour (as mentioned above) and additionally the following:1. Bakthang Waterfall – Excellent wide water streams falling on a canopy of trees. The fall is located close to Tashi View point by the roadside and also offers great views all around.2. Enchey Monastery – Located on a hilltop, it’s one of the oldest monasteries around.3. Flower Exhibition Center – Located near Gangtok town and at one end of The Ridge park, the center has great collection of flowering plants including Orchids (in season though).4. Handicraft Center – This is the building of Directorate of Handicraft & Handloom including a Sales emporium and a Museum showcasing many different handicraft items and artwork created by the local artists and craftsmen.
- 7-point Tour (Half Day)
Apart from the 7-point attractions above, you will additionally visit the following:1. Chorten Stupa – A famous Buddhist religious monument with a golden dome top which is visible from many places around Gangtok.2. Institute of Tibetology – A world famous institute doing research on Tibetan language and culture, also has a great museum and library with rare and huge collections. It’s located within a short walk from Chorten Stupa.3. Ropeway (Cable Car) – Great ride to view the whole of Gangtok, the valley and the peaks from far above.
- 10-Point Tour (Half day)
This full day tour covers several attractions outside Gangtok but within about 25kms radius. You will need a larger taxi vehicle like a Scorpio, Innova etc for Ranka and Banjhakri waterfall since the road condition is bad. Taxi drivers with smaller cars are likely to refuse. There are quite a few points and good distances to cover in the hills, so start early (by 8am). You can take your lunch at the cafe at Ganesh Tok area or at the Ropeway point.1. Ranka or Lingdum Monastery: About 45 minutes drive from Gangtok, set up on a hill and one of the most wonderful monasteries in east Sikkim.2. Ban Jhakri Waterfall: A great waterfall in a landscaped forest garden. The place is an excellent picnic spot for families.3. Rumtek Monastery: The most famous monastery with grand Tibetan architecture. It was designed after the original one in Tibet. An additional attraction here is the Golden Stupa.4. Nehru Botanical Garden: This is near Rumtek. There is a concrete pathway to take a stroll through the garden with many subtropical trees & plantations. There is a large nursery here for growing Orchids of many types. It also has a children’s playground, swings etc. Overall a nice picnic spot. But for the purpose of this tour, you should not spend much time here as time will otherwise run out for the other sights.5. Shanti View Point: A viewing area near Rumtek. Spend a few minutes to watch the great views of Gangtok township at the opposite mountain.6. Enchey Monastery: An old renowned monastery founded in 1800s.7. Ganesh Tok: The Ganesh temple about 6kms away from Gantok with a nice viewing area.8. Ropeway: Great 1km cable car ride across three stations from Deorali to Tashiling9. Institute of Tibetology: Renowned institute on Tibetan Language & culture, also has a great museum and library.10. Tashi View Point: Excellent sunrise and Kanchenjunga viewing area.
- Full day 10-Point Tour
A popular and probably the best day tour from Gangtok is a trip to Tsomgo Lake – a glacial lake about 35kms from Gantok and at an altitude of about 12,310 ft. The same day trip also covers the fabled Baba Mandir. You can additionally cover Nathula Pass which is further up and about 52kms from Gangtok and see the Indo Chinese border and the Chumbi valley through which the old Silk Route (i.e. the trade route between India and Tibbet) passes.
- Day trips from Gangtok
Gangtok-Lachan & Lachung best time to visit:
- February to June,September to December.
Day 1-Arrival and Transfer to Gangtok : Guest will be received from at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB) transfer – Gangtok – (Gangtok the capital of Sikkim at an height of 1670 meters / 5480 feet and is the most visited spot of India. Nearly 135 kilometers 4 ½ – 5 hours drive – Check into hotel – Evening free to roam around M G Road (Mall) or local Shopping center – Over Night stay at Gangtok.
Day 2-Excursion to Tsangu Lake & Baba Mandir (Full Day) : A day excursion to Tsangu Lake (departure at 07- 7:30 AM hrs ) – situated at a height of 3,780 Mts. with an average depth of 50 ft & Baba Mandir – The shrine maid in memory of sepoy Harbahajan Singh, Back to Gangtok. Evening free. Over night stay at hotel. Note : Nathu La Pass to RCPublic of China is nearly 20 kilometers and is optional tour on Extra Cost( if permit is available).Over Night stay at Gangtok.
Day 3-Transfer to Lachen from Gangtok: Early morning breakfast – Drive 135 kilometers, 5 – 6 hours drive – Chungthang is 96 kilometers from Gangtok – Lunch at Chungthang – Lachen is 35 kilometers from Chungthang Reach Lachen late afternoon / early evening – The snow capped peaks, the Shingbha wild life sanctuary, Gurudongmar Lake, Chopta Valley, Thangu are the major attraction – Check into a hotel – Welcome Tea – Evening free to stroll and visit the Lepcha Village – Overnight stay at Hotel in Lachen.
Day 4-Excursion to Gurudongmar Lake and Transfer to Lachung – Early morning – Visit to Gurudongmar Lake 55 kilometers, 2 ½ – 3 ½ hour’s drive – A valley at an altitude of 11, 800 feet back to Hotel for Lunch – After lunch drive to Lachung – Nearly 50 kilometers and two hours drive – Check into hotel at Lachung – Evening free to visit Lachung Monastery – Overnight stay at Hotel at Lachung.
Day 5-Lachung (Sighyteening) YUMTHANG & Transfer to Gangtok : After breakfast full day excursion to Yumthang Valley & Hot Spring (11800 ft / 02 hrs). After lunch, transfer to Gangtok (124 kms / 06 hrs). Over night at Hotel.
Day 6-Departure – Gangtok to Siliguri / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB): Nearly 135 kilometers 4 ½ – 5 hours drive – Guest are advised to start early and not to rush – Forwarding Journey .
By road u can cover Gangtok-Lachung & Lachan.
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