Amazing things to do in Sikkim
Everywhere you turn in Sikkim; there is something amazing to do in sikkim, that you probably have never thought of doing it before. Just feel the crisp of Himalayan air and escape into the least populated state of India. It shares border with Nepal to the west, Bhutan to the east and Chinese Tibet to the north. I had a very mixed experiences in Sikkim, fascinating/shocking to see breath-taking mountains and rewarding for its culture and tradition.
From my first minute in Sikkim, I knew “what a heart bounding experience I am going to have”. Living in remote region is very different from living in urban India. Wandering in pristine lake, mesmerizing monasteries, spending evening with locals at Lachung and Pelling, worshiping Samdruptse statue in Namchi hill were the part of my itinerary. I had booked my flights through RoadaviatorFlights put my itinerary in my first blog.
Besides all this, if you’ve ever considered tasting Tibetan food in India, Sikkim will fill you with some spicy experience of momos, thupka, and some other food.
Go-again-and-again…and you will find something new to see and to photograph and to experience.
If you’d rather see why I love Sikkim, then you’ll get some quick notes about the amazing things that I’ve experienced in Sikkim.
Amazing things to do in Sikkim
M. G. Marg (Gangtok)
First of all my journey started from Gangtok. The main center of attraction in Gangtok was MG Marg and I knew, the only way to know Gangtok deeper was to take a walk around, talk to locals and experience the beauty. M G. Marg (road) was the main shopping and cultural hub. Sikkim’s cleanest road and smoke free zone. Streets were similar to streets of any European country. Road was aligned with glittering shops, restaurants and bars, beautiful benches to sit, relax and take leisure stroll.
The road was full of small stalls serving mouth-watering momos and tukpa, and the smell of freshly bakes savory snacks had perfumed the evening breeze. Buildings are in green, lined with the green initiative of government. If you are lucky to have a trip to Sikkim in December, then you will be the part of amazing food and cultural festival. This is the first amazing things to do in sikkim
Traditional food in Sikkim
Before visiting Sikkim, I couldn’t say I had ever experience Tibetan food. I had enjoyed almost every bit of Tibetan cuisine by roaming around the classy stalls or roaming in numerous restaurants of MG marg. This place is famous for gundruk ka achar, sael roti, momos and thukpa. I experienced that this Tibetan food was little plain, not much spicy, but salty or flavored one and the dishes were outstanding, fiery hot accompanied by chili sauce.
First of all momos are either chicken momos or vegetable momos, served with chili sauce. Furthermore, thupka – Tibetan-style noodles are served in soup and vegetables. It is thick and hearty, and also a good dish to eat during cold weather. You’ll also find Nepali pickle – Gundruk ka achar.
Culture of Sikkim
There are three basic types of ethnicity of Sikkim i.e. Nepalese constitute 67%, Bhutias of about 16% and Lepcha 13%. I could find that Sikkim is blend of Hindu Temples, Buddhist Monasteries, Churches, Gurudwara and Mosque. The Locals are very peace loving, nature worshiper and spiritual towards each others as I saw flags and chanting all over the Sikkim.
People are very helping, hence it became very easy for us to mix with them. Like our driver cum guide had invited us for a family dinner at his home; and offered us the pure local food. The food was so delicious that it just touched my soul and helped me a lot in enjoying their culture and their love. Therefore, I would recommend to get mixed with locals and enjoy their life.
Driver told us about various popular dance forms, festivals, sports and gatherings. The traditional mask dance is most popular and few famous festivals are Saga Dawa, Namsoong. You can even try reading these books. they have shown a lot about culture.
Sikkim is the land of mystic monasteries which cannot be expressed in few mere words. Rumtek monastery – one of the greatest monasteries of India and is the seat of Karmapa Lama, the third highest monk in Tibetan Buddhism. It is located at about 23 km far from Gangtok and elevated at 5000 ft with lush green landscapes around it. The carvings and scriptures of the monastery are picturesque. You will come across many beliefs about this monastery like I came across…
History of Rumtek monastery
It was believed that when the first karmapa meditate for many years in caves of Sikkim, 10,000 fairies were impressed with his action and offered him a string of hair each. These strings were woven into black hat and passed over generations and remained in Rumtek monastery.
