North Sikkim - the crown of North East

Tripoto
9th Sep 2019

Okay. So let me lay out the cards on the table first. The northest district of Sikkim, the seventh least populus district in the country, abode of the red panda (the state animal of Sikkim), proud owner of a crown jewel called "Gurudongmar Lake" which is one of the fifteen highest lakes in th world(!), home to countless enchanting waterfalls, carpeted with endless varieties of Rhododendron  - these are some quick facts about North Sikkim which will undoubtedly allure your thrill-seeking-peace-hungry traveler soul.
How to get there?
Book a flight to Bagdogra airport. If you are a great fan of indian railways you can board a train to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station too. You'll see plenty of vehicles available outside the airport/station area. Hop on a shared cab/private car which will take you to the capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok, in 4 to 5 hours. Take some rest. In the evening while strolling along the Mall Road meet some local travel agents. Show a little bit of your bargaining skills and you will get yourself a 3N 4D Gangtok-North Sikkim-Gangtok tour package at pretty reasonable price. In 2018 it costed us total ₹ 20k for 4 pax including fooding, lodging and transport.
What to see?
The main attraction is Gurudongmar Lake of course! Located at an altitude of 17,800 ft, encircled by high snow caped mountains, the lake has pristine azure blue water and an eerie, isolated, peaceful surrounding
to mesmerize you. We started from Gangtok early morning, reached a small hilly village called 'Lachen' for night halt. Next day, at the break of dawn we started for Gurudongmar. There was another breathtaking destination near Gurudongmar via cChopta valley called Kalapatthar. After a whole day of adventure we went to Lachung, a mountain hamlet beside Lachung river for night stay. In the next day you can opt to visit Yumthang valley to experience the riot of Rhododendrons or simply stroll around the village, visit the local monastery (if you are lucky you may get to see the mask dance), the apple orchard, sit beside the gushing roaring Lachung river and admire the cascading beauty.Leave for Gangtok the next day early morning.
Few things to note
If you are Indian you need to carry some documents like Voter Id/ Adhaar as ID proofs. No additional permission is required. But being a military base and a vulnerable spot near North East border, Gurudongmar is a no entry zone for foreigners unless carrying a special permit issued from Delhi. If you have high altitude sickness/ have a child or a senior citizen traveling with you better consult a doctor prior to your trip. Carry multiple layers of warm clothes. Gurudongmar and Kalapatthar can be extremely cold even during summer.
Best time to visit
They say November is the best time as during late October and November there is a lesser chance of landslides/road blocks but we got a chance to enjoy lavish green hills and countless mountain flowers as we took this trip during monsoon.
So what are you waiting for? Gather your travel tribes, pack your bag and unplug yourself from the techy-tacky city life.

A hide out amidst the vast arid landscape

Photo of North Sikkim - the crown of North East by Aaratrika

Rendezvous with the magnificence

Photo of North Sikkim - the crown of North East by Aaratrika

Solitude. @Gurudongmar Lake

Photo of North Sikkim - the crown of North East by Aaratrika

The breathtaking snow fed lake -Gurudongmar

Photo of North Sikkim - the crown of North East by Aaratrika

Naga waterfall

Photo of North Sikkim - the crown of North East by Aaratrika

Hydrangea / 'Change Rose'.. or a bunch of butterflies in disguise? :) .. these flowers can change their colour to pink based on the pH level of soil .. way much interesting than a litmus paper I would say! ;)

Photo of North Sikkim - the crown of North East by Aaratrika

View from the porch of our homestay at Lachung

Photo of North Sikkim - the crown of North East by Aaratrika

En route Kalapatthar

Photo of North Sikkim - the crown of North East by Aaratrika
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