At the far end of the Himalaya lies Sikkim, sandwiched between Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. The tiny Himalayan state in India that is blessed with pristine and unspoiled natural beauty, resting in the lap of the mighty Himalaya guarded and protected by Mt Khangchendzonga and the towering mountains and sanctified by the age – old monasteries on almost every hilltop.
Sikkim present a diorama of diverse culture, religion, rich biodiversity unequal led scenic beauty, spiritualism and adventure.
Come and enjoy the unique Sikkim experience – A journey for life time!
TREKKING IN THE NATIONAL PARK OF KHANGCHENDZONGA
This splendid trek is a great combination of culture, demanding trekking with awesome astonishing views of Mt Khangchendzonga ( 8,598 m) 3 highest mountain in the World, Mt Pandim, Mt Kabru, Mt Narsing that rise from the dappled verdant silence virgin woodlands of oak, walnut and with dense Rhododendron forests ( bloom at end of April, May)
The Yuksom Dzongri trekking trail is the most beautiful trek in Sikkim located in the National Park of Khangchendzonga. The route passes through almost entirely uninhabited and remarkable pristine forests past tiny yak herders summer settlements, remote monasteries up to an extensive alpine pasture of 4030 m to Dzongri which has breathtaking views of the Khangchendzonga mountain range.
You will also experience and ancient Himalayan heritage filled with culture and tradition with limitless natural beauty of the land. You will discover places in Sikkim which holds profound spiritual expression by merely visiting some of the most sacred places in the World.
Flight to Bagdroga airport in West Bengal from Delhi, Calcutta or Mumbai. You will be greeted by our local representative from Sikkim and travel by car to Gangtok, Sikkim (approximately 5 hrs). The journey will follow the Teesta River to the Himalayas passing small towns and villages. You will stop for lunch on the way and arrive in the late afternoon at your hotel in Gangtok where you will eat dinner.
Gangtok is the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim. The snowclad Mount Khangchendzonga and its ranges can be seen from the east of the city.
After breakfast we will travel to the world famous Dharma Chakra Centre in Rumtek. It is a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet belonging to His Holiness Karmapa of the Kagyupa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is the biggest monastery in Sikkim. Rumtek is beautifully located on a hilltop opposite Gangtok.
In the afternoon, you will take a walking tour in the interesting lanes of Gangtok and to the colorful market. In the evening we are invited to our family friends to have dinner and taste delicious home cooked Sikkimese food together. We will also enjoy storytelling largely about the great Mt Khangchendzonga, the Guardian deity of the Sikkimese people.
The legend of Mt Khangchendzonga, worshipped as the Guardian Deity of Sikkim is the 3rd highest mountain in the world at a soaring height of 8,598 m. Khangchendzonga means 5 treasures of great snow. According to Sikkimese belief it is the repository of Minerals, Grain, Weapons, Salt and Holy Scriptures. It is believed that all these treasures will be available to Sikkim people in times of need.
After breakfast we will proceed to West Sikkim and our destination Yuksom, a small Himalayan village often known as the natural alter of Mt Khangchendzonga. It is here the first Chogyal (King) of Sikkim was crowned by three great lamas from Tibet in 1642. Yuksom is considered one of the most sacred places, here you can find wish fullfilling lakes, old monasteries and many legends of the land. Yuksom is the starting point of our trek in The Khangchendzonga National Park.
Our journey to Yuksom will take 5 to 6 hours through a fantastic landscape, with beautiful views, waterfalls and streams.
We will stop for lunch at Rabangla in South Sikkim and visit a beautiful Buddhist pilgrimage center before we continue our journey to Yuksom where we will reach our hotel in the afternoon.
Early in the morning we will prepare and pack our yaks and dzos, we start our journey with a local trekking guide, porters and cook. We enter The Khangchendzonga National Park which is regarded as one of the most important hotspots of biodiversity in India. It has an elevation of 1,829 metres to over 8,598 metres and has an area of 849.50 km2. The vegetation in the park includes temperate broadleaf, oak, birch, maple, willow, fir etc. The park also includes alpine grasses and shrubs at higher altitude together with many medicinal plants and herbs.
The park has many mammal species: red panda, snow leopard, Himalayan thar, wild dog, musk deer, sloth bear, civet, Himalayan black bear, Tibetan wild ass, Himalayan blue sheep, gloral, serow and takin as well as reptiles including the rat snake and russell’s viper.
About 550 species of birds are found in the park including blood pheasant, satyr tragopan, osprey, tragopan, green pigeon, Tibetan snow cock, snow pigeon, asian emerald cuckoo sunbird, Himalayan griffon, lammergeier and eagle.
