Khangchendzonga National Park
Rong Lungten Lee
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
Tso Lhamo Lake
Yumesamdong (Zero Point)
Welcome to North Sikkim (Mangan),
North Sikkim is the largest district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its district headquarters is Mangan. It is the seventh least populous district in the country. Numerous waterfalls astride the main road make the trip to this district extremely picturesque. Most of the people of the state reside near Mangan, the district headquarters which is about 2,000 feet (610 m) above sea level. Kanchenjanga is the highest peak at over 8,000 m, straddling its western border with Nepal and can be seen clearly from the town of Singhik. North Sikkim is divided into two sub-division Mangan and Chungthang.
Most of North Sikkim is restricted to travelers and permits are needed to visit these areas. The area, which shares a sensitive border with China is heavily patrolled by the Indian army. However, in view of exquisite scenic beauty, a large number of tourists have started visiting the region overcoming all sorts of hardship. Some of the famous places here are Lachung, Yumthang Valley, Chopta Valley, Khangchendzonga National Park etc.
Baba Mandir is a distinguished sightseeing place of Sikkim. This "mandir" or shrine is dedicated to "Baba" Harbhajan Singh, who was a soldier of the Indian Army. He died near the Nathula Pass in eastern Sikkim, India. Two shrines have been built to show reverence to Baba Harbhajan Singh. The old one has been built at the site of the bunker, where Baba Harbhajan was posted during his tenure in the Indian Army. The new one has been built at close proximity from Changu Lake.
Chopta Valley out do the other destinations in Sikkim. One should get here during the spring time when the entire valley becomes a riot of colors. Chopta Valley is very likely to be the place from where the impression of green Sikkim starts to vanish. A base for high altitude lake Gurudongmar, the valley beckons a different landscape with barren mountains and less vegetative pasture lands.
Situated on the confluence of Lachen and Lachung rivers, Chungthang is a historical town. It is believe Guru Padmasambhaba and Guru Nanak have also visited this place. The town is an excellent base camp for places like Lachung, Yumthang, Yumesamdong, Katao, Lachen, Thangu, Gurudongmar and Tso-Lamu Lake (Tibet Border). Chungthang has a rich biodiversity and is indeed a gift of nature to North Sikkim.
It is another beautiful lake on the way to Gurudongmar Lake.
The base camp of Mount Kanchendzonga, Green Lake is an alpine lake situated at an altitude of 5000m. The lake is located near the Zemu glacier and makes for an adventurous trek. The trekking trail of Green Lake passes through thick Rhododendron, primulas and blue poppy forests. The breathtaking view of the Kanchendzonga further enhances the beauty of this place.
Amongst the most famous destinations in Sikkim, Gurudongmar Lake is a high altitude lake situated at an altitude of 5430m. The lake is one of the source streams of River Teesta and it holds immense religious importance. It remains completely frozen in the winter time, whereas in the summer it offers a sparkling look. The simplicity of the place is what makes it even more gorgeous and in indeed the best place in North Sikkim to visit.
Having historical significance, Kabi Lungchok is an interesting place to visit in North Sikkim. Situated 17kms north of Gangtok, Kabi is reckoned the place where the two important tribes of Sikkim i.e Bhutia and Lepcha signed the 'Treaty of Blood Brotherhood'. Stone pillars were erected here in order to mark this place as of great importance. Apart from the historic sites, Kabi is blessed with immense nature's beauty. A rich forest with variety of flowers, cascading streams and waterfalls, rich wildlife and sizable population of butterflies makes Kabi quite a place to visit in North Sikkim.
Kangchenjunga is the third most elevated mountain in the world. It ascends with a rise of 8,586 m (28,169 ft) in an area of the Himalayas called Kangchenjunga Himal that is constrained in the west by the Tamur River and in the east by the Teesta River. The Kangchenjunga Himal is situated in eastern Nepal and Sikkim, India. The main peak of Kangchenjunga is the second most elevated mountain in Nepal after Mount Everest. Three of the five tops Main, Central and South are on the border between North Sikkim and Nepal.
