Sikkim, named as land of mystery holds many mysteries in its arm to be revealed by the tourists.
Its is one of the most frequently tourist visited area in the northeast India known to be the most peaceful state of the country. There are variety of sightseeing area ranging from park to lakes, monasteries to political buildings, from sanctuaries to research institutes.
I have collected few top sites which you would not want to miss a visit to when travelling to Sikkim
1. Tsomgo Lake (Changu Lake)
Home of Brahmini and other migratory ducks, it is situated at an altitude of 12310 ft on the Gangtok Nathula Highway and is about is 35 kilometers from Gangtok.Changu Lake of Sikkim is oval in shape and 15 meters deep and a kilometer long in size. T Tsomgo lake has gained popularity because of the belief of the local tribe as per which the lake is sacred. A temple of Lord Shiva is constructed beside the Lake.
Tourists can go out for an excursion or trekking into the nearby Alpine forests where you can look out for the Brahminy ducks, Red Pandas and various other species of fauna. The Lake remains frozen during the winter. The best time to visit Changu Lake at Sikkim is in the months between May and August.
2. Yumthang Valley
Yumthang, located at an altitude of 11,800 ft. & 140 kms. from Gangtok, is a paradise for nature lovers. It has a fascinating blend of flora & fauna with breathtaking scenic grandeur. Yumthang “Tsa-Chu” or the hot spring on the left bank of Lachung Chu is very popular for its curative and healing power.
Covered with rhododendron shrubs and trees, the entire valley erupts into a blend of multiple colors in May. On the way to Lachung is Singhik where one can see the magnificient Kanchendzonga range in its splendour.
3. Rumtek Monastry
About 45 minutes drive from Gangtok, 24 kms. away, is the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center, Famou7s as Rumtek Monastry, the seat of the Kagyu order, one of the 4 major Tibetan Buddhist sects. since the late 1960, traditional in design, it is almost replica of the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet.
The centre has a collection of some of the most unique religious art objects. There are two monastery ols and new with each of them unique in their own special traditiopnal and cultural way. On the way is Ranka Monastry, and a quick peek into will be great a remembrance for the trip and a timesaver too.
4. Gurudongmar Lake
Located at a height of 17,000 ft, the 7-8 hour journey from Gangtok is through lush greenery and waterfalls as one reaches the Lachen village, which is the base for this trip. The excursion to Gurudongmar begins with a 4-5 hour drive through snow clad peaks and mountains till one reaches the Gurudongmar Lake.It is among the top 15 highest lakes in the world and is the second highest lake in Sikkim as well as in India, the first being Cholamu lake at a height of 18000 ft, also situated in Sikkim. Being the second highest lake in India, the panoramic and scenic beauty of the place is a sight to behold. Named after Guru Dongmar, the lake has a religious appeal. The view of Mount Siniolchu and Khanchendzonga is breathtaking from that point.
The beauty of the lake is awesome. Surrounded by snow clad mountains and crystal clear icy water, its is the most beautiful and serene area to be. The best time to visit the lake is November to June. There is paucity of oxygen at such a height, and thus, staying there for more than an hour is not recommended for most tourists.
5. Rabdentse Ruins
This was the second capital of Sikkim after Yuksum and till the year 1814 a.d., the king of Sikkim had ruled the state from this place. Today, the ruins lie hidden from the main road at a walking distance from the tourist lodge and the Pemayangtse monastery. It can be approached by following a footpath which branches off the main road.
The scenic view from the top of the ruin scanning across deep valley to the mystic heights of Khanchendzonga ranges is something to be cherished and etched in memory. It is a must visit place for an archaelogical enthusiasts.
6. Nathula Pass
Nathula Pass situated on the border of India and China was also known as Silk Route as it was one of the most important route of trade between the silk traders from Tibet and Sikkim. A fierce battle between India and China took place and a major battle occurred at this Pass. The trade network was re-opened in the year 2006.The trade route is situated at an elevation of 14450 feet above sea level and is one of the highest routes to have metaled road for motor vehicles. The pass is also popular because of its scenic beauty and dense vegetation of fauna and flora.
Nathula Pass at Sikkim is a favorite place of trekkers as they get to explore the wide range of Himalayan vegetation and wildlife. The place is a perfect retreat from the noisy and crowded cities. The calm and cool nature of the Pass attracts thousands of tourists every year.
7. Khecheopalri Lake
It was originally known as Kha-Chot-Palri (meaning the heaven of Padmasambhava), is a sacred Lake for both Buddhists and Hindus, which is believed to be a wish fulfilling lake. It is located near Khecheopalri village, 147 kilometres (91 mi) west of Gangtok and 34 kilometres (21 mi) to the northwest of Pelling town in the West Sikkim. The local name for the lake is Sho Dzo Sho, which means “Oh Lady, Sit Here”.
The popularly known name of the lake, considering its location is Khecheopalri Lake, ensconced in the midst of the Khechoedpaldri hill, which is also considered a sacred hill. This lake is amidst serene nature and a lush grenery. A must visit place for the nature lover. A place to add unforgettable memories to the trip.
Situated at an altitude of 6,800 ft, it offers a good view of entire mountain ranges and due to this locational advantages, many hotels and lodges have mushroomed in and around Pelling offering various categories of accommodation facilities. There is a bus service which links Pelling to west district headquarter town of Gyalshing , situated at a distance of 10 kms. from Pelling.
Various small tourist spots and viewpoints nearby makes the day of the visitors and sculpts unforgettable memories. This is another point where tourists wouldn’t mind to spent a day or two at.
Namtse, meaning sky high, nestled among the hills at an elevation of 5500 ft., locally named Namchi, commands panoramic view of the snow capped mountains and vast stretches of valley. it is also the HQ of the south district. It is about 78 kms. from Gangtok and 100 kms. from Siliguri. The breathtaking view of the route which passes from the temi tea garden makes it a must travel destination. The various viewpoints with breathtaking views are an attraction. Chardham, 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.
The entire complex is divided into four main elements, namely (1) Shiva Statue with 12 Jyotirlingas, (2) Four Dhams, (3) Sai Baba Temple and (4) Kirateshwar statue besides Nandi bull, Sai dwar, Sai Temple, Kirat dwar, Kirateshwar Statue, Shiv Dwar. Devotional traveller will have a whole new discover to have in this place
10. Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary
Kyngnosla Alpine Sanctuary at an altitude of 3292-4116m is situated some 26 kms. from Gangtok on way to Tsomgo Lake, this 3100 hectare sanctuary abounds in Alpine flowers like Poppies, Primulas and rhododendrons. Musk Deer, Serow, Himalayan black deer, Red panda, Lesser cats, Blood Peasant are some of the species found. The best period to visit Kyongnosla is July-August-Sept. The sanctuary is rich both in flora and fauna, Rare, endangered ground orchids and rhododendrons intersperesed among tall junipers and taller silver firs are among the important plants present. Rhododendrons nevium the State Tree of Sikkim and Cypripedium tibeticum the ground slipper orchid on the verge of extinction, have been introduced here.
he area is snow covered often upto May when primulas pop up through the snow and rhododendrons come into bud. By June-July they are full bloom. Flowering succession by the many species continues right through to October when Polygonum sp. the last to flower, dries up. First snowfall is normally by December – January. Tranquil trekking trail begins from Knongnosla Village.