Revive your senses by spending five days of utter amazement in East Sikkim, the land of love, landscapes and lights! Enjoy the monastic beauty of Gangtok, soothe your eyes with the greenery and waters of Aritar and Zuluk!
“The beauty of a place is defined by its history”. The statement is what perfectly defines Sikkim, which in history means “Indrakil- Garden of war god Indra”. Sikkim is a hidden paradise of Northeast India, where culture speaks more than words ever can. Sikkim’s untamed culture, crude traditions and colourful festivals can captivate every soul alien to the region.
Let’s drive into the East of Sikkim, where everything reflects various aspects of the world. With its extravagant nightlife, delicious delicacies, gobsmacking sceneries, blending theistic beliefs, Sikkim is a mixed bag of all the world’s grace that can enchant the tourist right at the first blush.
- Day 1: Gangtok: We start our journey with driving into Gangtok and go for some local sightseeing.
- Day 2: East Sikkim: Today we start our sightseeing by visiting Changu lake, Baba Mandir and Gnathang valley, with an overnight at Phudemchen.
- Day 3: Gangtok: Today we visit the beautiful Aritar lake, Zuluk and Romgil and return to Gangtok.
- Day 4: Gangtok: Today we do a local tour in Gangtok and visit the Teesta River. Adventure sports junkies can enjoy something today!
- Day 5: Departure: Today we drive back to Bagdogra from Gangtok.
- 3 nights in Gangtok
- 1 night in Phudemchen
Room with Breakfast: Gangtok and Phudemchen
A mix of SUV and Wagon R
Day 1: Arrive at Gangtok
Arrive at Gangtok via Taxi from Bagdogra International Airport.
Settle into the homestay, with hosts who are warm and friendly. If time permits you could visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, and witness the nightlife of Gangtok.
Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology :
The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is a Tibet museum in Gangtok. The NIT library holds one of the largest collections of Tibetan works in the world outside Tibet and a museum of Tibetan iconography and religious art.
The nightlife of Gangtok :
Gangtok is the Las Vegas of Sikkim. This capital city has every luxury you could wish for. It has a number of Casinos, Nightclubs and Pubs. The city also has a number of beautiful restaurants and eateries where you could enjoy all kinds of cuisines.
Day 2: East Sikkim: The old silk route
The Old Silk Route or Silk Road which passes through East Sikkim is a part of the ancient network of trade routes which connected China to India. This route passed through Lhasa and Nathu La and Jelep La Pass and finally reached the port of Tamralipta (present Tamluk in West Bengal) from where it took to the sea and reached far east. This Ancient Silk Route is expected to have been discovered by traders as early as First Century AD. You will be retracing these steps on your two-day journey across East Sikkim. Some of the places you will see are:
The Changu Lake is perched within mountains at an altitude of 12,400 ft. Located at the Gangtok – Nathula Highway only 37 km from Gangtok, the Changu Lake is one of the most spectacular landscapes of Sikkim. The lake is highly revered by the local Buddhists and Hindus as a sacred lake. With a depth of around 48 feet and spreading over 1 kilometre, the magnificent Changu Lake romances with its picturesque surrounding. The water of the lake comes from the melting of the snow of its surrounding mountains, which is why this lake never dries up.
Baba Harbhajan Mandir:
Baba Mandir is a distinguished sightseeing place of Sikkim. This “mandir” or shrine is dedicated to “Baba” Harbhajan Singh, who was a soldier of the Indian Army. He died near the Nathula Pass in eastern Sikkim.
Located at an altitude of 13,500 feet, this lush valley was the home to traditional yak herders who came from Tibet. Few streams crisscross the valley, and prayer flags flutter on the mountain edges on this vast plain of nothingness. Nathang Valley appears in different colours in different times of the year. you would find a Hindu temple and a small Buddhist Monastery in the valley on the fringes of a small village. You would also find few streams snaking through the valley and makeshift bridges built on the stream. And there is nothing more except endless stretches of grassland, surrounded by high mountains. The valley is devoid of any trees and it seems out of this world. Your stay tonight will be at Padamchen. Perched on a hill slope at 8000 ft and covered in dense forests, Padamchen is a small village on the Silk Route circuit just 14 km from Rongli and 4 km from Zuluk. Padamchen experiences a very pleasant weather throughout the year and this is one of the main reasons for its popularity. Padamchen has some of the best views of the valleys and forests of this part of Sikkim and Himalayan foothills. The forests around Padamchen support a wide variety of bird population .
Day 3: Zuluk , Aritar lake and return to Gangtok
Located at a height of around 10,100 feet on the rugged terrain of the lower Himalayas in East Sikkim, Zuluk or Dzuluk is a small village beside a winding road. It was once a transit point to the historic Silk Route from Tibet to India. It is relatively an emerging and offbeat destination in East Sikkim. This small village accommodates a population of around 700 people. Zuluk is a hilltop and a transit point within the Silk Route. The road through Zuluk makes almost 32 hairpin turns to reach Lungthung, which makes it a unique engineering feat. There is a local Nag Temple here. The temple has a cave-like structure and the deity of King Cobra or Nag, famous Hindu mythical god is worshipped in the temple. Visit the scenic Aritar lake and enjoy your drive back to Gangtok.
Day 4: Local touring of Gangtok and relaxing by the Teesta river
Enchey monastery is another place you must visit in Gangtok. The Enchey monastery literally means the solitary temple. At the time it was constructed, it was the only building in the entire area. This place especially attracts attention during the religious dances or ‘Chaam’ performed in January. The relatively small monastery was built 200 years ago and the present building was constructed in the year 1909.
Located an hour’s scenic drive from Gangtok, Lingdum Monastery is a destination for Buddhist pilgrims and devotees of fine art alike. The sprawling complex, set amid serene forested hills, is a specimen of sacred architecture.
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 the Karma 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. Originally built by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje in the 16th century, 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.
Nehru Botanical Garden :
Just ahead of the Rumtek Monastery is the Nehru Botanical Garden which has a mix of tropical and temperate plants and trees as well as a big greenhouse of exotic orchids.
If you are at Gangtok you must visit ropeways or cable car located at Deorali market. This ropeway of about 1 km long has three entry points or stops. The lowest point is at Deorali market and the highest point is at Tashiling (below the state secretariat). There is a midpoint stop at Nam-Nang. One can enter from any point and return to the same point after touching other two points. Cable car journey provides the spectacular view of Gangtok market, valley and assembly hall of state of Sikkim on its 15 to 20 minutes journey.
Day 5: Departure from Gangtok to Bagdogra
Since it takes at least four hours to reach Bagdogra airport, I would suggest that you leave five to six hours before departure. The driver will be your best guide and he will let you know what is the exact time you should leave for Bagdogra in order to catch your flight.