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Simple Guidance For You In Phodong


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Phodong is another beautiful place to visit in North Sikkim. This is a small town that is located towards the north of Gangtok and Sikkim Highway. Many tourists love to visit this peaceful destination that is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush green fillers. You do not feel like taking off the eyes from the breathtaking view that is offered at this place. On the way to this place, you can capture some beautiful landscapes that are otherwise found on wallpapers. This is away from the hustle and bustle of city life. For people who want to get away from their hectic work pressure and want to lead their life for a few days in a serene and tranquilized environment, then Phodong is the ideal destination. 

This place is in the midst of Gangtok and Mangan and is the best destination for the visitors to refresh and rejuvenate during the holiday time. This is the place where one of the biggest monasteries, i.e., Phodong monastery, is located. This is just 38 kilometers away from Gangtok.  The languages that are spoken in this place are Nepali, Hindi, English, and Tibetan language. 

The main occupation of the people of Phodong is farming and tourism. These both occupations contribute to the economy of the place. This terraced slope is the best place where people can find different varieties of dishes according to the region and it is very healthy.  This is a very small town that hardly comprises 10 shops and a few hotels. This is situated between the Gangtok and Mangan. There is a police outpost, senior secondary school, physical health center, and a school in this village. The temperature in this place during summer would be around 22 degrees Celsius, and in winter it would range from 9 to 12-degree celsius. 

 

What is the best time to visit Phodong?

The ideal time to visit Phodong is during the months of March to late May and then from October to Mid-December. Each season has its charm and something unique to offer to the visitors. However, when you visit from March to May or from October to December, you can enjoy the tourist attractions of this place. It is not good to visit during the monsoons, since your daily schedule of visiting the tourist attractions may get postponed due to rain.

 

How to reach Phodong?

Following are the ways you can reach Phodong:

Air: The nearest airport to reach Phodong is Bagdogra that is in West Bengal from where you can take flights from and to Guwahati, Delhi, and Kolkata. Once you reach this Bagdogra airport, there are many private taxis and cabs available to head you towards Phodong.

Railways: The nearest railway station is Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri that connects to different cities across India such as Guwahati, Lucknow, Delhi, and Calcutta. From these stations, you have many taxis and private cabs that take you to Phodong.

Road: You can drive to Sikkim and Phodong by taking the Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Siliguri route. The roads are in good condition.

Note: Roadway is the only way to reach Darjeeling & Sikkim from Siliguri Railway Station or Bagdogra Airport. The total distance from Siliguri to Sikkim is 144km (5hrs). 

 

What are the tourist attractions of Phodong?

There are many places to visit in Phodong. Phodong is not a tourist spot but is a hub for many monasteries. The number of visitors visiting this place has been increasing in recent times. The main attractions of this place are monasteries, which have good architectural designs and beautiful artifacts that are preserved from the Buddhist culture.

 

A few of the tourist attractions that are must-visit in Phodong include:

  1. Phodong Monastery 

This is just 15 minutes away from Phodong. You can take a taxi or walk to Phodong Monastery through the gravel road. This monastery was established way back in 1740. This monastery was refurbished later by the Sikkim government. Today, what you see is the best and the most beautiful monastery in Sikkim. This was built in the 18th century by the Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal. There are around 260 monks who reside in this monastery. When you step inside the monastery it welcomes you with beautiful paintings and murals on the walls. Similar to the other monasteries such as Rumtek and Ralong, there is an annual Puja that is performed in this monastery on the 28th and 29th days of the tenth month according to the Tibetan Calendar. During this time, there are dance performances carried out. There is a two-story prayer hall that is made with metal grating and has murals on all sides. You can also witness a big statue of 9th Karmapa. The masked dance or Kagyat Chaam is hosted during the month of December every year. This place is extremely beautiful and serene. 

