Sikkim is my favourite destination through the year. I find myself returning to soak in the sights and sounds of the state as often as I can. Sikkim offers pristine views of the Eastern Himalayas and the sight of third highest peak, Kanchenjunga (Kang-Tchen-Dzo-Nga) shines a bright golden in the morning and evening sun. During the winter, snow cape mountains simply steal your mind and soul whether you are a nature lover or not. I was touring the northern part of Sikkim at the end of November 2011 and just after that 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the region in September 2011. The Lonely Planet said Sikkim has set new benchmarks for responsible travel in India, with sustainable community-based tourism and eco-friendly policies that have reinvigorated the state.
It added that organic farming is being promoted in Sikkim, which has a population of around 600,000, and that a new airport scheduled to open near Gangtok in 2014 will save several hours off travel time to the region and its good news for the tourists and also for the tourism industry.
Before your journey please carry your few copies of passport/stamp size photo and an ID proof. To reach Sikkim, New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest Railway station and Bagdogra is nearest Airport. Gangtok is the state capital ant to reach there from NJP Railway Station have to hire car on sharing basis or can hire private car of any make to reach Gangtok. There is also bus service for Gangtok and sharing car cost ₹130-₹150 per person, please check the recent price of car rental as petrol price has hiked so many times last couple of years.
Popular places of Sikkim for tourists – Gangtok, Rabongla, Pelling, Lachung, Chungthang Yumthang, Lachen, Zero Point, Nathula Pass, Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir.
Popular Spots around Gangtok – Rumtek Monatery,Enchey Monastery,Cottage Industry,Flower Show,Tibetology,Chorten,Saramsa Garden,Hanuman Tok,Ganesh Tok,Tashi View Point,Nam-Nam View Point,Tsongmo Lake,Ro Ro River, Martam Village.
But the real beauty of Sikkim lies in the natural wealth. It is abundant and can be seen in every direction of the state.
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– Text and images by Indrajit Das