Sikkim Darjeeling- The hidden paradise of India

2020, and now 2021 have both been hard, difficult and stressful years. And even if we do decide to set aside some time to tend to our health and well-being, something always pops up as an obstacle in the way of our sanity and peace of mind. And the perfect way to do that, is a trip.

Now, when they are given an option for a peaceful vacation, most people think of places like Goa, Andaman or Pondicherry. Places with beaches, as that’s where you can relax and unwind.

But we, have taken up the responsibility of spreading the message of another travel destination for all the people out there who need a break from everyday life. And that place, is none other than Sikkim.

Here, we are going to be covering Sikkim Darjeeling, the underdog of the destinations in paradise.

Picturesque views, peace, delicious delicacies, vibrant outfits, a rich and mesmerizing culture, and last but not least, beautiful dance forms, of course!

Firstly, let’s start from the weather.

The climate in Sikkim is cold, with snowfall and rainfall both. Sikkim is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall.

During the monsoon, heavy rains gave Sikkim its very own record for the longest period of continuous rain, which is 11 days. Fog affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons, making a pleasant, cool environment.

Now, the destinations-to-visit in this state.


#1. Gangtok

Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim and the beauty of this city justify it being one of the prominent cities in the state. Sikkim is blessed with the kind of cultural and historical significance Gangtok adds to the pride of this state. To catch majestic glimpses of mighty Mt. Kanchenjunga, you must land to Gangtok whilst exploring Sikkim.  Gangtok is considered as one of the beautiful hill stations in India. This city is a perfect mix of cultural, scenic beauty and modernisation. If you want to visit some religious sites, you must visit Enchey Monastery, Ganesh Tok, Do Drul Chorten Rumtek Monastery, etc.


#2. Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo Lake is nestled around 40 km away from the main city of Gangtok. This immensely beautiful glacier lake is one of the top tourist destinations of Sikkim. This mesmerizing lake is one of India’s highest altitude lakes which make Sikkim even more beautiful. Tsomgo Lake reflects the gigantic views of snow-clad mountains around it, making your journey to Sikkim even more memorable.  The best time to see snow is January to March. It is just 2 hours away from the Gangtok so that you can enjoy an exciting experience around the lake.


#3. Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass is around 53 km away from the main city of Gangtok. This place apart from being one of the best tourist places in Sikkim and is a politically very important point of Sikkim. Nathula Pass connects India to Tibet which creates a mix of Indian and Tibetan culture around this place. There is a famous border trade market called – Sherathang from where you can buy a sovereign for yourself and friends. You can even shop for Tibetan items from this vibrant market.


#4. Lachen, Lochung and Yumthang

These three immensely beautiful villages soaked in Sikkim’s culture surely hit your list of places to visit in India. You must go and explore Lachen which is a really small village in North Sikkim. This village is the home of Tibetan nomadic tribes during winters. However, Lachen is not as popular as other tourist destinations in Sikkim but this place is worth a shot. It is a gateway to two really beautiful lakes named Gurudongmar and Tso Lhamu Lakes. Lachen, Lachung, and Yumthang Valley are three peaceful and perfect destinations in Sikkim which you must not miss on your visit to Sikkim. Lachen will give you the best experience of peaceful time, Lachung is perfect to relish snow and Yumthang is the place you must go to catch on the beauty of the flower valley of Sikkim.


#5. Darjeeling

Lying amidst the slopes of the Lesser Himalayas and blanketed by emerald green plantations of tea, Darjeeling is a picturesque town in the Indian state of West Bengal. The majestic Kanchenjunga towers over this beautiful town, which is the third highest mountain in the world. Popularly known as the ‘Queen of the Hills’, Darjeeling is a favoured tourist destination, noted for its scenic beauty, ancient forests, quaint houses, friendly people and the mountain panorama that it provides.

Let’s move on to the food and cuisines of Sikkim Darjeeling.


#1. Momos (Dumplings)

I’m sure we have all tasted momos, if not, at least heard about it. So this dish needs no introduction.

