ABOUT Sikkim Holiday Tour Package India
A journey to Sikkim necessarily means awakening the senses and discovering the pristine and mystic beauty of the land. What one will find most fascinating is the journey itself-a continuum of sights, sounds, and feelings. Sikkim is a dream that one can realize and enjoy, now that the area is open to all. It is a state cloaked in the mystery of remoteness, and far away from the din and bustle of the modern world.
Located in the eastern Himalayas, Sikkim is bound by Tibet (China) in the north, West Bengal in the south,
Tibet and Bhutan in the east and Nepal in the west. The state is spread below Mount Kanchanjunga (8,534 m), the third highest peak in the world. The locals worship the mountain as a protecting deity. The elevation of the state ranges between 300 m and over 8,500 m above sea level.
A part of the lesser, central, and Tethys Himalaya; Sikkim is a mountainous state without any significant flat land. The larger part of the state is made up of Precambrian rock and is comparatively younger than the Northern, Eastern and Western portion of the state. The rise of the mountains is northward. The state is cut into steep escarpments in the north and except in the Lachung and Lachen valleys, is thinly populated. In contrast to Northern Sikkim is Southern Sikkim, which is lower, more open, and fairly well cultivated. The drainage of the rivers in the state is towards south. The Rangeet and the Teesta are the major river systems of state. These rivers cut through the valleys and in addition there are 180 perennial lakes at different altitudes. The state has many hot water springs like Phur-Cha, Ralang Sachu, Yumthang, and Momay. The snowline starts at around 5,248 m in Sikkim.
Buddhism, the major religion in the state, arrived from Tibet in the 13th century. It took its distinctive Sikkimese form four centuries later, when three Tibetan monks of the old Nyingamapa order, dissatisfied with the rise of the reformist Gelukpas, migrated to Yoksum in western Sikkim. Having consulted an oracle, they went to Gangtok looking for a certain Phuntsong Namgyal, whom they crowned as the first Chogyal or 'Righteous King' of Denzong in 1642. Being the secular and religious head, he was soon recognized by Tibet, and brought sweeping reforms. His kingdom was far larger than today's Sikkim and included Kalimpong and parts of western Bhutan. Over the centuries, the territory was lost to the Bhutanese, the Nepalese and the British. The British policy to diminish the strong Tibetan influence resulted in the import of workers from Nepal to work in the tea plantations of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong and these soon outnumbered the indigenous population.
After India's Independence, the eleventh Chogyal, Tashi Namgyal, strove hard to prevent the dissolution of his kingdom. Officially, Sikkim was a protectorate of India, and the role of India became increasingly crucial with the Chinese military build-up along the northern borders that culminated in an actual invasion early in the 1960s. The next king Palden Thondup was a weak ruler and in 1975, succumbed to the demands of the Nepalese majority of becoming a part of India.
Sikkim has its own unique dietary culture with specific cuisine and food recipes. Like anywhere else in the world, food habits here have evolved as the result of traditional wisdom and empirical experiences of generations. Today in many parts of the world these traditional foods have entered commercial production, and their recipes have become popular among people of different ethnic origin. In the Sikkim Himalayas traditional foods are an integral part.
The main markets for shopping are Old market, New Market and Lal market. Here one finds shops of all kind which offer good range of items to be purchased. For a tourist there are many attractive items to be bought as carved furniture, the dresses, Lepcha weave bags, Carpets & Durries with intricate designs and colourful decorations. One can also buy wooden and bamboo artifacts. For a collector of handmade decorative pieces Gangtok is a paradise.
The items from Gangtok leave a long lasting impression on the mind of the visitor. The Hindi speaking Marwaris dominates many of the shops in the Gangtok market.
The handicraft and handloom directorate office and the showroom are on crossing of MG Marg and New market. The Gramin Vikas Agency showroom is also located here. In these showrooms you can buy carpets, masks, bright Choktse tables, Thangka hangings.
Besides the places of interest, Sikkim also offers the added attraction of shopping.
This is the Triple Blessed Festival and is considered as the holiest of the holy Buddhist Festivals. On this day in different years of his life, Lord Buddha took birth, achieved Enlightenment and passed away attaining Nirvana, three important events celebrated in the festival of Saga Dawa.
This festival symbolises the Descent of Buddha from the heaven of the thirty three gods after visiting his mother. Dhuechen means festivals, Lha means heaven and Bab means descent.
This festival is observed by the Buddhists to mark the event when Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma (His first sermon to five disciples at Sarnath). This festival celebrates Buddha's first preaching of the four Noble Truths to his first five disciples in a deer park at Sarnath.
This festival is unique to Sikkim. It was popularised by the third Chogyal of Sikkim, Chakdor Namgyal. In this festival the snowy range of Khangchendzonga is worshipped for its unifying powers.
Losoong marks the end of the harvest season and also the end of the tenth month of the Tibetan Year. Taking cue from a good harvest and praying for even better prospects for the next crop, the festival is marked by Chaam dancing's at the monasteries at Palace (Tsu-La-Khang), Phodong and Rumtek
A small Himalayan State lying between 27 to 28 degrees North latitude and 88 to 89 degrees East longitude is the second smallest state in India. It is barely 7,096 sq km in size yet has an elevation ranging from 300 m to 8585 m above sea level. It's Geography is dominated by the most majestic mountain chain in the world which includes the Khangchendzonga, the world's third highest mountain and is worshipped as the guardian deity to their land.
