(Last Updated on : 25/01/2010)
One of the world`s highest peaks stands to guard Sikkim, a northeastern Indian state. Every morning the sun peeps through the tall mountain peaks and if one is really lucky then he or she can catch the glimpse of the sun kissed, snow-clad peaks of Kanchenjunga, the second highest summit in the world. Referred to as `Nye-mae-el lang` (abode of the Gods) by the Lepchas, Sikkim exhibits intense natural beauty. This land is imbued with a mystic aura and is steeped in legends and history. The plethora of lofty summits, holy lakes, orchid nurseries, ancient monasteries, helicopter tours and spectacular trekking routes make Sikkim a perfect abode for holidayers. Besides these the flower filled meadows, splendid vistas and tribal culture also attract tourists from different parts of the world to Sikkim.
Pilgrimage Tours in Sikkim
: Nature is in its purest form in Sikkim. Also the tranquility of the place has made it an apt place to invoke the gods and goddesses. The religion on Sikkim is predominantly Buddhism. Hence wherever one looks he or she will find monasteries or `gompas` and rock caves. The monasteries are mostly located at hilltops and are favored by tourists because of their serenity. The views of the surrounding parts from these religious buildings are breathtaking. Tsuklakhang monastery, Enchey monastery and Rumtek monastery are some of the most visited monasteries in Sikkim.
Nature Tourism in Sikkim
: The capital, Gangtok, "the hill made flat", is a perfect holiday destination to enjoy nature`s bounty. The Deer Park is set up on the model of a similar one in Sarnath in homage to the Bodhisattva who was reincarnated as a musk deer. The Orchid Sanctuary is where over 250 different types of orchids bloom.
As this northeast Indian state is gaily blessed by nature it has been quite easy for the state to promote eco-tourism. The flora and fauna of the state has led to the sustenance of the wildlife in Sikkim. These sanctuaries play a major part in the promotion of such tourism.
Kanchenjunga National Park is the largest wildlife park in Sikkim. Since it is situated at a high altitude it has not been ravaged by man.
Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of 15 kilometers from Gangtok. Apart from red pandas, leopard, black bears, civet cats and other wild animals this sanctuary is well known for its collection of birds and butterflies.
The tourists can also drop in at Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, South Sikkim and Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary. The latter is accessible from Gangtok. It is a haven for a number of endangered species including musk deer, Himalayan Black bears and red pandas.
Leisure Tourism in Sikkim
: Sikkim is a holidayer`s paradise. If one hand one can go on expeditions and try out strenuous sports on the other hand he or she has the freedom to spend some leisurely hours. It is more fun to spend holidays Sikkim as it is tucked away at the foothills of the snow clad Himalayas and draped with the exquisite beauty and charm of nature. There are several places of interest here that are worth checking out. Sikkim will also prove to be a haven for the adventure lovers. The mammoth peaks do not merely beautify the place. They also help the state in promoting adventure tourism.
Trekking and Mountaineering are the most popular adventure sports here. Pristine nature, serenity and the wilderness provide the perfect atmosphere to indulge in such interesting activities. The major trekking point is at Yuskom. It is, probably, one of the best ways of exploring the lushness of the alpine forests, the striking beauty and the quaint Buddhist monasteries. Mt. Kanchenjunga is the most favored spot for mountaineering.
The presence of the rivers Teesta and Rangit has made river rafting quite popular amongst the tourists. The interested tourists can also try out kayaking. Besides these there is the Yak Safari. The safari is organised by the state tourism department and it starting point is Dzongri. Another recently introduced adventure sport is Mountain Biking. Camping is also a well known outdoor activity in Sikkim.
Tribal Tourism in Sikkim
: Tribal and village tourism are inter linked as far as this state is concerned. The best way to know about the tribes and their culture is by visiting their villages. To make it easier for the tourists to interact with the tribes the government has taken initiatives. Henceforth the tourists can intermingle with the Lepchas and other mountainous tribes.
Village Tourism in Sikkim
: The state government of Sikkim is taking all the necessary measures to promote village tourism in the state. such initiatives on the part of the government and NGOs will help the tourists in interacting with the natives. People who are interested in knowing more about history, art and culture of different places will benefit from such tourism. Several home stays have been built by replicating model villages.
These stays include the following:
Yuksom Home Stays
Dzongu Home Stays
Hee-Bermiok Home Stays
Pastanga Home Stays
Lachen Home Stays
Kewzing Home Stays
Shopping in Sikkim
: Gangtok is the best place for shopping. In Sikkim there are no sprawling shopping malls but what one will come across are the local markets. Whether it is the handicrafts or an interesting wall hanging these will be available in these markets. The starting prices of these souvenirs can even be merely Rs.20. various kinds of showpieces made of wood or metal have dragon motifs on them. These motifs are quite popular in Sikkim. If the travelers are keen to shop in Gangtok then they can visit Old Market, New Market and Lal Market. Jewelry, carpets, durries and tea are popular buys here.
The cuisines of Sikkim are markedly different from the rest of India. As tidbits one can go for Momo, thukpa and a host of traditional beverages. The cuisines include Gundruk and Sinki, Kinema, Tama and others. People who have a soft corner for cheese may pamper their taste buds with Chhurpi, traditional cottage cheese.
Visiting Information on Sikkim
How to Reach Sikkim
Lying in the eco-region of India this thumb shaped state forms its borders with West Bengal in the south. This Indian state is comfortably accessible by air, road and rail.
: The nearest airport is at Bagdogra. It lies at a distance of 117 kilometers from Gangtok. From here rented cars are available to reach the final destination-Sikkim.
: New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railway station for Sikkim. From here the travelers can easily hire a rented to arrive at their destination.
: Gangtok, the capital state of Sikkim is well connected by road with Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Siliguri. Sikkim Nationalized Transport also offer regular bus services to the capital city.
The Sikkimese people are an affable lot. They are unprejudiced and helpful. Tourists, in fact, are given due attention and respect. Since the state is heavily dependent on tourism all kinds of facilities are provided for the tourists.
As far as traveling within the state is concerned there are a number of transports to take the tourist to their desired destinations. The fares demanded by the hired cars are quite reasonable too.
Hotels of all ranges have mushroomed in the state. However if one is planning a trip to Pelling and others, there are only medium ranged guests houses. But the services in these units are satisfactory.
Sikkim is one of those places that seem to perfectly carved out for tourists. Needless to say a trip to Sikkim will be a memorable lifelong.