Momos are steamed buns with a filling. It typically consists of two parts – the cover and the filling. The cover is made of dough of white flour and water.

Originally these momos were made with ground meat fillings, but over the years a lot of modifications have been made that have made dumplings even better. From Tofu (Paneer) to cheese, everything can be included in the filling. To get the best momos in Sikkim, you should visit The Roll House and The Taste of  Tibet in Gangtok.


#2. Thukpa or Gya Thuk

Thukpa is a kind of noodle soup of Tibetan origin that has found its way to being one of the most loved food in Sikkim. One can find both vegetarian and chicken versions of the dish. One can find almost every kind of locally grown vegetable in this soup, but the most common ones are carrots, bell peppers, spinach, cauliflower and celery. Thukpa is available in almost every cafe and restaurant, but it is better to try it from a local vendor as they provide you with the best and most authentic taste that you can find.


#3. Phagshapa

Phagshapa is a strip of pork fat that is stewed with dry chillies and radish. A spicy and tangy endeavour of this Sikkimese dish is rich in proteins and is made with no oil. The Golden Dragon hotel in Gangtok serves the most authentic and delicious Phagshapa in the whole of Sikkim.


#4. Gundruk

Gundruk is a food of Nepalese origin and is one of the staple foods of Sikkim. Gundruk is a leafy dish that is completely vegan and is made out of some leaves of mustard, cabbage or radish. Authentic Gundruk is only found in villages that people make in their households. Traditionally this Sikkimese dish is made in an earthen pot, but people have started using other ways of making the same dish. This is one food that has remained the same even after ages and seems to show little alteration.


#5. Dhindo

Dhindo is prepared by boiling water and slowly pouring in buckwheat, ground millet or cornflour. The mixture is then continuously stirred until a sticky paste is formed. The paste is rolled into balls, dipped into lentil soup or chutney and swallowed since the millets stick between the teeth. This dish is consumed on a daily basis in Sikkim and Nepal.

Being a multi-ethnic state, Sikkim showcases a diverse culture and traditions followed by different communities present in the state.

Each tribe has its own clothing style which makes it different from other communities. The outfits adorned by the people not only showcase their traditions but also their social status and religious beliefs.


#1. Traditional Dress of Sikkim for Men and Women.

Worn by men and women alike, Bakhu, also known as “Kho”, is the most famous Sikkim culture dress.

It is a loose cloak-like cloth piece that is tied at the neck and tightened around the waist with the help of a belt made of silk or cotton. Bakhu is very similar to the Tibetan Chuba, except for the fact that it is sleeveless.

Over the years as western culture’s influence has grown in the country, women have started wearing it with a pair of jeans to add a western twist to the traditional look.


#2. Thokro Dum

The main traditional outfit worn by the people of Lepcha tribe is known as Thokro Dum. It contains a pajama that goes up to the calves.

Thokro Dum is paired with a cap which is known as Shamo and a Yenthatse which is a traditional Lepcha shirt. They also wear cone-shaped bamboo and rattan hats at weddings as well as on special occasions such as festive and religious celebrations.

These hats are crafted with fine canes from bamboos, straws and leaves.

A hand-woven waist band called Dupra is pinned at one of the shoulders and then wrapped around the waist to give it a complete look.

The short length of the Pajama worn by the men has a significant meaning for the tribe. It indicates that the men are original inhabitants of marshy lands.


#3. Dumvum

The women of Lepcha community wear a traditional beautiful saree which is also known as a Dumvum or a Dumyam in the traditional Sikkim language.

This Sikkim culture dress goes down to the ankle and is really comfortable to wear. It not only helps women to look beautiful but also represents their honor and pride.

Women wear a loose-fitting blouse (also known as Tago) with this ankle-length saree. The blouse and the saree share a very contrasting color combination.

This entire look is enhanced with a belt called Nyamrek and taro which is a type of cap used to cover the head.


We hope this was helpful, in case you were in the process to plan your next short escape from reality. There are many more places, dishes, etc. that we haven’t mentioned. If you want to find out what they are, contact us for a trip to the hidden paradise, that is Sikkim Darjeeling.


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