If you are planning to visit our country’s north-east, then dive in, head first, with a 5 days rejuvenating trip to Sikkim. Unlike other cities you may need to plan ahead, depending on the time of the year as some sights may not be available. Nevertheless, there will always be picturesque scenery around you. I visited in first week of April which is considered ideal for Sikkim. A little heads-up, Sikkim is exquisitely clean and very disciplined when it comes to traffic so be prepared and fall in line.
If you are a spiritual person then start your trip with monasteries. There are quite a few of them in Gangtok. Apart from being majestic and architecturally brilliant, these monasteries will give you the much-needed peace of mind. If you have the time to visit just one of them then go to Rumtek Monastery which is 24 kms from Gangtok and largest in Sikkim . Built in 17th century, it also gives a splendid view from the top. You can spend hours here in solitude and let the positivity surround you.
One of the most famous tourist spots in Gangtok is Tashi viewpoint. As it is quite clear from its name, it gives a spectacular view of Gangtok and the Himalayan range from the top and if you are a fan of Sunrise and sunset pictures then you should stick around and experience it live here. A cold breeze with warming sun is a rare combination for anyone’s travel diary. Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok are two mythologically significant temples in gangtok. If you have the time and devotion then do pay a visit here.
Plan your entire day for Nathula pass as it 52km ahead of Gangtok. Since it is the Sikkim-China border so you will have to take prior permission to visit this area. Carry your ID proofs and permission letter with you. The height of Nathula Pass is 4310m above sea levels so make sure you are hydrated at all times and if at all you feel any kind of discomfort then do contact the army camps. If you are accompanying elderly folks or children then be a little extra cautious. All the instructions for Nathula pass can be a little off putting but it will all be worth it once you are there. It is freezing cold almost all around the year and gives you a breathtaking view to capture. Pictures are not allowed near the border areas but everywhere else is a photographer’s paradise.
While you are on your way to Nathula Pass do not miss the blue glacial lake Tsomgo. Everything you ever imagined when you heard blue water lake will look true right here. It has snow-capped mountains on one side and barren mountains on the other. Such diverse images on either side of this magnificent crystal clear lake is a sight to behold. It is usually frozen unless you are visiting in April, which will still be very cold but you can take a boat ride and see it up close.
While you are on that side of Sikkim you may want to visit the very famous Harbhajan Singh temple and know about the folklore that is connected to the much respected and often prayed soldier Harbhajan Singh, martyred during the Sino war. If stories are to be believed he also possessed Supernatural powers post his martyrdom. The best part of this temple is the impromptu National Anthem sung by tourists at a little assembly area. If you are lucky you will get to experience this extra gush of patriotism in your veins.
For any city, which is on a hill, nature blesses it with grandiose waterfalls and so is true with Gangtok. Banjhakeri falls is just 4 km away from Gangtok and is designed with many attractions for kids and adults alike. One can easily spend few hours here and relish the local cuisines at the cafeteria.
If you have a day to spare then head to Ravangla, It’s a 2 and a half hour long ride from Gangtok with beauty lying on the route as much as at the destination making it a drive to remember. Buddha Park is the most fascinating tourist destinations in Sikkim. The larger than life Golden Budhha statue is a sight of a lifetime. The park is spread over a vast area and it is planned beautiful to attract tourists from nearby cities too. The night view of the Budhha Statue is primarily famous because of its colossal lighting.
While you are in South Sikkim, you might not want to miss the Char Dham Temple built in 2011 with magnanimous Shiva structure of 87 feet. It has a beautiful and pious environment, which will also give you a glimpse of all char dham of our country elaborately, built in one complex.
Lastly, you must take an evening stroll on the MG road in Gangtok. It serves amazing Thupkas and other local cuisines. Apart from all this there’s a little flea market for tourists to shop for souvenirs.
And Sikkim is just the beginning of the illustrious and naturally endowed North-East. Get started and add all of them in your travel diary.