Mountaineering In Sikkim

Sikkim shares a mountainous border with Nepal in the west, with China in north and east. Most of the peaks in the Sikkim Himalaya are considered to be sacred as the Sikkim’s people worship the nature deities. Doug Fresh field was one of the early mountaineers to visit Khanchendzonga area in 1899.Paul Bauer made first attempt to reach the summit in 1929 and second attempt in 1931 and reached an altitude of 26,000 ft. CharlescEvans in 1955 defeat Kanchendzonga below few feet the summit. In 1977 Major Prem Chand reached a few feet below the summit and in 1987 Assam Rifles expedition attempted the peak. Hukam Singh and Yoshio Ogata in 1991 defeat the peak.

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In west Sikkim, peaks like Kabru which is 7338 meter were climbed in 1935 by C.R.Cook and Kokthang, Ranthong peaks were climber much later. There are many peaks around Kanchendzonga which are tempting and an open invitation to climbers.

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Trekking Peaks

Mt. Thingchinkhang which is 5603 meter snd Mt. Jopunu which is 6010 meter are located in western Sikkim and under the KAnchendzonga National Park. It is famous for natural beauties, bio-diversity, sacred lakes and snow-capped mountains. Some other peaks across Okhlathang valley are Gocha, Ranthong, Kabru sisters, Siniolchu. Mt. Makalu in Nepal is also seen from these peaks.

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Peaks In West Sikkim

Name Of Peak Height Location
Frey Peak 5830 Meter Chauringang
Mt. Tenchenkhang 5603 Meter West Sikkim
Mt. Joponu 6010 Meter West Sikkim

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Peaks In South Sikkim

Name Of Peak Height Location
Lama Wangden 5868 Meter Lachen
Brumkhngse 5635 Meter Yumthang

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For all above peaks permits will be issued by Home Department.

May to October is the best season to climb in Sikkim. The Indian Mountaineering Foundation is the country’s top body that helps in organizing mountaineering journey. Foregin expeditions have to book a peak along with a peak fee. It is compulsory for journey in Sikkim to take a license officer from Sikkim Mountaineering Association along with license officer from Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF).

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Such a beautiful experience of Mountaineering in Sikkim, enlights more beautifully your best selected ‘Sikkim Holiday Packages’, and gave you unforgettable memories.

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Festivals In Sikkim

There are numerous festivals celebrated in Sikkim throughout the year. Most of the people of Sikkim follow Buddhism, the festival celebrated here are associated with Buddhist and are celebrated according to Buddhist calendar. In Gompas or Monatseries of Sikkim most of the festivals are celebrated where people gather in large number to celebrate the occasion. During these festivals people of Sikkim perform colorful dance and music.

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Most interesting form of ritual dance of Lamas is ‘Chaam’ which feature colorful masks and charming musical instrument. Lamas dressed with gaily painted masks, sparking jewels, ceremonial swords and swing to rhythm of drums, music and horns. Following are some festivals celebrated in Sikkim :

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Saga Dawa Festival:

Saga dawa is a festival that celebrates and marks the various stages in Buddha’s life starting with his birth then enlightenment and finally his nirvana. Saga dawa is held on the full moon of 4th month of the Buddhist calendar in the end of May or early June.

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Lhabab Dunchen Festival:

This festival symbolizes the descent of Lord Buddha from the heavens. Lha means ‘heaven’ and bab means ‘descent’. This festival celebrates Lord Buddha’s descent from deva realm after teaching his deceased mother, Mahamaya, Lhabab Duchen occurs on 22nd day of ninth lunar month each year.

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Losar Festival:

Losar is Tibetan New Year festival and is marked with lot of gaiety, festivity, feasting and merrymaking. It is celebrated in the month of first week of February

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Drupka Teshi Festival:

Drupka Teshi festival is celebrated by the Buddhists. Falls on fourth day of sixth Tibetan month, around August and celebrates Buddha’s first preaching of four ‘Noble Truths’ to his first five disciples in deer park at Sarnath in Gangtok which is secluded place called ‘Muguthang’ in extreme north Sikkim.

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Bumchu Festival:

Bumchu, an age old festival of Sikkim is celebrated at Tashiding Monastery in month of January. The word Bum means pot or vase and Chu means water. During this festival, the Lamas of monastery open the pot containing holy water where level of water is predict the future. If water is to the brim, symbolizes bloodshed and disturbances and if pot is almost dry which symbolizes famine and it is half full, it foretells a year in which peace and prosperity will prevail.

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Losoong Festival:

Lossong festival is celebrated on the occasion of end of the harvest season and the end of tenth month of Tibetan year in the rural Sikkim and it is marked as Bhutia festival. Chaam dancing at monasteries at Palace, Phodong and Rumtek, archery competitions and other festivities mark the occasion.

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Tendong Lho Rum Faat Festival:

Specific to Lepchas, this festival marks the celebration of Tendong Hill. As per Legend, the hill had risen like a horn during a great flood to save the Lepchas.

