The Rumtek Monastery is located at Rumtek which is about 24 km from Gangtok. The monastery is one of the religious centres of the Tibetan Buddhists. It is also known as the Dharma Chakra Centre. It is located at an altitude of 5800 ft above sea level and it faces the city of Gangtok. It is one of the important centres of Kagyu lineage outside Tibet.
The Rumtek monastery is built in resemblance to the Tsurphu monastery of Tibet. This four-storeyed monastery is the biggest monastery in the whole of Sikkim. Following the Chinese aggression over Tibet, the 16th incarnate of the Gyalwa Karmapa of Tibet came to Rumtek with some monks.
The then Chogyal had gifted him an area of Rumtek so as to build a monastery and open a centre for religious studies. Behind the main structure of the monastery, there is a heavily decorated and beautiful Karma Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies where they have students from around the world.
There is also a little hall which has the Golden Stupa, a chorten which is jewel-studded. It is believed that this chorten has the ashes of His Holiness, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. The Rumtak Dharma Chakra Centre is located about 2 km away from the monastery.
The centre has a collection of the most unique religious scriptures and art objects. Apart from exhibiting these art objects, the centre also conducts annual dances during the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month every year. This is one of the most visited attractions of Sikkim.
The Buddha Park (Sakyamuni Project) in Sikkim was built by the natives of Rabong/Ravangla in the year 2006 to commemorate the 2550th birth anniversary of Lord Gautama Buddha. They built a statue of the Buddha to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Lord.
The project was taken forward as a part of encouraging tourism and pilgrimage in Ravangla and to develop the Buddhist Circuit in the state of Sikkim.
Dubdi Monastery is the first established and the oldest gompa in Sikkim. Established in 1701, it is a Tibetan monastery of the Nyingma sect and was set up by the Chogyals and is a part of the Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit. It is perched atop a hill and can be reached through a half an hour's walk from Yuksom.
The Dubdi monastery was also called the Hermit's Cell – after its founder Lhatsun Namkha Jigme and it happens to be the only monastery surviving among the four other monasteries constructed during the time of its establishment in Sikkim.
Dubdi Monastery is perched at a height of 7,000 ft and has very beautiful and artistic interiors. The walls of the gompa are painted with lovely images of gods and saints and the place houses a beautiful collection of books, texts and manuscripts.
Also present inside are the statues of three of the lamas who were responsible for Dubdi's establishment. Overall, it makes a very interesting spot to visit.
Dzongu is famous for its cardamom fields. And with Dzongu in Sikkim being quite an unexplored area, the place appears extremely beautiful, covered with dense fields of rice and cardamom plantations.
The weather conditions are perfectly suited for cardamom cultivation and the beauty of their cultivation lies in the fact that they are grown sans the usage of any modern pesticide or fertilizer. So when in Dzongu, make sure you stroll through the lovely fields of cardamom.
This one in Lachen is a place not to be missed while at Lachen. A freshwater lake, it is one of the highest water bodies in the world for being situated at an altitude of 5,210 m. It is present in the North Sikkim province and is only 5 km away from the south of China border.
The lake is situated towards the Northeast of Kanchenjunga range. During the winter months, the lake freezes completely. Present about 5 km ahead of this lake is the Tso Lhamo Lake. With prior permission from the army, one can trek from the Gurudongmar Lake to Tso Lhamo Lake.
The Gurudongmar Lake is named after the patron saint of Sikkim—Guru Padmasambhava—and is considered sacred. It is said that he conducted some religious rituals at the place and hence, a part of the lake never freezes even during the coldest months of the year.
Hot Springs in Sikkim are unique attractions that tourists to the state can make a visit for some refreshment. And the hot springs present at Jorethang are slowly becoming a rage among the travellers to the place. These hotsprings are rich in sulphur and are of a great therapeutic value. The average temperature of the water here is around 50°C and is all of useful medicinal properties.
The Kagjay of Kagju Gompa in Uttarey is a place of worship considered highly sacred. A local monastery, it is set amidst extremely picturesque settings and makes a beautiful sightseeing spot. A beautiful view of the Dentam Peak and the rivers around can also be enjoyed from the place. Also, the monastery also houses some wonderful wall paintings which would interest all art lovers.
