Honey Moon and Tourist Destinations in Sikkim

Gangtok

Gangtok is a municipality, the capital and the largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim. It also is the headquarters of the East Sikkim district. Gangtok is located in the eastern Himalayan range, at an elevation of 1,650 m (5,410 ft). The town′s population of 100,000 belongs to different ethnicities such as Nepali, Lepchas and Bhutia. Nestled within higher peaks of the Himalaya and enjoying a year-round mild temperate climate, Gangtok is at the centre of Sikkim′s tourism industry. Gangtok rose to prominence as a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840. In 1894, the ruling Sikkimese Chogyal, Thutob Namgyal, transferred the capital to Gangtok. In the early 20th century, Gangtok became a major stopover on the trade route between Lhasa in Tibet and cities such as Kolkata (then Calcutta) in British India. After India won its independence from Britain in 1947, Sikkim chose to remain an independent monarchy, with Gangtok as its capital. In 1975, after the integration with the union of India, Gangtok was made India′s 22nd state capital. The precise meaning of the name Gangtok is unclear, though the most popular meaning is ″hill top″ Today, Gangtok is a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning, with the presence of several monasteries, religious educational institutions, and centres for Tibetology. Gangtok is situated in the lower Himalayas at an elevation of 1,650 m (5,410 ft).The town lies on one side of a hill, with ″The Ridge″, a promenade housing the Raj Bhawan, the governor′s residence, at one end and the palace, situated at an altitude of about 1,800 m (5,900 ft), at the other. The city is flanked on east and west by two streams, namely Roro Chu and Ranikhola, respectively.These two rivers divide the natural drainage into two parts, the eastern and western parts. Both the streams meet the Ranipul and flow south as the main Ranikhola before it joins the Teesta at Singtam. Most of the roads are steep, with the buildings built on compacted ground alongside them. There are densely forested regions around Gangtok, consisting of temperate, deciduous forests of poplar, birch, oak, and elm, as well as evergreen, coniferous trees of the wet alpine zone. Orchids are common, and rare varieties of orchids are featured in flower shows in the city. Bamboos are also abundant. In the lower reaches of the town, the vegetation gradually changes from alpine to temperate deciduous and subtropical. Flowers such as sunflower, marigold, poinsettia, and others bloom, especially in November and December. The nearest railhead connected to the rest of India is the station of New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri, situated 124 km (77 mi) away from Gangtok. Work has commenced for a broad gauge railway link from Sevoke in West Bengal to Rangpo in Sikkim that is planned for extension to Gangtok. The closest airport is Bagdogra Airport,  in Siliguri, 16 km (10 mi) from Siliguri Town. Gangtok is linked to Bagdogra airport by a daily helicopter service that operates only once a day and carries four passengers. Pakyong Airport, a greenfield airport, southeast of Gangtok.

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Rumtek

Rumtek, also called the Dharmachakra Centre, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in the Indian state of Sikkim near the capital Gangtok. It is a focal point for the sectarian tensions that characterize the Karmapa Controversy. Originally built under the directios of the 12th Karmapa Changchub Dorjee in mid 1700 AD, after [Ralang Monastery,first] and [Phodong Monastery,second], Rumtek served as the main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage in Sikkim for some time. But when the 16th Karmapa arrived in Sikkim in 1959, after fleeing Tibet, the monastery was in ruins. Despite being offered other sites, the Karmapa decided to rebuild Rumtek. To him, the site possessed many auspicious qualities and was surrounded by the most favorable attributes. For example, flowing streams, mountains behind, a snow range in front, and a river below. With the generosity and help of the Sikkim royal family and the local folks of Sikkim, it was built by the 16th Karmapa as his main seat in exile. After four years, construction of the monastery was completed. The sacred items and relics brought out from Tsurphu Monastery, the Karmapa's seat in Tibet, were installed. On Tibetan New Year's Day (Losar) in 1966 the 16th Karmapa officially inaugurated the new seat called, "The Dharmachakra Centre, a place of erudition and spiritual accomplishment, the seat of the glorious Karmapa." The monastery is currently the largest in Sikkim. It is home to the community of monks and where they perform the rituals and practices of theKarma Kagyu lineage. A Golden Stupa contains the relics of the 16th Karmapa. Opposite that building is a college, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies.Rumtek is located 24 km from Gangtok, the capital of the Sikkim, at an altitude of about 1500 m. Rumtek was at the centre of the Karmapa controversy with a lengthy battle being played out in the Indian courts. Two rival organisations, each supporting a different candidate for the 17th Karmapa, claimed stewardship of the monastery and its contents. The two organisations are the Tsurphu Labrang (supporting Ogyen Trinley Dorje) and the Karmapa Charitable Trust (supporting Trinley Thaye Dorje).Neither candidate resides at Rumtek since monks supporting Trinley Thaye Dorje were thrown out of Rumtek by Ogyen Trinley Dorje's followers. Since 1992, the monastery has been the site of pitched battles between monks supporting one candidate or the other. Armed Indian soldiers still patrol the monastery to prevent further sectarian violence.


