It is bordered by Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal. Part of the Himalayas, the area has a dramatic landscape that includes India’s highest mountain, 8,586m Kanchenjunga. Sikkim is also home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Steep paths lead to hilltop Buddhist monasteries such as Pemayangtse, which dates to the early 1700s.
List of offbeat destinations in Sikkim
1. Nathu La, Gangtok
It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. it’s one of the best offbeat destinations to visit in Sikkim.
Nathu means “listening ears” and La means “pass” in Tibetan. Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between China and India; the others are Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh (or Lipulech) at the trisection point of Uttarakhand–India, Nepal, and China.
2. Buddha Park, Ravangla
It is also known as Tathagata Tsal and is situated near Rabong (Ravangla) in South Sikkim district. It was constructed between 2006 and 2013 and features a 130-foot high statue of the Buddha as its centerpiece.
The site was chosen within the larger religious complex of the Rabong Gompa (Monastery), itself a centuries-old place of pilgrimage. Also, nearby is Ralang Monastery, there’s a key monastery in Tibetan Buddhism.
3. Yumesamdong (Zero Point), Lachung
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Situated at an altitude of 15,300 ft. above Mean Sea Level, Yumesamdong or Zero point is nature personified. It is a place very close to the Indo Chinese border. The best time of the year to visit this place is between March – April. It’s one of the best places to visit in Sikkim.
4. Tsongmo Lake, Gangtok
Located at an elevation of 3,753 m (12,313 ft), the lake remains frozen during the winter season. The lake surface reflects different colors with a change of seasons and is held in great reverence by the local Sikkimese people.
Tourist attractions at the lake site include joy rides on decorated yaks and mules where kiosks offer a variety of food and drinks. There is also a small Shiva temple on the bank of the lake. It’s one of the most amazing places in Sikkim.
5. Gurudongmar Lake
It is one of the highest lakes in the world, located at an altitude of 17,800 ft. The lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, founder of Tibetan Buddhism who visited the lake in the 8th century. The lake fed by glaciers is located to the north of the Kanchenjunga Range in a high plateau area connected with the Tibetan Plateau.
6. Ranka Monastery, Gangtok
The monastery follows the Zurmang Kagyud lineage of Buddhism and under the direction of the 12th successor of the lineage Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche. It’s surrounded by forested mountains in all sides. The entire place is done in bright colors, which is surely going to catch your attention the moment you enter this place.
7. Kanchenjunga Falls, Pelling
At a distance of 25 km from Pelling, the Kanchenjunga Falls is a perennial waterfall. If you are a nature-lover, this waterfall is a must-visit for you. Locals say it is fed by streams originating from the glaciers near the base of Mount Kanchenjunga the 3rd highest peak in the world.
8. Rumtek Monastery
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It is also called the Dharmachakra Centre, Originally built under the direction of Changchub Dorje, 12th Karmapa Lama in the mid-1700s, Rumtek served as the main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage in Sikkim for some time.
But when Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, arrived in Sikkim in 1959 after fleeing Tibet, the monastery was in ruins. With the generosity and help of the Sikkim royal family and the local folks of Sikkim, it was built by the 16th Karmapa as his main seat in exile.
9. Himalayan Zoological Park, Gangtok
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Himalayan Zoological Park is certainly a place for wildlife lovers in Sikkim. The Park has been established, to preserve the wildlife, without disturbing the creatures and keeping them in their natural habitat. Located in Bulbuley, Himalayan Zoological Park is at a distance of 3 km from Gangtok.
10. Samdruptse Hill, Ravangla
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The statue in Namchi is the tallest statue of the saint in the world at 120 ft. In the Bhutia local language, the term ‘Samdruptse’ means the ‘Wish Fulfilling Hill’. The name of the sacred place says it clearly that it is highly revered and equally popular amid devotees and tourists. It’s one of the best offbeat destinations to visit in Sikkim.