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Sumbuk


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Located in one of the most untouched parts of South Sikkim, Sumbuk is, for want of a more appropriate word, a birdwatcher’s paradise. Sumbuk is one of the most unexplored places of Sikkim with astounding flora and fauna. Divided into two parts based on altitude, Lower Sumbuk with an altitude of about 1,500 ft. is covered with temperate forests and is an ideal place for watching birds like peacocks and hornbills. Upper Sumbuk, located at an altitude of 7,000 ft, is characterized by endless stretches of pine forests and firs. Together, the lower and upper parts of Sumbuk make for a paradise-like destination covered with pine forests, gladiola farms, monasteries, and over 200 varied species of birds with countless butterflies and the Greater Rangeet River.

The dense forests at the southern slope of Lower Sumbuk are one of the prime attractions here and are famous as a peacock breeding forest. Also, the banks of the Rangeet River along with the numerous Gladiola farms and few old temples make Sumbuk a must-visit attraction for travelers looking to truly enjoy the untouched paradise of South Sikkim. Among the many temples, the Sumbuk Shivalaya Mandir dedicated to Lord Shiva takes the cherry as being one of the most popular places of worship by locals and mass prayers are often organized during the festive time. The Colombe Rocky Mountain also provides some of the most picturesque viewpoints overlooking parts of Sikkim and Bengal. But, the icing on the cake is taken by the region of Upper Sumbuk. It takes about an hour to reach Upper Sumbuk from Lower Sumbuk and here, you can find the Monogram village which is also known as Phooldara (hill of flowers) with a huge variety of Rhododendrons, wild orchids, pines, and wild strawberries blooming in different seasons of the year. A huge tract of pine forest known as Dhupi covers most of Upper Sumbuk and one can find numerous varieties of birds and butterflies here. Located just above Phooldara, there is a place called Tamley Chaur, from where you can enjoy a glorious view of the Himalayan ranges. The natural viewpoints of Upper Sumbuk offer panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and other parts of Bengal. 

Birdwatching is one of the favorite activities of the people visiting Sumbuk. Also, the Rangeet River offers guests opportunities for white water rafting. One can also enjoy guided jungle walks and catch a glimpse of the fauna teeming in the forests of Sumbuk. The best time to visit Sumbuk is actually a subjective matter, and it is beautiful all year round. From March to May, the weather is fresh and travelers can enjoy the blooming of the rhododendrons in Upper Sumbuk. In Sumbuk, the winters are mild as compared to the higher reaches of Sikkim and are a perfect location for birding enthusiasts as Sumbuk becomes a favorite location for various migratory birds during the winters. 

So, if you are planning to spend a few days in a destination away from the maddening rush of tourists and away from the mechanistic city life, Sumbuk is the place to be and we at WeCare Holidays make it our priority to make your experience in Sumbuk a memorable one. 

Best time to visit: From March to May, the weather is fresh and travelers can enjoy the blooming of the rhododendrons

Distance from Gangtok: 64.9km (2hrs approx)

 

 

Places to visit near Sumbuk

Tarey Bhir: At a distance of 16 km from Namchi, Tarey Bhir is a long ridge on a high cliff located at Sadam village near Namchi in South Sikkim. It is one of the amazing points of interest in Namchi and among the popular places to experience Namchi Tourism.

Tarey Bhir is a 3 km long stone ridge on which pedestrian footsteps have been built to climb the steep ridge. Bhir means 'Cliff' in the Nepalese language. The height of the ridge is about 10,000 feet and has a drop-down gorge of over 3500 feet on the right side. This is an ideal place for adventure-loving people. It is the only place from where Kalimpong, Darjeeling, and Teesta River can be seen at once.

Looks like The Great Wall of China, Tarey Bhir is an amazing viewpoint with breathtaking surroundings. There is also a watchtower at the end of the stone pathway. From the watchtower, one can get some panoramic views of snowy mountains in the north, Kalimpong town in the east, and joining of Teesta and Rangeet in the south. Tarey Bhir also presents a view of the tea garden on a sloped hill of Peshok. 

Best time to visit: The best time to visit this place is from April to June and October to March. 

Distance from Gangtok: 77km (2hrs 30min approx)

Timings: 8 AM - 5 PM

 

Kitam Bird Sanctuary: Kitam Bird Sanctuary is a protected sanctuary located at Kitam near Namchi, Sikkim at a distance of 19kms. Kitam Bird Sanctuary is situated between Namchi and Melli and it is recognized as one of the most prominent bird sanctuaries in Sikkim and one of the best places to experience Namchi Tourism.

