Sikkim, is a mysterious hidden secret of the mighty Eastern Himalayan range tucked between Nepal, Bhutan and mainland India, is a gateway to the Hidden caves of Mt. Kanchenjunga. A promenade of mountains and valleys, it is the birthplace of classic rock, pop and folk musicians. It was an independent country which became a part of India in 1975. The state is a living example of overlapping cultures, lifestyles and spiritual beliefs, thriving in peace, harmony and love. It is shared by the Lepchas (the snowmen, original Sikkimese tribe), Bhutanese ( the Tibetan tribe) and Indian Nepalis (Nepalese who migrated to India). The trip offers a taste of a mountain city, mountain countryside, a mountain town and a village clubbed with rich history, culture and changing landscapes with great variations in altitude and kind heart people. It will leave you wanting to come back for more.
From the Plains to the Mountains
Pick up from Bagdogra and drop to Gangtok (East Sikkim) | 145kms | 4-5hrs |
Gangtok, a small walkable city, buzzes with energy in the evenings. A walk on M.G. marg, the Secretariat, Kazi road, Tibet road would give a jist of this glittering mountain cityscape. A quick sneak peak at the Lal bazaars before settling in the verandah of café’s watching the clouds on their mischievous routine traveling in and out of built spaces, with live music lingering in the background.
In and around
Local sightseeing in and around Gangtok. Gangtok is inhabited by various tribes and cultures. The religious and spiritual beliefs are reflected in the different architectural styles of the religious spaces.. ‘Rhumtek Monastry’ facing the snow clad Himalayas bears a history dating from the 1700’s was the main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage, and extension of Tsurphu Monastry in Tibet. ‘Taktse Monastry’, ‘Hanuman Tok’, ‘Ganesh Tok’ (Tok- Hilltop) , Durgafalls, Banjhakari Falls are the other religious sites that are wrapped with prayer flags all around the year with their history. On the ridges and valleys you would find the local ‘Ikra houses – traditional homes of Lepchas’, wooden houses with hens and roosters running around the place. ‘Namgyal Institute of Tibetology’ where they study the teachings of Buddha , peaceful with the lord in the Spirit is an experience in itself. The flower exhibition showcases what this land looks during the spring.
At the border
Nathula pass , Changu Lake, New Baba Mandir |130kms |
Soak yourself in the serene environment and rejuvenate your lungs with fresh air at the ‘Tsongmo Lake’ (‘Changu Lake’) enroute to the rugged terrain of the Indo China border. As you would drive up towards the border the landscape changes to a dry sandy land. Amongst the tensions between the two nations, tourism has given a chance to feel the thrill being at the border line with China. Nathula pass, was the entry from Tibet, China to India by the Old Southern Silk Route or the Tea Horse Route.
Never stop Exploring
Temi Tea Estates (South Sikkim) |56kms| 2-3hrs |
Sikkim is famous for its endless variety of orchids and the mesmerizing cherry blossoms. A green carpet of the tea shrubs ornamented with pink and white hued flowers would just make your evening. Enjoy fresh green Temi tea on the house while lounging around the terraces and balconies of your abode. Not visited by alot of tourists, Temi remains pristine in winter sunshine. The marvellous view of Kanchanjunga, standing unobstructed expresses that very larger than life feeling. After freshening up, drive to the second big town in Sikkim- Namchi, South Sikkim. Famous for its Chaar Dham replications put together to make a public park perched at the top of the hill.
