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 Teesta River originates in the Himalayas and flows through the Indian States of Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh, where it flows into the Brahmaputra. Flowing through the length of Sikkim, the Teesta River is considered to be the lifeline of the state. The Teesta valley in Sikkim is rich in biodiversity, and the river provides livelihoods for the residents along its entire length of 393 km.
Malana is an ancient Indian village in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Much before going to Malana village, I had read quite a lot about it. This solitary village in the Malana Nala, a side valley of the Parvati Valley to the north-east of Kullu Valley, is isolated from the rest of the world. The peaks of Chanderkhani and Deo Tibba shadow the village. It is situated on a remote plateau by the side of the torrential Malana river, at a height of around 10,000 feet above sea level. Malana has its own lifestyle and social structure and people are strict in following their customs.
Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake is perched within mountains at an altitude of 12,400 ft. Located in Sikkim at Gangtok – Nathula Highway only 40 km, from Gangtok, the Changu Lake is one of the most spectacular landscapes of Sikkim.
Located between Nathula and Jelepla pass at an altitude of 13,123 ft and about 52kms from Gangtok, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple is popularly known as Baba Mandir. There is a touching story associated with this temple. Harbhajan Singh was a Sentry of Punjab Regiment and was posted here as part of border patrol force. The border with China is nearby. In October 1968 he disappeared. It is said that while escorting mules carrying provisions, he fell into a stream and drowned. After a few days he reappeared in the dreams of one of his sentry colleagues and asked him to make a memorial here on his name. The sentries then made a samadhi and later this temple was built.
According to the local legends, when Hanuman was flying with the mountain with Sanjeevani herbs (mythological life saving herb) to save Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana, he rested at this spot for some time where his temple now lies. The locals used to worship a stone here for centuries. The temple is popularly known as wish-fulfilling temple.