North Sikkim is a destination that has always fascinated travellers from all corners of the world, for this reason of their severe affinity with one of nature’s fascinating invention has drawn tourists and explorers from far and wide.
Bask in ‘the land of the Dzumsas’: Lachen and Lachung and absorb it’s many layers of splendour. Shuffle through the vibrant flowerscape at Yumthang Valley, the magnificient Gurudongmar Lake serves as a tonic to the tired eyes. Explore Dzongu, the land of the Lepchas.
Come away and give in to the experience of being overwhelmed.
- North Sikkim is one of the four and the largest district in the Indian state of Sikkim with Mangan as its headquarters.
- It is a picture perfect getaway for nature mongerers, hikers, mountain lovers, flower enthusiasts……Come here and you will be rewarded with a truly memorable holiday experience.
How to reach ?
- North Sikkim due to it’s rugged terrain and mountainous landscape is prone to minor landslides that could put brakes on your Road trip. Therefore it is advised that travellers hire 4 wheeled vehicles that can guide you smoothly through unpleasant roads.
Well you might get pushed a little out of your comfort zone but it’ll be totally worth the trouble once you come face to face with the exotic landscape and its beautiful people.
- The closest Railway Station is NJP Railway Station, West Bengal which is located at a distance of 148 km from Mangan.
- The nearest Airport for North District is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal which is located at a distance of 150 kms from Mangan, the district headquarters of North Sikkim.
Places to Visit
Known as the Large Cardomom capital of the World Mangan isthe district headquarters of North Sikkim. Like a gate it opens the outside world to the pristine oasis of two of the most important places of tourists interest, Lachung and Lachen. A three day music festival is held here every year in the month of December.
This historical place is identified to be the location where the blood brother treaty between the Lepcha Chief Te-Kong-Tek and the Bhutia Chief Khey-Bum-Sa was signed with proper rituals.
It is located along Gangtok-North Sikkim highway.
Is an idyllic place located few kilometres from Mangan, North Sikkim. Singhik offers spellbinding view of Mt. Kanchendzonga and it’s adjoining ranges.
Serves as an entry point for two important locations of North Sikkim, Lachen & Lachung. The valley is said to have been blessed by Guru Padmashambva, a mystical print of the Gurus foot and palm can be seen here.
Also termed as ‘the valley of flowers’ is a panoramic place located at an elevation of 11,800 ft in North Sikkim. Yumthang Tsa-Chu or the hot spring present on the left bank of Lachung Chu is immensely popular for it’s healing power.
SINGHBA RHODODENDRON SANCTUARY
Is located in North Sikkim, it is spread across an area of 43 sq km in the famous Lachung Valley. The place is coloured with an abundant supply of Rhododendrons and other vibrant colours.
KANCHENDZONGA NATIONAL PARK
Is situated in North Sikkim and it covers an astounding total area of 850 sq km. The Park blooms with flowers and birds of many shades. Exotic Animals like Red Panda, Blue Sheep, Musk Deer, and Himalayan Thar are some of the animals that you could encounter.
It is located at an altitude of 17,800 feet and is. It is considered to be sacred both by Buddhists and Hindus. The lake remains milky throughout the year and it is believed that Guru Padmashambva blessed this lake while returning from Tibet. The portion of the lake does not freeze even in extreme winter.
Due to security reasons Gurudongmar Lake is off limits for Foreigners.
Is a beautiful town situated at an altitude of 8,250 ft, it is one of the most splendid offerings of North Sikkim to the world. The Lachen monastery located on top of the village commands a panaromic view of the surrounding hills and country side.
Is a small town situated at an altitude of 8000 ft. Lachung has emerged as an important tourist destination because of it’s close location with Yumthang valley. Both lachung and Lachen are governed by local appointed self-governing bodies called the Dzumsas.
Is a small hamlet located in North Sikkim. The place is inhabited by the Lepcha community who are said to have been the original inhabitants of Sikkim. Plenty of Homestay options are available for visiting tourists.
Thangu is situated at an altitude of 13,500 ft. It is a small village where the visitors come and acclimatize before they proceed to Gurudongmar Lake, Cho-Lhamu Lake or Muguthang.
Is the world’s 14th highest lake and the source of river Teesta which runs through the heart of Sikkim.
SIKKIM TRAVEL TIPS
From my observation on the maiden trip to sikkim i wish to state the below for the benefit of all.
1. Sikkim is a real shangrila and unlike other commercial destinations like ooty or darjeelig. Let us keep it as such.
2. It is exceedingly sparsely populated and there are no landgrabbing builders or fancy five star groups building resorts to commercialise the place, nor any real estate rat race. It is populated with tribals and monks who follow a primary occupation, or at the most a poor govt job or as a resort worker.
3. Sikkim is such a quiet place that you can hear your breath and you need to just whisper to be heard. Let us maintain this serenity by not holding obsecene drunken parties or karaoke competitions, which was my experience at the cherry resort at darap. Courtesy an obscene group of several attention seeking adults Sikkim is not a casino hillstation.
4. Tourism persay does not promote economy. It fattens the rich resorts. Remember sikkimese waitresses and cooks dont go home for the night during seasons. In their parlance going home at the end of the day is a day off. Never mind the service tax, tip them generously.
5. The sweet guileless smiling faces of sikkimese is a thing to be etched in your heart.
6. When i questioned the driver as to why no one has a bath at any of the waterfalls, the reply was not on account of ecological amiability, govt orders etc, simply because the sikkimese are exceedingly shy people.
7. Sikkimese girls are sweet, pretty and dressed in wester attire, but not easy, they are shy and have high moral standards.
8. Sikkim is a no smoking state, dont leave behind stubs carelesslessly to start a wildfire.
9. In your entire trip sans gangtok pelling or jorethang you are unlikely to encounter cars before or behind your own vehicle, you might just see a few of the locals trying to hitchhike
10. Sikkim has a sparse and lean police as crimes pretty rare, morals need not be enforced by the law.
11. If hiring a travel agency, pls ensure that your driver has taken his meals on time through the resort. It so happens that travel agencies pay their people a paltry sum of less than 4000 INR be it drivers or office clerks. Either of them slog 13 hours a day and are always on a war footing. The drivers might get a daily allowance, but may end up saving the money by skipping their lunch, as they are from poor families, if so pls get them their meals. Pls keep a keen eye for such subtle things for some of the locals are too proud to confess their hunger.
12. Try buying the local souvenirs like chinese cups, local bakery products. For instance the Lotus bakery near the pemayangtse near pelling gives out its proceedings to educate the poor sikkemese children. The chances are hight that sikkimese shops can give you back the change for either they dont do much business plus they lack proper coins and notes, if it is a paltry sum, let them get to keep it.
13. Sikkimese are a proud but shy lot, let us not be condescending enough to pat their heads and give the chidlren snacks etc. Education is rare and when present, incomplete.
14. Sikkim is not for the hedonist but the for the solace seeker.