Sikkim is a mountainous kingdom, well known for providing stunning views of Kanchenjunga straddles the border with Nepal. It is also a land rich in flora and fauna and has diverse ethnic mix eighth rich cultural traditions. The people are predominantly Buddhists and there are many active monasteries where traditional and ancient rituals are practiced in an atmosphere of peace and serenity.
Located at a distance of 74 kms from Darjeeling, you can enjoy the views of this majestic mountain from gorgeous retreats like Glenburn Tea Estate. Imagine waking on your first morning in the countryside, out into air as cool and clear as spring water. You will be led to a lone table on a terrace where, at an altitude of 1,800m, fresh coffee and a princely, perfectly-prepared breakfast will be laid out.
Experience Kanchenjunga rising, toothpaste white, against an infinite, deep blue sky. On a terrace below, your host murmurs prayers as she circles an ancient stupa. The fluttering of prayer flags and the song of a laughing thrush are the only other sounds.
All this isolation has had a wonderful effect on preserving Sikkim’s culture and idyllic natural landscape, but it has also meant many visitors have had to rough it out on bone-jarring roads and in rustic guest houses. In the recent years though, a new project has set out to provide for lovers of luxury—without compromising on authenticity.
Shakti Sikkim works with local landowners to provide boutique home stays in three village homes around the state, each done out with wood-burning stoves, duck-down duvets and all the cool, understated style of a design hotel. You can do a fantastic village walk experience where you trek for a good few hours each day to spend a night at one of these cosy home stays taking in the views of the mighty Kanchenjunga.
For the more adventurous a trek can be arranged starting from Yaksom, the trail climbs through dense semi tropical forests, before changing to rhododendron, pine, azalea, and giant oak. The trekking is not difficult and follows delightful trails.
Spectacular views of Kanchenjunga, Pandim and other peaks of the Singalila ridge, separating Sillim from Nepal are visible for the entire trek. You can trek back to Yuksom and visit Gangtok, Sikkim's hilltop capital and stay two delightful and relaxing nights among the tea gardens in Kalimpong before the flight back to Delhi.
An excursion not to be missed is a ride on the daily Kurseong-Darjeeling service. The Darjeeling “Toy” Himalayan Railway was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999. This railway is of historical importance for playing a vital role during World War II, by transporting military personnel and supplies to the numerous military camps around Ghoom and Darjeeling. Ghoom is India’s highest railway station.
The ride to Ghoom through the magnificent Batasia loop is one of the high points of any vacation to Darjeeling. This place provides a 360 degree vista of Darjeeling’s landscape including the hill town and the snow covered peaks of the Eastern Himalayas with the majestic Kanchenjunga on one side. And all this from the middle of a lovely garden with flowers around which the toy train track is laid.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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