SIKKIM – the melting pot of biodiversity
The features of Sikkim
The kingdom of Sikkim was founded by the Namgyal Dynasty. The little land of "Su – Khim" is very advanced when it comes to the implementation of environmentally friendly ways to promote symbiotic sustenance of a region. Being 40% covered in forests, the remaining 60 percent of it practices organic farming, trying its best to retain the purity of Himalayan soil. The region houses nearly 500 species of orchids and more than ten variants of rhododendrons that blanket the valleys of the entire state with colorful flowers. Sikkim has a pandora of natural and man-made wonders that attract thousands of tourists from India & across the globe to this ecological paradise.
Things to do
Then attend the International Flower Festival held every Spring. The festival showcases rows & rows of Sikkim's starkly colorful magnolias, orchids & other flowering plants. Go for butterfly hunting across the trek routes to permeable passes. Sikkim alone is home to 500 species of butterflies. Dip in the sulfur-rich hot springs to relieve yourself of joint pains and hop through the twelve Jyotirlingas that circle the 87ft tall effigy of a meditating Shiva in Solophok. Shop through the bustling shops of Gangtok that sell you exotic Tibetan souvenirs, hand painted thankas, colorful prayer flags and Sikkimese cups imprinted with flying dragons. And lastly, take home packets of the aromatic Temi teas that are ideal to be mixed with butter and lukewarm water for preparing a refreshing cup.
Places to Explore
- Yumthang Valley
- Solophok Char Dham
- Buddha Park
- Dzongri Trek
- Rumtek Valley
- Ganesh Tok
- Gurudongmar Lake
- Tsongmo Lake
The cuisine of Sikkim
Pickled strips of tender bamboo shoots & homemade beer and wine fermented out of rice and millets are enjoyed by the locals with great zeal. Try on the deep fried fist sized meat pies called Saphaley. They are extremely fond of Pahgshapa. It is a dish prepared out of thin pork strips cooked with radishes and chili paste as well as whole chilies. Steamed and fried noodles are served with bone-broth assorted with meat chunks & strips of carrot, papaya, cabbage & onions.
March to May is Spring.
June and July witnesses Monsoon.
August and September entails Autumn.
Winter starts from October.
Bagdogra is the nearest airport to Sikkim. It's a 5-hour ride from the airport to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
The Department of Sikkim Tourism Development offers special helicopter services from Bagdogra to Gangtok on a daily basis as well.
North Jalpaiguri Railway Station is the nearest railhead to Sikkim & is well connected to other Indian cities. It's a 5-hour scenic car ride from there on.