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Namchi, Sikkim

Information about Namchi

Namchi is the prosperous market town. The district headquarters of the South District are at Namchi literally translated as the "Top of the Sky". Anyone visiting West Sikkim has to traverse through the South District before entering the West. The main attraction of Namchi are the two gigantic statues. These two vast statues will be facing off from opposite hillsides across Namchi. The Buddhist one at Samdruptse is already finished, the Hindu one at Solophok is still under construction.

Tourist Attracions in Namchi

Namchi Sikkim
The tourist attractions in Namchi are Samdruptse, Solophok.

Painted in shimmering copper and bronze tones, the impressively vast 45 m Padmasambhava statue stops just short of Kitsch. Completed in 2004 on a foundation stone laid by the Dalai Lama, it is visible from miles around, shining like a golden cone amid the forests of Samdruptse hill. The site is 7 km from Namchi, 2 kms. off the Damthang road. Alternatively you could walk back to Namchi, short-cutting via steps down to and through a rock garden or follow the nose of the Samdruptse hill down to Ngadak Gompa. Ngadak’s ruined old dzong, dating back to 1717, is delightfully ‘real’ despite the unsightly steel buttressing that stops it from falling down. Its unpainted stone exterior incorporates ancient carved door pillars and upstairs fragments of painting remain on the peeling old cloth wallpaper.

As if one gigantic statue were not enough, work is proceeding at a fast rate to raise a new 33 m (108 feet) Shiva statue on Solophok hilltop. Due for completion in mid 2008, the site is expected to become a major pilgrimage point. A surrounding complex of temples and visitor pavilions is already partly built. Solophok is 6 kms from central Namchi. The access road passes the hospital and stadium, winds around the base of the interesting Dechen Gompa, then continues up past Dungmali Guesthouse.

Excursions from Namchi

Padmasambhava Sikkim

Jorethang is the useful transport hub between West Sikkim and could make a launching point for visits to interesting but lesser known Sikkimese villages like Rinchenpong (country getaways) or Reishi (hot springs and holy cave). At its westernmost edge, Jorethang’s most striking feature is the Akar Suspension Bridge, 400m north of which are the passingly photogenic roadside Shiva niches of Sisne Mandir.

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