Mangan

Mangan is a town in North Sikkim in the Indian state of Sikkim. The town is connected to the capital Gangtok by a metalled road. North Sikkim is the largest district of Sikkim in terms of area. The town lies in the geographic south of the district. After the opening up of the district, Mangan has witnessed a spurt in its economy, mostly due to tourism. The town opens up the Tibetan Plateau. Mangan also serves the towns of Lachung, Chungthang and Lachen in the far north. Owing to its elevation, the town enjoys a temperate climate. Mangan is located at 27.52°N 88.53°E. It has an average elevation of 956 metres (3136 feet).


Ravangla

Ravangla or Ravongla is a small tourist town situated at an elevation of 7000 ft in South Sikkim district of the Indian state of Sikkim. It is connected by state highway to other major towns in the state and lies between Pelling and Gangtok. It acts as the starting point for the trek to maenam la wildlife sanctuary. Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Pandim, Mt. Sinialchu, Mt. Kabru are just a few of the major peaks that are clearly visible from Ravangla. Upper parts of Ravangla experiences snowfall during winter. During the months of April–May the place is surrounded by many flowers including orchids and rhododendrons. Ravangla attracts a lot of Himlayan birds and is a bird watcher's paradise. Birds like Verditer Flycatchers, Blue-fronted Redstarts, Grey Bushchats, Dark-throated Thrush, Blue Whistling-thrush, Green-backed Tit and White-browed Fantails can be easily spotted.The forests around Ravangla have other avi faunal species like Laughingthrushes, Babblers, Cuckoos and Hill Partridge. The rare Satyr Tragopan can also be spotted in Ravangla.


Dikchu

Dikchu is a place in East Sikkim District of Sikkim in India. Dikchu is named as it is situated on the bank of River Dikchu. Until the 1960s this place used to be a stopover for the people of North Sikkim traveling to Gangtok with their mules to procure their livelihood requirements. Much of this area will now be submerged under water for the NHPC hydel project. Dikchu HE Project is situated in east and north districts of Sikkim between the villages Dikchu and Lingdok. The project envisages construction of 55m high concrete gravity dam at about 100m downstream of confluence of Dikchu River with Bakcha Chu near village Lingdok and an under ground powerhouse near the village Dikchu. The river Dikchu is one of the tributary of the Teesta river originating in the glaciers of east Sikkim at an elevation of about 4500 m above mean sea level. The main tributaries of the Dikchu River are Ratey Chu and Bakcha Chu. The Ratey Chu meets Dikchu River upstream of the confluence of Bakcha Chu. Both the river Bakcha Chu and Dikchu meets near village Lingdok. After running about 8Km from the confluence, the Dikchu River joins the Teesta River near the village Dikchu. In the downstream the Rongni Chu joins Teesta River at Singtam, Rangpo Chu at Rangpo and Rangit at Melli.


