Sikkim has been given many names. Three different communities call Sikkim differently, the Lepchas from the land; also termed as the original inhabitants of land called is Nye-mae-el meaning, paradise. The Limbus named it Su Khim or ‘new house’ while to the Bhutias it was Beymul Demazong meaning the hidden valley of rice. Well, different communities; different names. But eventually they all fall in the same place; something which means the new house or the paradise of hidden valley of rice, if we combine all originations.
Sikkim is that one place for travelers where people can embark on a journey and discover a mystical wonderful land of natural beauty. The infinite variety of its flora and fauna makes a holiday that is captivating and challenging, at once! The panoramic perfection of the snow-capped Himalayas and the heady scent of flowers, meadows create a joyous experience. The varied culture creates a vibrant spark in our hearts and it ultimately goes on to a level of creating a great tour mastered with excellence.
Sikkim shares its border with Nepal in the western side while it matches up with Bhutan in the east. And, from the northern Border rises the Tibetan Plateau. Sikkim was once a Himalayan Monarchy; part of the parable Silk Route to China. The glory of Sikkim is Mr. Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. With significant scenic views, snow and ice scenery; it is very often termed as the most undisputed monarch in the world. A major Sikkimese festival is celebrated in Sikkim and even today God is invoked and prayed during the festival. The sacred mountain can be viewed from any angle or direction of Sikkim.
North Sikkim is nestled right up against the pure face of Kanchenjunga. North Sikkim is so unique in its lifestyle that it has the largest land area but the smallest population of four districts of Sikkim. Northern part of Sikkim is home to the indigenous Bhutia and Lepcha communities. The northern beauty offers snow-capped mountains and plunging waterfalls.
Sikkim has so much to offer to her visitors. There are endless possibilities of adventure sports from the popular home stays where tourists can get a wonderful experience of rural Sikkim. Flamboyant festivals, the ancient historical monasteries, the state is gifted having all sorts of destinations and circuits required for the tourists and explorers! Tourism in Sikkim offers a huge variety of tourism products organic & green, pollution-free state, very rich culture and festivals, adventure and village tourism are some of them.
How to Reach Sikkim:
All modes of transport are available to visit Sikkim. The beautiful paradise on earth is very well connected to all parts of India. Airways, Roadways, railways are available.
National Highway 31A connects Gangtok with Siliquri and the picturesque highway runs through the lush green forests along with the bank of river Teesta on one side and the Himalayas touching the mountain ranges on the other. Regular buses, private cars, jeeps and taxis are available all day long, from morning to evening. The fares are pretty reasonable and one can have a nice, comfortable journey. Siliguri is a prime point for traveling through buses, cars and jeeps up to the very well known tourist spots.
Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri are 2 major rail stations nearest to Sikkim located in western Bengal. Siliguri is almost 114 Kms and New Jalpaiguri is 125 Kms from Gangtok. Ticket reservation facility is available at Sikkim Nationalized Transport office on all working days.
In western part of Bengal, Bagdogra airport is the nearest airport for Sikkim; about 124 Kms away from Gangtok. National carriers like Indian Airlines & many other carriers like Jet Airlines, Air Deccan run regularly form important cities of India to Bagdodra, which is connected to Gagntok, daily.
Major shopping opportunities are available in the capital city of Gangtok. Nonetheless, souvenir and handicraft shops are coming up gradually. The head emporium of Handloom and Handicrafts is located at the zero point in the capital city. Most of the handicrafts produced in the city are beautifully portrayed/displayed here. Paintings, wooden carvings, wooden masks, handlooms and other painted items are very widely sold here.
Trekking the issue!
Sikkim serves the tourists with the finest trekking experience in the Himalaya. The state’s vast mountain ranges which are unspoiled are a delight to a trekker. The amazing collection and reserves of flora and fauna are pleasurable experience. Some of the very well known Trek routes are-
Monastic Trek is on between the months of March-May and October-December
Kanchenjunga Trek is on between mid march- mid june and October–December
Samartek Trek is scheduled between Mid March – Mid June and October-December
Himalayan Trek is scheduled between April – June and October – December.
The river rafting here is so adventurous that the most experienced rafter can navigate; the gentle rides and thundering rapids that are so amazing, they leave you spell bound. The rough and rugged mountain river is a whole new meaning to the nature and adventure lovers. Prices are generally reasonably well, they include food, equipment, life jackets, accommodation etc.
Parks and Sancturies
Khangchendzonga National Park is the largest wildlife reserve in Sikkim. The reserve also includes the vast Zemu Glacier! It happens to be one of the premier places amongst the high altitude national parks in the country.
Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary
Sprawled across an area of 52 sq kms is the Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary. It is 20 Kms away from Gangtok; it supports a large variety of birds and butterflies! Also has a good population of leopards, red pandas and Himalayan Black Bear
Kyongnosala Alpine Sanctuary
It is located at a distance of 31 Kms east of Gangtok on the way to Nathu La, the Kyongnosala Alpine Sanctuary has a rich widespread area of 31 sq kms and it consists of both, flaura and fauna.
Here’s a small list of do’s and don’ts when you are in Sikkim:
- Always travel with a guide.
- Vegetation is fragile; follow designated trails.
- Avoid littering and depositing garbage at designated places.
- Keep all pollutants away from streams and lakes.
- Respect local nature; always take permission for taking photographs.
- Dress modestly.
- Don’t disturb wildlife or such habitat.
- Don’t pluck flowers.
- Don’t buy endangered species or antiques.
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or talk loudly near sacred places.