It is like a romantic saga. We have always been drawn to Darjeeling and Sikkim, these two places for their snow, mist, fog, mountains, multicultural, tea and toy trains. From time immemorial, various locations of these two northeast India have depicted numerous stories of love, loss, adventure and freedom on the celluloid.
Darjeeling and Sikkim share an iconic bond with the film industry. The makers and producers of good cinema have come here for their craft to be unfurled in its true sense. Now let’s look into the details of the significance of these two places in terms of location and overall filmmaking business.
The age-old bond: If we walk through the corridors of film making, especially in terms of the Indian film industry, the contribution of the hill stations of Darjeeling and Sikkim is undeniable. Right from Raj Kapoor and Nargis starrer Barsat in 1949 to Barfi and Yaarian in recent times, many blockbusters have been shot here. Many more are due too. The panorama of the majestic locations of Sikkim was caught in the frames of famous film Jewel Thief where Dev Anand acted in his prime time. And how can we ever forget the mesmerizing tunes of Aradhana, which was shot in the hills of Darjeeling in 1969. The meandering roads of the hills and the glance of the toy train caught the attention of the entire population irrespective of their age. The list is endless if we talk about other hits like Bobby, Mera Naam Joker, and Road to Sikkim among others. The deep connection between Darjeeling and Sikkim and the film industry is still thriving.
Why Darjeeling is famous among directors: Filmmakers have been giving a lot of love and importance to this beautiful and serene hill station of north Bengal. Let’s find out the primary reasons for this.
Tea industry and Darjeeling are synonymous. The hill station is located at the elevation of 6710 ft. The youthful vibe and rich cultural heritage of the place attract both tourists and filmmakers. The pristine forests and holiness of this beautiful town create the perfect atmosphere for filmmaking. This UNESCO world heritage site is also famous for its beautiful weather and trekking opportunities. From Aaye Din Bhara Ke in 1966 to Barfi in 2012, Darjeeling has been the destination for numerous filmmakers. Now let’s talk about the famous shooting spots in Darjeeling, the most beautiful town in north Bengal.
Sikkim, the upcoming filmy hotspot
Sikkim is emerging as one of the most promising films shooting destinations over the past few years. Various regional and biggest Bollywood films are being shot in this place. Last year, a Hindi film, Ladki, was shot in various scenic locations, including Yumthang valley, Lachung, Gnathang valley and several places of north Sikkim. Shooting films provide a great opportunity for local talents as well. Right from line producer to technicians to dancers, a lot of regional touches is associated when films are shot in such natural and raw atmosphere. Since music legend A.R. Rahman has been appointed as the brand ambassador of Sikkim, a lot of enthusiasm has been around about this place.
Places that make Sikkim a much sought-after destination for directors
Wonders come in small packages. This saying comes true when you visit Sikkim. Tucked away in the lap of enormous Himalayas, Sikkim is the second smallest states in the country. It is the gateway of the northeast India. Let’s find out the charismatic locations of this state where every frame of a film shot creates magic.
Package perk to film units: The Bengal tourism development corporation is ready to woo filmmaking crews that are scouting for shooting locations. Several packages designed to cater to their individual needs and overall support. Logistic assistance, accommodation, bulk booking of various outdoor facilities and technical support, along with booking private properties at discounted rates, such cooperation is being extended to the filmmakers and their teams by the government of both these states.
The USP behind locations: Many regions of Darjeeling and Sikkim are free for shooting. Even the popular places mentioned above are available at a very economical rate. That is why the increased number of both regional and national level directors are moving in these places with the teams. And the number will rise further. Films based on world tourism, wildlife, and conservation of nature and its resources are also shot in these two places on a regular basis.
Conclusion: Darjeeling and Sikkim are thriving locations for film shooting. With all required amenities and support system build here, these two places are changing the cliché concept with the outdoor shooting. New, pristine locations, young local talents, and supportive governmental gesture are all the budding and experienced directors looking forward to turning their ventures into reality in the hills.
Sikkim is a small autonomous state of India hidden between Nepal and Bhutan. Sikkim is not only varied in culture and traditions but also its landscapes. In the north, you will find High Mountain, near the third highest peak in the world, the Kanjenchunga (8586m), in the west an extensive collection of Buddhist monasteries such as Pemagantse. In the south, large Buddha sculptures such as Sandruptse, and in the east, more lively cities such as Gangtok.