The Kanchenjunga National Park was established in the year 1977. It is the largest national park in Sikkim and is spread along an area of 850 sq km in the North district of Sikkim. It is bordered by the Tent Peak in the north, the ridge of the Mount Lamo Angden in the east, Mount Narsing and Mount Pandim in the south and the Kanchenjunga mountain in the west.
Since the park is ecologically untouched, it is safe for animals. The species of animals found here include the snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, red panda and the barking deer. As some of the areas in the park are yet to be explored by man, there are chances that new species might be discovered among the habitats of the park.
The plant life in the park includes oaks, fir, birch, maple and willow. It also has alpine grasses and shrubs at areas with higher altitude along with herbs and other medicinal plants. The park is also known for the species of birds seen there that include the blood pheasant, satye tragopan, osprey, Himalayan griffon, lammergeier and the tragopan pheasant.
Lachung Monastery/gompa in Lachung is a famous holy place of worship in the tiny town. It is located at the confluence of two rivers - Lachung and Lachen and is at an altitude of 12,000 ft above sea level. It is a Nyngma Buddhist Gompa that was built in the year 1880. Surrounded by lovely apple orchards, the monastery provides alluring views of the countryside and the entire of the Lachung Valley.
The Lampokhari Lake is located near Rhenock and takes a three hours' drive from Gangtok. Those who wish to stay in peaceful environs for a night or two have the option to stay at the trekkers' huts or the lodges provided near the lake. One can also pay a visit to the nearby Lingsay Monastery and the Mankhim Temple.
A short trek can be taken around Aritar. There is a British-built bungalow located half a kilometer away from Aritar, which is also a place for the tourists to explore.
The Lampokhari Lake is one of the oldest natural lakes in Sikkim. It is located at an altitude of 4600 ft above sea level. The lake was recently renovated to provide boating facilities for tourists. The Lampokhari Lake is also called the Aritar Lake among the natives of Sikkim. This is, in fact, the only lake that provides paddle boating facilities in Sikkim.
The MG Marg is the main and a very important road in Gangtok that draws tourists towards in hoards all through the year. And it ought to be popular for it also happens to be the country's only spit- and litter-free lane and no vehicles are allowed to enter this road as well!
There are various attractions in this lane. While it is perfect to hang out at this street during evenings, it's a great place to shop at, with many interesting shops lined up on either sides of the fascinating lane. Also, there is a place called the Titanic Park where music is played exclusively for the visitors and tourists to sit, listen and relax, especially when the tourist inflow is high.
Also, it is here that the annual Gangtok food and cultural festival is held during December every year where a wide variety of tasty Sikkimese cuisines are available to relish. The event also includes cultural extravaganza and is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in Sikkim.
Rangit Water World is one of the best attractions of Sikkim for it is a total surprise for adventure lovers. It is a lake formed out of the waters from Rangit Dam, present amidst scenic settings. Situated close to Legship, it provides activities like river rafting, angling, fishing, boating and swimming. The water world was an initiative taken up by the local inhabitants of Legship.
Samdruptse Hill in Sikkim is an interesting destination to visit. In the Bhutia language, the name Samdruptse means 'wish fulfilling hill' and the place is a famous pilgrimage centre of Sikkim. Samdruptse lies close to Namchi in the South Sikkim region. It is at about 75 km from Gangtok.
The hill has gained popularity for the presence of a gigantic statue of Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche - the patron saint of Sikkim who is believed to have blessed the land of Sikkim.
The statue is about 135 ft tall and is the tallest figurine of his in the world. The foundation stone for the statue was laid by Dalai Lama in the year 1997 and the construction of the statue was completed in about three years of time. The construction was sponsored by the Sikkim State Government.
Sanga Choeling Monastery is situated on a hilltop which can be accessed by a 4 km walk up the hill through thick forests. The monastery was built in the 17th century by Lama Lhatsun Chempo.
The monastery is known to be a place of secret spells. It has a handsome collection of clay statues dating back to the 17th century. Though the monastery caught on fire several times, it was rebuilt each time.
Apart from the daily morning and evening prayers conducted in the monastery, the lamas recite special prayers here on the tenth day of every month of the Tibetan calendar. The Sanga Choeling Monastery is open only to males.