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Tihaar Festival:

It is celebrated as festival of lights in Sikkim i.e. Diwali. This festival is celebrated with lighting of Lamps accompanied with traditional caroling called Deusi and Bhailo.

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Dasain Festival:

Dasain is the main festival of Hindu Nepalese in Sikkim before few weeks of Lossong festival. This too signifies the victory of good over evil. The elders of family apply ‘Tika’ on younger and bless them.

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Other festivals are also celebrated in Sikkim namely Phang Lhabsol, Kagyed Dance and The Kalchakra Puja. The people who are going for ‘Sikkim Holiday Packages’ must be aware about these festivals celebrated in Sikkim.

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Rumtek Monastery In Sikkim

Rumtek also called Dharma Chakra Centre, is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery located in the Indian State of Sikkim near the capital city Gangtok. Dharma Chakra Centre or Rumtek Monastery is one of the most important seats of the Kagyu lineage outside Tibet. In early 1960’s, his holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwang Karmapa, founded this seat near the 300 year old Kagyu monastery, which was built in the sixteenth century by the Fourth King of Sikkim, under the guidance of the ninth Karmapa. The new Rumtek was built about 2km away from this old monastery.

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Rumtek is a famous monastery, all over the world, especially among the Tibetan Buddhists. It includes a beautiful shrine temple and a monastery for the monks. The place got an existence in the Buddhist pilgrimage map, especially after Chinese habitation in Tibet and subsequent relocations of some Tibetan religious gurus to Sikkim.

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The new monastery was completed in 1966, in four years’ time, the foundation stone of which was laid by the king of Sikkim. Thus, it is obvious that Buddhists consider the place as highly pristine.

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Dharma Chakra Centre is located in eastern Sikkim, 24 km away from Gangtok. Rumtek is situated at an altitude of about 5800 ft. the temperature in summer is maximum 20.7 and minimum 13.1 degree centigrade and in winter maximum 14.9 to minimum 7.7. The best season to visit, in terms of weather, is March to late May or from October to mid-December.

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Besides the luxuriously sprawling green landscape, and a mild weather, smiling people, traditions that touch the conscience and the beautiful monastery, there is some important Buddhist institutions in the place are the attractions in Rumtek Monastery.

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The monastery holds annual events for the public. Two of the most festive and important events are held each summer and winter. In the fourth lunar month of Tsurphu Tibetan calendar either the Guru Rinpoche or the Vajrakilaya Drupchen takes place. The practice events lasts for ten days and are followed by the traditional sacred lama dance of the eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava, Yidam dieties and other protectors. At the end of lunar year, in 12th month, Rumtek holds another festive ten day practice of the Mahakala Protector. This is followed by the traditional sacred lama dance of Mahakala.

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To experience such a historic Rumtek Monastery, you must select one of the best ‘Sikkim Holiday Packages’ available at various sites.

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Places of interest in South Sikkim

South Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim, the capital of which is Namchi. The people of south Sikkim are mainly of Nepali descent. Other ethnic group includes the Lepcha and Bhutia communities. Major urban centers include Teesta Bazaar and Melli. The district is also famous for its Sikkim Tea. Following are the places which must be included in your best selected ‘Sikkim Holiday Packages’.

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Namchi

Namchi, meaning “Sky High”, nestled among the hill at an elevation of 5,500 ft. commands panoramic view of the snowcapped mountains and vast stretches of valley. It is also the headquarters of the south district. The area is fast developing into a tourist destination with its immense potential for all round tourist activities. It is about 78 km from Gangtok and 100 km from Siliguri.

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Tendong Hill

A small flat stretch of land at an altitude of 8530 ft. surrounded by lush green ancient forest which is popularly known as the Tendong hill. As per history, this place is of recluse for Buddhist Lamas who spend years in meditation amidst the silent scenic grandeur. The view from top of the Tendong hill is something to be cherished and enjoyed as it spans across plains of Bengal to the majestic heights of the Himalayan range. One can also proceed to Namchi by trekking via Tendong Hill folloeing the traditional route used in the old days.

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Temi Tea Garden

The one and only tea existing in the state produces of the top quality teas in the international market. The tea garden is spread out on a gentle hill slope originating from the Tendong Hill and provides a magnificent view for the surrounding villages.

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Maenam Hill

Maenam towers above Tendong Hill on the other side overlooking the Ravangla Bazar settlement, situated at an altitude of 10,300 ft., the scenic view from this height is, perhaps, unmatched in this part of the world. The trekking from Maenam from Ravangala takes about 4 hours and from Maenam Hill top one has the option to take the gentle trek to Borong village.

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Ravangla

At the base of Maenam Hill is Ravangla, a small township and transit to various tourist destinations in south and west Sikkim. It is also an upcoming tourist spot and transit point for trekkers to Maenam hill and Borong. A trek down to the sacred cave ‘Shar Chok Bephu’, one of the four holist caves in Sikkim, would be a memorable experience.