By listening to such stories I thought that there was no point in applying any science behind the story, but to have faith in such beliefs. We all should respect the beliefs of people. These always have great impact on someone’s life like on my life. But due to certain issues with my camera, I don’t have clicks of Rumtek monastery.
Thank god I had resolved the issues of my camera finally and clicked Ranka monastery.
Tsomgo Lake at about 38 km from Gangtok, had given one of the best experiences we could ever witness. Temperature was almost -15 deg C, with snow capped mountains and a snowy water lake. Driving to the Tsomgo Lake was certainly an astonishing experience. But due to snaky road through Rocky Mountains, we had a long 3 hours steep journey that to with traveler’s motor. This pristine lake, at an altitude of 3780m, is one of the most beautiful and frozen lake in India. We had to provide our ID proof and passport size photo to get the permit as it was very near to the Indo-China Border.
I think there’s lot more to share about Tsomgo Lake, so I have decided to show you up in Instagramming Sikkim blog.
Samdrupste Statue (Namchi)
Namchi blessed with fresh aroma of air blended with aroma of tea plantation. It is the place that comes on the way to pelling from Gangtok. It is remarkable place because of its breathtaking view of Temi tea garden on both sides of the road. If you are visiting Namchi in October then you will get a chance to attend famous Namchi Mahotsav (festival). Opposite to Namchi hill there is Samdrupste hill, which is famous for the world’s largest statue of Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) located at the top. The statue of Guru Padmasambhava resembles similar to lord Shiva (Hindu god).
Humm…one of the amazing things you’ll see in Sikkim and I admired it. I had seen loads of praying flags and chanting spread all over the streets and roads of Sikkim. This chanting symbolizes the presence of color and the belief of people. These flags were dig outside the Local’s residential or on the path traveled by people, in order to send the positive vibes, happiness and prosperity across the Sikkim. Flags were written with chanting – Om Mani Padme Hum (praise to the jewel in the lotus). The Om mani padme hum represents as:
- Om (white) represents generosity and purifies ego.
- Ma (green) represents Ethics and purifies jealousy.
- Ni (yellow) represents patience and purifies passion.
- Pad (blue) represents diligence and purifies ignorance.
- Me (red) represents renunciations and purifies greed.
- Hum (black) represents wisdom and purifies aggressions.
In addition to flags the chanting was carved on rocks or written on paper which was inserted into spinning praying wheels. What all we had to do is to spin that wheel and chant “Om-Ma-Ni-Pad-Me-Hum”. Amazing thing to do in Sikkim
Pelling (Kanchenjunga View)
Pelling is a small town, 115 km from Gangtok and nearest to world’s third highest eternal Kanchenjunga range. It is known for its natural splendor and cuddled beautifully by Kanchenjunga range. Furthermore, it is well connected by jeep or cab service. The temperature of this town remains around -10 deg C. to 10 deg C throughout the year. We could see large no. of waterfalls such as Rimbhi waterfall, Kanchenjunga waterfall, Sangay waterfalls. This place had engrossed one of the highest bridges of the world and various monasteries. So I would suggest that if you are a passionate traveler then you cannot miss it.
There is lot more to share about Pelling which you’ll find on my Instagramming Sikkim blog.
Yumthang Valley and Zero point
Outrageous Yumthang valley situated at about 140 km from Gangtok, and at an elevation of 11,800 ft is a stunning place. It is known as “The valley of flower” as you’ll see a lot of beautiful and famous Rhododendron flowers all over. You would experience cold weather throughout the year. During summer (May to Aug) the temperature remains between 10 deg C to 20 deg C. The coldest time is in between Oct to Feb, the temperature remain usually about 5 deg C to -15 deg C and under thick snow.
Crossing the Yumthang valley, at about 15748 ft, there is a picturesque, scary view of snow capped mountain. Such a place is Zero-point. This place is nature personify and close to Indo-Tibetan border. I’ll call it as a solid snow desert where only nomadic shepherd stay throughout the year. Journey to Zero point is always a photographic journey.
To have a look at my photographic journey of Yumthang and Zero point just visit my blog.
That’s Sikkim, actual glimpse of Sikkim. There’s always a lot more to see and lot more Amazing things to do in Sikkim. Just because of my tight schedule and some problems related to Landslide had occur at Zero-point I had to skip my visit to Gurudongmar Lake. But I know I’ll return again and soon.
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