I consider it as a blessing to have visited North Sikkim. It is the largest of the four districts of Sikkim and certainly one of the most beautiful and serene places one can visit.
The place is characterised by high mountains and steep valleys. The vegetation varies from thick forests till alpine heights from where onwards it turns into a barren desert at northern borders with China. The altitude varies from 2000 ft at Mangan to excess of 6000 metres in the North.
The district is divided into two divisions; Mangan and Chungthang. Mangan is the largest producer of cardamoms in the world. We visited the famous Chungthang Sikh Shrine of Gurudwara Nanak Lama Sahib at Chungthang. Guru Nanak visited Chungthang around 1516 AD and helped locals grow paddy in the area.
Chungthang is the confluence of the Lachung and the Lachen Valleys. Lachung flows to the North to Chatten, Kanchendzonga national park, and Lake Gurudongmar. Lachen flows to the North East Sikkim and takes the traveller to Lachen Village, Yumse-samdong and the famous Shingba Rhododendron sanctuary and the valley of flowers. There are beautiful monasteries to lend the spiritual effect.
Places of Interests…..
The drive is not easy, roads narrow and weather beaten. The monsoon subjects the road to large landslides. The effect can be felt all year around when one drives on these roads. I have been witness to a major landslide. The rocks and the loose mud came crushing down and buried the Bulldozer clearing the road. Fortunately, the driver managed to get to safety in time. The travelers should avoid visiting this area in monsoon.
I have been to Sikkim in all seasons ; have driven and walked through better part of the state. The natural beauty of lofty mountains, steep valleys, green forests and the riot of colours one witnesses in the valley of flowers in North Sikkim is unique. Every sight you see will leave an indelible mark on your memory. Strolling along the mountain streams or just spending time with yourself sitting on a rock by one of the many lakes or rivers all grounds and calms you.
The drive to Lake Gurudongmar is long, tiring and really tests both the man and the machine. Every minute spent in the serene and tranquil environment will definitely rejuvenate and refresh you like nothing else has ever done.
The best season to visit is from April to June before the monsoon sets in. Travellers have to obtain Protected area permits to travel to North Sikkim. But all the efforts is worth it. I can say with conviction that you wouldn’t have been to any place as beautiful and interesting as North Sikkim ever before. It is only the blessed who get an opportunity to visit places like this.
You will go back a happy and contended human being. I am sure your outlook to life will undergo a change for better. Please do ensure that you are in good health and have a strong heart before you venture into this beautiful part of India.
Please do enjoy this beautiful clip.