Soreng

Soreng is a small town in West district Sikkim, India. Soreng is known for its largest production of vegetables, oranges and flowers in Sikkim.The inhabitants are mostly dependent on agriculture, floriculture and tourism for their livelihood. The inhabitants are mostly Nepali. Majority of the community follow Hinduism and buddhism beliefs while the rest are Christians. Soreng is about 21⁄2 hour from Darjeeling and 3 hour from capital Gangtok. The region is an eco-tourism spot, and thousands of people visit every year. It is close to Daramdin. Its major attraction are landscapes, fisheries, a good view of Mount Kanchanjanga, flora and fauna, and white river rafting at Teesta river.


Pelling

Pelling is a town in the district of West Sikkim, India. Pelling is nestled at an altitude of 2,150 m (7,200 feet). The town is located at a distance of 10 km from the district headquarters of Geyzing. A regular bus service connects the two towns. However with the influx of tourists, the region is undergoing a metamorphosis, with the roads being repaired and hotels being set up. The mighty Himalayas and the Kanchenjanga may be viewed at close quarters from Pelling. Pelling also forms the base from where trekkers and other peripatetic adventurers undertake the strenuous and arduous treks in West Sikkim. The land around Pelling is still a virgin territory and is bathed with alpine vegetation, with numerous waterfalls lining the hillside. In the months of winter, Pelling is sometimes covered with a blanket of snow. Pelling is 115 km from the state capital Gangtok and about 135 km from Siliguri, the nearest railhead and airport. Regular jeeps connect Pelling to the towns ofJorethang, Kalimpong and Namchi. The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport. Most of the people of Pelling are Buddhists and speak the Sikkimese language. Other languages spoken are Nepali, Hindi, and English. Pelling is famous for the majestic view of the magnificent Mount Kanchenjungha. It also affords a panoramic view of other snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Places to visit in and around Pelling include the local monastery, the rock garden and waterfall at nearby Rimbi, the imposing double-pronged KanchenjunghaFalls, the archaic quaint Singshore Bridge, the Chhange Waterfalls, the Khecheopalri/Khechuperi Lake holy to Buddhists and ancient Pemyangtse/Pemyangshi Monastery.


Pemayangtse Monastery

The Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Pemayangtse, near Pelling in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, located 140 kilometres (87 mi) west of Gangtok. Planned, designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705, it is one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim. It is not only one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim but also the most famous in west Sikkim. Originally built by Lhatsun Chenpo in the 17th century, as a small Lhakhang, it was subsequently enlarged during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal who was considered as Lhatsun Chenpo's third reincarnate, Jigme Pawo. The monastery follows the Nyingma Order of Tibet Buddhism and controls all other monasteries of that Order in Sikkim. The monks of this monastery are normally chosen from the Bhutias of Sikkim. The monastery located on a hill top in the west district of Sikkim is at the beginning of the popular Dzongri trek route - Yuksom-Dzongri-GoechhaLa is a trek of 46 km, which was started prior to 1960 and which is the most popular trek in Sikkim) to the Kanchendzonga range of hills and Kanchendzonga National Park (KNP). It is 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) away from Geyzing on the main Pelling road and 44 km away from Pelling. From Upper Pelling on the Geyzing-Pelling road near a stupa, a bypass track of 1.3 km leads to the monastery; Pelling (2,040 metres (6,690 ft)) is the nearest town to the monastery. The view of Mount Khanchendzonga is said to be a commanding and impressive view from this monastery.


Namchi

Namchi is the capital of the South Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. The appellation Namchi means Sky (Nam) High (Chi) in Bhutia. Namchi is located at 27.17°N 88.35°E. It has an average elevation of 1315 metres (4314 feet). Namchi is situated at an altitude of 1,675 m (5500 feet) above sea level. It is situated at a distance of 92 km from the state capital Gangtok and 90 km from the town of Siliguri, the nearest railhead and airport. Namchi lies off the road between Melli and Jorethang. Namchi is well connected to other towns in Sikkim andWest Bengal. Jeeps and buses regularly ply between Namchi to Gangtok, Pelling, Jorethang, Kalimpong and Siliguri. Namchi commands panoramic view of the snow capped mountains and vast stretches of valley. It is also headquarters of South district. The area is fast growing into a tourist destination with its enormous potential for all round tourist activities.


