Go spelunking in the mountains of North Sikkim

Author: Tanuja Rai
Date: 2020-08-06

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Nestled on the foothills of the Himalayas, the huge rocks and mountains of Sikkim make the state one of the best destinations to go spelunking (caving) in the big and small caves of Sikkim. There are numerous caves in Sikkim that have not yet been explored or reached.

Spending a weekend hiking and exploring caves in North Sikkim hits different and Mr. Tshering Thendup Bhutia knows it the best. TM Bhutia lives in Mangan near Malling School in North Sikkim and owns the Malla Kothi Heritage Homestay. Since 2018 he has been taking his guests for caving to some of the interesting caves in North Sikkim, one of which is Kulung Ney Cave. It takes around 3 hours to reach these caves and the thrill is that you get to hike through beautiful valleys and trails amidst thick forests and get to witness the picturesque views of Mt. Khangchendzonga all the time. Tshering Thendup Bhutia says, “It is an adventure no one should miss. If you are looking for a short hiking trail with moderate level of difficulty, then pack your bags and travel to North Sikkim.”

Explore these places at Mangan with TM Bhutia

There are some things that you need to carry while going for caving such as a torchlight, candles, and water. Food and lunch is taken care of by TM Bhutia who carries packed lunch for everyone. Hikers start at 9 am in the morning, escorted by TM Bhutia and his brother, and come back at around 4 pm in the evening.

Tshering Thendup Bhutia posing in front of natural background of Sikkim

“People from Bengaluru and other parts of South India, Mumbai, and Pune usually come to stay at my traditional homestay. I take them for caving and they become overwhelmed with joy and excitement, it is that good,” says TM Bhutia. At times, few people from Gangtok and West Sikkim visit his homestay and go for caving with him. But TM Bhutia believes such treasured places should be known to more locals of Sikkim and he encourages them to visit the caves and explore them for a wonderful experience.

Enjoy such spectacular views of Mt Khangchendzong while hiking at Mangan

The first cave is short and lies between a beautiful forest and after a 10-minute walk. The 2nd, 3rd and the 4th cave can be found clustered in an area. One of these caves is 15-20 meters long and a stupa (shrine) is built at another. At times, you can find monks meditating in the caves. A meditation center for monks has been established at one of these caves. “If you cannot find any monk meditating at the time of your visit, don’t be disheartened. The cave is so tranquil and beautiful, you will automatically feel at peace and you won’t be able to resist yourself from meditating in these caves,” adds TM Bhutia.

One of the caves at Mangan

Spelunking in the mountains and valleys of Sikkim is one of the best ways to spend a weekend. Not only do you get to hike and explore the caves in North Sikkim while enjoying the scenic views of nature but also get to spend time at Malla Kothi Heritage Homestay at Mangan and enjoy delicious freshly cooked farm foods while enjoying the views of Mt. Khangchendzonga.