Sikkim is the perfect antidote if you are totally drained out by the heat, dust and dirt of city life. Far away from the monotony of the fast city life and crowd, it is a state with clean and fresh mountain air sweeping the state. The people too are extremely friendly and down to Earth. Read till the end if you wish to know about the top things to do in Sikkim.
1. Visit Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
Traditional Tibetan mansion houses this remarkable institute. It was established more than 50 years ago to promote research into Mahayana Buddhism and Tibetan culture. It contains one of the world’s largest collections of Buddhist books, manuscripts and artifacts. Besides, statuettes, Tibetan cloth paintings called ”thangkas” and ”kapali” are also displayed here. Human thighbone trumpets, skull bowls too are a part of the huge collection over here. The institute is located in an orchid sanctuary and you can try the Damovar rope way too over here.
2. Shopping at MG Road, Gangtok
MG Road is a treat to walk on with beautiful flower pots and lovely benches on the side. Shopping for woolen clothes, Sikkim tea, wall hangings , hand woven jackets , shoes and handicrafts is one of the most recommended things to do in Gangtok. If you are looking for cheap stuff, you can go to Lal Bazaar, where you can get almost everything. Do not forget to click selfies on M.G. road with beautiful flowers in the background. If you have time, you can even enjoy the latest Bollywood flick at Denzong cinema hall where you have to take a seat on first come – first serve basis.
3. Get Spiritual Do-Drul Chorten
If you go a bit further from Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, there is Do-Drul Chorten, one of the most important chortens of Sikkim. The car drops you at the base and you need to walk up a short but steep uphill pathway. The Chorten Stupa is marked by a golden top dome that can be seen from various places in Gangtok. It is a large white Tibetan pagoda or stupa that is surrounded by dormitories for young monks.
4. Yak rides at Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake
Tsomgo lake and pronounced as Changu lake is one of the most splendid sights in Sikkim and is perched amidst mountains at 12,400 ft. You can enjoy delightful yak rides and have tea and momos at the roadside stalls by the picturesque lake. Permits are necessary to visit this place, so make sure you talk about it to your travel agent well in advance.
5. Enjoy the Scenic Beauty of Nathula Pass
From Tsomgo Lake, Indian citizens can continue to drive up 18 kilometers along a magnificent road to reach Nathula Pass. In English, it means “Listening Ears” pass. The Old Silk Route through Lhasa, Sikkim and Eastern India used to cross through Nathula Pass, one of the oldest trading border point connecting Tibet and India.It is surely one of the must do things in Sikkim.
6. Visit Yumthang Valley
Yumthang Valley is one of the most recommended places in north Sikkim. Its a picturesque grazing valley for yaks at 3500 meters above sea level. The wonderful rivers with rocks scattered and flowers blooming in between makes it more alluring for the tourists. The tranquility and the beauty of this place cannot be described in words. You can even check out Yumthang hot water springs. This place is totally chilling during the winter months.
7. View the Mighty Kanchenjunga from Pelling
From Pelling in West Sikkim,one of the fastest emerging tourist hubs, you can have a look of the splendidly picturesque Kanchenjunga range. Pelling’s tranquil atmosphere and picturesque setting is ideal for nice nature walks and small treks.You can also add excursions to the waterfalls and monasteries nearby.
8. Trekking from the village of Yuksom
If you are looking for lovely one-day treks, you can try it out from the village of Yuksom, near Pelling. Yuksom to Goecha La is one of the most amazing trekking trails in Sikkim. Another trek includes a jungle trek beyond Sangachoeling Gompa to Rani Dhunga where the epic Ramayana’s scene of Rama and Raavana’s battle was said to have taken place. You can take a guide.
9. Tashiding Gompa
January or February month sees the Bumchu Festival according to the Tibetan lunar calendar. During this time, lamas open a pot of holy water to foretell the year’s fortunes . All year round too you can visit this amazingly beautiful place and have your sins washed away by gazing at the chorten of Thong-Wa-Rang-Dol.You can reach here through a monastic trek from Pelling to Tashiding Gompa via Khecheopalri Lake. This is considered as the holiest Gompa of Sikkim.
10. Explore Rumtek Gompa Complex
Around 1690 meters high, Rumtek village is entirely dominated by Rumtek Gompa complex. If you wish to have a great time at this spiritually significant monastery, stay a night there and hike around the nearby hilltops at dawn. There are praiseworthy masked chaam dances during the annual Drupchen, that is group meditation, in around May-June. Besides, if you are lucky, you can even enjoy Tibetan opera performances two days before the Tibetan New Year (Losar).
11. Enchey Gompa
Gently rustling conifers high above Gangtok lead to Enchey gompa,that is more than 200 years old. It is the most beautiful monastery of Gangtok with some nice murals and statues of Tantrik deities. All this makes it one of the most attractive tourist spots in Gangtok.
12. Visit Namchi
Picturesque Namchi offers awesome views of Khangchendzonga range and the Rangit valley and is just 78 kilometers from Gangtok. Namchi has some good sightseeing places like Samdruptse and Solophuk. Samdruptse has a 45 meter high Padmasambhava statue that is wonderfully painted in shining copper and bronze. You can even visit a rock garden and Ngadak Gompa. At Solophuk, there is a Shiva statue, 33 meter high.
13. Pemayangtse Gompa
At 2105 meters above sea level, Pemayangtse Gompa near Pelling is one of the oldest and most important Nyingmapa Gompas in Sikkim. If you happen to be here in February/March, impressive Chaam dances celebrating the new year would leave you awestruck with the unfurling of a giant scroll with beautiful embroidery and the zapping of evil demons with a great fireball.
14. Experience Khecheopalri Lake
Khecheopalri Lake is pronounced as “catch-a-perry” lake is a sacred lake near Pelling. This a very beautiful lake surrounded by forested hills and the legend goes that birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface.March or April sees a Khachoedpalri Mela, when butter lamps are floated out across the lake. It presents a beautiful photogenic view.
15. Holiday at Lachung
Lachung is a lovely village in Sikkim, very well known for its rock edged valley walls . Set at 8610 ft, surrounded by snow capped mountains, gushing waterfalls, sparkling streams and yards of apple orchards this is a idyllic holiday destination. Photographers would love to click pictures over here and flaunt them off after returning.
Sikkim has a great tourist draw because of its natural beauty, rhododendron gardens, colorful prayer flags and Buddhist monasteries. The snow peaked mountain peaks add to the charisma of this state even more. Make sure you follow the rules and regulations of Sikkim and do not leave plastic bags and other rubbish along the beautiful roads to exploit the loveliness of this state.