Sikkim is all crafted with the magnificent beauty of nature, with countless places to explore and glance. The state is a breath-taking destination to relax and rejuvenate holiday within the breezing environment. If you are looking for some peace of mind, private vacation, or solace romance, Sikkim is an ideal travel destination to recreate the mood. Apart from the scenic beauty, adventurous sports activities also make this holiday place a significant choice for travelers.
Sikkim has a temperate climate in its inhabited areas and generally varies from a tropical climate to an alpine environment. In summer the temperatures can surpass the 28ºC, and in winter they hover the 0ºC, having an annual average of about 18ºC. To the north of the region and at high altitudes it can reach -40ºC in winter. We can highlight five weather stations, spring, summer, autumn, winter and the monsoon season. Caution should be taken in the monsoon season due to landslides caused by abundant rainfall, in addition to the abundant mists that can be very dangerous for transport.
In this post, we want the information that will be useful to get there, how to move, and the places that have seemed most interesting.
Below are few Incredible Things to Do in Sikkim for More Adventurous Experience:
Sikkim Guide: A Glace To The Magnificent State:
If you have chosen to visit and explore local places in Sikkim is not that so easy as it seems, and even can shuffle your pre-planned and expected deeds into surprises. So to avoid such struggling setbacks, plan your traveling and exploring route carefully to avoid destructive swings in your journey.
Sikkim is administratively divided into North Sikkim, South Sikkim, East Sikkim, and West Sikkim. We will explain that it can be seen in each region (Except the North) to make it easier.
Southern Region Of Sikkim:
Namchi and the Sandruptse:
The most important city in this area is Namchi, this is the best place to visit in Sikkim. A Joretang-Namchi jeep can be rented on 50 rupees, and the journey lasts about an hour. The town itself does not have great appeal. If the clouds allow you, you will have views of some peaks. The point of interest is Samdruptse. It is a hill that is about 7km from Namchi city. At the top of the hill, there is a statue of Guru Padmasambhava 45 meters high. Another thing you can do in Namchi is to live Siddheshvara Dham. It's like a miniature India. A complex with different replicas of the most important temples of India, and a statue of Shiva 33 meters high. At the Namchi jeep station, you have the "taxi stand" where one can take the shared taxi on rent to see all the attractions. Depends on the visits you choose you can leave more or less cheap. If you happen to travel between February-March and October, you will catch the Namchi flower festival.
Rabong / Ravangla and the Buddha Park:
This city is the base if you want to make a small trek to Maenam Hill Borong. You can also go to see Lake Cho Zolake and the Rabong Monastery. The "strong" point of Rabong is the Buddha Park where you will find another Buddha sculpture of about 45 meters. The trekking to Maenam Hill will take about 4 hours. The roads are not signposted so better hire a guide for about 600 rupees.
Other Local Attractions In Southern Sikkim: Sikip, Jorethang, Rabong, Borong Trekking, Tendong Hill, Maenam Hill, Solophok, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Temi Tea Garden, Baichung Stadium, Rock Garden, Doling Gompa, Kartok Lake, Bonn Monastery are some amazingly beautiful places to visit in the southern region of Sikkim.
Western Region Of The Sikkim:
Pelling and the Pemayangtse Monastery: Pelling is one of the small cities of more interest in the Sikkim. From here, if the clouds allow you, you will have one of the best views of the Himalayas, among them the Kanjenchunga.
Sky Walk of Pelling – Most visited sites in West Sikkim: Chenrezig statue is the fourth tallest statue in Sikkim. Along with the statue, there is a glass skywalk where visitors can enjoy an enthralling on the glass, thousands of feet above the ground, into the clouds. Charge inside the complex is Rs 20 for locals and neighbors. It is Rs 50 for non-locals. From the skywalk, you can see the entire valley underneath, including the winding Teesta and Rangit, aside located is Kanchenjunga. This is the first skywalk of India. It has been made with Rs 500 crore by the department of Sikkim tourism.