Throwback time (part 1)
Yuksum (West Sikkim) via Ravangla Budhdha park |76kms | 3hrs |
The National Highway 10 breaks into a small human settlement, the first capital of Sikkim, where the first consecrated “CHOGYAL” established his throne (now known as the ‘Coronation Throne’) called Yuksum. The dirt roads of this village are like interwoven urban fabric, where it functions as a road literally at one time, a plaza the other, a shopping arena, a sitout, a walkout, children’s play area or in simple words - a kaleidoscope of activities. The same roads lead you to the various one day hiking trips to the pristine locations of the monasteries, significant Sikkimese historical monuments, like Dudbi Monastery, other lakes and sceneries of this Himalayan belt. Kathok Lake, butterflying the mountain range behind and the prayer flags round the edge, just quietens the mind and sets it in peace. Optional:- On the way stop at RAVANGLA , the religious abode of Sikkim, with the biggest Buddha Statue and lama kids running around in the huge gardens. It is a must see.
Throwback time (part 2)
Pelling (West Sikkim) – Day trip |40kms | 2hrs |
Pelling too has a strong cultural history as the first palace – home of the kings was stumped here along with the biggest and one of the most beautiful monasteries in Sikkim called the Pemayangste Monastery. Now the Palace is famous as Fort Ruins - is just a series of exposed stone and rubble masonary at the plinths and somewhere till the lintels. On the way to Pelling is situated Kechopari along with the Khechopari lake. The lake when seen from the top looks like a foot print of Lord Buddha. Pilgrims come on foot from all over to deliver their offerings and gain blessings from this pristine and divine piece of nature. Strong whiffs of brotherhood would surround you and gather you into conversations over ‘CHANG’ (local fermented millet seeds served with warm water in a bamboo mug). Delightful ‘Kewadachi and Emadachi ‘ (Bhutanese dish- potates / meat cooked in cottage cheese and milk) served with steamed ‘basti’ (village) rice would just make your evening.
Soak yourselves in..
Drop to Bagdogra/ N.j.p. |156kms | 6hrs |
Amenities includes according to the tour
- Accommodation on twin sharing Hotels and deluxe camps as mentioned.
- Meals inclusion as specified in the itinerary.
- A back up vehicle (pick up jeep) and one experienced mechanic from day 3 till the the 7th day .
- Royal Enfeild 500cc bikes from day.
- Local guide in Turtuk village.
- Airport pickup and drop in Leh.
- one dedicated trip leader.
Amenities excludes according to the tour
- Any Airfare
- Expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone/fax calls, alcoholic beverages, camera/video camera fee at monuments, medical expenses, gratuities etc.
- Any Insurance
- Any expenses incurred due to delays owing to Force Majeure conditions or unforeseen circumstances
- Any other services not mentioned in the inclusions.
Payments and cancellations
- A minimum 50% of total on confirmation.
- 2 months before departure –No Charge
- 29‐60 days before departure‐25% of total
- 10‐28 days before departure‐50% of total
- Less than 10 days before departure‐No Refund
What to Do and Don’t on the Trip
- On Arrival please rest for 24 Hours, as you are travelling to High Altitude and would need time to acclimatize.
- Have plenty of drinking water or any kind of liquid (except alcohol).
- While visiting any Gompa, Please take a Lamas Permission for Photo or Video Shoot.
- Please wear proper clothing while visiting Gompas.
- For Females: No Open Hair, Short Skirts or any Short Dresses allowed at Gompa.
- For Males: No Short Pants or Sleeveless allowed at Gompa.
- Please follow Gompa Rules while visiting.
- D Cold –Illness / Combiflam–Body Pain.
- Vicks Balm.
- Diamox(250mg) –For High Altitude / High Pressure.
- Personal Medicines if any.
- GluconD / Electralpowder & Camphor.
- Dependel M
- Vicks inhaler
Essential Stuff that you might need.
- T-SHIRTS (preferably dry-fits)
- TRACK LOWERS
- THERMAL INNERS (Upper & Lower)
- SWEAT SHIRT
- SUN CAP & BALACLAVA
- EXTRA BATTERIES
- SUNSCREEN, minimum 50spf
- SUN GLASSES
- DOWN JACKET
- PERSONAL MEDICATION –if any
- PEN KNIFE
- SOCKS (min.5 pairs) –Cotton & Woollen