Visit Sikkim in North East IndiaWith the colonial charm of Darjeeling, the endless tea plantations from which the precious drink is born, the emerald-colored mountains, Sikkim is the ancient Buddhist kingdom on the slopes of the Himalayas. A journey in search of silence and of ones
The Sikkim state located in the northeastern part of India is the ideal destination for nature lovers. Surrounded by the Himalayan peaks and its lush streams, it boasts a rich choice of cultural sites, monasteries, flora and fauna.
Himalayan wonderland, Sikkim is located in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas: nature has given this state a unique beauty. Thanks to its variety of vegetation and its enchanting valleys, it boasts five different climatic zones.
A peaceful environment where the hospitality of the inhabitants can only welcome tourists in search of peace and nature.
Among its mountains is the fabulous Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.
Sikkim was once a remote mountain kingdom, ruled by Chogyals until 1975; Today Sikkim is opening up and proving to be a new enchanting world of friendly and sociable people.
With the colonial charm of Darjeeling, the endless tea plantations from which the precious drink is born, the emerald-colored mountains, Sikkim is the ancient Buddhist kingdom on the slopes of the Himalayas. A journey in search of silence and of oneself
Sikkim is the first entirely biological Indian state
Sikkim is the first Indian state to be 100 percent organic certified. A choice that has positive effects on the economy and population. Sikkim farmers earn 20 percent more than they previously earned thanks to the better quality of their agricultural products. Tourists queue to enjoy healthy crops and the new generations are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial. Business comes from all over the country and also from abroad.
The famous Toy Train of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway a route between tea plantations
In colonial times Darjeeling was considered the Saint Moritz of the English colonists, who came here to give themselves a few months of respite from the heat.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy Train), the nineteenth-century railway line, created for the tea trade and Unesco World Heritage Site since 1999. Today it is the local tourist attraction, with wagons of a hundred years ago pulled by coal locomotives that they emit clouds of smoke, trudging on narrow-gauge rails, among rows of stalls.
The itinerary winds through the tea-growing hills from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling.
A unique journey that will remain etched in your memory.
Darjeeling, the capital of the region
Even Darjeeling, like the tea valleys that are all around, is a whole difference in height, where you go up and down following an intricate maze of streets and steep stairways that test the most trained calves.
There is no real city center, but for shopping you go to Nehru Road, the pedestrian street.
From Darjeeling in less than an hour's drive from the center, climb to Tiger Hill, where you can admire a spectacular landscape on the Himalayan peaks.
Fog and clouds often cloud the peaks, but if the sky is clear the show is memorable. As the sun rises, the mountains turn pink, while the light illuminates the peaks of the 8000m peaks, one after the other, from the unpronounceable Kanchenjunga to Everest.
Buddhist monasteries among the peaks of Sikkim
Under the snow-capped peaks, the dense tropical vegetation alternates with the rice fields cultivated on the ridges of the hills, topped by the sharp profile of the Buddhist monasteries that stand on each peak.
There are more than 250 Buddhist monasteries, of all sizes and all active. In Sikkim you enter on tiptoe, as in temples.
The atmosphere is serene, like the smile of the monks who meet everywhere, among the market stalls, queuing for a cup of tea and even on a motorcycle, riding on roaring Royal Enfields, with their fluttering burgundy tunic.
The dirt road gets narrower and narrower and you need strong nerves to get to Phudong monastery, while the car clings to the vertical lines of the landscape. The first westerner to cross the threshold was a woman, the legendary French traveler Alexandra David-Néel. It was 1920 and she, disguised as a monk, crossed the world on foot, bringing back to her diaries the enchantment experienced in front of the "black paintings" of Sikkim, the mysterious representations hidden in the most secret part of each monastery. Only in Phudong are they also accessible to visitors and with their mysterious beauty they repay the effort of the few tourists who venture here.
Equally striking is Pemayangtse, at 2,200 meters high. Around the monastery, the air smells of cardamom and long rows of prayer flags move in the wind, in contrast with the eternal immobility of the surrounding peaks. Built in 1705 by Lama Latsun Chenpo, it preserves original paintings and splendid tanka, ancient designs on fabric. Climbing a steep wooden staircase, you enter a room decorated with tantric scenes demurely covered by fabric rectangles. From here the view sweeps over the opposite hill, where you can see the ruins of Rabdentse, the ancient capital flourished around 1670 and abandoned two centuries ago to flee the Nepalese armies: today there are traces of three colossal stupas and powerful walls, swallowed up from the forest.
Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim
Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, lies about 1600 meters high. The distance from important communication routes has preserved it from the fate of a large urban area, keeping it a quiet city.
Green, an emblem of cleanliness and order, is the met king of Gangtok. Verdi are the houses tucked one behind the other in the small urban center.
More than for its urban structure, Gangtok is important for being a remarkable center of Tibetan Buddhist culture, with a number of important monasteries.
A few kilometers from the city is the enchanting lake mirror of Lake Tso Lhamo, a crystal blue lake that attracts thousands of migratory birds about 4 kilometers from the border with China.
The best way to explore it? By participating in a Yak safari, an exploratory tour on the back of the native mammal of the Tibetan highlands. Or more simply by hiking, taking part in the numerous treks.
There are really for everyone, it is obvious that if you are an average expert you have fun.
In the summer, further away from Gangtok is the beautiful Yumthang Valley, more than 3,500 meters high, also known as the Valley of Flowers: a flowery carpet as far as the eye can see.
Locals say that "going higher, the roads get worse and the tea gets better". Trusting popular wisdom, we climb towards Pelling where, with the change in altitude, the landscape changes again and the forests give way to bright green hills near Temi Tea Estate, the only Sikkim tea plantation.
The collection of the leaves is entrusted to the women who, with their delicate hands, detach the shoots throwing them in the doko, the woven bamboo panniers hung on the back with the namlo, a colored cotton band fixed on the forehead.
They smile and exchange a few sentences in Nepali dialect, protected by rubber boots and aprons made from the tarpaulins of trucks, regardless of the passing of time and even of cobras that roam among the plants.
During the year, the winter mists alternate with clouds of pink petals during the cherry blossom period, leaving only glimpses of the sparkling snows of Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. A metaphysical calm envelops these valleys, where time seems to flow more slowly, marked by the seasons of the harvest in a sequence of ancient gestures, emblem of a country where life is not lived in years, days or even hours. In Sikkim life is lived for moments.
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