Yuksom: It is a small and super quiet village that consists of a single street with two or three restaurants, two or three hotels, and several trekking agencies. We stayed at the Hotel Pradhan for Rs 500 the double room. Within the Yuksom offer, it was the best in terms of quality/price. Yuksom is actually a departure and trekking destination, which is a beautiful place blend a track to North Sikkim’s Singalila or Dzongri trekking zone.
It also has some more attractions such as the climb to the Dubdi Monastery. There was also the first monastery founded after the coronation of the first Chogyial (king) of the Sikkim. The monastery is quite small, but the walk is pleasant. You need to be quite careful and conscious if you are visiting the place in monsoon season, as the road is fledged with leeches.
You can also go to see the small lake Kathok (10 rupees) and the Norbugang Forest, where there is a small temple, and where is the "crown stone" of the first king of the Sikkim. Another interesting option is to make a short trek walking Yuksom - Khecheopalri Lake, which we explain below.
Khecheoplari Lake: It is a sacred lake for both Hindu and Buddhist; the entrance fee is 10 rupees. You cannot bathe. The place is located halfway between Yuksom and Pelling (25 Km), and it won’t take more than 10 minutes to reach the site. The lake view is quite refreshing and breezing which will definitely make a visit more worth precious and memorizing.
Other local attractions in West Sikkim: are Goecha La, Mount Pandim, Tashiding Monastery, Geyzing, Darap Village, Rabdentse Ruins, Yangtey, Dzongri Trek, Sangachoeling Monastery, Legship Town, Biksthang, Uttarey, Varsey, Okhrey Village, Rinchenpong and many other attractive tourists’ spots.
Eastern Region Of Sikkim:
The fact that we coincided with Indian national holidays made us give up visiting the Gangtok area and the east of the Sikkim. We had coincided with several travelers who had fled in terror from there, due to the massive influx of Indian tourists and the high prices of the hotels. Gantok is a capital city of the Sikkim state, so if you're looking for tranquillity, it's not your place. From here you can make fascinating excursions of many local tourist spots and places carved with scenic beauty.
Lake Tsomgo: Lake Tsomgo (38 km from Gangtok) or the Nathula Pass (56 km from Gangtok), in the northern region. To make these excursions, you will have to hire them through an agency, as it is a special permit zone.
Nathu Lal Pass:
This is one of the best places to visit in Sikkim. This fascinating pass is spread over the eastern part of Sikkim, known to be as old Silk Route in ancient times to explore the trade and business of silk between India and Tibet. It overlooks as one of the oldest mountains passes nearby to Indo-China border carving on Chumbi Valley.
Other Local Places In Easter Sikkim: Hanuman Tok, Rumtek Monastery, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Jelep La, Netsland Of Gangtok; Tashi District, Enchey Monastery, Tukla ValleyDo Drul Chorten, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, Gangtok Ropeway, Ganesh Tok, Bakthang Waterfalls, Aritar Lake, Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park, Zuluk, Nathang Valley,
Northern Region Of Sikkim:
The northern region of Sikkim is trekking territory and requires that you have a "tour-trekking" with an agency to travel it. In this area, you can enjoy the trekking, and for this, you can hire the trekking guide.
Lachung River: In the northern region, you can explore banks of Lachung river, which is indeed a calm and peaceful site to visit for nature lovers.
Yumthang Valley: This place is another natural site to visit in northern Sikkim, actually a rich rhododendron forest and also known as “Valley Of Flowers.”
Chopta Valley: The place is must visit natural site especially during the spring season, as all merged colorful flowers and natural forms.
Lachen: A place that will make you more alive and refreshing, encircled with natural beauty and Gurudongmar Lake and Lhamu lakes. Yak race is one of the attractions to look for.
Some more local destinations in Northern Region of Sikkim: are Seven Sisters Waterfall, Chungthang, Thangu, Mangan, Green Lake Trek, Tosar Lake Trek, Singhik, Kabi Lungchok and more.
Gurudongmar lake in Lachen north Sikkim – The lake is located near the Tibet border in north Sikkim. It is the place of blue ships, yaks and other high-altitude animals. The snow-fed milky water of the lake meets Teesta at its origin. Located at 17000 ft, Gurudongmar is one of the highest lakes in the world. It is encircled with snow-covered mountains. According to myth, the blessed water of the lake is said to have miraculous effect in terms of bringing children to the lives of issueless couples. The name of the lake has been derived from Guru Padmasambhava.