Rinchenpong

Rinchenpong is a town in West Sikkim, India. It is situated in West Sikkim, about 40 km west of Gangtok, 10 km due south of Gyalshing, close to the village of Kaluk. It sits at an altitude of 5576 feet (1,700m) above sea level amidst a heavily forested area. It is famous for the Rigsum Monastery and trekking routes. Near the town is the site of a historical battle between the forces of the then Chogyal (King) of Sikkim and the invading British forces. The Lepcha tribesmen used a concoction of unidentified herbs to poison the only water source, a lake (local term : pokhri). As a result more than half of the British forces were wiped out which stopped the British invasion and resulted in an accord. The lake remains poisoned even to this day and is known as bikh-pokhri locally (poisoned lake).


Ban Jhakri Falls

Ban Jhakri Falls has been for many years from now but has gained popularity very recently many operator still avoid this view point with other points due to its remoteness with other points. If added the one day sight seeing becomes very hectic. This is located on the route to Ranka Monastery and nearly 4 kilometers from Gangtok. Ban Jhakri Falls Energy Park lies amidst a lush green valley spread over nearly 2 acres and is quite nice and popular among tourist. It is surrounded by trees and gushing mountain stream. The Park has a Shamanistic theme. Hence, while the location of the park penetrating the forest spreads and seeks to enhance the essence of the occult and the unknown. The place itself is littered with ethnic sculptures and figurines of the Jhakri culture. We would advice our guest to visit five to six points and make the trip enjoyable rather than making it tiring.


Singhik

Singhik is a town in Mangan subdivision, North Sikkim district of the Indian state of Sikkim. It is situated at a distance of four kilometres from Mangan, the district headquarters. The town offers clear views of the Kanchenjunga and Siniolchu. Singhik is situated at an average elevation of 1,560 metres (5,118 feet).


Gyalshing

Gyalshing or Geyzing is the capital of the district of West Sikkim in the Indian state of Sikkim. The town is connected to the capital Gangtokby a metalled road. Geyzing is also connected to the West Bengal towns of Darjeeling and Kalimpong via Jorethang. A few kilometres north is the town ofPelling. The town has a large Nepali population, and the Nepali language is the predominant language of the region. The town is situated at an altitude of about 6,500 feet (1,900 m). The town enjoys a temperate climate for most of the year and snow sometimes falls in the vicinity. Near Geyzing is the ancient town of Yuksom, the ancient capital of Sikkim built in 1642. Other attractions include Pemyangtse Monastery built in 1640, reputed to be Sikkim's oldest and Khecheopalri Lake which as legend has it not a leaf is allowed to float on the surface. The town is the base for trekking in the Himalayas and professional expeditions to Mount Kanchenjunga. Geyzing has a couple of English medium schools including a convent school and a major hospital. It also has the district's only three star hotel The Tashi Gang hotel owned by the Bollywood actor Danny Denzongpa. Gyalshing has an average elevation of 823 metres (2700 feet).


