About West Sikkim

West Sikkim is the home to Sikkim’s two previous capitals, Yuksam and Rabdentse respectively. It exhibits a welcome dose of tranquillity while keeping intact its monarchical charm.

The first Chogyal ( King) of Sikkim was crowned here at Yuksam., the remains of the Nepalese invasion canbe found at the Rabdentse Palace ruins, Answer your karmic calling at Pemayangtse Monastery, be enthralled by the quietness and idyllic charm of Khecheopalri Lake and if you are an outdoor enthusiast there are a wide range of trekking options from Hardcore climbs to short nature walks.

West Sikkim is a cosy Getaway and is quite unapologetic about it.

FACTSHEET

  • West Sikkim is one of the Four Districts of the Indian State of Sikkim with it’s Headquarters in Geyzing.
  • West Sikkim is undoubtedly Sikkim’s best kept secret. It offers smattering amount of experience seeped beneath its dramatic location overlooking the mighty Kanchendzonga, the 3rd highest peak in the world.
  • It’s 300 plus old monarchical charm and oppulence has been freshly preserved into a cultural landmark.
  • West Sikkim is one of the Four Districts of the Indian State of Sikkim with it’s Headquarters in Geyzing.
  • West Sikkim is undoubtedly Sikkim’s best kept secret. It offers smattering amount of experience seeped beneath its dramatic location overlooking the mighty Kanchendzonga, the 3rd highest peak in the world.
  • It’s 300 plus old monarchical charm and oppulence has been freshly preserved into a cultural landmark.


How to reach ?

  • NH 31A Connects Sikkim to the outside world. The road leading to West Sikkim is narrow, winding and contoured bottomed by a few instances of landslides on the way and topped by an enthralling easy on the eye landscapes. Small four wheeled vehicles or SUV’s could be your best bet while travelling.
  • New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in West Bengal is the nearest Railway Station. It is located approximately 127 km from Geyzing, the district headquarters.
  • Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal is the nearest Airport. It is located at the distance of approximately 125 km from the district headquarters Geyzing.

Places to Visit

Geyzing

Is the district headquarters of West Sikkim owing to which it happens to be the primary administrative hub and a major transportation hub connecting Sikkim or for that matter the rest of the world to other locations.

Legship

Is a small mundane riverside settlement. Kirteshwar Mandir located here finds references in the Hindu mythology, Mahabharata.

Reshi Hot Springs

One of the few Hot Springs in Sikkim which is considered have medicinal properties as it contains sulphur which can cure skin related diseases. This tranquil spring is has a very significant place in the hearts of Buddhists as one of the four Holy Caves, Khandro Phu is located here.

Pelling

Is located at an altitude of 6800 ft. It is considered to be the second tourism hotspot only next to Gangtok. The town is cluttered with Hotels, Lodges and Resorts boldly depicting that Tourism as it’s major source of economy. There are abundant places of interest in and around Pelling. The serene Khecheopalri Lake is just 25 km from here.




Pemayangtse Monastery

This Monastery was founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in the year 1705. The monastery follows the Tibetan order of Nyingmapa Buddhism and is the key controller of that order in all of Sikkim. It is located in Pelling, West Sikkim. Pemayangtse can be literally translated literally as ‘the sublime perfect lotus’.

Sangacholing Monastery

Literally termed as ‘the island of esoteric teaching’ is located at 7 km away from Pelling, West Sikkim. This monastery was also established by Lhatsun Chempo. Buddhist pilgrims undertake as a part of religious pilgrimage to various points like Pemayangtse Monastery, the Rabdentse ruins, the Khecheopalri lake, the Norbugang Chorten, the Dubdi Monastery, Yuksom and the Tashiding Monastery also covering Sangachoelinf Monastery.

Rabdentse Palace Ruins

The second capital of the erstwhile monarchical era of the Namgyal Dynasty was invaded and plundered by the Gurkha soldiers from across Nepal during the Gurkha War. Today this ravaged souvenir draws major tourists from around the world after it was painstakingly restored by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Khecheopalri Lake

This mysteriously beautiful Lake is located 25 km away from Pelling town. Legend has it that the birds here do not allow even a single leaf to litter the verdant Lake. This place is equally revered by the Hindus and the Buddhists alike.

Yuksam

Is a Historically significant location. Chogyal Phuntsok Namgyal was consecrated here in 1642 AD thus bringing about the iconic rule of the Namgyal Dynasty which lasted for almost 400 years. It was the first capital of the monarchical Sikkim. Yuksam is also the base point for the famous Dzongri Trek.

Dubdi Monastery

Is located in Yuksam, West Sikkim. It was built in the year 1701 AD. Dubdi Monastery is very prominent to the history of Sikkim as it is closely associated to the founding of Sikkim when the first Chogyal (King) was crowned by three venerated Lamas, one of them Latsun Chenpo set up the temple as a tribute to Sikkim.

Tashiding Monastery

This monastery was constructed during the 18th century by Ngadak Sempa Chempo, one of the three venerated monks who consecrated the first Chogyal at Yuksam. The Thong-WaRang-Dol Chorten, a holy structre located here in the monastery premises makes a wonderful sight for visiting tourists. The Bumchu Ceremony or the sacred water festival is also organized here every year.

Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary

Is the home to natures most profound creations, Rhododendrons. Situated at an altitude of 10000 plus feet, Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is an amazing haze of Pink and Scarlet trees that exudes a great riot of colours. Hilley is the last motorable place from where the tourist is supposed to take a short walk to witness the amazement of the place.

Singshore Bridge

Is a suspension bridge between Uttarey and Dentam. It is 198 meters in length and 220 meters deep, it is considered to be the second highest of its kind in Asia.






Dzongri Trek

This is the most popular trek in Sikkim, located in the southern reaches of the Kanchendzonga National Park. The trek ascends through a small Lepcha encampment at Baktim, past rhododendron and magnolia trees to a substantial Tibetan Village of Tshoka, acclimitaze at Pedong before you finally reach Dzongri on the 3rd Day.

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.

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