Sikkim – Hidden Gem in the Eastern Himalayas
Known for its ancient Buddhist monasteries, unspoilt natural beauty, snow-capped mountains, turbulent rivers, and lush green valleys; Sikkim is a perfect holiday destination to get a break from busy and stressful city life. Scenic locales set amid tranquil and serene settings have given Sikkim an apt reason for also being called the ‘Mini Switzerland of India’. The magical charm of this small North Eastern state of India that spreads on the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, invites lots of tourists including travel enthusiasts and nature lovers from all over the world to spend some peaceful time in the lap of Mother Nature.
Besides being a pertinent destination for holiday seekers and nature lovers, Sikkim is a paradise for trekkers, mountaineers and river rafters. The turbulent waters of River Teesta and Rangit give all rafting lovers an opportunity to soak themselves in an exhilarating experience of white water river rafting. Chilly waters with varied rapids can be challenging for even the most experienced of the rafters. The river banks are surrounded by serene alpine forests and picturesque villages perfect for enjoying an overnight riverside camping and getting a sneak peek into the lifestyle of the localities.
Sikkim falls among the few places where one can get an opportunity to trek to the third highest mountain peak in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga and that is the reason for Sikkim being the dream destination for many trekkers across the globe. If one wants to experience the silence of the wilderness, then trekking is an activity which should not be missed in Sikkim. Awe-inspiring scenic beauty along the trekking trails that pass through picturesque valleys and unspoilt forest areas can easily leave one mesmerized.
Sikkim also holds a great religious significance due to the presence of numerous historic Buddhist Monasteries and holy lakes. The place is frequented by lots of Buddhists and people seeking spiritual bliss from all over the world. To name a few, ‘Rumtek’, ‘Enchey’ and ‘Pemayangtse” are counted among the best monasteries in Sikkim. For a rendezvous with the age-old Buddhist traditions and culture, a visit to one of these monasteries is a must. Inside the monastery, a peaceful atmosphere accompanied with the sound of enchantment of mantras in the background can make one feel connected with the spiritual world. Most of the monasteries are located on hilltops and offer great scenic vistas to refresh a person’s mind, body and soul.
Trip to Sikkim is always incomplete without a visit to the famous Nathu La Pass which connects the Indo-Chinese border. Visiting Nathu La Pass is not as easy as it seems; one needs to have a strong heart as the roads along the route are quite bumpy and without any protection on the edges; scary enough to send shivers down the spine for the week hearted. As the area falls under restricted access, visitors need to plan their trip well in advance and get permit from the Army authorities. Being situated at very a high altitude, a visit to Nathu La Pass is a big ‘NO’ for kids, asthma patients and elderly people.
Enroute to the Nathu La Pass, lies the beautiful and serene Tsomgo Lake also known as the Changu Lake. It is the favorite stopover point for all the visitors heading towards Nathu La. With its crystal clear waters and snowy summits of the Himalayan mountain range in the background, Tsomgo lake offers great scenic vistas. A Yak ride is a must have experience for all the tourists here. To get some warmth in the cold chilly weather, one can indulge in snacking on some hot momos, noodles and soup being served by the stalls set up by the local people.
For people looking out for their next dream vacation destination, the search ends at Sikkim – come and get one with the nature.
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