Bluff river valleys wrapped in rhododendron forests, orchid carpets flung far and wide, preserved Tibetan culture with astounding views of the Eastern Himalayas. Sikkim is an incredibly diverse hub of natural and cultural wonder.
Snuggled between Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, Sikkim only became part of India in 1975, and much of it retains the feel of a remote Himalayan kingdom. Rustic Buddhist monasteries hanging from the cliffs, the horizon dominated by the glaciers on clear sky days to the mighty peaks of Kanchenjunga, Sikkim offers a beautiful blend of adventure, heritage and nature.
There is so much to immerse yourself in within this pristine state. Gangtok the capital is scattered with important monasteries and Buddhist sites, the significant one being the Rumtek Monastery. Founded by the 9th Karmapa Ghupa Wanchuk Dorjee in 1730, the original Rumtek Monastery was destroyed in a devastating fire. In 1959, with generous help from the Royal family of Sikkim and the Indian Government, the 16th Karmapa rebuilt the monastery. Flanked by tranquil rivers, snow-capped peaks and sweeping valleys, Rumtek refreshes the mind and the soul.
Another gem here is The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, a place dedicated to the history of Tibetan-Buddhist and its culture. The center does fascinating research into the religion, history, language, art and heritage of the Tibetan people and its foundation stone was laid by none other than the Dalai Lama in February 1957.
Apart from Buddhist culture, the fabulous biodiversity of flora and fauna is on display thanks to the enormous differences in altitude. Sikkim offers some gorgeous treks and mountain biking for those who wish to indulge in some adventure pursuits. And if you are simply looking to sink into the experience of the Himalayas, exquisite hotels with stunning locations, humbling hospitality and flavourful cuisine will surely cast a spell on you.
Welcoming locals, authentic interactions in traditional villages, luxurious accommodations and a landscape full of natural treasures, Sikkim invites you into a nostalgic world of exuberance and serenity that could not exist anywhere else, but in the Eastern Himalayas.