So, if you want to enjoy your holiday in a peaceful area and want to take an Adventurous Experience, then Sikkim is one of the best places for you to visit. So, book your ticket for Sikkim trip right now and enjoy your holiday.
Sikkim has emerged as a popular tourist destination in recent years. Nature enthusiasts come cruising into this northeast Indian state to revel in the bounteous natural beauty. However, Sikkim also offers a wide range of adventure activities that are sure to satiate the adrenaline pumping in you. Here are some of the popular adventurous sports in Sikkim awaiting to thrill you.
So, while in Sikkim, if you want to find your inner adventurer these are the activities that you can undertake to experience some spine chilling and exciting episodes in your trip. Sikkim can bring you immense satisfaction with its bounteous natural beauty and has also the potential to make it a trip that will stay with you for a lifetime.
To engage yourself in the positive vibe of Sikkim all you have to do simply look for We Care Holidays(Sikkim Tour Packages). This phrase has been used time and again to describe the magnetic pull of the mountains and truth be told, has become a cliché. But nevertheless, it is true in every sense. The ‘must’ in the phrase refers to how necessary it is NOT to miss an opportunity to breathe in the overwhelming experience of the mountains. Now, if you want to experience the mountains in its pristine form without having a crowd around you, there is hardly a place better than Gangtok; especially during winter. In Gangtok, the picturesque postcards of winter giving a glimpse into the beauty of snow clad mountains come to life.
Here are some of the experiences that you can find that the best time to visit Gangtok is during winters:
Winter Festival – The first and foremost reason for the best time to visit Gangtok during winters. Showcasing the beauty of Gangtok in winters, various stalls featuring organic traditional foods and beverages, the most famous being Chhang, of different tribes and communities pop up during this festival. Several other events like Bike stunt shows, street magic and DJ nights on the streets are also on the menu.
Cultural programmes during Christmas and New Year’s Eve – Head over to MG Marg to be in the midst of all the festivity. There are cultural programs of different communities and tribes along with performances by local bands every evening during the Christmas Week. Winter is the best season to visit Gangtok. A definite must witness is the wonderful performance by freestyle dancers showcasing beautiful choreographies right there on the streets.
Paragliding – For the adventure junkies, there are paragliding opportunities that should be given a try in Gangtok. Can be a daunting experience but after you glided through the clear blue sky above the snow-clad mountain peaks, cities and villages; you realize how breathtaking the view is.
Sikkimese nights – Replete with pubs, bars, casinos and nightclubs, Gangtok has an inconspicuously exciting nightlife. With all the winter festivals especially Christmas and New Year, the nightlife here warms your spirits despite the cold. There is nothing like a peg of rum beside a fireplace warming yourself after a fruitful day of sightseeing.
Shopping - Last but not the least, if you are someone who is always on the lookout for bargains and nostalgia invoking souvenirs, then MG Marg is the right place for you. A wide range of goods is available here, most common among them being the Chinese Feng-shui items like the Laughing Buddha, New Year Lamps, Tibetan Dresses, Handwoven Blankets, wooden and bamboo handicrafts among many others. A souvenir that always comes to mind from Sikkim is the Khukri. Similar to a machete, Khukri is the traditional weapons used by the Gurkhas of Nepal. Hailed as a symbol of the brave Gurkhas, it is famously known as the weapon of preference by the Gurkha Regiment of the Indian National Army. So basically winter is the best season to visit Gangtok.
If you want to spend your winter in the most amazing way, then Gangtok is the destination for you. This is the first part of this two-part blog, there are a lot more reasons to spend your winters in Gangtok, so stay tuned.
If you are looking for a Holiday Package full of Heritage Culture Food Family coupled with varied travel oriented experiences, well you have to simply look for We Care Holidays(Sikkim Tour Package). A traveler’s sojourn on an unfamiliar land is incomplete without savoring its cuisine. Sikkim, the land known for its bounteous natural beauty also has abundant to offer when it comes to food. Sikkimese food is supposedly a pastiche of Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutan and Indian cuisine. The three major tribes: the Lepchas, the Bhutias and the Nepalese have their own traditional dishes that form a major part of the Sikkimese cuisine. The basic everyday meal includes “dal-bhat-tarkari-achar” or cooked rice, legume soup, curry and pickle with red hot chilies as the main constituent occasionally complemented by protein inclusive dishes.