Though this monastery has been remodeled, its old paintings, frescos, and intricate murals have been retained and are adorned on the wall. This is one of the best pilgrimages in Gangtok. This belongs to the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This is located at an altitude of 4500 feet and is one of the age-old monasteries of the Kagyu sect in Sikkim. Due to the earthquake, the old structure deteriorated and was rebuilt in 1977 with the financial aid of the Sikkim government. From this place, the visitors can witness the Himalayan view and lush green valleys. This is very close to the other monasteries such as Labrang Monastery and Tumlong Palace. The interior ambiance of this monastery is extremely calm and peaceful. This is one of the reasons that compel tourists to visit this place when they are in Phodong. The rich historical value makes it a must-visit destination in Gangtok. The scenic beauty and beautiful structure of the monastery are worth admiring. The best time to visit this monastery is from November to May. Many people visit Phodong Monastery from April to June.

Labrang Monastery: Labrang is one of the age-old monasteries that are located in Sikkim. This is just 2 km away from Phodong Monastery that is in the northern part of Sikkim. This was built in 1814. This monastery was built 100 years after the construction of the Phodong Monastery. The person who has built this monastery is Gyalshen Rigging Champa who was living in the Palace that is close by. This is the monastery that is built in the memory of Datsun Chembo of Kongpu (Tibet). The term Labrang means the Lamas dwelling. This is the monastery that belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism. The scenic beauty and historical structure of this monastery would grab the attention of the visitors at first sight. The best thing about this monastery is that it is maintained in a good condition, unlike the other monasteries. This monastery is surrounded by dense forest and is an ideal destination to be visited by nature-lovers. They would definitely fall in love with the peaceful place. The white walls and golden roofs will make it a perfect blend of Tibetan and Han architectural styles. This monastery is equipped with 18 halls, six institutes where learning takes place, a golden stupa, a debate area, and is a home for 60,000 sutras. There were around 2000 monks who used to reside in this monastery. However, this number has been reduced to 500 as it has been closed for 12 years from 1958. This also has a Buddhist museum where you can witness a good collection of murals, sutras, and statues. You can also find huge volumes of Tibetan books. You can also buy medicines, books, calendars, art objects, and music.

Phensong Monastery: This is the ancient monastery that was built in 1721. When one visits this place, they can feel the calmness in their body and mind. The history of this place is surrounded by serene mountains which will give you a timeless sense. This is the home to around 300 monks. This place offers a great visual treat for the tourists during the winter season as per the Tibetan calendar. You can enjoy the cultural beauty of this place when you visit during winter. This is the place that is located between Kabi and Phodong. You can reach this monastery by taking a bus, taxi, or jeep from Mangan. The site of this monastery is one of the best picturesque sites that are offered in Sikkim. This was built during the times of Jigme Pawo. This belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism. There is an annual festival that falls on the 28th and 29th of the tenth month according to the Tibetan calendar. During this time, Chaam dance is performed by the monks who are residing in this monastery. The locals and people from different places visit this place during this festive time to witness the dance of lamas. This monastery was under fire during 1947 and there is a lot of effort that is put in by the monks to rebuild this structure, and it gained its previous glory in 1948. At present, this monastery is located between the striking foothill and beautiful landscapes. Many tourists visit this monastery to pay homage every year.

Tumlong Palace Ruins: This is the place that is located between Phodong and Labrang Monastery. This palace was the third capital of the Sikkim kingdom previously. Later, the capital was moved to Tumlong from Rabdenste at the start of the 19th century, and it has stayed there for 90 years. Today, tourists can witness the ruins of this Tumlong palace. This palace got destroyed during the earthquake. In 1894, Sir Thutob Namgyal, who was the then Monarch, moved the capital from Tumlong to Gangtok. The archeological department is trying its best to restore the olden glory of this palace.

Kabi Longstok: This is just 20 km away from North Sikkim and just before Phodong. This is a treaty of brotherhood that is signed between Chieftain-Tekong Tek and Tibetan Chief Khye Bumsa. This is the spot where you can find a memorial stone that is laid on the left side of the road when you are heading from Gangtok to Mangan.

