The-great-Samdrupste

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

Beautiful and clean M.G. Marg (Road)
Photo credit – Beautiful and clean M.G. Marg (Road)

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.

Amazing things to do in sikkim
Delicious spicy momos
Tasty-Gundruk
Tasty pickle – Gundruk Ka Achar
Mouth-watering luscious Thupka (Tibetan noodle)
Mouth-watering luscious Thupka (Tibetan noodle)

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.

Monasteries

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.

Amazing Ranka monastery
Mystical Ranka monastery
Gautama Buddha
Huge golden Statue of Buddha
Statue of Deity of Gautum Buddha
Lama doing prayer in prayer room
Lama doing prayer in prayer room

Tsomgo lake

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.

Tsomgo Lake image
View of Pristine Tsomgo Lake

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).

The-great-Samdrupste
Worshiping holy Samdrupste Statue

Chanting (om-ma-ni-pad-me-hum)

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

Sing om mani padme hum
Om-Ma-Ni-Pad-Me-Hum written on spinning wheel

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.

Kachenjunga View at night from pelling's hotel
Kachenjunga View at night from Pelling’s hotel

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.

Zero point - to know more about zero point see my blog
Zero point – To know more about zero point see my blog

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.

I would recommend you to read Amazing North East-Sikkim and my favorite one Beautiful India – Sikkim. These are best to know more about Sikkim.

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57 comments

  1. Melissa Vera

    I love learning about different cultures. This place looks and sounds amazing. And the food looks to die for.

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks for your comment, Melissa!

      Reply

  2. Cassandra Rose

    Tsomgo Lake looks so relaxing and beautiful. It looks like the perfect place to unwind and get away for a bit! If you had to choose your favorite place to visit in Sikkim, which one would it be?

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Truly, Tsomgo lake is so relaxing that you would love to stay there for hours.
      If I say about my favourite place then it would be Pelling as the world’s one of the highest peaks: Kanchenjunga starts from here only. However, there are many more places in Sikkim which are amazing in Sikkim.

      Reply

  3. Jen S

    Is Sikkim in Nepal or India? It looks fantastic. I loved visiting the Himalayas in Nepal.

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      OMG! Sikkim is in India. You must have read it in the first paragraph of the blog.
      However, the Himalayan range is stretched our the long area including North India, Nepal, Tibet, North0eastern part of India and Bhutan. But it feels good to know that you like the Himalayas of Nepal.

      Reply

  4. alisonrost

    My goodness, Sikkim would be such an incredible place to visit. Especially if, like you mentioned, the people are locals and peaceful. I always love to hear about other people’s faith and it was fun to read the story of the 10,000 fairies offering a sting of their hair for the hat that’s still in the Rumtek monastary. Also, how amazing (and big) are the Buddhist statues?! x

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks a lot, Alison! Thanks for liking it. The hospitality of people of Sikkim will make you visit again and again. And for me, Sikkim was the first destination to experience the Buddhist culture and it left me spell-bounded.
      By the way, your comment had made my day.

      Reply

  5. Vasundhra

    I have never been to Sikkim but have heard so much about its beauty from my friends. This looks like such a great place, away from the hustle bustle of big cities. And, the momos look delicious!

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Truly, Sikkim is the destination-worthy exploring! Thanks Vasundhra!

      Reply

  6. In and Out of Vegas

    Your post was very well written and detailed; I felt I was along for your journey! Did you actually go home with the driver who invited you to his home? 🙂 That’s the great culture of Sikkim!

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Yes off-course. Actually, there were two moments when we were invited to the dinner. The first one was by our driver and another one was by the hotel manager’s family at Pelling.
      You will enjoy the hospitality and kindness of Sikkim.

      Reply

  7. Vanessa

    What an amazing place. Your pictures have me mesmerized. The Rumtek monastery is my favorite.

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thank you so much, Vanessa, for liking my photographs.

      Reply

  8. fivelittledoves (@fivelittledove5)

    Oh wow I haven’t been before either but it looks stunning! You’re photos are just gorgeous!

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thank you so much for liking my photographs.

      Reply

  9. Akamatra

    This place is so different from our culture that it seems out of this world! I would love to visit Sikkim some day!

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks for your comment, Akamatra!

      Reply

  10. Sarmistha Goswami

    We have visited Sikkim a few months back and your post all the memories back! We have been to most of these places, and man, I can’t stop thinking about how tasty the Sikkimese food was! Thanks for sharing.
    Do drop by my blog as well : http://styleovercoffee.com 🙂

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Sure I’ll see through your blog. Thanks a lot for your kind words Sarmistha! It always feels so good to hear someone is able to recall memories through my blog.

