Your search for enchantment, tranquility and adventure ends here. Sikkim is a primeval land like nowhere else, rich in culture and steeped in traditions. Come to Sikkim-small but beautiful.
With its towering mountains, lush valleys, ripping mountain streams and pristine lakes, Sikkim offers visitors a rare and singular experience. Once renowned for being one of the blast Shangri-Las, the former hill kingdom has made rapid progress since it become a state of the Indian Union in 1975. The predominant communities are the Lepchas, Bhutias ans Nepalis..
Sikkim lies in the lap of the eastern Himalayas and in the shadow of the mighty Mount Kanchendzonga. The state is flanked by Nepal in the west, Bhutan in the east and Tibet (China) in the north.
Perhaps Sikkim's greatest attraction is its nature wonders. There are over 600 bird species (about half of all the species found in India, 4000 species of flowering plants-600 orchids alone and 40 kinds of rhododendrons.
Sikkim's pretty capital, Gangtok (meaning 'hilltop'), site on a lone ridge along the Ranipul river and offers great views of the Khanchendzonga range.
Sikkim is divided into four administrative regions-north, south, east and west. Gangtok lies in east Sikkim. The north and west districts are highly popular for their trekking routes and nature trails.
This region is slowly opening up to foreigners. Attractions include Singiek Chungthang and Yamthang.
The Khanchendzonga National Park in north Sikkim is one of the highest in the country (elevation 1829 to 8585 metres). It has virtually undisturbed forest cover and there are many glaciers in the park area. Amongst them,Zemu glacier is the longest and most awesome. The lofty Mount Kanchendzonga towers over it.
South Sikkim's most important town, Namtse (meaning 'sky high'), is nestled in the hills at 5500 feet and commands panoramic views of snowcapped peaks and vast stretches of lovely valley. Namtse is fast developing into a tourist destination with immense potential.
Popular Pelling is fast become an urban settlement due to the tourist influx. At 6800 feet, it offers excellent views of the mountains and due to locational advantages, many good hotels have sprung up here. Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim, where the first Chogyal was consecrated in 1641. The people of Sikkim consider Yuksim sacred. Rabdentse was the second capital of the kingdom of Sikkim after Yuksom till 1814. Today, its ruins lie hidden from the main road at walking distance from the Pemayangtse monastery. The view from the top of the ruins is spectacular.
Sikkim has nearly 200 monastries or gompas of the Nyingms and Kagyu order that not only play an important part in the cultural and religious life of the people, but also demonstrate ancient rituals in practice. There are art treasures as well. Sikkim's gompas are adorned with lifelike frescoes of hoary Buddhist legends and rare silk and brocade thangkas. Also preserved here are ancient Tibetan manuscripts, exquisitely carved woodwork and icons of silver and golden.
The Pemayangtse monastery is situated in west Sikkim at Gyalasing and commands an impressive view of Mount Khanchendzonga.
Just 24 kilometres from Gangtok, a drive through the beautiful countryside take one to Rumtek Dharma Chakar Centre (or Rumtek monastery) built in the 1960s by his Holiness, the late 16th Gyalwa karmapa when he took refuges in Sikkim after the Chinese attack. Rumtek houses some of the world's most unique art objects, ancient manuscripts and icons.
The Enchey monastery is situated on a hilltop in Gangtok. It was built during reign of Thutob Namgyal.
Other monasteries of note in Sikkim include Phensang, Phodang, Tashiding, Sanga Chelling and Dubdi.
From adventure lovers, Sikkim offer many, many options like mountaineering, trekking, river rafting and mountain biking.
Exciting new trekking trails includes Soreng to Dzongri via Singalila range (west Sikkim). Some mountain peaks below 20,000 feet are to be opened up as trekking peaks with the base camp a Namchi (South Sikkim). In east Sikkim, water sports will be introduced on Aritar lake. An easy trekking route will take visitors from Aritar to the Rachila pass. In Asssam Limzay, village tourism and home stays are being promoted to enable visitors to experience local culture. Villagers make enchanting souvenirs out of bamboo, generating employment. At the same time, local art is preserved.