Sikkim – The Land of Kanchenjunga – Part 1

Sikkim – The Land of Kanchenjunga – Part 1

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 the 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 a 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 is 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 wildflowers 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 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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  • author's avatar

    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

  • author's avatar

Somali K Chakrabarti

Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle - from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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

    • bhudeb chakrabarti

      June 3, 2015 at 4:16 pm

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

  • 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.

    • bhudeb chakrabarti

      June 4, 2015 at 10:20 am

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

  • 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.

    • bhudeb chakrabarti

      June 4, 2015 at 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.

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

    • bhudeb chakrabarti

      June 17, 2015 at 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 .

  • Amazing. I am tempted to visit this year itself :)

  • Beautiful post indeed . Sikkim is truly amazing in culture and in beauty . You were DIG ? Great :)

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