Some say North Sikkim is a place where the heaven touches the earth and I think we all should believe this statement. Blessed with heavenly landscape, mystic environs and silence-embedded surroundings, there is indeed no place that you want to be if you are a nature lover than North Sikkim. No matter how difficult it may seem to reach here due to ill-maintained roads and unpredictable weather but once you are here, there is no looking back.
Here are our top 5 reasons as to why you should visit North Sikkim and yes you can give us a pat on our back later:
Undoubtedly, Sikkim is the land of impeccable scenic beauty; whether you are in North Sikkim or in the West, the charisma of nature doesn’t seem to fade even for once here. North Sikkim is like a painting of Van Gogh, the blend of right colours and right placements to offer delight to anyone who looks at it. For nature lovers, North Sikkim is nothing short of a paradise. The pristine landscape of Singhik (4000m), from where one is able to witness the majestic Kangchendzonga is an unforgettable experience. Situated at the confluence of Lachung and Lachen River is another breathtaking destination called Chungthang. Lachen, on the other hand boasts sublime beauty with multi-hued mountains and black cliffs. Lachen is a base for treks like Green Lake and Khangchengdzonga National Park. Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake can also be reached easily from here. Thangu, which lies about 30kms from Lachen, is an ideal place to visit in summer in Sikkim as the entire region is adorned with alpine flowers. Lachung, Yumthang and Yumesamdong (Zero Point) look no less than a slice of heaven. Honestly, if the natural beauty of North Sikkim has to be explained, one may write an entire 500 page book!
I believe nature has a strong connection with spirituality; the more beautiful the place the more spiritual you will feel there. The two major monasteries nestled amidst the scenic landscape of North Sikkim are Phodong Gompa and Labrang monasteries. Phodong Gompa or Karma Kargyu monastery as it is popularly called is famed for its intricate murals that adorn its wall. The annual Cham, which is also one of the best times to be here, is celebrated on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar. During the festivity, one may experience the essence of god in everything and you will feel cleansed and at utter peace. The Labrang monastery is another sacred destination in North Sikkim; this gorgeous Gompa is situated about 2kms from Phodong monastery and is yet another place for spiritual revival. Known mainly for its architectural style and rich frescoes, Labrang Monastery can be one good stop for spending time in solitude. The calm environs and sacred vibe transcends one into a spiritual world. Apart from these two monasteries, one may also like to visit Phensang monastery, which is situated 9kms from Gangtok.
Photo: Daniel Castro
History lovers would love to visit Kabi Longtsok, which is situated about 20kms from Gangtok. Known as the place where the historic treaty of ‘Blood Brotherhood’ between the tribes of Lepcha and Bhutia was signed, Kabi Longtsok is a wonderful place to be at. The place still has the stone pillar which was the symbol of the treaty and continuously reminds one to live in peace and harmony as much as possible. Reminiscing the past, this place is perfect for those seeking to learn more about the warm and hospitable people of Sikkim. Singhik is yet another place that takes you back in time. The rustic setting and an ancient monastery up on a hill in Singhik is the reminiscence of the simple people who live here. Situated at the confluence of Lachung and Lachen River is another historical place called Chungthang. This small town is believed to be full of legends and what is better than to listen to some of these legends from the horse’s mouth; the people of Chungthang are amazing storytellers. Their way of narrating the story simply will take you back in time.
Photo: Satyaki Basu
There is time for everything, time to be quiet, time to talk out loud, time to be with someone and time to be alone. Yes, sometimes despite your happy life, you do wish to spend time with yourself and I believe it is one of the best moments in your life. Now imagine spending your solitude amidst a serene place that is blessed with nature’s best…the rolling green hills, cascading streams and waterfalls, flower-strewn meadows and panoramic views. So, if you have planned on spending some time with yourself irrespective of the reasons, North Sikkim can be the best getaway for you. Try spending time in the virgin land of Chopta Valley, which is only 20 minutes drive from Thangu. It is one of those places in India, where one can walk over the frozen river in winter and witness the riot of colours during spring season. Lachung, perched at an altitude of about 2682m is yet another ideal place to spend quality moments in solitude. It is reckoned to be one of the most beautiful villages in Sikkim and is adorned with gorgeous waterfalls, silvery streams and snow-capped mountains. If solitude is your idea of a holiday, Yumthang Valley cannot be forgotten, this place has absolutely no bounds when it comes to tranquility and natural beauty. The awe-inspiring alpine pastures, the rhododendron forest and variety of flowers at an elevation of 3621m cannot be called anything less than the heaven on earth.
Photo: Matthieu Aubry
The howling wilderness of North Sikkim makes it one of the best destinations for adventure junkies. Trekking, mountaineering and jeep safaris are the ways to get the blood rushing in your veins. The most popular trek in North Sikkim covers destinations like Lachung, Yumthang, Tsethang and Snowlion Cave Camp. On this trekking expedition, one will have the opportunity to witness abundance of flowers like Rhododendron, Blue poppy and Blue Sheep; also the breathtaking views of of Karpo-la, Dongkhya peak, Lhako peak and Sengkamo make this trek an unforgettable experience. Adventure in North Sikkim is becoming better with time as mountaineering has also been included. Here the adventure seekers have the opportunity to enjoy alpine expeditions to Lama Angden Peak (5868m) and Brumkhangse Peak (5635m). Mountain biking and jeep safari have also been initiated to keep you rolling in North Sikkim!