Tucked away in the foothills of the Himalayas, Sikkim is a Himalayan wonderland with its lovely views and exotic orchids, and its forest-trails. A virtual Shangrila overlooked by Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, Sikkim is attractive equally for the sightseer, the adventure sports enthusiast and those interested in Buddhism and Tibetology. Buddhism is the predominant religion here, with many fine old monasteries rich with frescoes, religious paintings on silk and statues of the Buddha’s various incarnations. In Gangtok, the delightfully quaint
capital, are pagoda like roofs of many buildings and the presence of crimson robed monks in the bazaars. The Institute of Tibetology, the only one of its kind in the world, was set up by the erstwhile ruler to promote research on Mahayana Buddhism. Lower down the hill is the famed orchid sanctuary where 500 species of orchids indigenous to Sikkim are cultivated. Sikkim offers several treks that lead through pine forests, through picturesque valleys, monasteries and to mountain lakes. It is also the base for mountaineering expeditions and the rivers Teesta and Rangeet offer excellent river rafting. A number of good hotels and lodging houses exist in Gangtok.
Entry to Sikkim is most convenient by coach, taxi or helicopter. The state of Sikkim lies in the shadow of the mighty Kanchenjunga and its capital, Gangtok, is a picturesque mountain clinging town with monasteries, parks, pagoda style houses and colorful bazaars.
Altitude: 5800 ft (1,547 meters). Climate (deg.c.): Summer- Max. 20.7, Min. 13.1. Winter- Max. 14.9, Min. 7.7.Clothing: Summer- Light woolens, Winter- Heavy woolens. Languages spoken: Sikimese, English.
Best Season: March to late May, October to Mid-December.
Chorten, Deer park, Enchey Monastery, Government Cottage Industries Institute, Orchid Sanctuary, Research Institute of Tibetology, Tashi View Point, Dharma Chakra Centre (Rumtek) and Saramsa Garden. Proposed Ganesh Tok & Hanuman Tok.
Bakkhim, Dzongri, Pemayangtse Monastery.
By Air: Nearest Airport is Bagdogra- 124 kms.
By Rail: The nearest railway stations are Siliguri- 114 kms, New Jalpaiguri (NJP) 125- kms.
By Road: Siliguri- 114 kms, Calcutta- 725 kms, Darjeeling- 139 kms and Guwahati- 589 kms.
Pemayangtse in Sikkim nestles close to Kanchenjunga. Pemayangtse is where 6000 ft above sea level one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries is located. The Pemayangtse monastery is the second oldest monastery in Sikkim and is the headquarters of the Nyingma sect. Many priceless antique idols are housed her containing some magnificent sculptures. The monastery suggest the feel of space and airiness From the monastery one can also see the ruins of the first palace of the Chogyals at Gezing where only a chorten and a bit of masonry have been left, though excavations could reveal more. On one side of the monastery are some typical old stone and wooden dwellings decorated with wooden carvings. The Pemayangtse monastery, an oasis of serenity and a repository of centuries-old wisdom and scriptures, surrounded by mountains, glaciers and passes, is where you feel time is frozen in a frame of yesteryears. The evergreen shrubs of rhododendron, with those large clusters of trumpet shaped flowers can be seen blooming everywhere, and yaks and musk deer and red pandas follow you around the terrain.
Mangan is the capital of the district of 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. Mangan, the picturesque town adorned with unending beauty of nature, lures avid travelers who wish to soak in its breathtaking surroundings. Serving as the starting point of some of the most entrancing treks, Mangan has a rare charisma that lures voyagers to its fascinating pavilions. If you are planning a journey to this mesmerizing town, the best way would be to take a flight till Bagdogra in West Bengal. Bagdogra Airport being the nearest to Gangtok has several flights shuttling between some of the major cities across India. On reaching Gangtok , you can hire a local bus, jeep or taxi to reach Mangan.
By Air: Nearest Airport is Bagdogra- 145 kms.
By Rail: The nearest railway stations are at Siliguri (136 kms) and New Jalpaiguri (142 kms).
By Road: As Gangtok has a well knit road network, it is easy to take the roads till Mangan. From Gangtok, there are regular bus services available till Mangan. So one can either board a bus or can take a private taxi, jeep or land rovers to reach the hill town.
Namchi is fast becoming a major tourist spot and a pilgrimage centre. The Namchi Monastery, Ralang Monastery and Tendong Hill are important Buddhist pilgrimage centres. The world's largest statue (at 118 feet) of the Buddhist Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim, is on the Samdruptse hill (The Wish Fulfilling hill) opposite Namchi. It was completed in February 2004. It is also said that the Samdruptse hill is actually a dormant volcano. Myths say that the Buddhist monks have been going on top of the hill and offering prayers to the volcano to keep it calm. There is also a Rock Garden just few kilometers up from the town on the way to Samdruptse. Sikkim Best Home Stay is just 8 km away from Namchi Bazar. The Rock Garden displays a wide variety of Flora and is a local recreation and picnic spot. It offers a magnificent view of Mt. Kanchendzonga, aka Mt. Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest peak.
Best time to visit: March to May
By Air: Nearest Airport is Bagdogra- 97 kms.
By Rail: The nearest railway stations are at Siliguri (83 kms) and New Jalpaiguri (94 kms).
By Road: Namchi is located between Ravangla and Jorethang. It is 78kms from Gangtok (takes about 3.5 hours), 26kms from Ravangla, 90kms from NJP and 96kms from Bagdogra.
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