Sikkim – The Land of Kanchenjunga – Part 1

By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

Sikkim, the enchanting Mountain State in the Eastern Himalayas, is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. The land of the sacred Kanchenjunga borders Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan.

Kanchenjunga Mountain, the third highest mountain in the world, is sacred to the people of Sikkim. There are five peaks towering the sky, known as the ’Five Treasures of Snow’. These icy peaks of Kanchenjunga along with the enormous ridges make a formidable sight.

Kanchenjunga

Kanchenjunga| Image credit : @Fabhres on Twitter

 

In November 1994, I had travelled to Sikkim for Assembly Election, to oversee the work of CRPF Battalions as DIG Operations. During my month long stay in Sikkim I had the opportunity to travel throughout the state, and see its people and culture from close quarters.

 

The People of Sikkim

Bhutias and Lepchas, mainly Buddhists and Nepalis mostly Hindus lived in Sikkim. Bhutias and Lepchas talked in their Tibetan dialects while Nepalis talked in Nepali language.

The people of Sikkim depended mainly on agriculture. Rice and corn were the chief crops. Nepalis practised terraced cultivation. Lepchas were herb farmers growing cardamoms.

 

Gangtok

Enchey Monastery

Enchey Monastery| Image credit : @GlynWillett Dec on Twitter

 

During my stay at the capital Gangtok, I would go for morning walk regularly on an uphill road. One day I climbed higher and reached the heart of Gangtok. Then I took the solitary steep road for Enchey Monastery.

Enchey (Solitary) Monastery of Nyingma (Ancient) Order of Vajrayana Buddhism commanded a spectacular view of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga. I was amazed by the shining gold cupola of the monastery set amidst a serene atmosphere. The idol of ’Buddha’ was placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the Prayer Hall.  The paintings and murals adorned the ornate walls. I spent quite some time in the monastery absorbing the sacredness of the place.

I visited Tsomgo Lake in East Sikkim on Gangtok-Nathula Road (12400 feet) the area around the lake being the ideal habitat of the Red Panda, the State animal of Sikkim.

Kanchenjunga

Kanchenjunga |  Image credit : @1Amazing Planet on Twitter

 

South Sikkim

After a few days I left for South and West Sikkim. The Gangtok-Siliguri Road was coolly shaded by the forests with wonderful orchids, with the Teesta river flowing by. Between Rangpo and Melli the road was through West Bengal.

We drove through tropical forests, ascending a steep mountain on a zigzag road and reached Namchi the District Headquarters town of South Sikkim (5500 feet).

I found Namchi to be the finest town of Sikkim and by far the neatest. Namchi commanded the best panoramic view of the snow-covered mountains and the verdant valleys.

 

Namchi, Sikkim

Namchi, Sikkim, | Image credit : @screamingpiston on Twitter

 

Jorethang

Jorethang, Sikkim | Image credit : @Capertravel on Twitter

 

Jorethang in South Sikkim on the bank of Rangeet River was encircled by deep forests. Chirping birds and the fragrant wild flowers captivated the mind. At Jorethang I crossed Rangeet River to enter Naya Bazar (West Sikkim).

Keeping this post short,  I will continue with the narration of my travel to South, West and North Sikkim in the Part II .

 

Reference :

  1. North Eastern Council Secretariat Ministry of DoNER-India’s North East- Paradise Unexplored

 

 


This article is contributed by Bhudeb Chakrabarti, Dy IG (Retd) CRPF. He has commanded several Operational and Administrative functions in the force and has imparted training to gazetted officers of CRPF and other central & state police forces.

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Readers Comments (51)

  1. Makes me feel the entire Himalayan region is a must see. The lofty peaks, the scenic beauty and calm life is all worth the experience.

    You seem to have moved around a lot based on your posts.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti May 29, 2015 @ 8:17 am

      I agree with you .The Himalayas from the western to the eastern end captivate us with the majestic
      snow capped peaks and picturesque landscape .Many thanks for your valuable comments .

      Reply
  2. Only lucky few get to go there I feel🙏

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti May 29, 2015 @ 8:23 am

      Yes we feel lucky to be able to see the splendid scenic beauty of the Himalayas.
      Thanks for liking my post .

      Reply
  3. It looks beautiful Somali. I have been wanting to visit the NE part of India from a long time, more for its scenic beauty and the culture. India truly is a treasure unexplored 🙂

    Reply
  4. Haven’t been to Sikkim but heard a lot about it. Those who visited Sikkim have something nice to say about the place.

    Wonderful post Sir!

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti May 29, 2015 @ 8:54 pm

      I visited Sikkim last in November 1994 . However the memories of Sikkim are still
      fresh in my mind .I hope you will have the opportunity of visiting Sikkim and be able to
      see its pristine natural beauty .I am really grateful for your kind appreciation .

