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Sikkim is renowned for its monasteries. The strong Buddhist influence on the hill-state is an effect of its proximity to Tibet & Bhutan. This 10 day itinerary primarily focuses on introducing travellers to the Monasteries of Sikkim. Discover the legends of these ancient structure. Marvel in the serenity each traveller experiences within their sanctums. Uncover folklore and interact with the illusive monks that call these holy places home.
In addition to the monasteries of Sikkim, the trip also involves certain elements of light trekking and outdoor activities. Travellers will also visit some community based projects. The trip is also an opportunity to interact with the people that run such initiatives in these remote valleys.
With no airports or flights in Sikkim, arrive at Bagdogra in Northern Bengal and make the 4½ hour drive to Gangtok. You have the rest of the evening at your leisure to explore the capital city of Sikkim at your pace.
We visit the Handicraft Centre and Institute of Tibetology and then drive to your resort in Rumtek for lunch. The afternoon is spent hiking the hills around the resort.
Visit the old and new Rumtek Monastery, which is the seat of the Karmapa. We then drive and walk through the terraced paddy fields of Martam. After crossing the Teesta River, drive uphill to Temi Tea gardens. Embark upon a tour of the Temi Tea Gardens, visit the tea factory and observe tea processing.
Drive up to the Biodiversity Park and walk along the temperate forest for an hour. Visit Tendong hill and return to Damthang for lunch. In the evening, we drive to Namchi for the night’s stay.
Explore Namchi, which commands panoramic views of the snow-capped himalayas. Visit the Boomtar Blind School and participate in activities with the school children.
Drive via Kamrang village to Reshi Hot Springs. After lunch at the hot springs, drive via Legship to Dalep Village, and then walk along the rolling hills to Kewzing village for the night’s stay.
On the next morning, drive to Ralang Monastery, which houses a large collection of rare paintings and thangkas. On the return journey, walk for an hour towards Ravangla for lunch. In the evening, walk/drive to Bon Monastery, and then walk to Kewzing village via Doling Monastery. In the evening, experience a timeless cultural programme arranged by the local community.
The next morning, we leave for Pemayangste in West Sikkim. Visit the Pemayangste Monastery, one of the oldest in Sikkim dating back to the 17th century, and discover the fascinating legend behind it.
After breakfast, drive to Khecheopalri Lake, which is sacred for both Hindus and Buddhists. Legend says if you make a wish at this lake, it is always fulfilled. From the lake we hike down to Rathong bridge, cross a river and drive to Yuksam, where you will spend the rest of the evening and the night.
Spend the next morning at Dubdi monastery, where the first king of Sikkim was crowned and visit Norbugang – the Corornation Throne. In the evening, join us on a visit to the Khangchendzonga National Park. Walk for an hour and on the return visit the Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC) visitor information centre to interact with its members.
On the last day, we head back to Bagdogra (5 hours drive) for onward journey.
Copyright 2014 The Blue Yonder