HOW TO REACH
The busiest route in and out of Sikkim is the road between Gangtok and Siliguri. The town of Bagdogra at a distance of 124 km from Gangtok has the nearest airport. Flights from Bagdogra can be booked at the Indian Airlines office on Tibet Road in Gangtok (Phone 03592-23099). There are regular flights to Guwahati, Calcutta, and Delhi from Bagdogra.
The nearest railway stations from Gangtok are New Jalpaiguri (125 km) and Siliguri (144 km) connected to Delhi, Calcutta, Guwahati, and other important cities in India.
The Sikkim National Tourist Agency (Phone 22016) has daily bus services to Siliguri (5 hours), Darjeeling (7 hours), Kalimpong (3 hours) and Bagdogra (41 hours). Share jeeps and taxis are a faster alternative to commute.
Cold Winters in the month of November to February with minimum temperatures dipping to 4 centigrade during January - February. It is between the month of March and early May when sunshine is quite abundant. Though summer is officially from May to October, Sikkim is almost always wet due to the heavy monsoons, with rains at times continuing for days on ends. Longest recorded nonstop rain is 11 days. September to October is Autumn. A peculiar feature of Sikkim weather is that though there is a classification of sorts of the various seasons, actually experiences a cold winter from end of November to February and monsoons throughout the year with a little respite during May - June and October - November. Even the winter months can be irritatingly wet and damp with the unpredictable showers.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Due to its location and altitude, there is an immense variation in climate and vegetation in Sikkim. In the state, the climate is tropical up to 1,624 m, temperate between 1,624 m-4,222 m, alpine above 4,222 m, and snowbound at 5,248 m.
The best time to visit Sikkim is between mid-March and June but especially, April and May, when the rhododendrons and orchids are in full bloom. However, temperatures can be high, especially in the valleys. During monsoons, from the end of June till early September, rivers and roads become impassable, though plants damaged by the incessant rain spring back to life again and bloom towards the end of August. October, when orchids bloom once again, and November tend to have the clearest weather of all. As December approaches, it gets bitterly cold in the high altitude areas, and remains that way until early March, though interspersed with spells of clear weather.
An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery meaning the Solitary temple, was originally built with the solace that no other construction would be allowed near it is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his flying powers. This 200-year-old Monastery has in its premises images of god, goddesses and other religious objects. Every year around January 'Chaam' or religious masked dance is performed with great fanfare for two days. it is situated adjoining the Sinolchu Tourist Lodge, 3 kms from Gangtok Town.
PERMANENT FLOWER SHOW
White Hall, Close by the White Memorial Hall and just below the Palace Ridge park is the more recent Flower Show Hall. In recent years this show has become quite popular and famous as there are flower exhibitions throughout the year in accordance with the seasons and the flowers in bloom.
It is a Tibetan refugee monastic institution established in 1961 by his Eminence Luding Khen Rimpoche, Head of Ngorpa, sub-sect of the Sakya Order, with the blessing of H.H. Sakya Trizin and H.H. the Dalai Lama. This is the only monastery of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim. It is located on a beautiful hill-top just 5 kms away from Gangtok Sikkim.
It is a very small temple of Ganesh, a God worshipped by Hindus. It is on a hillock on Gangtok-Nathula Road. A Sikkim Government nursery is just nearby.
TASHI VIEW POINT
Built by the late King of Sikkim Sri. Tashi Namgyal, it is situated 4 km from Gangtok town from where one can have a clear view of opposite hills, besides Mt. Kanchandzonga. This site offers a breathtaking panorama of the majestic Mt. Kanchandzonga and surrounding hills.
56 kms from Gangtok is a 'Nathula' Pass at an altitude of 14,200 ft. bordering between India and China in the Tibetan Plateau. It is one of the highest motorable roads and richly covered by many varities of alpine flora and fauna. A tranquil place to visit. Nathula is open only for Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The visitors have to get the permit to visit the place by applying to the Tourism Department through a registered Travel Agency.
Tsomgo lake is only 40 kms. from Gangtok town and is situated at an altitude of 12,210 ft. The drive from Gangtok takes about 21 hours by bus. The lake is bout 1 km. long and oval in shape, 50ft. deep and is regarded extremely Holy. It is also a home of Brahmini ducks besides stopover for various migratory ducks.
Between May and August, it is possible to see variety of flowers in bloom, including the rhododendrons, various species of primulas, blue and yellow poppies, iris and many other species of floras.
It is alson an ideal habitat of the Red Panda and various species of birds. Open for both the Foreign and Indian nationals. Foreign visitors have to be in a group of two or more and have to apply for the visitors permit through a registered Travel agency.
Namchi, meaning 'Sky High', nestled among the hills at an elevation of 5,500 ft commands panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains and vast stretches of valley. Atop Samdruptse hilltop near Namchi, recently erected is the worlds tallest statue of Guru Padmasambhava, the patron saint of both Hindus and the Buddhist.