But, Sikkim is not just “dal-bhat-tarkari”. Nor are Momos and Thukpa the be all and end all here. Though Momo and Thukpas are majorly associated with the state, its fame has made its way to the menus of big restaurants nationwide and is no more merely a household comfort food or street food. Due to its geographical location, a strong influence from neighboring places is present in Sikkimese food. Fermented food and traditional beverages form a major part of Sikkim and at an altitude like Sikkim’s, crops like Finger Millet, Buckwheat, Barley, soyabeans are adequately grown and are basic ingredients for the dishes prepared by the locals. Momos are traditionally stuffed with ground meat and assorted vegetables and is served piping hot with refreshing soup and spicy chilly chutney. However, today Momos have undergone experiments and now, one can find various stuffings that go into the making of Momo. Thukpa or Gyak Thuk is another popular dish from the state and is a noodle, meat based soup with assorted vegetables, and a bowl is enough to get you going for the day. Apart from these two popular dishes, there are other exotic dishes to try. Phagshapa is one such dish and pork lovers can give this dish a try. This pork dish is prepared with red chilies and radish as the two complementary main ingredients. There is no alternative of this for vegetarians as this dish cannot be made without pork. Sishnu soup is another tempting local dish. It is a household dish and would be hard to find in restaurants. This soup is prepared from edible nettle leaves found in the wild.
When it comes to fermented food, Gundruk and Sinki are two of the most popular ones. They both have Nepalese origin and can also be found in other Nepali dominated areas of the nation. Gundruk is basically fermented leafy vegetables especially mustard leaves, rich in mineral, and is a common side dish. Sinki is similar to Gundruk, except Sinki solely uses radish tap roots. Sinki is prepared in a hot bamboo pipe which is then covered with vegetation and mud and is left to ferment for about a month. It is then unearthed and is ready for consumption and can be stored for a year. Sinki can be added to soups or can be bottled to make a pickle. Kinema is another fermented food made of soyabean which is usually prepared as a soup which goes well with rice. Churpi, cottage cheese is another speciality from the state and is used to prepare yet another popular dish called Ningro Churpi which is milk based fern dish. Sael Roti, popular among the Nepalese community is also a must have. It is prepared with deep fried sweet rice batter served with potato curry or other meat based curries. This is prepared especially during Tihar or the Festive Indian season. Another popular food of Tibetan origin known as Sha Phaley is common in households of Sikkim. It is basically bread stuffed with ground meat and cabbage which is then deep fried. Sikkim also has its local liquor called Chaang and is usually prepared from fermented millet. It is said to be a strong and highly intoxicating drink.
The dishes listed are some of the local food of Sikkim which are gradually becoming popular among tourists and have become the face of Sikkimese cuisine and the fact that the state is the only 100% organic farming state in India ensures unadulterated wholesome meals for all. Sikkim’s food offers a multicultural experience and there are yet a lot more to discover in Sikkim and its cuisine.
To actively participate and enjoy yourself all you have to do simply look for We Care Holidays(Best Sikkim Tour Packages). 70 km away from Gangtok in North Sikkim is Dzongu, a land reserved for the Lepchas – the original inhabitants of Sikkim. The Lepchas believe that if Life is spent in accomplishing good deeds, then one is rewarded by attaining eternal bless in Mayal Lang, or in more common terms, Heaven. They also claim to be the proud pure line descendants of the original inhabitants of the land of Mayal Lang, and though this may be shrouded in fantasy, the heritage of the tribe is indeed a treasure, as evidenced by the reservation of this beautiful land to only the Lepchas.
