The small and truly untouched state of Sikkim is one of the famed Seven Sisters of North-East India. The state with its majestic landscapes and lush green hills is blessed with natureâs bounty. And even after a considerable rise in tourism over the years, the sanctity and beauty of Sikkim has been preserved by its proud people and conscientious authorities.
Sikkim is divided into four districts â North, South, East and West. Each district has its own unique charm and allure. But all share a common thread of tranquility and majesty. In the North, you will find the revered Guru-DongmarLake, which is considered sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus. Its mystical powers are heightened by the fact that even in the harshest winters, parts of the lake remain unfrozen. The lake is considerably inaccessible and requires a two-day expedition. A popular destination closer to the capital, Gangtok is Yumthang - the Valley of Flowers. In spring, Yumthang is bathed with scarlet rhododendrons and wildflowers, a sight to behold.
While North Sikkim due to its remoteness is a haven for explorers, the Eastern side is the heart of Sikkim. Gangtok is the nucleus of this district and the state. Here, one can indulge in local cuisine or shop for handicrafts. Many beautiful tourist destinations like the Rumtek and Enchey monasteries, JhakriFalls and Tashi Viewpoint are a short drive from the city. But, perhaps the most enchanting attraction of the state is the Nathula Pass-Tsomgo Lake-Baba Mandir trinity. Nathu-La is situated at over 14,200 meters and offers one of the most breathtaking sights in India. En route to Nathu-La one can stop at the still and crystal-clear Tsomgo/Chhangu Lake, where one can ride a yak, shop for locally produced goods and catch a bite to eat. Tours to these are usually organized from Gangtok itself.
In the South, one can experience the sleepy side of Sikkim. The hub of this district is Ravangla, which is at the height of 7,000 meters. The township, famous for the Temi Tea Garden and its wildlife, comes alive during the Lhabsol festival in August-September. However, before leaving the district a visit to Samdruptse is imperative. In the Bhutia language, Samdruptse means âWish Fulfilling Hillâ. Here stands the 135 feet high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, made of concrete and copper.
In direct contrast to South Sikkim is the Western district. The rafting and kayaking experience on the River Teesta draw thrill-seekers from far and wide to this region. For tourists who prefer to tame the mountains, operators also organize rock climbing and mountain biking expeditions. With such a host of experiences for the avid traveler, itâs easy to see why Sikkim is considered the small package all good things come in