Khangchendzonga National Park or Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve is a National Park and a Biosphere reserve is situated in the North and West Sikkim districts. It was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park gets its name from the mountain Kanchenjunga (alternative spelling Khangchendzonga) which is 8,586 metres (28,169 ft) tall, the third-highest peak in the world. The total area of this park is 849.5 km2 (328.0 sq mi). There are many glaciers in the park including the Zemu glacier. Animals like musk deer, snow leopard, wild dog, sloth bear, civet, Himalayan black bear, red panda, Himalayan tahr, Tibetan wild ass, Himalayan blue sheep, serow, goral and takin, as well as reptiles including rat snake and Russell's viper.
Labrang Monastery literally means 'the lamas dwelling'. The monastery was constructed in 1814. The Labrang Monastery follows the principles of the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism. It was constructed to honour the Latsun Chembo of Kongpu in Tibet. He is popular for establishing a Buddhist school in Sikkim. The Phadong Monastery, constructed in the 18th century by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal, is situated near the Labrang Monastery.
At Lachen some beautiful aspects come alive. No one can gainsay the unexplored beauty that Sikkim is full of. A small settlement amidst lofty mountains that are often clad with snow and thick forests, Lachen is any traveller's dream come true. Lachen means 'Big Pass' and the town is the base for Chopta Valley and the famed Gurudongmar Lake and Lhamu lakes. The Lachen Gompa is the prime attraction here apart from nature's beauty. The nearby attractions include Yumthang Valley, which can be best explored by taking a two-day trek. The best time to visit Lachen would be summers when an annual yak race takes place.
The Lachen River is a tributary of the Teesta River in the state of Sikkim, India. It is one of the two main tributaries of the Teesta along with the Lachung River, which rise on opposite sides of the Donga Range in neighbouring Bhutan and converge in Chungthang in the North Sikkim district.
A pretty village, situated on both banks of the Lachung River, Lachung is an ideal place for nature lovers. Quiet, serene, beautiful, Lachung is everything that a visitor requires of a place. Lachung literally means 'Small Pass', which it indeed is as it is situated in the close proximity to Tibet border. The Lachung Gompa is the major attraction of the town, whereas, a short distance from here is Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary that is also a must see. The village retains its culture and handicraft is something that is worth to pay attention.
The Lachung River is a tributary of the Teesta River located in the North Indian state of Sikkim. It is a chief tributary of the Teesta, which is an important river in Sikkim along with Rangeet River. The village of Lachung is perched on the craggy bank of the river approximately 23 kilometres (14 mi) from Chungthang. It is at Chungthang where the Lachung and Lachen rivers converge and give rise to the Teesta. The river is 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level.
The entry point to Lachung Lachen, Mangan is a base town before reaching the lesser known parts of North Sikkim. The town is also reckoned to be the market centre for northern Sikkim and it attracts several villagers selling apples, oranges and cardamom. The view of Khangchendzonga range is breathtaking and that is one of the reasons that you must visit this beautiful place in North Sikkim.
The Nathula merges the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass is situated, at 4,310 m above sea level, forms as a piece of a branch of the old Silk Road. Nathu signifies "listening ears" and La signifies "go" in Tibetan. On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km (34 mi) east of Gangtok, the capital of Indian state of Sikkim. Just natives of India can visit the pass, but only after successfull permit from the administration of Gangtok. Nathu La is one of the two open trading border posts in the middle of China and India.
An important monastery in North Sikkim, Phensang is situated about 9kms from Gangtok. First built in 1721 by the Nyingmapa order in Sikkim, this monastery was destroyed in a fire. Therefore, the monastery's edifice that we see today has been restored in 1948. It is a very peaceful place to be at; the divinity is felt by all the visitors here. The surrounding landscape makes this place look even for attractive to the visitors. The best time to visit Phensang monastery would be in the month of December when the annual festival is celebrated.
It is called the Karma Kargyu Monastery of Phodong and is the home to some extremely friendly monks. Nestled amidst gorgeous landscape that further enhances its beauty, the monastery is known for the intricate murals that adorn its walls. Like Phensang, the best time to visit Phodong would be the month of December, when the annual festival is celebrated with religious dances.
