Sikkim is called the Land of mystique and it is one of the smallest states in India. If there’s one state which personifies the saying ‘good things come in small packages’, then it would have to be Sikkim! Surrounded by the Himalayas, this state seems to be the best spot for all kinds of people, whether adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers, religious buffs or any other type of people.
Why should Sikkim be your next destination for vacation?
- The land of mountains which touches the heavens
The mountains that you see from Sikkim form a portion of the long range of Himalayas. The 3rd highest mountain in the world, the Kanchenjunga is situated in Sikkim.
- Sikkim is a scarcely populated state
If you wish to go for a honeymoon or you want to visit this place with a small family, wouldn’t you look for a place which is scarcely populated? Well, Sikkim is the ideal spot for you!
- It is the best place for meditation
The most famous monastery that is visited by the tourists is Rumtek Monastery. It incorporates a proper school to communicate teachings and knowledge of Tibetan Buddhist culture. You can be witness to some of the most unusual birds within the complex of the monastery.
- Wide variety of flora and fauna in the state
From alpines to the tropical, the zoological and botanical richness of Sikkim is awe-inspiring. Sikkim in fact boasts of 4000 species of plants and 30% of all birds that you find in this sub-continent. Red Panda is the animal of the state. 82% of the state falls under the administration of forest department.
- Sikkimese cuisine is popular throughout the country
Thukpa, momos and wontons, we love all of those. They form a primary part of the Sikkimese cuisine and it’s enjoyed throughout the country.
A visit to the Gurudongmar Lake – Treading a height of 17,100 ft
Gurudongmar is one of the highest altitude lakes, which is close to Tibetan border in North Sikkim. The snow-fed milky water of this lake is one of biggest sources of Tista, the most vital river of Sikkim. Gurudongmar Lake lies in the northern side of Kanchenjunga range and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. This sacred lake freezes during the winter except at one spot which is believed to be specially blessed. The sacred water of the Gurudongmar Lake has the miraculous power of granting children to issueless couples.
Reaching the Gurudongmar Lake
The tour to North Sikkim needs special Inner Line Permit and it is given to tourists through an authorised tour operator. Only tourists from India are allowed to visit this lake and the international tourists are allowed only till Chopta Valley, which is few kilometres before the lake.
Road to Gurudongmar
The initial phase of the journey starts at Lachen at 8800 feet and within the next 30 kms; you reach Thangu which is located at 13,000 feet. Beyond Thangu is the second phase of your travel. The road towards the Gurudongmar Lake from Thangu passes through high alpine pastures which are occasionally treated with rhododendron bushes. Up above, you won’t find any habitation apart from the Indian Army.
A word of caution for the tourists
The terrain which leads to Gurudongmar Lake is pretty hostile but still very picturesque and beautiful. The land belongs to the Tibetan plateau and you get very little vegetation here. The road is stony and you have to go through an unpaved path. Due to the closeness to the Chinese border, landmines are also common. The presence of the Indian Army is everywhere. Tourists are hence recommended to spend little time at such high altitudes and come down to Lachen soon.
In spite of the hardship that you may face while traveling to this lake, a visit may be an experience of your lifetime. The local residents of Sikkim are extremely hospitable, friendly and shy. They can surely make you feel at home even when you’re far from your home. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and set off to the cleanest state of India, Sikkim!