(Last Updated on : 29/11/2013)
The tiny Himalayan state with the promises of the Himalayas is as if a wonderland where beauty spins her web and drops her image on almost everywhere. Overlooked by Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak, Sikkim is attractive equally as one of the desired destination for the trekkers. Braided with cryptic alleys and lush green forests, Sikkim has a lot to offer to the trekkers.
Gangtok is a bustling, modern town and seems to be out of place with Sikkim. This is mainly a village and country-side and one way of going there is by trekking. Most of the trekking routes are few tens of kilometres from major towns but going there is like travelling many hundred years back into time. The best months to trek in Sikkim can be mentioned as March to May and September to November. However trekking at altitudes above 4500 metres should be avoided in March and April because the winter snow still persists on the ground and sometimes there is even heavy snowfall during these months. The snowfall makes it really difficult to locate the path. Most of the so called places on trekking routes in remote areas have just a herders' hut or a shed. Some places have nothing at all but just wilderness and anyone will just wonder that how they derived their names in the first place. Some routes are so remote that one can walk for days together without seeing a soul.
Trekking in Sikkim can be a wonderful experience. This can be an antidote to city stress of daily life. Its memories are cherished lifelong. While trekking one relishes the pure air and the silence of the wilderness and feels the awakening of senses dulled by urban living. As one walks through the vales and dales and past quaint villages, mountains take up strange and wonderful shapes and the beauty of the Himalayas unfolds itself before the visitor. While trekking one can enjoy the exquisite beauty of identifying peaks, mountains, rivers and places around that becomes a good pastime. And whether one can climb the next hilltop becomes more important than anything else in life. From a distance these mountains may seem formidable and unapproachable but as one goes near to them they seem to welcome you into the forests vibrant with life. Although each and every nook and corner of Sikkim i.e. from the sultry tropical forests in the south to the howling wilderness in the north and from the razor-edged Singelila range in the west to the undulating Chola range in the east, all these are a trekkers paradise. All the following routes are worth a mention. These routes encompass all the treks that have also been recently opened to foreigners.
Some popular trekking routs can be mentioned as.
Tashi View Point - Tinjure (Jandi Dahra) trek,
Yoksum - Zongri Trek,
Base Camp -Boktak- Laxmipokhari-Garakhet Trek,
Hilley-Varsey- Chiwabhanjang Trek
Rabongla - Maenam -Bhaledunga Trek, and
Tolung Monastery Trek.
North Sikkim High Altitude Treks
There are some special routes on which the mountaineers goes to expeditions to peaks in North Sikkim. Special permission from the Government of India is required to visit some of these places.
The name of some of the routs can be mentioned below.
Lachen-Green Lake Trek
Thangu-Muguthang-Chorten-Nyimala-Green Lake Trek
Zadong-Donkiala pass-Cholamu Trek
Some Other Trekking Routes can also be mentioned as
: This is placed at 2287 m i.e. 7500 ft is a two hour walk from Messithang i.e. 3 kilometres ahead of Chungthang. From the month of January to March, one can catch a close view of the rare Shapi which come down from higher altitudes because of the snow. Phimphu is also teeming with other wildlife like gorals, red pandas and bears. A Forest Department hut is available at Phimphu. Phimphu is indeed a convenient window to the wild life of Sikkim.
: This place is a two hour walk from the Taramchu bridge i.e. 12 kilometres ahead of Chungthang towards Lachen. The spring is said to be the hottest in Sikkim. There are two wooden huts at the hotspring site where visitors can stay. A further trek of five hours past the Phuni Choka lake takes one to the Lachung valley and onwards to Yumthang.
: This is placed at 3963 m i.e. 13000ft - 4573 m i.e.15000 ft. It can be reached by trekking in the North East direction from Thangu in North Sikkim. A moderately steep climb that takes about three hours takes one to Phalung . From here the view of the Lhasar Valley about a thousand feet below is breathtaking. Through the Lhasar valley, the green river coils in a series of switchbacks, almost stagnant like a snake, until slightly further down it strikes straight and falling and changes colour to a white cresendo and bashes into the Lachen chu at Thangu like a drunken pugilist. A further downhill walk of about half an hour takes one to the abandoned club hut of the Survey of India. In the north, the Kanchengyao at 6890 m i.e. 22600 ft is resplendent in a mantel of snow. On the right the Sebu-la pass, which leads to the Yumey Samdong Hotsprings at the upper end of the Yumthang valley, towers overhead and can be reached after a trek of another one hour. From the Sebu-la pass a knee-wobbling steep trek over glacial screes and past the Sebu-Tso takes one to the Yumey Samdong at the upper reaches of the Yumthang Valley.
The Lhasar Valley abounds in alpine vegetation and medicinal plants. The valley is also home to semi-nomadic herdsmen during summer and autumn. These herdsmen move up to the plateau during the winter and spring when the valley becomes snowbound.