Nepal > Places to see in Sikkim & Darjeeling (India)

Places to vist in Sikkim & Darjeeling

KALIMPONG Kalimpong is a sleepy little town situated at an altitude of 1,200 m, some 50 km to the east of Darjeeling. Kalimpong, "The Stockade of the King's Minister" was once a bustling town on the trade route to Tibet. It once used to be the hub of the trans-himalayan trade between India and Tibet when merchants used to ferry goods by mule caravan over the Jelepla Pass on the Sikkim - Tibet border. Although the trade route has closed down since the early sixties, the town still retains its tranquility and intrinsic charm. It enjoys the best climate in the region and is a favorite haunt of those in search of peace and serenity. It enjoys the best climate in the region, with dense forests of golden oak trees offset by the rich undergrowth of moss and lichen. Owing to it's rich flora, Kalimpong is a blaze of colors throughout the year. The orchids of this region in particular are famous for their infinite variety as well as their delicate tints.

Durpin Dara This is an observatory point, 3 km from town from where an awe-inspiring view of the mountains, rivers and the plains can be seen.

Zong Dog Parli Fo-Brang Monastery This is a fairly new monstery located in Durpin Dara. It is one the verge of being completed, and commands a panoramic view of the town and it's surroundings.

Raja Dorje Market Place A visit to the market place is a unique experience. The weekly market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays. On these days villagers from adjoining areas come to sell their wares and the market is a made riot of colors and crowd.

Pemayangste Monastery In west Sikkim, Pemayangtse Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist lamasery of the Nyingmapa order, is a 95 km drive from Kalimpong. Pemayangtse, "The Sublime Perfect Lotus", is the head of all other monasteries of the Nyingma-pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is great not only in its antiquity but also in sanctity. The walls and ceilings bear brilliantly hued frescoes of gods and demons. It also houses the intricately carved woodwork, "Zangdok Parli" portraying the Mahaguru's heavenly palace.

SIKKIM This small but beautiful land lies almost hidden in the Eastern Himalayas. Nestled between Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Darjeeling, Sikkim is a paradise of natural beauty. The third highest mountain in the world, Mt Kanchanjunga, lies in the Northeastern abode of the gods, Kanchanjunga is revered by the Sikkimese as their protective deity. Religion forms an integral part of the daily lives of the people. With nearly 200 monasteries scattered all over the land, the influence of Buddhism is all pervasive. Even in the remotest hamlet, the fluttering of prayer flags constantly reminds one of the teachings of Lord Buddha.

Gangtok with an elevatio of 1,780 m, the capital city of Sikkim, is a charming, laid-back town straddling a ridge with houses spilling down the hillside.

Enchhay Monastery
An important sect of the Nyingmapa order, this 200 year old monstary, atop a hill above Gangtok, was once the hermitage of Lama. Dripthob Karpo, a tantric master renowned for his powers of flying. The annual ritual dance is performed on the 18yh and 19th day of the 12th Month of the Tibetan calendar corresponding to the month of December/ January.

Handicraft Centre
Set up to promote and manufacture and sale of local handicrafts, some of it's produce include woolen carpets, shawls in LEPCHA weaves blankets exquisite hand carved wooden tables called Chokseesm thankas, masks and lampshades - a place to acquire a souvenir top take back home.

Institude of Tibetology
Established in 1958 to promote research on the language and culture of Tibet, as well as Mahayana Buddhism, it is the most prestigious of it's kind in India. It has on display a vast collection of rare Tibetan, Sanskrit and Lepcha manuscript. The museum section, houses a number of exotic ritualistic chortens, brass bells, dorjis, rosaries and some very rare thanas. Today it is renowned worldwide center for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion.

Rumtek Monastery, is the sect of the Gyalwa Karmapa Lama. The monastery is a magnificent example of Tibetan Monastic art and was built by His Holiness, Gyalwa Karmapa, (a leader of the Kagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism). It is a close replica of the H.H. Karmapa's monastery at Tsorphu in Tibet and houses some of the world's most unique religious art objects. The sacred Tsomgo Lake (elevation 3780 m) is situated 38 km to the east of Gangtok amidst picturesque mountains.a a Tibetan Buddhist lamasery of the Nyingmapa order, is a 95 km drive from Kalimpong.

DARJEELING Situated at an altitude of 2134 m above sea level, Darjeeling, " The land of the Thunderbold", has been a popular hill station ever since the British established it as a rest and recreation centre for their troops over a hundred and fifty years ago. Blessed with a cool climate, it has, perhaps, the most stunning view of the Kanchanjunga range. With about 100,000 inhabitants, it has a mixed population of various races and religion living in perfect harmony. This is vividly reflected at the shrine a top observatory Hill where HINDUS and Buddhist pray together. Gorkhas, Tibetan, Lepchas and migrants from the plains have made Darjeeling their home. Though Gorkhali, Hindi and Bengali are widely spoken, almost everyone understand English.

Places of Interest

Observatory Hill: The shrine on top of this hill symbolically stands as a witness of peace. This shrine of the Buddhists and Hindus is perhaps the only one in the world where people of two religious pray together.

Yiga Choling Monastery: This famous Buddhist monastery; founded in 1875, sits a topo of hill lock in Ghoom, 8 km away from town. It enshrines 15 images of the Maitrey Buddha or the coming Buddha. He is depicted with blue eyes and in a sitting posture.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: This Institute was established in 1954, after the conquest of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and TEnzing Sherpa, who was closely assosicated with it till the time of his death. It conducts basic and advance courses on mountaineering skills. The Everest Museum, has on display, many objects and artifacts of the conquest of Everest as well as those of the earlier attempts.

Tiger Hill, situated 11 km away from town, at 2585 meters, Tiger Hill is synonymous with the sunrise over Kanchenjunga, Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, can also be seen from this point.
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