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Trekking in Sikkim
Trekking in Sikkim

The state of Sikkim is like a trekkers paradise. Sikkim is the ultimate holiday destination for the trekkers that offers easy and short trekking routes to the trekking enthusiasts. While trekking one covers the beautiful views of the snowy peaks, the spectacular Himalayas, beautiful gompas, colourful hamlets, meadows, forests and orchards. The trekking in Sikkim can be a wonderful experience and its memories are cherished lifelong. As you start trekking through the valley, you would be able to notice that the mountains take up strange and wonderful shapes and the beauty of the Himalayas is unexpected. From a distance these mountains may seem formidable and unapproachable but as you approach near them they seem to welcome you into the beautiful forests. Technical climbing experience is not necessary as most of the trek routes are between 6000 and 14,000 feet. The best time to trek in Sikkim is between mid of February to May and from October to December. The foreigners have to obtain permits for trekking on most of the routes in Sikkim. Some of the famous trekking routes in Sikkim are the Yoksum – Dzongri Trek, Tashi View Point – Tinjure trek, Base Camp – Garakhet Trek, Phalut - Singelila - Chiwabhanjang trek, Hilley - Varsey Trek and Damthang - Tendong Trek.

Tashi View Point - Tinjure Trek

Tashi View Point – Tinjure trek is a very easy trek that can be comfortably covered on a day. This trek starts from the Tashi View Point and ends at Tinjure and covers Animal Husbandry Department, G.B. Pant Institute, Fambanglho Forest Sanctuary. One has to reach Tashi View Point by vehicles and then walk for a few kilometers on the road to Pangthang and Dichkcu till the Log hut of the Agriculture Department. From here the bridle path begins skirting the Experimental farm of G.B. Pant Institute at a moderate steep and takes through the dense Fambongala Forest Sanctuary in about two hours. The last stretch of half an hour is rather steep and one has to cross the trees that have fallen across the path. The ground is soft and bouncy at some of the places. The trek ends at Tinjure. Tinjure lies on the highest point on the Rumtek hill opposite Gangtok, at an altitude of about 7500 feet. Tinjure has a three storey wooden observation tower festooned with prayer flags on concrete stilts and offers a breathtaking view of the town of Gangtok. It overlooks both Gangtok and the Tista valleys and on the northeastern horizon lies the Siniolchu range. The trek back to Tashi View Point takes less than three hours.

Yoksum - Dzongri Trek

Yoksum – Dzongri Trek is not a easy track and can be covered in one to two days. This trek starts from the Yoksum and ends at Dzongri and covers Dubdi monastery and Bakhim. There is a proper trekking bridle path between Yoksum and Dzongri. The best time to take this trek is from the months of April to June and September to November. To start the trek one has to first reach Yoksum by vehicles. Yoksum was the first capital of Sikkim and the first Chogyal was consecrated here by the three holy Lamas. The spot where this ceremony took place in 1642 can still be seen here. Yoksum is also the starting point of trekking. After reaching Yoksum, one can start trek. Guides, porters, yaks, tents, sleeping bags and other trekking equipment are also easily available for rent at Yoksum. From Yoksum, a walk for about half an hour will take you to the Dubdi monastery. This monastery is one of the oldest monastery in Sikkim. After an hour of a flat track the climb begins. A walk for another four hours on a path lined with trees takes you to Bakim. From Bakim you have to trek for another hour and reach Choka. Choka is a small village that consist of about a dozen houses and a monastery. Most of these houses offers accommodation and food at a nominal cost. One can stop at Choka or trek further to Dzongri for about 10 kms. The trek to Dzongri takes about 4 hours. Dzongri has only two trekker’s huts without any other habitation. The bridle path at Dzongri divides into two footpaths, the first path leads to the Base Camp and the other path leads to the Goechela pass.

