Tucked away in the
foothills of the Himalayas, Sikkim is a Himalayan wonderland with its
lovely views and exotic orchids, and its forest-trails. A virtual
Shangrila overlooked by Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest
peak, Sikkim is attractive equally for the sightseer, the adventure
sports enthusiast and those interested in Buddhism and Tibetology.
Buddhism is the predominant religion here, with many fine old
monasteries rich with frescoes, religious paintings on silk and
statues of the Buddha’s various incarnations. In Gangtok, the
delightfully quaint capital, are pagoda like roofs of many buildings
and the presence of crimson robed monks in the bazaars. The Institute
of Tibetology, the only one of its kind in the world, was set up by
the erstwhile ruler to promote research on Mahayana Buddhism, and on
the language and traditions of Tibet. Lower down the hill is the famed
orchid sanctuary where 500 species of orchids indigenous to Sikkim are
cultivated. Sikkim offers several treks that lead through pine
forests, through picturesque valleys, monasteries and to mountain
lakes. It is also the base for mountaineering expeditions and the
rivers Teesta and Rangeet offer excellent river rafting. Prior
permission must be sought from the Ministry of Home Affairs,
Government of India, by all foreigners wishing to visit Sikkim –
though travel formalities are being relaxed gradually. Permission may,
therefore, be sought from Indian Missions overseas, or from offices of
Sikkim Tourism, A number of good hotels and lodging houses exist in
Entry to Sikkim is most
convenient by coach, taxi or helicopter.The state of Sikkim lies in
the shadow of the mighty Kanchenjunga and its capital, Gangtok, is a
picturesque mountain clinging town with monastaries, parks, pagoda
style houses and colourful bazars.
: 5800 ft (1,547 metres).
Climate (deg.c.) : Summer- Max. 20.7, Min.
13.1; Winter- Max. 14.9, Min. 7.7.
Clothing : Summer Light woollens, Winter-
Heavy woollens.Languages spoken: Sikimese, English.
Best Season : March to late May, October to
HOW TO REACH
: Nearest Airport is Bagdogra (124 kms). Fare:- Calcutta-Bagdogra
: The nearest railway stations are Siliguri 114 kms, New
Jalpaiguri (NJP) 125 kms. Fare:- Howrah-New Jalpaiguri : AC
1st Class Rs.1010, AC 2 Tier Rs.667, 1st Class Rs.530, 2nd Class
: Good motorable roads connect Gangtok with Siliguri 114 kms,
Calcutta 725 kms, Darjeeling 139 kms and Guwahati 589 kms.
: Regular bus services connect Gangtok with Bagdogra,
Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Siliguri and Calcutta. Fare :-
Calcutta-Gangtok Rs.160. Conducted Tour: The following tours are run
by the Dept. of Tourism, Govt. of Sikkim, starting from the tourist
Information Centre, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Tel.: 22064, only during
1) Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom, Research Institute of
Tibetology, Orchid Sanctuary and Enchey Monastery (1000 to 1230
hours). Fare Rs.40.
2) Orchidarium and Dharma Chakra Centre (Rumtek) (1300-1730 hours).
Places of Interest
Chorten, Deer park, Enchey
Monastery, Goverment Cottage Industries Institute, Orchid Sanctuary,
Research Institute of Tibetology, Tashi View Point, Dharma Chakra
Centre (Rumtek) and Saramsa Garden. Proposed Ganesh Tok & Hanuman Tok.
Bakkhim : 2nd day
halt for trekking and mountaineering expedition to Dzongri.
Dzongri : This
place offers a fascinating view of Kanchenjunga.
: 115 kms from Gangtok. The 2nd oldest monastary in Sikkim. And
an ideal base for trekking to Dzongri.
for Foreign Tourists
alongwith group tourists can visit Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodong and
Pemayangtse for 15 days. Group min. 4 persons can only visit Dzongri
(in West Sikkim) for 15 days for the purpose of trekking. Given below
are the list of the authorities, who can issue the permit :
All Indian Missions
All Foreigners' Regional
Registration Offices in Calcutta, Delhi, Madras & Bombay;
(Tourism), Govt. of Sikkim, Siliguri;
(Tourism), Govt. of sikkim, New Delhi;
Commissioner, Govt. of Sikkim, Calcutta;
Department of Tourism,
Govt. of Sikkim, Gangtok Bazar, Tel.: 22097, 22064.
Sikkim Tourist Office,
Hill Cart Road, Siliguri, Tel.: 24602.
Information Centre, Poonam building, 5 / 2 Russell Street, Calcutta
700 071, Tel.: 297516, 298983.
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The mighty Kanchenjunga
overlooks the land of Sikkim and Pemayangtse in Sikkim nestles close
to Kanchenjunga. Pemayangtse is not a settlement. This is where 6000
ft above sea level one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries is
located. The Pemayangtse monastery is the second oldest monastery in
Sikkim and is the headquarters of the Nyingma sect. There seems to
have been an earlier shrine at the sight of the monastery, which dates
back to 1705. Many priceless antique idols are housed here, and the
top-most floor, the most fascinating, contains some magnificent
sculptures, very intricate and very intriguing. The locals say that it
took seven years to put them together, in an attempt to recreate what
a monk, Lhotso Chempo dreamt as the celestial palace of Zamdogpalri
Rimpoche, one of the ancient religious leaders of the sect, What is
amazing is that it was executed by a third man, Sandup Dungzing
Rimpoche who was neither a sculptor nor an engineer. Rarely does a
monastery suggest the feel of space and airiness that Pemayangtse
does. From the monastery one can also see the ruins of the first
palace of the Chogyals at Gezing where only a chorten and a bit of
masonry have been left, though excavations could reveal more. The
monks of Pemayangtse by tradition have been Bhutias. On one side of
the monastery are some typical old stone and wooden dwellings: rough,
with wooden pieces slotted together rather than nailed, and decorated
with wooden carvings. These are the monks’ quarters and comforts have
been deliberately modulated for bare survival under the strict
Buddhist discipline. The Pemayangtse monastery, an oasis of serenity
and a repository of centuries-old wisdom and scriptures, surrounded by
mountains, glaciers and passes, is where you feel time is frozen in a
frame of yesteryears. The evergreen shrubs of rhododendron, with those
large clusters of trumpet shaped flowers can be seen blooming
everywhere, and yaks and musk deer and red pandas follow you around
the terrain. The mysterious aura around the monks while they hum
mantras under their breath, spinning the ubiquitous chakras which
never seem to leave their hands, blowing at conches and gyalings, or,
if you happened to be there during Kagyat Chaam, performing
ritualistic and a strangely rhythmic dance wearing ceremonial masks,
will haunt you for days after you have left this cloud- woven
habitation on the eastern tip of the country.
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Department of Tourism. Ministry of Tourism and Culture.
Government of India.