The pilgrimage centre at Solophok has been dedicated and designed for the devotees visiting Sikkim. Apart from providing a unique religious and cultural ambience, the place also provides various other beautiful spots for sightseeing. Tourists can visit some of the most imposing monasteries like Samdruptse and Ngadak monastery here. The most beautiful waterfalls like Tirikhola Dancing falls and one of the most bio diversified regions of Tendong Hills are also a treat for the eyes.
Tourist Spots in Solophok
There are many tourist spots and pilgrimage centres to visit in Solophok. Some of them have been described below:
Chardham in Solophok
According to legend Lord Shiva had incarnated as Kirateshwar in Indrakeel (Present Sikkim). It is for this reason that he is known as Lord Kirateshwar by the people residing here. A statue of 16 1/2 feet height of Lord Kirateshwar is also installed in the complex. It is believed that in order to attain Moksha one must visit all the four dhams. Thus, the replicas of all the four Dhams, namely Badrinath, Jagannath and Dwaraka dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Rameshwar, dedicated to Lord Shiva is also constructed. The main Shiva complex with the main statue has been placed at the highest point in the west direction and facing the east side. 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. Apart from this there are other statues of Nandi bull, Sai dwar, Sai Temple, Kirat dwar, Kirateshwar Statue, Shiv Dwar.
The Ngadak Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries located in Sikkim near the Ngadak Town. The monastery was built during the Chogya Gurmed Namgyal regime. The monastery attracts tourists throughout the year. The monastery houses the statue of Guru Padmasambhava that is 135 ft tall. The statue is seated on a lotus and is installed on the hill of Samdruptse. The Samdruptse hilltop offers a view of Namchi Town, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kanchenjungha Peak and eastern part of Nepal.
Solophok is located close one of the Geological wonders of the world - Taray Bhir. It is a 10,000 feet long ridge. One can enjoy the breathtaking view of Sikkim's beautiful river valleys and forests. The imposing view of the confluence of the Teesta River and Rangeet River can also be seen here. A beautiful Rock Garden is also situated at the base of the Samdruptse Hills. It offers a magnificent view of the Kanchenjunga Peak. The Temi Tea Garden, the only tea estate in Sikkim is only 21 kms from Solophok.
Apart from these there are many other places to visit here. Tourists can also visit the Tendong Biodiversity Park that falls on the way to Temi Tea Garden. The park offers view of the myriads of medical plants that have been conserved beautifully by the State Forest Department. The Tirikhola Dancing Falls is also located in the vicinity of Solophok. Here one can enjoy the sight of the cascading water and the greenery that surrounds it. Other nearby attractions includes Ravalngla, Rayong Sunrise View Point, Maneam Hill, Ravikhola Cave, Sharchogbeyphog Cave and Phur Tsa Chu hot springs.
In Solophok tourists can enjoy trekking along the steep footpath having almost 300 steps through the village of Kholaghari to a long and dark cave. It also serves as a great spot for organizing picnics. Rukumtar located at the base of Tendong Hill is a beautiful place that houses 70 species of birds. Tourist can also make a trip to Tharpu Painting Village located just 4 kms from Solophok to get a glimpse of the history, culture and traditions of Sikkim through the beautiful paintings and creations of the local artists.
The best time to visit Solofok is during the months from March to May and September to January. There are various festivals that are celebrated here on a grand scale during these months. Solofok is well connected with all the modes of transport. It is 92 kms from Siliguri and just 2 kms from Namchi. The Sikkim Nationalized Transport (SNT) plies regular buses from Siliguri to Namchi and private taxis are also available on regular basis. The nearest rail station is New Jalpaiguri and it takes around 4 hours from there. One can also reach Namchi from Bagdogra Airport by hiring private taxis.