Sikkim: A beautiful Himalayan sojourn and the first fully organic state of India
The beautiful Himalayan sanctuary of Sikkim joined the Indian union in the year 1975 thereby becoming one of its most beautiful states. It is now considered a part of the North East India which is popular for its breath-taking mountain trails, ravines, and verdant valleys together with an amalgamation of indigenous and western culture prevailing in a perfect fusion with each other just like the mellifluous varied tones of a classical symphony.
Sikkim has one of the most diversified repertoire of flora and fauna in India with the Khangchendzonga National Park and biosphere reserve (an UNESCO World Heritage Site) occupying a major portion of the state. To talk about only a few places in Sikkim will be doing a gross injustice to it because the region is so beautiful, so spiritual, and so full of peace that to set foot here once is like a divine experience. True to its spirit and an abundance of nature, it became a fully organic state just a few years back thereby giving its citizens and the incoming tourists a hassle free and health beneficial culinary experience. We will talk about some of the places situated in the different regions of this state today.
1. Of course, one would like to start their journey of Sikkim from the very capital itself – Gangtok. This hill station is situated in the east of Sikkim and is one of the most popular summer capitals of India. The heart of Gangtok is enamoured with the beautiful MG Road where motorized vehicles are not allowed and this road has some of the best cafes and shopping options of the city for tourists. To stroll down this road gently in the evening and then dropping to one of the cafes nearby for their wonderful cuisines together with live western bands or the overhead wonderful music is so delightfully soothing that the heart aches very painfully while leaving this place everytime. Next, one of the best places in Gangtok to view the towering Khangchendzonga peak is a place called Tashi view point named after the erstwhile Chogyal. Some other must visit sites of this city are the beautiful Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok.
2. From East now we will move to the West of Sikkim. Anybody, who has read the Satyajit Ray detective novel based on this state will never forget the thrilling scene which takes place in the closing chapters of that novel, in a locality called Pemayangtse which has one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries of Sikkim. Anybody seeking some peace and calm can visit this monastery which is situated at a height of around 6500 ft. above sea level and commands a panoramic view of the mountains and valleys all around.
3. We will now move to the North to an off-beat place called Dzongu, a region completely settled by the original inhabitants of Sikkim – the Lepchas. This region is situated between a height of around 3000 to 20000 ft. thereby encapsulating the mighty mountains and the Khangchendzonga National Park in its periphery, and hence also divided into two regions of Upper Dzongu and Lower Dzongu. The place is isolated and so are its people and hence the true indigenous culture of the state can be truly experienced here in its environs.
4. The south of Sikkim has a very unique entity within its border which is the Temi Tea Garden, the only tea garden in the state of Sikkim. This garden is one of the most beautiful tea gardens in India and the tourists visiting it can actually witness the tea processing method here with their own eyes. There is also an old British bungalow to experience some colonial era ambience and there are also walks which can be done to the various parts of this garden.