South Sikkim

Image:Namchi.jpg

View of Namchi

With its headquarters located at Namchi town, South Sikkim district is one of the only four administrative districts of Sikkim state. It is the second largest district in terms of population next to East Sikkim District.

South Sikkim district is the most industrialized district of the state, owing to the availability of flattened land. The district is famous for its Sikkim Tea, which is grown near Namchi.

The people are mainly of Nepali origin. Other ethnic groups include the Lepcha and Bhutia communities. Nepali language is widely spoken by the people.

How to Reach

Namchi, the
headquarters of South Sikkim district is only 90 km away from Gangtok, the state capital, and 100 km away from Siliguri the nearest railways and airways stations.

By Air : The nearest airport is at Bagdogra 124 Kms from Gangtok. There are regular scheduled flights operated by the Indian Airlines and other Private Airlines between the major cities such as Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati and Bagdogra.

By Rail : The two closest railway stations to Namchi are Siliguri Junction, 114 kms and New Jalpaiguri, 125 Kms away from Namchi from where one can board trains to Calcutta, Delhi and other important cities of India.

By Road :
Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) provides daily services between Namchi and Gangtok. One can drive up to Namchi from Siliguri. Private buses, taxis, jeeps are also available outside Bagdogra airport.

 

Places to visit

1.   Samdruptse
2.   Namchi
3.   Ravangla
4.   Tendong Hill
5.   Temi Tea Garden
6.   Maenam Hill
7.   Borong
8.   Sikip
9.   Phur Tsa Chu
10. Phensang Monastery

1. Samdruptse
Distance - 72 km ( from Gangtok )

It is near Namchi in South Sikkim in Samdruptse which means in Bhutia language “The Wish Fulfilling Hill”. A 135 ft unique statue of Guru Padmasambhava is installed at the top of Samdruptse. His Holiness The Dalai Lama laid the foundation stone of the statue on 22.10.1997. Is is said to be the highest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world. It took 1000 laborers and scores of experienced engineers and highly skilled architects and sculptors nearly three years to complete this awe inspiring and towering statue. A two section Ropeway from Namchi to Samdruptse in under construction. It will pass through the Rock Garden, Namchi.
 

 

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2. Namchi
Distance - 78 km ( from Gangtok ) ; 100 km ( from Siliguri )
Altitude - 4300 ft.

Meaning Sky High, nested among the hills commands panoramic view of the Darjeeling, Kalimpong and snow-capped mountains and vast stretches of valley. A Good place for quite short stay and village excursions. This district headquarters town of South Sikkim is neat, clean and developing fast into a tourist destination with it's immense potential for all round tourist activities.
Flower exhibitions are organized twice a year at Namchi during the months of February – March and October.
 

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3. Ravangla
Distance - 65 km ( from Gangtok )
Altitude - ft.

A small town situated on the ridge between the Meanam and Tendong hills. An ideal place for quiet stay to enjoy natural bliss and short treks. Surrounding villages of Yangang, Tinkitam, Kewzing, Barfung & Bakhim are ideal for short stays in the homes of the villagers. Situated in the southern part of Sikkim, a perfect destination for village tourism, flora and fauna, mountains, waterfalls, tea gardens, quaint villages, local Sikkimese people, culture, monasteries and fresh cold winds. Very verdant with monasteries around Rabongla, old historical market of Kewzing, Bonn Monastery, Ralong Monastery, Borong Hot springs, Maenam Peak at 10300 ft holding breathtaking views of Sikkimese Himalayas. For nature ,village tours, caves, rich forests, soft treks, its all there in this zone.
 

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4. Tendong Hill:
Altitude - 8530 ft.

One of the more prominent landmarks of South Sikkim, Tendong is immersed in myths and lore passed down through generations of the ethnic Lepchas. It gets its name, meaning "the upraised horn" from the Lepcha lore that when their land was submerged in water, Tendong supported a boat containing some people and rose up like a horn above the flood waters. When the water subsided, so did Tendong. To this day, a monk leaves for the Tendong hilltop with the arrival of monsoons. He stays there throughout the rains, praying that the calamity does not repeat.
 

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5. Temi Tea Garden:

The one and only tea garden in Sikkim produces top quality tea for the international market. The garden spread out on gentle hill slop provides panoramic views.
 

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6. Maenam Hill:

The Hill towers over South Sikkim with Tendong on one side and Ravangla Bazaar on the other. On a clear day, it is even possible to see the plains of West Bengal and a Himalayan span of the Indo-China border towards the North. A short distance away is the legendary Bhaley Dunga, a kind of rocky spur which juts out from the ridge top and remains suspended in the air above Yangang Village. The trek to Meanam from Ravangla takes about 4 hours and from Maenam hilltop one has the option to take the gentle walk down to Borong village or the more treacherous trails taken by the famous British Botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker, down to Yangang village.
 

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7. Borong:

Facing snow-caped mountains in Borong, motorable from Ravangla or by trek via Maenam. A picturesque village, its beautiful landscape and magnificient view is also host to the hot spring, ‘Borong Tsachu’. The trek trail, originating from Namchi or Damthang to Tendong-Ravangla Maenam - Borong (5-6 days) is one of the most interesting trails scaling all hill tops along the route. The trekker can continue to Tashiding or terminate at Borong and then drive back to Ravangla.
 

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8. Sikip

Located on the banks of river Rangeet in a natural surrounding is an excellent fishing spot and river campsite.
 

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9. Phur-Tsa-chu (Hot Springs):

Note - Best visited during Dec-March. Ideal spot for bird watching and butterflies.

At 4 kms from Legship towards Naya Bazaar on the banks or river Rangit, there lies Hot Springs and its of great medicinal values as well as of religious importance as it houses one of the four holy caves of Sikkim. Together one can also avail the facility of rafting down the Rangeet River.
 

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10. Phensong Monastery:
Built in - 1840

This monastery in North Sikkim was built during the time of Jigme Pawo. Belonging to the Nyingmapa order, this monastery, first established in 1840, stands testimony to the dedication of its monks who reconstructed the monastery within a year after it was burnt down in 1947.
The monastery is situated on a gentle slope stretching fom Kabi to Phodong in north Sikkim. There are around 300 monks under the monastery and is famous for the main annual Chaam (monk dance) performed on the 28th & 29th days of the tenth month of the Tibetan Calendar which normally corresponds to the month of December. Its name translates as "The excellent Banner" or "Good Bliss".