 

This sanctuary lies between 1200 feet and 3200 feet above sea level and occupies an area of more than 6 square kilometers within thick vegetation of shrubs, sal and pine forests. This sanctuary has two rivers namely the Rangit River and the Manpur River. Sumbuk and Kitam are the two villages located in the sanctuary. Tumbol Schor, the highest point of Kitam Bird Sanctuary which offers great panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Kitam Bird Sanctuary is heaven for bird lovers and attracts domestic and international tourists around the year for bird watching. Kitam is the only low-altitude bird sanctuary and remains open throughout the year. It is home to over 200 species of birds and Kitam is also known for several beautiful species of butterflies. The bird species found in this sanctuary include Grey-crowned Prinia, Yellow-vented Warbler, Rufous-necked Hornbill and Chestnut-breasted Partridge, and many others. One can find Peacocks roaming freely is a common sight inside this sanctuary. The main activity in this bird sanctuary is bird-watching which has 4 trails. There are a few watch towers and viewpoints in this sanctuary that are ideal for bird watching. Visitors can also visit gladioli farms in Sumbuk which is a 100-year old huge litchi tree and a 200-year-old built mud huts in Kitam. One can also visit Alley khet, a meadow that offers magnificent views of hills and rivers, peepal trees, monastery, and dilapidated stupas. Adventure-loving tourists can try their hand in rafting and angling in River Rangit.

Best time to Visit: The best time to visit this place is during the months of October to May, as in winters several colorful migratory birds come to visit here.

Timings: 8 AM - 5 PM 

Distance from Gangtok: 71.1km (2hrs 15min approx)

 

Buddha Park (Tathagata Tsal)

At the base of Maenam Hill is Ravangla and in this region, Buddha Park of Ravangla is one of the hot spots for tourists to visit. It is also known as Tathagata Tsal and is situated near Rabong which is approximately 1 km from Ravangla. It was constructed between 2006 and 2013 and features a 130-foot (41m) high statue of the Buddha as its centerpiece. The statue was consecrated on 25 March 2013 by the 14th Dalai Lama, and became a stop on the ‘Himalayan Buddhist Circuit’. The statue of the Buddha marks the occasion of the 2550th birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha. This place is built really beautifully in a vast area on a mountain top with manicured lawns with piped mantra music adding a meditative atmosphere. The place will be covered with clouds and once it's swept away you can see the magnificent statue of Gautam Buddha. This place is highly recommended for photographers for the stunning 360 views and it is really outstanding. There is a huge Prayer Hall along with a museum and a meditation center and inside the museum, a spirally constructed gallery is there which demonstrates the life of Gautama Buddha in two different styles with hand-made paintings on it. 

Best Time to Visit: One can visit any time of the year except for the monsoon season which is July till September. 

Distance from Gangtok: 3 hrs (69 km)

Entry Fee: Rs. 50/person

Timing: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (Thursday Closed)

 

Char Dham

Char Dham is a huge pilgrimage & cultural complex developed by the Sikkim Government to promote Religious, Eco, and Village tourism in the state. If you haven’t visited any of the Char Dhams till now then you can surely make a visit to Sikkim and get the privilege to access all the dhams at once. It is the replica and a miniature version of all the Char Dhams in India, and the place is really breathtaking. One will surely get the same feeling and devotion towards this place. 

Over Rs. 56 crores has been spent on this complex which spreads across 29 hectares of the area on top of a hill known as the Solophok hill in Namchi of south Sikkim.  This temple complex is also known as Siddheswar Dham and was inaugurated on 8th November 2011. Char Dham is located about 5kms from Namchi town and accessible by a nice smooth road all the way. At one point the car needs to ascend uphill to reach the top of Solophok hill. 

As you enter the main area towards the left and walk up, the first thing that strikes is the towering statue of Lord Shiva in a sitting posture. You can't keep your eyes off that for a long time and wherever you are in the complex, you can always see this statue. Actually, this is the main theme of the temple complex. With an aim to make this center a completely self-contained one for all, replicas of char dhams have also been created, and they are Badrinath Dham, Jagannath Dham, Dwarka Dham that are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and Rameshwar Dham which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. 

According to mythology, it is said that during the war of Kurukshetra, Arjun used to visit this place and offered his prayers to Shiva. Being pleased with his worship and dedication, Lord Shiva had given him a weapon that the Pandavas used and won the war finally. 

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit this place is during the month from February to May and September to mid-December

Distance from Gangtok: 3.30 hrs approx (79 km)

Entry Fee: Rs. 50/person. Parking fee: Rs. 30/vehicle.

