Lachung and Yumthang are the two most picturesque places in the whole of Sikkim. The bounty of the nature, sky-kissing mountains, green meadows, flowing river, hot spring make Yumthang valley a tourist’s dream place to visit and to enjoy the beauty without any sort of infringement. Yumthang Valley also embraces the renowned Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary with 24 species of Rhododendron.
Gurudongmar lake is located at a surface elevation of 17,800 ft (5,430 m) and covers an area of 290 acres making it the largest lake in the whole of Sikkim. The India-China border is just a few kilometres away from the lake. This lake is considered very sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus. Guru Padmasambhava (8th century) and Guru Nanak (15th century) had blessed this lake.
Sikkim is a land of exotic waterfalls. The Dzongu area and the road between Lachung and Mangan in North Sikkim are blessed with the maximum numbers of waterfalls in Sikkim. Numerous waterfalls astride the main road make the trip to North Sikkim extremely picturesque.
The Rumtek monastery, a replica of the Tsurphu monastery of Kham region of Tibet belongs to the Kagyu lineage. Rumtek is the largest monastery in the Eastern Himalaya. It was built by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje during the reign of the fourth Chogyal in 1740 in the East District, at an altitude of about 1,550 m (5,100 ft).
The Buddha Park of Ravangla, also known as Tathagata Tsal, is situated near Rabong (Ravangla) in South Sikkim district, Sikkim, India. Tathagata is Sanskrit and Pali word. It’s used to refer to Lord Buddha. The term is often thought to mean either “one who has thus gone” (tathā-gata) or “one who has thus come” (tathā-āgata). This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathagata is beyond all coming and going — beyond all transitory phenomena.
Char Dham or Siddhesvara Dham is a unique pilgrimage tourism venture of the Sikkim Government developed as “Pilgrim cum Cultural Centre” having a 108 ft statue of Lord Shiva and replicas of four Dhams of the country at one place at Solophok hilltop in Namchi. Namchi is the headquarters of the South Sikkim district. Namchi means Sky (Nam) High (Chi) in Bhutia. Namchi is situated at an altitude of 1,675 m (5,500 feet) above mean sea level.
On our way to Char Dham, we went to Samdruptse, near Namchi. Samdruptse is situated at around 75 km from Gangtok. Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the Bhutia language. It is also said that the Samdruptse hill is actually a Dormant Volcano. Painted in shimmering copper, pink and bronze, the awe-inspiring and gigantic 45 metre-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, a.k.a. Guru Rinpoche, lords over the forested Samdruptse ridge and is visible for miles around.
Temi is famous for its internationally renowned tea, which is sold under the name Temi tea. We stopped at the garden, which is about 60 kms from Gangtok. One can savour the breathtaking view of temi tea garden from the road.