It is a heritage house similar to that of Namprikdang. Rong Lungten Lee is situated about 8kms from Mangan and is open for both foreign and domestic tourists to admire the ancient artifacts of the Lepcha tribes. So, if you are someone with keen interest in history and nature, Rong Lungten Lee is a good place to check out.
Situated about 32kms from Gangtok on the way to Mangan, Seven Sisters is a beautiful waterfall. The water is seen cascading down in distinct three steps. A small footbridge is constructed above the waterfall, so that the visitors get the best view. If one is willing to trek a bit more than he can be rewarded with the view of the fourth drop of the fall. An incredible place for some adventure, visitors will love Seven Sisters Waterfall.
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary in Yumthang Valley is home to around 40 species of rhododendron shrub. The sanctuary is surrounded by the Chomzomei Tso in the west and Chua-Sagochen mountain ranges in the east. The primulas, gentians, poppies, potentillas and saxifrages are some of plant species that can be seen in the sanctuary. Animals like goral, blood pheasant, serow, common hill partridge and endangered tiger-civet can be spotted in the sanctuary. The Yumthang River flows through the sanctuary and serves as the main source of water for the animals. The ideal months to visit the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary are April and May.
A small village in the lap of nature, Singhik is looks like a slice fallen from paradise on the earth. Offering impeccable view of the Khanchndzonga range including Mount Siniolchu, Singhik is perfect for a getaway in North Sikkim. One can also go trekking and hiking as there are several short and long nature trails available here.
A heritage house, Sirijuna Yuma Mangheem was built in a similar design as that of Sirijunga Yuma Mangheem of Martam, West Sikkim. Set up amidst the serene nature, this place is worth paying visit if you are in North Sikkim. The ideal time to be here would be in the month January, when Maghey festival is celebrated to mark the upcoming warmer months in the state.
The Teesta River or Tista is a 309 kilometres (192 mi) long river flowing through North Sikkim. It carves out from the verdant Himalayas in temperate and tropical river valleys and forms the border between Sikkim and West Bengal. The Teesta river has preserved good imprints of climatic and tectonics along its valleys and catchments. It has great scenic beauty.
A peaceful village, Thangu is in a way Indian Military base, where they stay for sometime get acclimatized. Thangu is also a base for those who wish to trek to Chopta Valley and Muguthang. A picturesque hamlet, it has a scanty population and that is why it seems a perfect place for the nature lovers.
The beautiful Tosar Lake is located at an elevation of 4,000m between the Mangan and the Chola Range. The lake has a giant cliff that is considered sacred and is worshiped by the local people. This region provides some of most splendid views of mount Khanchendzonga. In order to enjoy the beauty of Tosar Lake, one has to trek all the way up to it. The trail to Tosar Lake starts from the road head at Naksuk, above Naga village and traverses through a dense conifer, bamboo, rhododendron and pine forests. The trekking route also crosses the famed yak trails in the Reserve Forest. The trek is popular for the spectacular mountain views, beautiful fauna in flora.
This is the highest lake of India (5,310 m) and is located around 5 kms to the east of Gurudongmar Lake. This lake is considered to be the source for the Teesta River.
Yumesamdong is a valley on the Lachung river about 15Kms ahead of Yumthang. It is also popular as Zero Point. The place is close to Chinese boarder. Yumesamdong is an hours drive beyond Yumthang through the rugged mountain road (15300ft), an area where the sweet fragrance of Azalea permeates the air. Heady, invigorating and exhilarating, but words still to fail to explain the experience of being at Yumesamdong.
Yumthang is well known for its hot springs. To reach, one has to walk a few hundred yards from the road and across a pedestrian bridge on the River Lachung. For the convenience of bathers a hut with two pools in which the hot spring water collects has been constructed. Hot water is rich with sulphur, emanates from a spring just behind the hut and is diverted to the pools. It is difficult to imagine that water so hot in its natural form could be found in such cold place.
Another picturesque place in North Sikkim, Yumthang Valley boasts of its thick rhododendron forests and hot sulphur springs. The valley is the home to 24 species of Rhododendrons, thus it rightly earns its name as 'Valley of Flowers'. The vasts meadows and the passing of River Teesta through it, makes Yumthang Valley a nature lovers' paradise.