The terrain of Dzongu is amazing, unlike any place that you might have visited. There are icy cold rivulets that must be crossed only to be welcomed by hot water springs and then all of a sudden, there is a luscious green forest teeming with exotic flora and fauna. If one casts his eyes around, you are sure to witness at least about 5 mesmerising waterfalls. And when you are in the middle of taking in all this heavenly beauty, clouds will come in and envelop the entire region occasionally and then all of a sudden, there are sporadic light showers alternating with soft sunlight falling on you. Truly, the gateway to heaven, isn’t it? Dzongu has something for everyone, starting from honeymooners, to nature loving travellers, to spiritual seekers and cultural enthusiasts.
In terms of accommodation, visitors can stay at any of the villages in Dzongu. The entire area is divided into Upper Dzongu, with villages like Tingvong and Kissong, and Lower Dzongu, with villages like Passingdong and Lingdong. If you are visiting during the months of December to January, then do not miss the Namsoong Festival, which has become quite an attractive festival of the year, attracting hundreds of people – both locals and tourists alike. In this festival, the visitors can experience the rustic charm of savouring the local delicacies while being seated on rugs hand spun using yak wool over a cowdung smeared floor.
Dzongu has a multitude of offerings for the people visiting it ranging from trekking opportunities from Passingdong through fragrant bamboo groves till the quaint little village of Lingthem. Here, one can enjoy mesmerising views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Also, the village stands in the middle of a forest and also houses a monastery practising an ancient form of Nyingma Buddhism. If you are looking for cultural immersiveness, then a visit to the Hee Gyathang village is a must. And if you want to get close to the mountains, then Pentong is a must and should definitely be on your list. It is the last inhabited place and is very close to the mountains.
Dzongu is easily approachable from Gangtok using private or shared cars from a place called Mangan near Gangtok. If you are trying to visit from NJP or Siliguri, you will have to take the route through Singtam and Mangan. Either way you take, you have to halt at Mangan because you need to issue a permit for visiting Dzongu which is available only from Mangan. This can be done either by booking through an experienced travel agent or a homestay in Dzongu.
So, what are you waiting for? Just type Sikkim and book your ticktes and let WeCare Holidays make your trip to Sikkim a trip of a lifetime.
Located in one of the most untouched parts of South Sikkim, Sumbuk is, for want of a more appropriate word, a birdwatcher’s paradise. Sumbuk is one of the most unexplored places of Sikkim with astounding flora and fauna. Divided into two parts based on altitude, Lower Sumbuk with an altitude of about 1,500 ft. is covered with temperate forests and is an ideal place for watching birds like peacocks and hornbills. Upper Sumbuk, located at an altitude of 7,000 ft, is characterized by endless stretches of pine forests and firs. Together, the lower and upper parts of Sumbuk make for a paradise like destination covered with pine forests, gladiola farms, and monasteries, over 200 varied species of birds, countless butterflies and the Greater Rangeet River.
The dense forests at the southern slope of Lower Sumbuk are one of the prime attractions here and are famous as a peacock breeding forest. Also, the banks of the Rangeet River along with the numerous Gladiola farms and few old temples make Sumbuk a must visit attraction for travelers looking to truly enjoy the untouched paradise of South Sikkim. Among the many temples, the Sumbuk Shivalaya Mandir dedicated to Lord Shiva takes the cherry as being one of the most popular places of worship by locals and mass prayers are often organized during the festive time. The Colombe Rocky Mountain also provides some of the most picturesque viewpoints overlooking parts of Sikkim and Bengal. But, the icing on the cake is taken by the region of Upper Sumbuk. It takes about an hour to reach Upper Sumbuk from Lower Sumbuk and here, you can find the Monogram village, also known as Phooldara (hill of flowers) with a huge variety of Rhododendrons, wild orchids, pines and wild strawberries blooming in different seasons of the year. A huge tract of pine forest known as Dhupi covers most of Upper Sumbuk and one can find numerous varieties of birds and butterflies here. Located just above Phooldara, there is a place called Tamley Chaur, from where you can enjoy a glorious view of the Himalayan ranges. The natural viewpoints of Upper Sumbuk offer panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and other parts of Bengal.
Birdwatching is one of the favorite activities of the people visiting Sumbuk. Also, the Rangeet River offers guests with opportunities for white water rafting. One can also enjoy guided jungle walks and catch a glimpse of the fauna teeming in the forests of Sumbuk. The best time to visit Sumbuk is actually a subjective matter, and it is beautiful all year round. From March to May, the weather is fresh and travelers can enjoy the blooming of the rhododendrons in Upper Sumbuk. In Sumbuk, the winters are mild as compared to the higher reaches of Sikkim and is a perfect location for birding enthusiasts as Sumbuk becomes a favorite location for various migratory birds during the winters.
