EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SIKKIM SILK ROUTE
Old Silk Route in East Sikkim-
The Old Silk Route or Silk Road which passes through East Sikkim is a part of the ancient network of trade routes which connected China to India. This route passed through Lhasa and Nathu La and Jelep La Pass and finally reached the port of Tamralipta (present Tamluk in West Bengal) from where it took to the sea and reached far east. This Ancient Silk Route is expected to have been discovered by traders as early as First Century AD.
Best Time to Visit-
You can visit Silk Route in East Sikkim throughout the year, except very monsoon,from end of December to February end due to heavy snowfall some routes will remain close.
Silk Route Sightseeing
- Old & New Baba Mandir
- Changu Lake
- Eagle’s Nest Bunker
- Jelep La Pass
- Kupup Lake
- Thambi View Point
- Lampokhari/Aritar Lake
- Laxman Chowk
- Menmecho Lake
- Nathula Pass
- Thambi View Point
- Tukla Valley
- Yak Golf Course
15 Most Untouched Places of Ancient Silk Route in East Sikkim,You must visit once in your lifetime
Places to Stay-
Throughout Silk Route starting from Sillery Gaon to Gangtok,there are some villages to stay. There are no as such Luxury Hotels,locals of those villages have made some homestays to stay.They are very basic homestays with local cuisine.
1>Sillery Gaon/Icchey Gaon-
Tucked amidst the alpine forest of pine and conifer tree Icchey Gaon is an offbeat destination of North Bengal. Icchey Gaon also spelt as Icche gaon or Echey. Situated at 5800 ft above mean sea level with a panoramic view of Mt. Kanchenjungha.
Rishikhola is a small settlement located on the bordering area between of West Bengal and Sikkim. 37 km away from Kalimpong,Reshikhola is a riverside destination, at an altitude of 2,000ft in Kalimpong Dist. Rishikhola can an ideal gateway for the tourists those who love to be within the lap of nature in absolute peace and tranquility. An ideal place for bird watchers, as Rishikhola is home several Himalayan birds.
3>Mulkharka Lake Trek-
Mulkharka lake is situated at an altitude of 7500 feet in North Bengal & Sikkim border.The trek route to Mulkarkha Lake is one of the most exciting and untouched trails of the Himalayan foothills.The most fascinating feature of this lake is the reflection of Mt. Kanchenjunga on its tranquil waters.The Mulkarkha Lake is considered sacred by the locals as Manokamana (Wishing) Lake.
Mulkharka Lake Trek package
4>Aritar Lake or Lampokhri
Lampokhari is the oldest freshwater lake in Sikkim at an elevation of 1400 m and is popularly known as the Aritar Lake amongst the natives. You can do boating here, Aritar Lake is surrounded by verdant green pine forests. A narrow jungle path connects the lake from the nearby mountain top called Mankhim. Although Mt. Kanchenjunga is not visible from Lampokhri.
Towering over the village of Dalapchand is the scenically beautiful hilltop destination known as Mankhim. Located near to the popular tourist hot spot known as Aritar, Mankhim is the gateway to famous silk route, so anybody planning for Dzuluk or Gnathang valley can easily spend a night at Mankhim and proceed. Mankhim has 3-4 decent homestays with basic yet very satisfying accommodation facilities. Mankhim can be an option for travel buffs to find solace among busy monotonous life
6> Chochen Pheri-
It is also known as Bara Pathing, situated in East Sikkim is Overlooked by Himalayan Ranges, Bara Pathinng is a beautiful Hamlet. One can enjoy the pure virgin nature and experience the pristine authenticate traditional hospitality. Rongli, from where Silk Route permission to be obtained. is just 1 hr. away from Chochen Pheri. Entire Silk Route is also easily accessible from Chochen Pheri.
Rolep is a virgin riverside destination near Rongli,20 kms. Rolep is the new-found heaven for birdwatchers and solace seekers. Here in Rolep, you can try your angling skills to catch trout in the Shokey Khola River or get wet at the 45-foot high Buddha waterfall.
Lingtam is the first village with a check post after Rongli on this route. It is a very peaceful small village with a sparkling weather guarded by a small river called Bakhuter Khola. Located at an altitude of around 5000 feet above sea level, Lingtam has two monasteries and is surrounded by hills on all sides.
