I would be in love with Sikkim long after this trip ends. Waking up every morning to this mystically beautiful weather, every turn in the hill, breathtaking views, people here smile like the flowers of the valley, so happy at their simple life that makes you sit up and wonder what is the rest of us living.
It’s almost difficult to understand if it’s the weather and untouched beauty of this place or the simplicity of the Sikkimese people which scores higher. Another striking quality of the locals here is the respect they give to each other, mild non-aggressive demeanour, you will find it common for car drivers making way for others on the road.
Another aspect, about this place, is that though it’s an Indian state, it’s so culturally apart from the rest of the country, differential mannerisms, unique food pallets and yes they look different too.
I keep wondering how strongly I get a feeling of being on a far-off land while in Sikkim. It also reimposes the truth about how less we know about these beautiful parts of Northeast India. They speak Nepali and know Hindi and English. The majority of population is Hindu followed by Buddhists.
Sikkim became part of India in 1973 much later than all other mergers, the newest addition to the Indian geography, strategically very important too as it shares borders with three countries Nepal, Bhutan and China.
There is a free trade zone with China through East Sikkim at the Nathu La pass and a lot of goods come and go through Nathu La. It is an important geographical milestone for the two giant countries of this world, respective armies manning the border all the while.
Chinese goods find their way into Sikkim and through Sikkim to the rest of India on a regular basis forming trading business as a key industry for local Sikkim people.
Tourism and organic food are the two largest industries in the state. You can’t but take notice and commend the state government and the people for the level of cleanliness, unparalleled across many other states.
Through my school and college days and now at work for more than 20 years I am struggling to recollect Sikkimese friends or colleagues. I had none. Reflects how so few of them migrate out of the state for opportunities and jobs.
It could be their own resistance to leave this beautiful land of peace and content: I haven’t researched any on the socio-political lineage here but can strongly feel that this part of India has a strong story to tell, a story of its own.
If you are wondering what all you can explore in this Himalayan state of India. Here is a rundown of the 5 must-see attractions in Sikkim.
1. Tsongmo Lake
Perched at an elevation of 12,313 ft, Tsongmo lake lies in the East Sikkim district some 40 km away from Gangtok on the Gangtok-Nathula highway.
This glacial lake is also known as Changu lake or Tsomgo lake. It is fed by the melting snow from the surrounding hills. The most striking feature of the lake is its changing colour with the change of seasons. It is highly revered by the local Sikkimese people.
This high altitude lake is one of the most scenic attractions in Sikkim. Don’t miss a chance to see the beauty this place has to offer.
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2. Gangtok Ropeway
The aerial ropeway is the best way to catch a bird’s eye view of the panoramic beauty of Gangtok. You can also see breathtaking views of the snow-clad peaks and underlying valleys.
A round trip from Deorali Bazar to Tashiling Secretariat lasts roughly 25 minutes. For thrill-seekers, Gangtok ropeway is one of the most adventurous attractions in Sikkim.
3. Zero Point
Stationed at an altitude of 15,300 ft in the Noth Sikkim district, Zero Point (YumeSamdong) is one of the greatest attractions in Sikkim for nature lovers. It lies almost 26 km away from Yumthang Valley and remains filled with snow throughout the year.
There is no motorable road beyond this point and owing to its proximity to Indo-China Border, tourists are not allowed to go further.
With the lofty snow-covered hills, refreshing weather and offbeat charm, this place feels no less than a paradise. Spend some time admiring the untouched natural beauty of YumeSamdong.
4. Buddha Park
Also known as Tathagata Tsal, Buddha Park is a recent addition to the list of tourist attractions in Sikkim. It is located at the foothills of Maenam Hill in Ravangla, a small township in the South Sikkim district.
The major attraction of the park is 130 ft high statue of Lord Buddha. It was unveiled in 2013 by the 14th Dalai Lama to mark the occasion of the 2550th birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha. A beautifully landscaped garden and unspoiled beauty of the place add to the charm of Buddha park.
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5. Solophok Chardham
Set atop Solophok Hill in South Sikkim, Chardham is one of the most venerated places of the state. The main temple located at height of 108 ft is famous for a colossal statue of Lord Shiva in the sitting posture.
According to legends Lord Shiva incarnated as Kirateshwar in Indrakeel (Present Sikkim). So, he is also worshipped as Lord Kirateshwar in Sikkim.
It is also known for housing replicas of the twelve Jyotirlingas and the Char Dham (Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwar). The religious and cultural ambience of the place draws a lot of visitors here.
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