So, if you are planning to spend a few days in a destination away from the maddening rush of tourists and away from the mechanistic city life, Sumbuk is the place to be and we at WeCare Holidays make it our priority to make your experience in Sumbuk a memorable one.
Lying in the south west corner of the West Sikkim district, Barsey is well known for its vibrant and colourful Rhododendron Sanctuary. The sanctuary encompasses over 104 sq.km, across the razor sharp Singalila Range, which forms the natural international border with our neighbours, Nepal. Having three points of entry into this sanctuary from Hilley, Dentam and Soreng, both tourists and trekkers alike prefer entering through Hilley since it is easily approachable by road. The bridle path from Hilley to Barsey is a favourite among tourists especially during the Rhododendron flowering season, and the faunal treasures of the sanctuary include Leopard Cat, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Himalayan Palm Civet, Himalayan Langur, Crimson Horned Pheasant, Monal Pheasant, Kaleej and many diverse species of birds. Hence, Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is a treasure trove for wildlife and birding enthusiasts and is therefore frequented by a number of wildlife photographers and ornithologist enthusiasts throughout the year.
Spanning over the razor sharp Singalila range of mountains, the climate of the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is characterised by being wet and cold, thus favouring the spread of the dominant genus of flowers in the area – Rhododendron. July, being the wettest month, receives an average annual precipitation of over 250 cm and the areas above 2500 m sea level receive regular snowfalls during the winters. The period during November to May experience the clearest skies, characterised by a bright shade of azure blue. The sanctuary also boasts of over 40 species of Rhododendron and during the blooming season, the sanctuary is blanketed in a sea of colourful rhododendron flowers. To witness this majestic sight, it is best to visit during the season of the flowers which falls between March and May. The period between July and September is the wettest and is best avoided. The second trekking period starts from October to December, when the skies are clear with little to no haze, thus making the viewing of Mt. Kanchenjunga and the snow-capped ranges clearly visible. Though there are no rhododendrons blooming during this period, the sanctuary is exquisitely beautiful and is sure to satisfy the wildest of souls.
A beautiful trekker’s hut going by the name of Garas Kunj is located at Barsey, in the middle of the sea of Rhododendron at 10,000 feet, commanding a gorgeous view of the Singalila Mountain Range. Trekkers can spend the night at this hut and soak in the warm rays of the sun here while breathing in the fresh mountain air and enjoying a panaromic view of the rugged Singalila Range.
The easiest way to reach the sanctuary is from Hilley from where it is a 4 km trek to the sanctuary. Sombaria, which is situated about 25 km before the road ends at Hilley is the last major town. The best visiting hours is from 8 am to 4 pm and morning hours are the best time for day excursions. Also, trekkers and visitors should keep in mind to carry along proper gear and hire an experienced guide before visiting this site.
It is October now and the skies have cleared to provide you with a majestically clear view of the Kanchenjunga mountain range, so book your tickets to Sikkim and allow WeCare Holidays to make the trek through Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary a memorable experience.
Yuksom is a town from the Geyzing subdivision in West Sikkim situated at an altitude of 1780m. It is a popular tourist destination as it is the base and the gateway to Mount Kangchenjunga. Hoards of mountaineers flock to this place every year to undertake the popular Dzongri trek and catch a sight of the third highest mountain in the world. People with much more vigour take the trek till Goechala, an extension of the Dzongri trek, which is an adventure in itself. However, the treks are not the only attractions. This town is crucial when it comes to the history of Sikkim.
