Himalaya nestles within itself many wonderlands and Sikkim is definitely one of them. You may be simply a tourist interested in sightseeing, an adventure sports buff or religiously inclined who wants to learn about Buddhism (the religion that dominates in the state) - Sikkim Tourism offers it all.
The state is overlooked by the mighty peak Kanchenjunga whereas the life goes on in Sikkim as you can see the roaming monks in the busy marketplaces. Although there is no dearth of means of transportation, yet, treks are the best way to experience the destinations of the state as they will lead you pretty closely through the pine forests, scenic valleys, mountain lakes etc. The state is also a popular base for mountaineering expeditions whereas the nearby river Teesta and Rangeet are excellent for river rafting. The monasteries here are rich in frescoes and are full of statues of various incarnations of Buddha.
So far the state offers Sikkim Tour Package primarily during the summer seasons although there are a few tourists who wish to take a Sikkim Tour in the winters also. The rainy season in the state hardly attracts any tourists. The government however is taking all possible steps to promote the state so as to attract tourists throughout the year. The leisure tourism here is already in, so the efforts are on to promote the state for village tourism, eco tourism, adventure tourism and conference tourism. The hospitality industry of the state is also being encouraged to attract the corporates to hold their conferences in the state by offering discounts.
Location:This tiny state which has neither open valleys nor plains is tucked away in the eastern Himalayas and borders the Tibetan plateau in the north, the Tibetan Chumbi Valley and Bhutan in the east, Darjeeling in the south and Nepal in the west.
Some of the important tourist destinations of Sikkim are:
It is situated near the orchid sanctuary and you can see the young lamas here busy in several activities such as working, learning and worshiping.
Amid the panoramic views of the expansive valleys, the deer park is situated on top of a hillside with steep slope plunging into the valley. You can also see some native animals of Sikkim such as Red Panda and the Himalayan Bear kept in cages.
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology
This institution is a centre for Tibetan Studies and Research where you can find the rarest of books on Buddhism. Other articles here are valuable manuscripts; the building itself is an excellent example of Tibetan architecture.
Two centuries old, this monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa order. It is located on a hill top and was blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo. Inside, one will find various images of Buddhist Gods, Goddesses and other religious objects.
Apart from the fact that the place has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, it also offers unhindered views of Gangtok and the nearby hills. The temple itself is maintained by a unit of Indian Army.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Sikkim is between March and May when the state remains blanketed with multi-colour flowers. Months between October and mid-December are best for capturing some jaw dropping vistas of the Himalayan peaks. Months between June and September experience heavy rainfall, thus leading to landslides; so travelling is not recommended. January and February should also be avoided because of heavy snowfall, which creates roadblock.
How to Reach Sikkim
By Air : Pakyong Airport near Gangtok is the nearest airport. Travelers can also take helicopter rides between Gangtok - Bagdogra ? Gangtok.
By Train : Being a mountainous state, Sikkim doesn?t have a rail network. So nearest railhead to this state is in New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) which is 125 km away from Gangtok.
By Road : Travellers can take the pleasure of a 114 km drive to Gangtok from Siliguri (West Bengal). Gangtok is also connected with Darjeeling via road. One can find taxis, buses and hired cars in abundance to reach Sikkim with ease.
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