East Sikkim

With the enchanting environment and the mesmerizing landscape, the East Sikkim is a gorgeous tourist destination in the Sikkim. One of the four districts of the Sikkim state, the southeastern region of this Himalayan state is the prime tourist destination with the many beautiful places to explore and traditions and festivals to get acquainted with. The capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok is the prime tourist destination of East Sikkim. Apart from being the administrative hub of the state, the east Sikkim is also the hub of the tourism activities in the Himalayan region with the starting place of the tour is Gangtok.

The East Sikkim district happens to be a place rich in cultural and traditional diversity which makes it a prominent place to visit for the cultural activities. East Sikkim has the numerous tourist destinations which hold the importance for the tourists of various interests. Tourists can explore and understand the heritage, history, cultures and traditions of the region, as well as the view of the picturesque locality, will offer you a refreshing journey. The snow-covered peaks of the mountain range of the Mt. Kanchenjunga offers the magnificent natural view. The lush greenery, mesmerizing valleys, beautiful lakes, many old monasteries and temples adorned the east Sikkim which attracts thousands of tourists every year.

According to the History of the Sikkim, the southeastern Sikkim region was the part of the monarchy of Sikkim since the establishment of the monarchy in Sikkim except in the 19th century when the region went under the Bhutanese rule. But, it came under the British rule after the war of the British and the Bhutani forces, also known as the Anglo Bhutan War. After the Independence of India, the East Sikkim along with the other parts of the Sikkim was under the Sikkim monarch as the Indian protectee from 1947 to 1975. In 1975, after a public referendum in Sikkim, it was incorporated as the 22nd state of the Indian Union and thus east Sikkim becomes the part of the Sikkim state.

The Gangtok is the prime tourist destination and one of the most beautiful capital cities in India. The mesmerizing beauty of the landscape of the Gangtok and its nearby places is a big draw for the nature-loving tourists. The Dzuluk – Gnathang valley trip is another tourist attraction in the east Sikkim which is famously known as the Silk route. The area on this route is known for the pristine natural beauty as well as having the significant historical value.The east Sikkim zone is well connected to the other tourist destinations of the Sikkim as well as the neighboring states. The state capital, Gangtok, has an excellent tourism infrastructure with the wide range of hotels, restaurants and travel agencies for the tour assistance in the state. The road transport is also excellent as the NH 31A just passes through the mid of the East Sikkim. The helicopter service is available from the nearest airport of Bagdogra and Gangtok.

There are many tourist destinations in the East Sikkim district. Here are few of them-
The capital of the Sikkim state, Gangtok, is also the tourism capital of the state. Most visited tourist destinations in the state, the Gangtok is located at an altitude of 5500 ft on the ridge of the hilly landscape and offers an outstanding view of the Mt. Khangchendzonga. The city of Gangtok is the best option to make the base for your Sikkim tour as the city is commendable tourist-friendly place with all the tourism facilities available within the city. The capital city was once the important connecting point between India and Tibet for the cross-border traders. Today, the city is the hub of the administrative, tourism, cultural, religious and community activities. This cosmopolitan town of Sikkim offers all possible amenities for the tourist- be it luxury hotels and resorts, economical lodges, multi-cuisine costly restaurants, inexpensive canteens, shopping complexes, roadside shops, cyber cafes, tourism service providers, many road transportation options. The city offers you the glimpse of the modern infrastructure and advanced living standard, along with the ancient religious, traditional and cultural activities which exist in the perfect harmony

Nathula Pass is one of the most famous passes that connects the Sikkim to the Tibet. The Nathula pass is around 56 km from the capital of Sikkim and thus can easily be visited and get returned the same day. As there is no any accommodation facility available near the Nathula pass, the overnight stay is not possible. Located at an altitude of 14450 ft., the pass was the major trade corridor between India and Tibet, which was closed in 1962 at the time of India China war. The road connecting the Gangtok and Nathula pass is among the highest altitude motorable roads in the world and the trip is the most exquisite trip with the picturesque landscape adorned with the alpine orchards and pristine mountain views. The road also passes through the famous Tsomgo Lake. Only Indian tourists are allowed to go close to the international border on the specific days of the week after getting the required permit. Foreign tourists are not permitted to visit the Nathula.

Rumtek Monastery:
Most revered and largest Buddhist Monastery in Sikkim, the Rumtek monastery holds the great religious importance for the people of the Buddhism faith in all over the world. The monastery is located around 24 km from the city of Gangtok in the quiet, peaceful and beautiful village of Rumtek. The monastery is the seat of His Holiness, The Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Apart from the Buddhist religious tourists, other tourists also visit this beautiful and serene place as a day sightseeing trip from Gangtok. The culturally inclined tourists or Buddhism followers stay in the night at the accommodations available in the monastery or nearby the monastery. The hilly terrain adorned with the lush greenery and snowy mountain peaks offer the breathtaking view of nature and the tranquility in the ambiance make it an ideal place for spending some peaceful and refreshing time. Apart from the monastery visit, tourists can indulge in the trekking and local sightseeing in the Rumtek.

Changu Lake:
Also known as Tsongo Lake, the Changu lake is a very famous tourist attraction in the east Sikkim. Located at an altitude of 12200 ft.and around 38 km from Gangtok, the Tsongo or Changu lake is on the way from Gangtok to Nathula. Tourists choose to visit the Changu Lake, Nathula and Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple (commonly known as Baba Mandir) all together as all these three destinations fall on the same route and are closer to one another. Tsomgo means ‘source of the water’, the lake got the water from the melting snow of the adjoining mountains. A snaky road which passes through the rocky and hilly terrain and the sharp cliffs connect the Gangtok to Tsongo lake and further takes you to the Nathula.In the winter season, the lake gets covered with the white ice which enhances the pristine beauty. The lake is considered as sacred by the Sikkimese people and many legends follows this lake. The Tsomgo lake can be visited by foreign tourists too, but they have to get the permits from the responsible authority.

With having the picturesque beauty of its landscape and historical significance, the Aritar is the relatively new tourist destination in the east Sikkim which is getting famous for the tourism activities. Located near the West Bengal-Sikkim state border, the town of Aritar has lush green forests, large paddy fields, hilly terrain, placid lakes and the breathtaking view of the Mt. Khangchendzonga. The nature-loving tourists find it the best place for a tranquil holiday away from the big cities and get involved in the trekking and sightseeing. The Lampokari lake amidst the forest is said to be the oldest lake of Sikkim. The lake got transformed with the artificial embankment and the boating facility has been started recently. Tourists can enjoy a short trek from Aritar to Mankhim Dara to visit a temple dedicated to the local tribal community. The Aritar Gumpa monastery at the Aritar is considered as one of the oldest monasteries in the state which belongs to the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Aritar is just one hour drive from the border check-post at the Rongpo in Sikkim.

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