We are all aware that Sikkim is a beautiful hill station, spread over a forested mountain that faces the Khangchendzonga peak. But Sikkim is not just limited to its natural beauty; it has a lot more to offer. So let’s check out Sikkim from a different perspective.
Exploring the villages of Sikkim
There are numerous villages in Sikkim that deserve a look in, and their stories are definitely worth sharing. For example, a Sikkimese village that has mastered the skill of weaving or the story of another that makes handmade paper that is resistant to insects because of one special ingredient that is used in the process.
Video: Homestay hopping in Sikkim
The more you unfold Sikkim, the more it surprises you. We’ve discovered some unique findings in the remotes of Sikkim that are sure to surprise you and leave you wanting to visit these places at the earliest.
(1) Handmade paper in Borong Village (South Sikkim): On your trip to Sikkim, you must take the time to visit the small handmade paper unit in Borong Village. Situated about 17 km from Ravangla town, the handmade paper unit is housed on the premises of the Wildflower Retreat. Apart from paper, the village cooperative produces handcrafted paper products that also get exported to places like Singapore, Bangkok, and Thailand. Take a guided tour of the Unit and witness the techniques and process of making this special paper that is durable and resistant to insects. The secret of its longevity lies in the inner bark of the paperbush plant, which is used in making paper because of which the paper is ideal for preserving important written words. It is still used for sacred texts by monasteries in the state.
The different colour sheets, diaries, envelopes, and lampshades available here make for interesting souvenirs to take back with you.
Borong paper factory tour package
(2) Cane and bamboo weaving in Parakha Village (East Sikkim): Handicrafts and artefacts are beautiful manifestations of the creative minds of artists, and the locals of Parakha Village seem to have mastered the skill of creative weaving. They are adept at weaving beautiful bamboo and cane products such as mats and baskets, which can be used for decoration or utility purposes.
A local weaving a cane mat in Parakha
This handicraft gem is located about 15.7 km from Pakyong in East Sikkim and is a must-visit.
Further read: Almost forgotten but still found in Parakha Village: Traditional handicrafts of Sikkim
(3) Locally-made rhododendron wine in Okhrey’s homestays (West Sikkim): The homestays of Okhrey have been the talk of the town for their unique approach to entertaining their guests.
Guests residing in the homestays of Okhrey are not only served their famous homemade rhododendron wine but are also taught how to make it from scratch. The wine tastes light and flowery up front, with a kicky aftertaste. Winemaking here is an adventure in itself: you have to first hike up a hill to pick rhododendron flowers, and then once you’ve collected enough, you have to pluck out the petals, discard the stems, and boil the remnants over a stove. The remnants are then transferred into a jar. The wine is ready for consumption only after a year or so. Let the wine-storing jar, which comes with a year-long wait, be a constant reminder of all the fun you had at Okhrey—a jar full of happiness!
(4) Carpet weaving in Lachung (North Sikkim): The only thing wrong with Lachung is that you won’t feel like leaving this paradise of a place. Apart from snow-covered mountain ranges, running mountain streams, and stunning waterfalls, there is a handicraft centre right across Lachung Monastery, a place of magical chanting words. Weaving carpets and blankets are an age-old practice of the inhabitants of Lachung. Even today many households still have their own looms where they make carpets and blankets for their own use. The entire process of making the thread, preparing the dyes, and then dyeing the wool is done at home. The handicraft centre is a must-visit place if you want to get a souvenir from Lachung.
Package: Homestay experience in North Sikkim
Weaving a shawl on a traditional handloom
There you have it, some exceptional villages with extraordinary stories. So the next time you visit the state, take the road not taken: opt for village walks and interact with the locals, live in their homestays and listen to their stories, learn about their skills and have a hands-on experience. Go beyond the conventional tourist route and unlock a different dimension of Sikkim.
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