Padamchen is a small village perched on a hilltop, situated at an altitude of 8000 feet above sea-level. Dense forests and the eastern Himalayas form much of the landscape around the village. It lies on the Old Silk Route circuit.Padamchen is a popular tourist destination because of its pleasant weather conditions throughout the year. One can enjoy mesmerizing a sunrise and sunsets from the hilltop. It also offers a beautiful view of the valley below and the winding roads of the Silk Route. The forests of Padamchen are home to a variety of rare birds such as Laughing thrushes, Fulvettas, Honey Buzzards, Steppe Eagles, Babblers, Tits, Wrens and others. Bird watching is a popular tourist activity here. There is also a Heritage Forest rest house one can visit.
Weather: Summer 10°C to 22°C Winter 4°C to 10°C
10>Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary-
Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve in the East Sikkim district of the state of Sikkim in India.The total notified area of the park is around 124 square kilometres (48 sq mi) while inside the wildlife sanctuary there are a few hamlets: Aritar, Lingtam, Phadamchen, Zuluk, Gnathang valley and Kupup. This wildlife sanctuary is linked to the forests of Bhutan and Neora Valley National Park of West Bengal.
Top five birds found in Pangolakha :(source Going Wild)
- Satyr Tragopan
- Himalayan Monal
- Fire-tailed Myzornis
- Asian House Martin
- Fire-capped Tit
11>Lungthung & Dhupidara-
Lungthung Village is located at an altitude of 11,500 feet above sea-level. It is perched on a hilltop and offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan Ranges. One can also explore the famous Luxmi Chawk, which lies in the proximity of Lungthung. It is the dense forest of Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary that houses Mosses, Lichens, Rhododendrons and ferns.
12>Dzuluk or Zuluk-
Zuluk, a small village in East Sikkim, part of Old Silk Route 10000 ft. above the sea level. Zuluk is most famous place to stay in Silk Route circuit. Zuluk is a small village with a large military settlement, given that the Indo-Tibet border is nearby. The village itself is an attractive tourist destination for visitors looking for a quiet sojourn. For most tourists, however, it is the base from which they explore the higher altitude tourist destinations of Nathang Valley, Kupup and Tsongmo lake.
13>Gnathang or Nathang-
Nathang Valley is located along the Old Silk Route in east Sikkim. Situated at an altitude of 13,500 feet above sea-level, the valley has also been referred to as “Ladakh of the East”.
The valley changes its color according to seasons. It is dressed in golden in autumn due to the drying up of the grass. Snow clad in winter, it is strikingly white in color. Spring however, is the best time as a blanket of wild flowers covers the valley, dressing it up in vibrant hues of color. There is snowfall during winters. Nathang Valley has a host of beautiful lakes you can see. There is a small Buddhist Monastery which is a popular tourist attraction.
Tucked within lush forests, Doban is a grassland teeming with birds. The two rivers – Reshi and Rangpo meet here to create this picturesque landscape. You just need to cross a wooden bridge across Reshi River to reach Doban. Spending a day in Doban lazing around the grasslands and forests after your stint with the high-altitude passes and lakes in the Silk Route, would be a rejuvenating experience.
Yakten (or Yaakten) is a small human settlement in the foothills of the Himalayas in East-Sikkim. It has marvelous views of the Kanchenjunga range and the lush green valleys. Located near Pakyong – the first international airport at Sikkim, Yakten is still a quiet peaceful place to spend your weekend. With it’s uninterrupted views of mountains and valleys, Yakten also offers rich cultural heritage of Sikkimese people. You can also enjoy the local cuisine and beverages. you can also go for a hike inside forests or trek to the historical ruin in Budang Gadi. Located in the heart of high pine trees, Yakten featured traditional houses of all the ethnic communities of Sikkim.
Dos & Don’ts-
- Most important thing to keep in mind is that never expect luxury accommodation during travelling Silk Route Sikkim. You cannot expect luxury meals, facilities etc. there as it are remote destination and mountainous area.
- Carry good amount of woolen garments, sweaters, gloves and caps to protect you from the cold.
- Suggest not staying at high altitude area if you are travelling with children and elderly person as it will create headaches, dizziness and vomiting among the aged and children
- Carry transparent glasses, sun glasses, torch, power bank, gas lighter, small knives and necessary items with you. Also carry first aid box etc.
- Carry Original and Photocopy of Id Proof like Votar ID Cards including passport size photograph for Silk Route Permit. Need to carry Birth Certificate or ration card in mandatory for minor too.