Sikkim- The Valley of Rice

Sikkim, a small state nestled in the Himalayas ranks high in the list of India’s tourism destination spots. Sikkim, is a popular tourist destination for its culture, scenic beauty and biodiversity. Sikkim promises to be a hot-spot tourist destination in the future and offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

To reach Sikkim one has to take a train till New Jalpaiguri and then it is 5 hour drive from the city of new Jalpaiguri.One can either take a bus or car for the journey from New Jalpaiguri to Gangtok.

The climate in Sikkim remains relatively cool throughout the year. The average maximum is 22 degrees and the average minimum is 4 degrees. The air in Sikkim is still pure and invigorating. The best period for visiting Sikkim is during May-June when the weather is relatively cooler and temperatures hover around 10 degrees. This is the period during when temperatures across India sore up to as high as 45 degree Celsius and hence, Sikkim provides an escape from the heat. Moreover, Nathula Pass which is a must go destination to visit in Sikkim becomes inaccessible due to adverse climatic conditions in the months following June. So it’s just the right time for a perfect holiday at a perfect place.

Fasten your seat belts as your drive to one of the most beautiful places in Sikkim starts here. Nathula Pass is a 3 hour drive from the city of Gangtok. The drive itself is quite an experience as the roads are very narrow and covered with snow. It is a risky drive as the movement of clouds makes the viewing of the narrow road ahead impossible. But experienced drivers ensure the safety and security of the travellers and make the journey an enjoyable experience. The weather throughout the journey remains pretty cold and falls below 0 degree mark.

To protect the travellers from the bitter cold weather the state government has established a market that lends jackets and boots to the travellers. Safety and security measures for travellers are taken care of by the state government. On reaching the destination one can see the Indo-China border (known as Nathula pass). With military troops on both sides of the border and with temperatures as low as -20 degrees it is an experience one should undergo.

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is a centre of Buddhist learning and culture and it’s most notable institutions are Enchey Monastery and Rumtek monastery. Rumtek monastery, situated on the outskirts of the town, is one of Buddhism’s most sacred monasteries and epitomizes Buddhist culture and tradition. A large number of zoological parks are situated in this region and exhibit the rich fauna of the Himalayas in their natural habitats. One of the most popular zoos in Gangtok is the Himalayan Zoological Park that is home to wide variety of animals such as Himalayan Black bear, the barking deer, snow leopard, the leopard cat and the spotted deer. It is rich in flora too. The wide range of flora includes rhododendron, banana, Sal trees, orchids and figs.

One of the most popular dishes in Gangtok is the Momo. Stuffed with vegetables and pork, steamed momos seem to be the most mouth-watering dish in Sikkim. Apart from the momos, restaurants in Sikkim offer a wide variety of noodles ranging from Thanthuk to normal chowmein. Overall it has a good mix of traditional Sikkimese cuisine and continental.

For all its aesthetic sites and the beautiful weather, Sikkim surely deserves the high ranking it has on India’s tourism destination spots. It is by far the undisputed king when it comes to nature’s beauty in the east. Right from the scenic beauties to all the adventures in the form of Nathula Pass, Sikkim provides a wide range of options for the tourists. The people there are helpful, caring and love to see an overwhelming tourist turnout.

So just pack your bags, get set go!

Keshav Parthasarathy

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