Although many tourists to India tend to hit the beaches of Goa and Kerala, growing numbers of visitors are starting to realise the appeal of Sikkim. This north-eastern Indian state is famous for its dramatic mountain scenery and picturesque Buddhist monasteries.
But it’s clear that there’s more to Sikkim than just these magnificent attractions. Here are just a handful of reasons why millions of visitors are now flocking to this mysterious mountain state.
Going to a picturesque state like Sikkim and heading into a city might sound like a strange idea. But Gangtok is the state’s capital city, and it offers no end of surprises for the discerning visitor.
There’s plenty to enjoy by taking some of the wonderful atmospheric streets and walking trails. But it’s far better to take it easy in one of the city’s casino hotels. Sikkim is one of the few Indian states that permit gambling, but if you can’t tear yourself away from the natural beauty, you can still see which casino games can be found on top sites in India. By doing this, you’ll get to find a decent bonus that’ll make your Sikkim adventure all the more enjoyable.
Sikkim hosts an incredible selection of flora and fauna that you won’t find anywhere else in India. While some of Sikkim’s stunning wildlife may be hard to track down, you’ll stand a much better chance if you visit one of the state’s many excellent National Parks.
Khangchendzonga National Park is very popular and this UNESCO World Heritage site features a fantastic selection of musk deer, sloth bears, Himalayan blue sheep and even the occasional snow leopard. The Singalila National Park is also highly rated as a result of its excellent bird-watching opportunities, and it even offers a breathtaking view of Mount Everest.
Many visitors to India come to rejuvenate at the many yoga retreats. But if it’s true relaxation that you’re looking for, then a trip to one of Sikkim’s beautiful monasteries is a must. There are many to pick and choose from, but Phodong Monastery just under 30 kilometers from Gangtok could be a great place to start.
This magnificent 18th-century monastery is packed with ancient murals and fascinating paintings, and it’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon. Other top monasteries in Sikkim include the stunning 12th-century Rumtek Monastery that includes over 1000 miniature gold sculptures, and Enchey Monastery that even features a Chinese pagoda.
You can’t really go wrong if you are looking for incredible scenery in Sikkim. It almost goes without saying that the state’s Himalayan location makes for wonderful mountain landscapes. But even if you’ve had your fill of towering mountains like Kangchenjunga – the third highest peak on Earth – there’s plenty more to discover.
Take Tsomgo Lake that is one of the most popular tourist places in Sikkim. This glacial lake can only be reached by taking a rocky road through the mountains, but once you arrive, you’ll quickly see which it is such a sacred location for the locals. Its aquamarine waters look stunning amidst the snow capped mountains, and what’s best is that you can even take a yak ride around some of its perimeter.
Gurudongmar Lake is another must-see location in Sikkim. Considered holy by Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, the lake is totally frozen for half of the year, but it still offers a great place to watch passing wildlife like yaks and the omnipresent Himalayan blue sleep. While it can be tricky to access, once you reach Gurudongmar Lake, you’ll fall in love with its spectacular location.