Yuksom is the first capital of what consists of modern-day Sikkim and was set up by ‘Chogyal’ or the Temporary and Religious King, Phuntsog Namgyal in 1642 AD. Yuksom’s history is crucial in terms of understanding the emergence of Buddhism in Sikkim and it holds a special religious and cultural significance for the Bhutia tribe. The name Yuksom, literally means, “The place where the three monks met”. The three monks met at Norbugang near Yuksom and coronated Phuntsog Namgyal on the Norbugang Throne. The Chogyal established the first Buddhist monastery, the Dubdi Monastery in 1701 and this dynasty ruled for a span of 333 years. The Archaeological Survey of India has declared Dubdi Monastery as a National Heritage Monument. Apart from the Dubdi Monastery, there is the Pemayangtse Monastery which was established by one of the three monks Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705. The Norbugang Chorten is definitely the highlight of the place where the Chogyal was coronated and is an hour’s walk away from Yuksom. The throne where Phuntsog Namgyal was coronated and the lake from where the water drawn to sanctify him is still extremely well maintained. The inhabitants of Yuksom, therefore, are considered model citizens as they took the initiative to preserve the history and local ecology seriously. These people are popular among other inhabitants of the state and inspired them to take the same measures to protect the ecology.
Apart from the Norbugang Chorten, the historical hotspot, Yuksom has a lot more to offer. The Khecheopalri Lake is a popular destination, especially for devotees as the water from this lake is considered holy. The lake surrounded by natural beauty is sure to please your eyes. Tashi Tenka Royal Complex sure has lost its earlier charm and hedges have validated its antiquity, nevertheless, it serves as a spectacular viewpoint. The Kangchendzonga National Park is also in proximity and fauna enthusiasts have a chance to spot Snow Leopards, Sloth Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Red panda etc.
Accommodation is available in Yuksom, ranging from homestays, huts, modest hotels and lodgings to multi-starred hotels. Pelling is the nearest town which is just an hour and forty-five minutes ride away. Yuksom takes about 4 to 5 hours depending on the route taken from Gangtok and it takes 7 hours approximately from NJP or Bagdogra.
The best time to visit Yuksom is from March to May and September to October. This period sees the most amount of tourist influx as it is the perfect time to embark on a trek. It might get crowded but a call to WeCare Holidays will ensure a hassle-free trip.
Also known as Geyzing, Gyalshing is the capital of the West Sikkim district. Located at an altitude of 6,500 feet above sea level, and surrounded by lofty mountains of the Himalayan range, Gyalshing also has a river Rangeet surging in the western part of the city. Besides the scenic beauty of Nature that can be witnessed from here, this capital city is also replete with a number of monasteries which make it a prime location for many tourists and travellers flocking to Sikkim.
Gyashing, meaning the King’s Garden, is believed to have been the royal gardens attached to the Palace at Rabdentse, Sikkim’s erstwhile capital till the late 18th century, and now it has become a bustling town and one of the main transit points to various tourist destinations dotted across the region. In the neighbourhood from Gyalshing are Rabdentse and Pemayangste, Sikkim’s premier monasteries. Also, opposite to the bustling Gyalshing bazaar is the longest and believed to be the holiest Mendang or Holy Wall, constructed by the third king, Chogyal Chador Namgyal. The Gyalshing bazaar is also believed to be the oldest marketplace here established under the influence of Pemayangste Monastery’s monk body for their personal shopping needs and for the public residing in the villages and small towns around the monastery. This market has been the key marketplace for all monks to conduct their monastic shopping and also a place where the villagers could sell their products. Since its inception, the Gyalshing bazaar has been the gathering place for all the villagers every Sunday to buy and sell. Today, the market has become well equipped with a variety of eateries and places where both locals and tourists alike can spend some free time buying souvenirs and trinkets.
There are also a number of places of worship for all faiths here. There are a number of tourist locations and activities in and around Gyalshing and visitors can take day excursions to nearby lakes and monasteries. People, with a more adventurous mindset, can go for hiking trips from one village to the next as almost every small village in West Sikkim has a multitude of offerings for tourists associated with nature, culture and adventure.
Gyalshing, being just 109 km from Gangtok, is very well connected with all the district sub divisions and jeep taxis operate regularly from all the neighbouring villages to Gyalshing on a daily basis. Tourists travelling from outside Sikkim can easily find themselves in Gyalshing by taking any sort of transportation from the nearest railway station or airport, which is just 136 km from Gyalshing.
So, what are you waiting for? Go online and book your tickets to Sikkim and let WeCare Holidays take you along on a tour of a lifetime through the picturesque vistas of West Sikkim.