West Sikkim: The Base of Kangchenjunga

West Sikkim
Courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons | Creator: Mark Horrell

West Sikkim is the perfect destination for you. With its breathtaking landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and vibrant cultural heritage, West Sikkim Tourism offers a unique and enriching experience for travelers. In this article, we will take you on a journey to explore the prominent tourist destinations in West Sikkim and some hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered.

West Sikkim is a renowned destination for travelers who seek the awe-inspiring beauty of Mount Kanchenjunga. This region, which shares a border with Nepal, is known not only for its breathtaking natural landscapes but also for its religious significance. Home to some of the oldest monasteries in the world, the western part of Sikkim is a mecca for those seeking spiritual enlightenment.

The breathtaking view of Mount Kanchenjunga from the southeastern side is a major draw for tourists from all over the globe. The stunning natural scenery and peaceful ambiance have a rejuvenating effect on the mind, body, and soul. The ancient Sangachoeling and Pemayangtse Monasteries are significant religious sites, attracting both Buddhists and followers of other faiths seeking inner peace. The dense forests and the holy Khecheopalri Lake are other major attractions in West Sikkim for tourists and pilgrims alike.

Popular Places to Visit in West Sikkim

Pelling

Pelling Sky Walk
Courtesy: Wikimedia Creative Commons | Creator: Rangan Datta Wiki

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga, Pelling is a picturesque town that offers a panoramic view of the majestic Himalayas. The town is famous for its ancient monasteries, natural hot springs, and serene waterfalls. The most popular tourist attractions in Pelling include Pemayangste Monastery, Sangachoeling Monastery, Khecheopalri Lake, and Rimbi Waterfalls.

The Sanga Choeling area has a captivating new addition in the form of a colossal 137-foot statue of Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) and a breathtaking Sky Walk crafted from glass that provides a clear path to the statue. Inaugurated in November 2018, this impressive landmark has since become a major draw for visitors.

Yuksam

Coronation Throne of Norbugang near Yuksam
Courtesy: Wikimedia Creative Commons | Creator: Jayashree Sengupta

Yuksam is a historic town that served as the first capital of Sikkim. The town is surrounded by dense forests and rolling hills, making it a paradise for nature lovers. Some of the must-visit places in Yuksam are Dubdi Monastery, Norbugang Park, and Kathok Lake.

The town of Yuksom has shifted towards a tourism-centric economy, with a focus on Himalayan trekking to the Khangchendzonga mountain and the Khangchendzonga National Park, which serves as the base camp. The Rathong Chu River in West Sikkim is the route for the renowned Yuksom-Dzongri trek, which is popular among trekkers seeking an adventure in high altitudes. This trek offers a breathtaking view of dense forests and alpine lakes, which are surrounded by stunning mountain ranges. The trek culminates at Khangchendzonga, a majestic mountain that stands tall and attracts adventure enthusiasts from all around the world.

Geyzing  (or Gyalshing)

Rabdentse Ruins Geyzing Sikkim
Courtesy: Wikimedia Creative Commons | Creator: Paramanu Sarkar

Gyalshing is the administrative headquarters of West Sikkim and a bustling town that offers a glimpse into the local way of life. The town is surrounded by verdant forests and is home to many ancient monasteries and temples. The most prominent tourist attractions in Gyalshing are the Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdentse Ruins, and Tashiding Monastery.

Just a few kilometers away from Geyzing is the enchanting hilltop of Yangtey, situated on a cliff with breathtaking scenic views. Visitors can witness the magnificent Kanchenjunga Mountains and the river Rangeet flowing straight down from the top. Besides its natural beauty, Geyzing is also renowned for its monasteries, attracting numerous Buddhist pilgrims to the town.

Khecheopalri Lake

Foot bridge to Khecheolpalri Lake
Courtesy: Wikimedia Creative Commons | Creator: Kothanda Srinivasan

Located near Pelling, Khecheopalri Lake is a sacred lake that is revered by both Buddhists and Hindus. Legend has it that the lake is a wish-fulfilling lake and is also known as the “wishing lake.” Surrounded by dense forests and rolling hills, the lake offers a serene and tranquil ambiance, making it a perfect spot for meditation and introspection.

The Khecheopalri Lake is a significant feature of the revered “Demazong” valley, which translates to “the valley of rice”. The valley is renowned as a land of hidden treasures and the lake itself is an essential part of the Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit. Efforts have been made to conserve the lake and the Khangchendzonga National Park from a biodiversity perspective, with the promotion of ecotourism and pilgrimage as important outcomes. Visitors to the area can experience the natural beauty of the landscape while also immersing themselves in the cultural and spiritual significance of the region.

Kanchenjunga National Park

kanchenjunga national park e1680761397315

Spread over an area of 1,784 square kilometers, Kanchenjunga National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The park is home to diverse flora and fauna, including the elusive snow leopard, red panda, and Himalayan black bear. The park also offers various trekking trails, including the famous Goechala Trek, which takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Himalayas.

The majority of the trekking routes in the region traverse through the Khangchendzonga National Park, showcasing the diverse flora and fauna of the area to trekkers and adventure enthusiasts.

Best Time to Visit West Sikkim

The ideal time to explore West Sikkim is in the summer months when the climate is comfortable. However, the winter season should be avoided due to the extreme subzero temperatures. Another ideal time to plan a visit is during the months of October and November.

West Sikkim Tourism offers a unique and enriching experience for travelers looking for a serene and offbeat getaway. Whether you want to explore prominent tourist destinations or discover hidden gems, West Sikkim has something for everyone. From the ancient monasteries and temples to the pristine lakes and waterfalls, the beauty of West Sikkim will leave you spellbound. Plan your West Sikkim tour today and experience the magic of the Himalayas.

(To know more about Sikkim State Tourism check the link here.)

Leave a Reply