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Phur Tsa Chu

Situated on the bank river Rangeet is the hot spring ‘Phur Tas Chu’ half an hour drive from Legship and one hour drive from Jorethang. Pilgrims of all walks of life come to dip in this hot spring during month of January to March.

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Varsey

It lies at an elevation of 10,000 ft. and has motorable roads access up to Hilley. An easy 4 km trek from there takes one up to Varsey rhododendron sanctuary.

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Guru Nanak In Sikkim – A Recreating Myth

Many of the religions in world are founded on various beliefs and myths, which may have certain historical evidence. But often these religions cannot be entirely supported. It is the believer’s faith that makes history out of this belief and gives it an additional support in the form of evidences gathered from stories, folklore, and many more such facts. Some of the newer religions are less dependent on myth, because the lives of their founders are relatively better documented. Most of the people thought that, a religion like Sikhism, with a known founder ‘Guru Nanak’, would therefore be more fact based, as opposed to say in case of Christianity or Hinduism.

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The footprints of Guru Nanak, in North Sikkim, along with a myth right out of Hindu or Buddhist tales was a revelation to many people, that perhaps every religion will make its own myths in the same way. Chungthang is a small town in North Sikkim, which is best known as a halt for folks heading on to the many picturesque and tourist areas of Lachung or Yumthang. I visited same place in the month of February, during which there is not wide rush of visitors. During the evening walk, I came to some signs which indicate the presence of a Gurudwara. By following these signs, we came to a small rock cordoned off, with a gurudwara nearby.

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There was a person in this Gurudwara, who is known to be a caretaker priest. He was a most welcoming person, who told us about the story of that place. The said that, ‘Guru Nanak, on one of his journeys along with his disciples, had come across this place and vanquished two demons here’. The footprints of that battle are still there on that cordoned off rock. The Gurudwara and pictures of Guru Nanak which had been placed around looked obviously newer.

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The priest was very sincere but was extremely puzzling. He even mentioned that the name Chungthang is derived from Punjabi word “Changa sthan” which means a good place. Guru Nanak had bestowed on this place. While returning to Gangtok, at our homestay, the owner told us that it was actually Guru Rinpoche (the Buddhist master), who had passed through Chungthang, and this myth had been taken over and assigned to Guru Nanak. Almost all online resources indicate it as Guru Nanak’s visit to Sikkim.

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Hope with this information it would be clear to you that the myth was of Guru Rinpoche and not that of Guru Nanak. With all this you will definitely enjoy your holidays at Sikkim, with the help of best ‘Sikkim Holiday Packages’ in an historical manner.

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Flora and Fauna in Sikkim

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Sikkim is located in an ecological hotspot of lower Himalayas, which is one of the three Eco regions of India. The snow covered mountains and lush green valleys are features of Sikkim. In Sikkim’s Forest large range of fauna and flora are found. Sikkim state also has wide variety of plants, from tropical species to temperate, alpine and tundra. Nearly 81% area of Sikkim comes under the administration of its forest department.

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Sikkim becomes home to about 5,000 species of flowering plants, 515 rare orchids, 60 primula species, 36 rhododendron species, 11 oak varieties, 23 bamboo varieties, 16 conifer species, 362 types of fern and ferns allies, 8 tree ferns and 424 medicinal plants. Christmas flower which is named as Poinsettia having different varieties are also found in abundance in the mountainous state. Official flower of Sikkim is Noble Dendrobium and rhododendron is state tree.

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In Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests of lower altitudes of Sikkim , Orchids, figs laurel, bananas, sal tree and bamboo tree grows. In Easter Himalayan broadleaf forests oaks, chestnuts, maples, birches, alders, and magnolias grow in large numbers as well as in Himalayan subtropical pine forests, dominated by Chir pine. Alpine type vegetation is found between altitudes of 3,500 to 5,000 meters. In lower altitudes are found juniper, pine, firs, cypresses and rhododendrons from eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows is home to a broad variety of rhododendrons and wildflowers.

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The fauna of Sikkim include snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan Tahr, red panda, Himalayan marmot, Himalayan serow, Himalayan goral, muntjac, common langur, Asian black bear, clouded leopard, marbled cat, leopard cat, dhol, Tibetian wolf, hog badger, binturong and Himalayan jungle cat. Yaks are more commonly found in alpine zone, mainly reared for their milk, meat and as a beast of burden.

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The avifauna of Sikkim contains the Impeyan pheasant, crimson horned pheasant, snow partridge, Tibetan snowcock, bearded vulture and griffon vulture, golden eagles, quails, plovers, woodcocks, sandpipers, pigeons, old world flycatchers, babblers and robins. Sikkim also has more than 550species of birds.

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Sikkim also has rich diversity of butterflies. Approximately 1,438 butterflies founded in Indian subcontinent, 695 have been recorded in Sikkim. These include endangered Kaiser-i-hind, the Yellow Gorgon and Bhutan Glory. ‘Sikkim Packages’ covered all these beautiful flora and Fauna in Sikkim state.

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