When you plan on visiting Sikkim, here are some major tourist attractions that you must keep in mind. Aranyak Sen, Director at Siddhartha Logistics Pvt. Ltd, shares his experiences and photographs on a memorable trip to Sikkim.
A visit to Nathu La is mandatory. Once a stop on the Silk Route, Nathu La, which means listening ears, is a pass connecting India with China which was opened after 44 years in 2006.
On your way to Nathu La don’t miss the Baba’s Mandir. Frequented by locals, defence personnel, mountaineers and tourists, this is a very popular tourist and pilgrim destination situated on the road to Kupup near Nathu La, at a height of 14,500 ft in east Sikkim.
This is a memorial built in honour of Sepoy Harbhajan Singh of the 23rd Punjab Regiment, who apparently drowned near here in 1968 and it is believed that his samadhi brings good luck. It is considered a good omen to visit the shrine before setting off for a journey.
Ever seen a clouded leopard?
The Himalayan Zoological Garden offers a peek into some of the most exotic flora and fauna of the mountains. Situated at a height of 5,840 ft. (1780 m) at Bulbuley, it is about three km from Gangtok. Spread across 200 hectares, the park is a home to the barking deer, the red panda, spotted deer, bear, the civet cat, the clouded leopard, the snow leopard. The zoological garden is really awesome, extremely picturesque and a relaxing place to spend a day.
The solitary temple
Rumtek and Enchey are the best-known monasteries of Sikkim. Rumtek is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Sikkim and 24 km outside Gangtok. Enchey which means ‘solitary temple’, is more than 200 years old and is in Gangtok.
Afternoon at Changu Lake
I particularly liked the Tshangu Lake. It was a good two and a half hour drive from the city. The Tshangu or the Changu Lake is about 400 kms from Lhasa and very close to the Nathu La (20 kms). Prior permission is required for visiting the lake as it is located in a restricted area. Your local guide/ hotel can arrange that for you.
Being situated in a high altitude of about 12,600 ft, this lake freezes during winter and that makes it one of the most exotic locations in Sikkim. The beautiful mountain flowers, like the gorgeous primula when it is in full bloom, together with the highland trees add further beauty to this lake making it quite like paradise on earth.
For Rediff.com, 22nd June, 2007.