Timing: Char Dham is administered by Char Dham Trust. The complex is open 12 hours a day for visits.

 

Tendong Hill

Tendong Hill is a destination that offers you a marvelous view of the valley in Sikkim. Situated at an altitude of 8530 ft above Damthang, Tendong Hill is a very famous tourist attraction in the southern part of Sikkim. The absorbing sight of the hills and valleys from Tendong Hill captivates and titillates every locals and out-of-towner. This attraction is a must-visit for all those who enjoy spending some quality time amidst the green landscape. From the peak of Tendong Hill, the sight appears to be unbelievable. It seems phenomenally perfect and you will definitely not want to miss this on your trip to Sikkim.

There are about 90 species of birds that fly around the area and a large number of mammals like Himalayan Bears, Red Pandas and Leopards shelter in the forest region. Tendong Hilltop is at a height of 8660 ft which provides a blissful panoramic sight of the eastern Himalayas and the most interesting thing is that this hill is an inactive volcano. Sounds strange. 

A petite and beautiful monastery and a three-storied watch tower are on the top of this hill. From the watchtower a 360-degree view of Sikkim is breath-taking and no other place in Sikkim provides such a great view of the entire range. Some of the attractions like Nathula, part of Gangtok, Darjeeling, and some parts of West Bengal are visible from here. 

Best Time to Visit: The months between March and June are ideal to visit Tendong Hill. The summer breeze offers an excellent feel to hike up this attraction to witness mesmerizing views.

Distance from Gangtok: 3 hrs approx (65 km)

Entry Fee: No entry fee.

Timing: No specific time is there for the visit, but make your trip in the daylight for a nostalgic view.

 

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary

Maenam wildlife sanctuary is a unique place to visit in Namchi. This place is at an altitude of 10,600 ft and an elevation of 36.34 sq km. Maenam wildlife sanctuary is for those who love to go in the forest and enjoy forest life. Established back in 1987, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is a small wildlife sanctuary and this sanctuary is famous for its variety of flora, especially for medicinal plants. The Government of Sikkim has proposed to build a 22 km ropeway very soon in this area to create the first wildlife skywalk of India which will be something similar to the skywalk in the Grand Canyon in the USA.

One can find species of temperate forest such as Red Panda, Serow, Goral, Barking Deer, Leopard-Cat, Marbled-Cat, Civet-Cats, and birds like Common Hill Partridge, Blood Pheasant, Magpies, Blue necked Pita, Sunbird, and Black Eagle. Apart from wildlife sightseeing, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is also a great place for trekking. It provides a perfect destination for adventure as the path will lead to Maenam Peak and later ascend to Bhaledunga. Besides, you can also get a stunning view of Mount Kanchenjunga and Teesta River from Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is between March and June. You will get an opportunity to see many rare birds and mammals during this spring-summer season.

Distance from Gangtok: 3 hrs approx (65 km)

Entry Fee: No entry fee.

Timing: No specific time is there for the visit, but make your trip in the daylight. 

These are some of the most attractive places to visit while you travel to Sumbuk for a whole day trip.

 

Mode of Reach to Sikkim:

Sikkim Helicopter Service: Bagdogra is also connected with Gangtok by daily helicopter service operated by Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, and it takes only 20 minutes to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra. The 5-seater helicopter makes traveling to Sikkim easier, along with being an incredible way of witnessing the majestic state, like never before. The passengers on this helicopter are awarded a Certificate of Participation by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation.

Road: Siliguri is more or less the main gateway to Sikkim. National Highway 31A connects Gangtok to Siliguri. The scenic lush green forests on the banks of river Teesta on one side and the Eastern Himalayan range on the other side make the drive worthwhile. As stated earlier, public vehicles including buses, shared jeeps and auto-rickshaws are available from Siliguri to Gangtok, Kalimpong, Kurseong, etc. at frequent intervals. You can also opt for a private cab from Siliguri to travel further.

 

Railway: Sikkim does not have a proper train network. The nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) which is about 6-7kms from Siliguri and 130 km from Gangtok. Very few selective trains pass through Siliguri, which is approximately 114 km from Gangtok. Onward journey from Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri railway station is possible by road.

 

Air: The nearest accessible airport to Sikkim is in Bagdogra which is approximately 124 km from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Bagdogra airport has both public and private transport options for the onward journey. 50 meters away from the terminal building, the local taxi stand has both shared and private jeeps for Darjeeling, Siliguri, Gangtok, etc. Further down, around 700-800 m from the taxi stand there is good availability of public buses and shared autos for the same.

 

 

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