Imagine this - A landlocked state surrounded by 4 countries (India, Nepal, Bhutan and China) one of which it is a part of; home to the third highest peak in the world (Kanchenjunga), sparsely populated, encompassing mystical Buddhist monasteries that date back to the 1700s and known for possessing fascinating biodiversity.
Sounds like Shangri La?
But guess what? It is our very own Shangri La, Sikkim, the smallest state in India. Sikkim offers such a wide scope for travelers, that no matter what and where your interests lie, it is bound to leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to scheduling your travel plan.
But don't you worry because the Gypsy Shack rescue boat is here! Exploiting this Shangri La, we bring you 10 Ideas for an Immersive Holiday in this stunning North-eastern state known as Sikkim -
Image Source: Tour My India
Whether you're an amateur trekker, or simply interested in witnessing breathtaking natural beauty, the Dzongri trek that starts from Yuksom, a small village in West Sikkim, is bound to bless you with moments to cherish forever.
The unforgettable sights that you would encounter along the way involve the stunning snow-clad Dzongri peak and the lush greenery of the Khangchendzonga National Park. The magnificent flora and fauna enroute this 4000 m peak can best be described as nature’s finest.
If you’re a slightly more adventurous and experienced trekker, then the high altitude treks in the Northern region of Sikkim is what will complement your adrenaline craving. Peaks beyond 5000 metres offer formidable and exciting challenges with stunning views of some of the most beautiful mountains in the world like Mt. Sinolchu and Tent Peak.
Image Source: Trekking Team Group
The Green Lake trek is perhaps the most famous route but the sparsely explored nature of this northern region means that getting permission in advance is a must.
If you’re the kind who’s intrigued by religion and spirituality, then no Sikkim experience can be absolute without a trip to one of the most famous Buddhist monastries – Rumtek.
Image Source: Wikipedia
At an altitude of 1500 m, Rumtek monastery is a whisker away from Gangtok. It was originally built in the 16th century but underwent a complete renovation in the mid-20th century.
The monastery has been subject to a lot of political controversies and hence, there is an immense military presence around the area. But after the security formalities like obtaining a permit and frisking are out of the way, you’re likely to get immersed in its colorful grandeur.
The magnificent statue of Buddha inside the main hall exudes peace and blissfulness that is sure to find its way into your soul. The vibrant paintings, the rhythmic and soft chants of monks during prayer are things that will leave you very relaxed and peaceful.
Image Source: Sikkim Tour
The famous Teesta river is an internationally recognised hotspot for white water rafting and kayaking. The long stretches it offers make it perfect for even beginners to try their hands at this adrenaline pumping activity.
Its tributary, the Rangit is more turbulent and fit for experienced rafters. Most of the equipment required to carry out these activities is available on hire basis.
Image Source: Tourist Link
Sitting at a height of over 12000 ft amidst a range of mountains, Tsongmo is a glacial lake that is located around 40 km from Gangtok. During the summers, it’s strikingly blue in color and the reflections cast by the sun’s rays create the most mesmerising views. During winters the lake is frozen, walking upon which will give you a surreal feel.
As if that’s not enough, another thing that adds to the lake’s magnificence is the fact that you can enjoy the Yak rides which are available on hire basis. These Yaks are often colourfully dressed and the slow pace at which they stroll goes in tandem with the peace that this place exudes.
Image Source: Wild Himalayas
If icy waters just ain't your thing and you prefer bikin' to hikin', then Sikkim’s rugged terrain has plenty for the pedal cowboys with the exciting world of Mountain Biking.
Biking is a great way to experience the beautiful scenery, the flora and fauna and Sikkim's culture.
Unless you’re an experienced biker, it is recommended that you always have your biking base in a major town or city like Gangtok since there are several shops that rent bikes and also ones that provide repair and maintenance in case some problem arises.
Image Source: Flickr
Previously known as the Kanchenjunga National Park, this biosphere reserve that is home to the rare species like Snow Leopard, Musk Deer, Himalayan Thar, among many others, is undoubtedly a major factor behind Sikkim’s ever growing popularity as a tourist’s hub.
While most reserves and parks usually have a horizontal expansion, Khangchendzonga is one of the few altitude parks in India and ranges from a height of 6000 feet to almost 30000 feet , as it spans along the magnificent Kanchenjunga peak.
The flora on display is equally impressive as the Fauna. While alpine grasses and shrubs dominate the higher altitude, the vegetation at the bottom consists of mixed forests like Oaks, Willow and Maple
Image Source: WindHorse
If you’ve been heavily involved in Buddhism or are equally curious about it, then the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is where you should head, for it really is the encyclopedia of Buddhism.
This museum is located inside a mini-forest that exudes an aura of serenity. It’s housed in a Tibetan-styled mansion and comprises of two floors. The first floor is the main part of the museum that houses cultural artwork in the form of beautiful paintings, mystic statues, coins and ancient manuscripts. The second floor is a library that holds over 60,000 volumes of Tibetan literature and documents.
Image Source: Popsplat
Let’s face it. Some of us would rather lay back and enjoy the little things that a place has to offer. Food is definitely the king of those little things. And when you’re in Sikkim, no eating experience can be complete without momos.
And perhaps the best place that offers momos is a very popular restaurant called ‘Taste of Tibet’, which is located right in the heart of downtown Gangtok. It’s an upstairs place that is full of locals, majority of them being young college students. Hence, it's always vibrant and bustling with energy.
Mouth-watering steamed momos, both veg and non-veg, are the usual order here. Along with that, you can enjoy various Tibetan dishes like the Pork Thupka (noodles with gravy and deep pork fry) with chilled beer or other beverages.
Image Source: Sikkim Gov
If you want to push your adventure limits to the extreme, then a sport like bungee jumping is never far away from your ideal travelling scenario. And this is true in Sikkim as well, and quite emphatically too.
The Singshore Bridge, which is located mid-way to Uttarey from Dentam, is second highest suspension bridge in Asia (220 metres in height). Needless to say, it has become the hub of bungee jumping in Sikkim, an activity that has received approval from the government of Sikkim.
So if you’re planning on making a trip to this amazing north-eastern state of India, you can now rest assured that it has something to offer for everyone, no matter where their interests lie!