The trekking trail from Yuksom to Bhakim is through a thick oak and walnut forest with many streams and waterfalls, the last one and half hours before reaching Bhakim is a steep climb. We will stay overnight at Bhakim in a Government lodge or in our tents. We will have delicious local food for dinner.
The areas around Bhakim and Tsoka have an abundance of orchids and if you are lucky you may also encounter a Red Panda, the state animal of Sikkim. Tsoka itself is the last village on this trekking route, it is a settlement of Tibetan farmers. We will spend our day relaxing to acclimatise to the high altitude and to enjoy the beautiful village and stay overnight in a lodge or tent.
The ethnic composition of Sikkims population is extremely varied, rich and colorful. The different communities can be grouped in 3 main categories:
The Lepchas are the earliest ethnic group in Sikkim and their origin is unknown. They may have originated in Myanmar, Tibet or Mongolia but they firmly believe that they are indigenous. It was during the 13th century that the Tibetans came to Sikkim and the relationship between the Lepchas and Tibetan(Bhutias) began with the signing of a blood brotherhood by the Lepcha Chief Thekong Tek and Tibetan Prince Khye Bumsa. The Bhutias who immigrated to Sikkim claimed descent from Prince Khye Bumsa. Today the Lepchas and Bhutias represent less than 20% of Sikkim’s inhabitants of about 610,000.
The second group of people are of Nepalese origin who migrated to Sikkim in large numbers in early 1860. They now represent more than 75% of the population. The third group of people are from the plains of India. During the Chinese invasion in Tibet in 1959 many Tibetans also fled to Sikkim.
The route from Tsoka to Dzongri has beautiful views and is almost entirely lined with rhododendron forests and silver fir. The trek is quite a steep upward walk crossing many beautiful viewpoints. We arrive in the afternoon at Dzongri base camp and stay overnight in tents.
There are about 36 species of rhododendrons found at high altitude and they vary in size, from only a few centimeters to 12 metres high, and in color. Sikkim ranges from tropical to alpine, the flora and fauna is unique in its diversity. It is home to around 5,000 species of flowering plants, 60 primula species, 11 oak varieties, 23 bamboo varieties, 16 conifer species, 362 types of ferns and ferns allies, 8 tree ferns and over 424 medicinal plants.
The state tree of Sikkim is the rhododendron and the orchid is the state flower of which Sikkim has about 515 rare varieties.
Sikkim is a ‘paradise on earth’ and is truly blessed by nature!
Early in the morning we will go for a sunrise view and walk to Dzongri pass from where the view of the Khangchendzonga range looks ominously close. Facing you are the Kabru Dome, Frey Peak, Kokthang, Kabur, Rathong, Pandim, Talung and the Khangchendzongas peaks standing aloof in all their celestial beauty.
After a relaxing break we will enjoy walking around beautiful Dzongri, to different views points ever closer to the peaks of Khangchendzonga. A magical stay overnight under the sky full of stars in tents.
Appr. 5 to 6 hrs trekking
We will pack and take everything with us ensuring that nature is left as it was, clean and beautiful. Our trek goes to Tsoka which will be a new experience as the trail looks very different. We will enjoy beautiful views and have lunch on our way before our overnight stay in Tsoka.
The trek to Yuksom is via Bhakim. It is about a 12 km trek which will take us approximately 5 hours. In the evening we will have a farewell dinner with the local trekking crew at Tashigang hotel where we will stay overnight.
A day to experience the cultural heritage of Yuksom and the way of life in the village. We will visit families and also religious and historical places of importance.
After lunch, we will transfer to Pelling and on route visit Kheopheleri Lake. The lake is sacred and is believed to be wish fulfilling. The lake remains hidden under the rich forest cover and amazingly the birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the surface.
We arrive at Pelling in the late afternoon and stay overnight at a heritage mountain hotel, the Elgin Mount Pandim.
Our hotel is very close to Pemayangste Monastery (The Sublime Lotus) which is perched on a hilltop and commands the most sublime view of Mt Khangchendzonga National Park. The monastery was built in 1701 and its main attraction is the wooden replica of Zangdog Palri, the celestial abode of Guru Padmasambhava, also called Guru Rinpoche. We will also see an interesting fresco painting of the coronation ceremony of Sikkim's first Chogyal at Yuksom .
Early in the morning we will visit the Pemayangste Monastery and witness the tantric rituals performed by the lamas (monks). The monastery belongs to the Nyingma Sect in Tibetan Buddhism.
After breakfast at the hotel we proceed to Bagdroga Airport in West Bengal to take our domestic flight in the afternoon which will take approximately 5 hrs.