      Reply

  11. Rosie Romance

    This place looks incredible – so much culture! I love the look of the momos, they remind me of dumplings so I imagine they’re delicious 🙂

    Rosie

    http://www.rosieromance.com

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      I think dumplings and momos are same and delicious. Thanks a lot for liking Sikkim.

      Reply

  12. Irena-OnePointofView.net

    Sikkim looks like a wonderful place. I would love to walk thru MG Marg, it looks so clean. The pristine Tsamgo lake looks simply beautiful.

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Yes, it is. Off-course you will enjoy roaming through MG Marg and you will experience the different kind of chill at Tsomgo Lake.

      Reply

  13. Kids on Tour - Autism without limits

    MG Marg in Gangtok sounds lovely and so does the Rumtek Monastry! What a culturaly interesting place to visit!

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks a lot! Off-course you would love to walk at MG Marg.

      Reply

  14. Rhian Westbury

    This looks like such an interesting place, full of plenty to do. I’ve never been anywhere like this before x

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks a lot for liking it, Rhian!

      Reply

  15. Jhilmil

    Sikkim is a beautiful place, we went there some 5 years back in November and it was one of the best trips we had. Instead of pelling, we took kalimpong and rest all were the same.

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Great!! I missed the Kalimpong then. Maybe in near future I will cover that too.

      Reply

  16. Eloise - MyFavouriteEscapes.com

    I loved your post. I am yet to visit India and reading blogs and looking at photos is the only way I can travel there at the moment. I’d love to visit a monastery and since we don’t have snowy mountains and frozen lakes in Australia, I was fascinated by your photos. There’s a lot to do in that region and that’s not the usual sights for India. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thank you so much, Eloise! Truly, photographs always make us visit the place and this is worth visiting. Hope you visit India soon. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply

  17. Freya Farrington

    I have never visited her before. You have captured the vibrancy and colours fantastically! Well done!

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Ohhh! Thanks, Freya! Thanks for your kind words.

      Reply

  18. Mike

    This looks amazing, I have never been outside of the major cities of India and never really had a chance to explore. I am going to have to make time and go see it for myself.

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks a lot for your comment Mike. Sure, you would love to explore these places.

      Reply

  19. Birthday Resolution 2017: Preparing travel resolutions - Roadaviator

    […] visit the following links: Amazing things to do in Sikkim and Welcome to […]

    Reply

  20. Sapna

    Sikkim is beautiful. The Rumtek monastery is one place I love to visit. Lovely pics and details.

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks for your comment Sapna!! Yes Rumtek monastery is so peaceful that you will feel like coming again and again. Thanks for liking my photograph.

      Reply

  21. chirag joshi

    informative and knowledgeable post
    i will read it again whenever i go to sikkim/
    thank you
    http://chiragkikalam.in/

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks Chirag!! I’m glad you like it!!

      Reply

  22. Shubham Chadokar

    Keep it up bro! Its really hard to showcase amazing place in a fine way, you really did a fine job to wrap up it. 🙂

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thank you Shubham Chadokar for your kind words! I’ll be showcasing many more such experiences!

      Reply

  23. Gourav Suthar

    Nice initiative Pratik. You are the dexterous person. Keep it up. I read some of your bolgs they are very good .

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks a lot Gourav Suthar for your kind words!!

      Reply

  24. kanwardeep

    amazing collection of photographs
    eager to visit now!

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks a lot Kanwardeep!!Love to hear that you like it. Yes, definitely you should visit sikkim.

      Reply

  25. Piyush

    Awesome man.. Keep us updated.. !! 👍
    Ur photography rocks.. 😎

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Grateful to hear that!! Piyush!! Thanks

      Reply

  26. Oshonic sharma

    Looks like i have to plan for Tsomgo lake. That is simply fantastic.

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Yes, definitely you should go! You will love it.

      Reply

  27. VJ

    Bhai! Prateek bhai! Mast post! Like! Like! Like!

    Reply

  28. karan

    Yummy food and mountains always seduce me. (wink 😉

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      In fact, both the luscious food and soul capturing mountains are seductive!!!!

      Reply

  29. Kaustubh

    Yumthang valley, Kanchenjunga during sunrise and tsamgo lake seem so unreal! Sikkim earns a place in my bucket list! Nice article!

    Reply

    1. prateekgoel

      Thanks for your compliment Kaustubh!! I guarantee you you will love this place. Waking up early and the eternal Kanchenjunga is there to welcome you. Great experience!

      Reply

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