Base Camp – Boktak – Laxmipokari – Garakhet Trek

Base Camp – Boktak – Laxmipokari – Garakhet trek starts from the base camp. The base camp is located at 15000 feet about 9 kilometers away from Dzongri and takes about three hours to reach. There are various trekker’s hut in the Base Camp which are owned by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. From the Base Camp, a steep climb takes you to a pass at about 17000 feet and a vertical, knee wobbling drop enables one to reach deep down in a flat valley surrounded by the huge granite cliffs. On the way you will also come across a river. Another vertical climb up brings you at Khangerden with its lone hut. This trek of 6 kms takes about three hours. From Khangerden the trek to Boktak through Tiyabla is relatively easy going and takes about six hours. If you start early in the morning from Base Camp, you can comfortably reach Boktak in the late afternoon. One can have a night stay in Boktak. On the next day you can view the most beautiful lakes in this remote area. A moderate climb of about two and half hours through Chirpuk reaches you to the Majur Pokhari, the banks of lake. This lake looks like the wings of a bird that glistens brightly. No one has been able to explain this illusion, but it is said that it is due to the reflection of light. Above the Majur Pokari are two twin lakes called the Ram-Laxman lakes. During the trek one will come across a number of such twin lakes knwn as the Ram-Laxman lakes. Now you will stop at Gomathang, one kilometer below on a riverside. On the third day the steep climb from Gomathang will take you to the Laxmipokari lake. Laxmipokari is such a big lake that can be photographed very easily without using a wide angle lens. A steep switchback trail from the rim takes you to the lake-side where a small wooden temple has been constructed. From Laxmipokari towards Garakhet lies another relatively flat Ram Laxman lake and Bhut Pokhari before you reach the pass. A moderate drop from the pass takes you to Lampokhari lake, whose length is considerably more than its width. Before you reach Garakhet you pass by a small lake called the Haspokhari which is in the shape of a swan. One can have an overnight stay at Garakhet. On the fourth day you will walk up to Timbong pokhari, situated on the border of Nepal and Sikkim. Timbong pokhari is located about an hours walk from Garakhet and this lake is considered to be very holy lake and is oval in shape. Pilgrims from both Nepal and Sikkim visit this lake regularly. Devotees have strung small bells on the lakeside as it is believed it brings good luck. On the fifth day you will reach Base Camp back from Timbong Pokhari with a night at Boktak.

Phalut - Singelila - Chiwabhanjang Trek

Phalut - Singelila - Chiwabhanjang trek starts from Phalut and ends in Chiwabhanjang. Phalut is situated near the trijuction of Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim. This trek lies on the ridge of the razor-edged Singelila range that defines the boundary between Sikkim and Nepal. Singelila is situated at an altitude of 13000 feet which is the highest point on this route and after which the whole western range of Sikkim is named. From Singelila one can view the Mount Kangchendzonga that lies above the valley, the Chola range in the east, hills of Nepal in the west and the Nepal village of Cheng Thapu below the range. On the Singelila range the air is in a continuous state of turmoil. These clouds sometimes move from the Nepal side to Sikkim and sometimes it is the other way round. You would also be able to view the Yaks on your route. From Phalut, the trek to Chiwabhanjang is only for about three hours. Chiwabhanjang forms a pass to Nepal and two small lakes known as Bhut-Pokaris are situated here. At Chiwabhanjang, an inspection bunglow is located as a mute testimony of the British presence here in the old days to keep off the Nepalis from attacking Sikkim, which is now in ruins.

Hilley - Varsey Trek

Hilley - Varsey Trek lies in the south-western corner of Sikim. This trek starts from Hilley and ends in Varsey. For the trek, one has to first reach Hilley by road via Sombaria. The trek from Hilley to Varsey is about four kilometers, about one hour approximately. Varsey is located at an altitude of 10100 feet. Silver firs, hemlocks, magnolia and rhododendrons are found in equal abundance in Hilley but as one approaches Varsey, the rhodondendrons are mainly found there and during the month of March they are a riot of red colour. A Lodge is also there at Varsey and one has to walk a few hundred yards ahead to catch a view to Chiwabhanjang on the Singalelah range. The village of Burikhop can also be seen down the valley.

Damthang - Tendong Trek

Damthang - Tendong Trek starts from Damthang and ends in Tendong. Damthang is located about 14 kms from Namchi on the Gangtok-Namchi (via Temi) road. One first has to reach Damthang from Gangtok. From Damthang, one has to walk for about one and a half hour on a foothpath through thick forest of the Tendong Forest sanctuary to reach Tendong. The forest contains a variety of different species of vegetation. The trunks and branches of trees are heavily festooned with clinging beard like moss. Tendong is situated at an altitude of about 8500 feet on a small plateau on the top of the mountain. Tendong offers a beautiful view of the mountain ranges like the Chola Range, the Singelia range, Kangchendzonga range and the Gurudogmar peak and as well as a breathtaking view of sunrise and sunset. Darjeeling, Gyalshing, Nathula, a part of Gangtok and the rolling plains of Siliguri can also be discerned from here. From other parts of Sikkim, Tendong looks like a volcano and according to the legends it was in fact once an active volcano which is now dormant. There is also a story according to which a man and a woman saved themselves on its summit during the great flood that once inundated the world. Two small one-room monasteries are also situated here. One of the monastery is old and in the verge of ruins and the other one has been constructed newly. An observation tower also has been constructed here for the convenience of tourists.

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