 

Accommodation

There are many Homestays and budget hotels available to reside in Phodong. These hotels make you feel like staying home away from home. They also offer some luxurious facilities, which never let you miss the optimal comforts that you have at home. You can enjoy the scenic delights from these hotels.

 

Excursions places to visit from Phodong

  1. Singhik

This is the best place that you can visit from Phodong. This place gives a breathtaking view of Kanchenjunga Ranges and Mount Siniolchu. Whenever you visit Phodong, you can also travel to Singhik to enjoy the scenic delights. From the 5200 feet height, you can get a 360 view of the surroundings. This place is known to be the Large Cardamom capital of the world. This place is surrounded by stupas and panoramic viewpoints. There are many accommodation options available for the traveler, such as hotels and homestays. You can witness the splendid beauty of River Teesta and Kanaka at this place.

  1. Lachen

Lachen, as well as the Lachung, are the villages where many Lepcha people reside. This is a traditional village where you can enjoy the scenic beauty, Himalayan village, and local market. You can see the place changing into the modern world with many roadside houses getting replaced with concrete hotels. The best part of this place is that you can witness old wooden homes that are constructed in the Tibetan style with colorful windows. When you are in Phodong, you can also visit Lachen to enjoy the unique village culture of this place. You can observe the logs that are stored in every home to have a campfire during winter nights. When you walk 15 minutes from this village, you can witness Lachen Gompa. This is a two-story monastery whose architectural design grabs the attention of visitors. People could not stop admiring its aesthetic value. This Gompa is surrounded by beautiful murals on all sides. If you have visited Phodong for trekking, you can go for a trek in this village. You can go for a trek from Green Lake to the Zemu Glacier that is towards Khangchendzonga. However, to go for a trek to this place, you would need to take the required permission.  

  1. Lachung

This is a beautiful small town that is closer to Phodong. When you are in Phodong village, you should not miss visiting Lachung. The local market and cuisine of this place are the main attractions. You can go to the local market to shop for souvenirs. This place is surrounded by the Himalayan view and lush greenery on all sides. You can catch some great landscapes along the Katao road from Lachung Gompa. The Gompa has a wonderful collection of murals on all sides. When you step in, you can see a big prayer wheel chime. Mount Katao is the main tourist attraction in Lachung where you can play with the snow. This place is famous for many cultural and religious activities.

  1. Yumthang

This is the valley that you come across when traveling from Lachung. This is a must-visited valley by nature-lovers. The beautiful view that it offers would not let you blink your eyes. This is located at the height of 12000 feet and is 135 km away from North Sikkim in Gangtok. This is a flat valley that is surrounded by mountains on all sides. The peaceful ambiance and scenic delights offer a perfect getaway for the people who are fed up with their hectic city lives.  The mountains encompassed on all sides will touch the sky, and one should raise their head high to see the top of the mountain. This is the place where you can find vibrant colors that spread good fragrances in the air. This place becomes a paradise during the springtime. You can witness a wide variety of flowers such as wildflowers, rhododendron, and primula. This place is known for its hot springs that have rich sulfur content. When you are in Phodong, you should visit this place to enjoy the snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, and different tourist attractions. To witness the beauty of the spring season, one should walk to the River Lachung. You can reside beside the rivers in the huts provided. There is also a rest house that belongs to the Forest department. You can stay here and go for a trek to the riverbank to enjoy the 360-degree view of the alpine glaciers, lofty hills, and mountains that are rising towards Tibet.

 

Conclusion: Phodong is a beautiful destination that is surrounded by monasteries, which are built on the hill slopes. The visitors who are visiting this place would not stop adoring the beautiful landscapes. This is the ideal destination to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city lives and spend some quality time in the lap of nature that is surrounded by snow and lush greenery. The tourists can also go for short treks on the slope of the mountains and reside in the Homestays from where they can witness the beautiful view of the Himalayas. 


 

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