      Reply
  5. Beautiful post. Kanchenjunga looks as though it is floating in the first image. In the second, it looks like it is on fire. I have taken note of Namchi. Will visit someday 🙂

    Reply
  6. I never visited Sikkim but have heard a lot about the snow capped peak of Kanchenjunga Mountain and yes, the Tsomgo Lake…I heard that it is beauty to watch in winter. Lovely description of the path and the valley. I can see through how wonderful it would be to go for a morning walk in such fascinating places of nature.
    Looking forward to the next part…
    Have a nice weekend.
    😀

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti May 29, 2015 @ 9:14 pm

      The view of Kanchenjunga is fascinating from Gangtok and other places of Sikkim .Tsomgo Lake at a height of 12400 feet is worth visiting in winter when you see snowfall and lake covered by snow .I took morning walk daily during my Sikkim sojourn .I am grateful to you for your valuable opinion and fine words in talking about Sikkim .I fervently wish you get a chance to visit Sikkim .Regards .

      Reply
  7. I have visited Sikkim six times 😀 and, I’m completely in love with the place. A very nice account, Sir. It’s always a delight to read about Sikkim…. 🙂

    Reply
  8. One of the best places in India, Period.

    Reply
  9. Sikkim is really paradise on earth. Have visited it twice the last one courtesy you in 1994 December. I still remember the first visit with you in 1980 when you moved there with your Unit. The only scary part was the road and I vividly remember my fear as a 10 year old sitting in the back benches of the CO’s Jonga and staring down at the Teesta a few hundred feet below. Wow.

    Reply
  10. Beautiful Scenic Spot…. The Photographs are truly amazing…. A good Post!

    Reply
  11. bhudeb chakrabarti May 30, 2015 @ 10:56 am

    Grateful thanks for your kind appreciation .Regards .

    Reply
  12. Wonderful post!

    Reply
  13. It is so beautiful… Thank you Bhudeb sir for sharing this experience 🙂 It’s so well narrated that I could smell cardamom here 🙂

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti May 30, 2015 @ 2:20 pm

      I am grateful for kind appreciation and valuable comments from an enlightened
      person like you . Regards .

      Reply
  14. Beautiful place. It’s like the feeling of sitting in the lap of nature. Thanks,Bhudeb Shahab, for this wonderful post.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti May 30, 2015 @ 6:19 pm

      Sikkim is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my life .Natural splendours of Sikkim are yet to be explored fully. I am grateful for your encouragement .Regards .

      Reply
  15. I would love to be here for sure! 🙂

    Reply
  16. I love Sikkim and your cool photos of snow capped peaks and gorgeous monasteries have made a scorching Delhi day bearable.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti May 31, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

      Many thanks for your beautiful words about Sikkim nestled amidst the snow covered Kanchenjunga .Its age old serene monasteries on the top of the cool mountains draw
      us with a magical charm .Regards .

      Reply
  17. What a lovely post this is. The pictures and descriptions are spellbinding. I would love to visit it some day soon.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 1, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

      Many thanks for your kind appreciation .Wish you get the opportunity to
      visit the scenic Eastern Himalayan State Sikkim soon . Regards .

      Reply
  18. Made for a wonderful read, and reminded me of the days I visited there as a child! North East is a beauty…

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 2, 2015 @ 10:29 am

      Childhood impressions are the most lasting impressions .Many thanks for your
      kind appreciation . Regards .

      Reply
  19. I visited Sikkim in March 1997, have plenty of analog data on that place. Your pics and description took me there again.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 3, 2015 @ 4:16 pm

      You know Sikkim very well .I am grateful to you for your kind appreciation of my post on Sikkim.
      Regards.

      Reply
  20. Sikkim has become a popular destination for holiday strived indian tourists. Certain tourists need to go through an orientation course on how to avoid litters before entering such serene posts.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 4, 2015 @ 10:20 am

      You are quite correct .We must respect the serene atmosphere and endeavour to preserve
      its pristine beauty .

      Reply
  21. Sikkim is said is the abode of God itself. The pictures shared by you are really amazing. you were there in 19994 so I think today after 20 yrs long gap , there may be a lot of change but the culture can not change so early. Now move to 2nd part.

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 4, 2015 @ 5:47 pm

      Sikkim is the sacred land of the Kanchenjunga. The peaks of Kanchenjunga are difficult to scale. It is said that powerful deities reside in the Kanchenjunga and protect the people. I have not visited Sikkim after 1994 My impressions of 1994 visit have been engraved in my memory. I agree changes are bound to occur. However the pristine beauty of Sikkim and its traditions and culture will inspire us. My grateful thanks to you for your well considered opinion and appreciation.

      Reply
  22. Lovely post on Sikkim. Have you been to Bir and Chauntra in Himachal Pradesh?

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 17, 2015 @ 11:38 am

      I am thankful to you for your kind appreciation of my post on Sikkim .I have not been able
      to visit beautiful Himachal Pradesh so far. I would very much like to see Bir and Chauntra
      mentioned by you when I go to Himachal Pradesh .

      Reply
  23. Sure, do see beautiful Himachal Pradesh and you could check out this blog post link-

    http://bestplacesofinterest.com/blog/2015/03/05/an-inspiring-and-a-rejuvenating-trip-to-himalayas/

    Reply
  24. Amazing. I am tempted to visit this year itself 🙂

    Reply

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