Yuksom

Yuksom is a historical town in Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district in the Northeast Indian state of Sikkim. It was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 AD by Phuntsog Namgyal who was the first Chogyal (temporal and religious king) of Sikkim. The coronation site of the first monarch of Sikkim is known as the "Throne of Norbugang". Yuksom is where there is the Norbugang Chorten near the Norbugang throne, the place Namgyal was crowned and several monasteries and a lake. The dynastic rule of the Chogyals lasted for 333 years. The Chogyal established the first monastery at Yuksom in Sikkim known as the Dubdi Monastery in 1701, which is part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit involving the Norbugang Chorten, Pemayangtse Monastery, theRabdentse ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, the Khecheopalri Lake, and the Tashiding Monastery. For the Bhutia tribal community of Sikkim, Yuksom has special religious and cultural significance. It has a number of famous Buddhist monasteries and historical monuments. Being at the head of the Khangchendzonga National Park and as the base camp for trekking to Mt. Khangchendzonga, it has large influx of mountaineers from all parts of the world. The village people, as stake holders in biodiversity preservation of the Rathong Chu valley, where the village is situated, have played a significant role in trendsetting and promotion of eco-tourism in the area. The inhabitants of this village have most successfully adopted promotion of ecotourism not only in the region but also for other similar areas in Sikkim. Yuksom is thus considered a model village for eco-tourism. Yuksom is a large village with a total area of 812.16 hectares (2,006.9 acres) situated at an average altitude of 1780 m. It is located in a basin-like valley surrounded by mountain ranges. Located at the head of the Khangchendzonga National Park, it is the gateway to Mt. Khangchendzonga. The popular mountaineering trek starts from Yuksom. It is well connected by a road network with Geyzing and Gangtok. The climate in Yuksom, which is located at a moderate altitude, is pleasant from March to June and September to November, while in the winter season, the coldest months are December and February. The natural environmental setting of the town, ensconced amidst rich forests are further accentuated by the history, architecture and Buddhist legacy that evolved from the 17th century with Yuksom's establishment as the first capital of Sikkim. Situated at the head of Khangchenjunga National Park, the largest Protected Area in Sikkim, and at starting gate for the trekking trail to Mt. Khangchendzonga, Yuksom and its hills was named in the past as Ney-Pemathang for its beautiful landscape. The forest cover in the hills consist of broad-leaved oak, birch, maple, chestnut, magnolia, rhododendron, silver fir, ash and alder, which compliment the epithet of "biodiversity hot-spot" given to Sikkim.


Chungthang

Chungthang is a town in North Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. It is situated at the confluence of two rivers: River Lachen and Lachung Chu, both tributaries of the River Teesta. Chungthang is located a distance of 95 kilometres from the capital Gangtok. The Indian army has a major forward base in the town including a medical centre. Chungthang is located at 27.62°N 88.63°E. It has an average elevation of 1790 metres (5,873 feet). According to a legend, Guru Padmasambhabwa {Buddhist Guru} visited the town before going to Tibet and left his footprint on a rock where he once rested. Around the rock some paddy is grown, which is supposed to be a miracle as paddy does not grow in these conditions. Local people earned their livelihood on these paddy fields until the Army was deployed there. It is believed Guru Nanak Dev ji visited this place during his trip (Udasi) to China and Tibet. Guru Nanak Dev ji dug his walking stick at a place where eventually the stick has grown into a tree which has trunk in stick shape and leaves are below the rounded trunk which looks like handle of stick. An amrit kund was also made to appear there by Guru ji. Guru Nanak visited the place during his third udasi in order to solace the Karma pa Nying ma pa sect then being hounded out from Tibet by the Ge lug pa sect. It is also said that Guru Nanak, on one of his journeys along with his disciples, had come across this place and vanquished two demons here before proceeding. The footprints of that battle were believed to be still left on that cordoned off rock. It is also said that Chungthang derived from the Punjabi, “Changa sthan” or good place, which Guru Nanak had bestowed on it Most of the residents of the town are Lepcha. Chungthang is rich in biodiversity with a wide variety of orchids, plants and animals found here.


Lachen

Lachen is a town in North Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. It is located at an elevation of 2,750 metres. The name Lachen means "big pass". The town is being promoted as a tourist destination by the Sikkimese government. The town commands a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains and is abundant in wildlife. The town forms the base to the Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake. An annual yak race, the Thangu is held here in summer. Lachen is about 129 km from Gangtok, can be reached via road, a six-hour adventurous journey from Gangtok. Also a short two-day-long trekking route connects Yumthang Valley to Lachen. It has population of around 1000. Lachen have its own system to follow rules and regulation and the system is called Dzumsa head of the Dzumsa are known as Pipon & Gyenbos. You can find guest house and homestay to stay easily. While going in north direction you will find an old town of Thangu, in Thangu the daytime temperature is from 4 to 12 degrees Celsius (40 to 55 °F) even in the months of June and July. Gurudongmar Lake can be reached from Lachen, a panoramic, sacred lake in the Great Himalayas Region. The best time to visit Lachen is from November to June.


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