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Namchi–Sky High–in South Sikkim Offers a Heavenly Experience Beyond Comparison

Updated on October 21, 2019
Prantika Samanta profile image

Educated as a microbiologist, trained as an editor, a quintessential nomad soul grounded to the earth. Loves anything that touches her soul

Lush green hills, blue sky, clouds - finding solace in the lap of nature
Lush green hills, blue sky, clouds - finding solace in the lap of nature

Time for Unwinding, Family Bonding, and Rejuvenation

Long meetings, grueling schedules, deliverables, and targets got better of me. I was yearning to leave the city life behind and find solace in the lap of nature.

I was in want of rejuvenation and nothing can better than relaxing amidst the mountains, spending quality time with my family, and strengthening our bonds.

Namchi (a beautiful town in South Sikkim) and some others places in Sikkim (Ravangla, Pelling, Yuksom, Rinchenpong, Aritar, Zuluk, and Rongli) perfectly fit the bill.

What are we waiting for then?

8 Days, 8 Destinations by Road—an Exciting Experience

Places in Sikkim
Districts of Sikkim
Namchi
South
Ravangla
South
Yuksom
West
Pelling
West
Rinchenpong
West
Aritar
East
Zuluk or Dzuluk & Rongli
East
Different places of Sikkim and their corresponding district.

Why Sikkim Topped Our Favorite Destination List?

Sikkim was our obvious vacation destination for the year because of the following reasons:

  • Our affinity toward hill stations;
  • Its proximity from Kolkata (the capital of West Bengal)
  • Its mesmerizing scenic beauty

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Exploring the Beauty of Sikkim

This northeastern state of India is considered to be the only brother of seven sisters (the seven northeastern states of India).

Sikkim is famous for breathtaking scenery, lofty mountains, gurgling waterfalls, lavishing lakes, gushing rivers, wandering clouds, beautiful flowers, and magnificent monasteries. The land is home for people of different cultures, such as the Lepchas, Bhutias, Nepalese, and people from the different parts of the country.

The beauty of Sikkim whether the breathtaking view of Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim or the captivating view of the landscape of Namchi in South Sikkim is alluring.

Seven Sisters of India and Their Capital

State
Capital
Arunachal Pradesh
Itanagar
Assam
Dispur
Manipur
Imphal
Meghalaya
Shillong
Mizoram
Aizawl
Nagaland
Kohima
Tripura
Agartala
These northeastern states of India are called Seven Sisters, and each one of the sisters offer breathtaking scenic views.
A magnificent monastery with lush green hills at the backdrop and wandering clouds. Calmness dominates the place.
A magnificent monastery with lush green hills at the backdrop and wandering clouds. Calmness dominates the place.

Flora and Fauna of Sikkim

The land is a paradise for botanists and never stops to amaze animal lovers and birders, as one can find various species of plants, animals, and birds.

Flora

Sikkim is also rich in vegetation that includes ferns figs, sal trees, oaks, and bamboos.

Fauna

Several species of birds, including quail, golden eagles, and snow cock, and animals, such as the Blue Sheep and yaks, are the inhabitants of its forests.

Admiring the magnanimity of the white lofty mountains
Admiring the magnanimity of the white lofty mountains

Areas that Need Attention Before the Trip

Certain areas demand a lot of attention and we need to handle them carefully in order to have a hassle-free trip. Train tickets and hotel rooms were booked online in advance to get best deals on hotels and train tickets.

We booked our cab for the trip from a registered tour operator. We did not opt for a shared vehicle rather hired a cab only for us to enjoy more comfort and spend more time as a family.

Remember Before Hiring a Cab

Always hire a cab from the registered tour operators approved by Ministry of Corporate Affairs - Government of India. Check the list in its website.

Day 1: Our Trip Flagged Off–NJP Station to Namchi

We boarded the train from Sealdah (Kolkata) in an October night and reached New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Station next morning.

Our guide drove us from NJP Station to Namchi. The unforgettable trip kicked off and we were basking in happiness.

Administrative Capital of South Sikkim

Namchi or Namtse (meaning “Sky High”) is the administrative capital of South Sikkim nestled at an altitude of around 5,500 ft above the sea level.

Namchi

We crossed Melli, the border town of West Bengal and Sikkim, to enter Namchi, Sikkim. Melli is the entry point of South Sikkim when entering from West Bengal.

On the way to Namchi, we had scrumptious breakfast in an eatery with lush green hills at the backdrop. We had hot chapattis and potato curry, and the taste was delectable.

The landscape and temperature were gradually changing as we started ascending. We reached Namchi after around a 4-hour drive.

Our hotel was near Char Dham or Siddheswar Dham. We had a quick lunch, as the Char Dham ticket counter was about to close.

The complex has opening and closing timings, and tourists need to pay entry and parking fees.

Char Dham or Siddheswar Dham–The First Place to Visit on Day 1

Replica of 4 Dhams (Hindu pilgrimage centers) and a high statue of Lord Shiva in the sitting position
Replica of 4 Dhams (Hindu pilgrimage centers) and a high statue of Lord Shiva in the sitting position
The complex after sunset, lush greenery, the statue of Shiva, a few replicas, and the beautiful color of the sky
The complex after sunset, lush greenery, the statue of Shiva, a few replicas, and the beautiful color of the sky
The statue of Lord Shiva
The statue of Lord Shiva

Char Dham or Siddheswar Dham

Char Dham or Siddheswar Dham is constructed on the Solophok hill.

The major attractions of the complex are Shiva statue, 12 Jyotirlingas, replicas of Char Dhams (Char, meaning four and Dhams meaning pilgrimage centers: Badrinath, Jaganath, Dwarka, and Rameshwar), Sai Baba Temple, Kirateshwar (Lord Shiva incarnated as Kirateshwar) Statue, Nandi Bull (a humped bull considered to be Lord Shiva's vehicle), and Shiv Dwar.

With closing time was approaching soon, there were only a few visitors inside the complex. We took a tour of the complex at our own pace, there was no crowd at all.

The complex has a car parking zone and a cafeteria. As we had late lunch, we did not try any dish there.

A beautiful replica of one of the Dhams
A beautiful replica of one of the Dhams
Bright flowers in the complex premises
Bright flowers in the complex premises
The Shiva statue in the sitting position
The Shiva statue in the sitting position

A Serene Moment

With the daylight gradually fading into dusk, the mesmerizing view of the landscape and the riot of colors in the sky created a magical ambience.

We sat near the complex until the evening slipped into night and our first day ended with a quiet dinner.

The complex in the evening during the dusk. Lights were about to on. and the scenery and replicas appeared as outlines.
The complex in the evening during the dusk. Lights were about to on. and the scenery and replicas appeared as outlines.

Day 2: Sai Mandir–The First Stop

We started the second day early, as we had to visit quite a few destinations within the stipulated time.

The beautiful Sai Mandir (mandir meaning temple), near to our hotel, was our first stop of the day. The two-storied building has an amazing decor with the ground floor built mainly for praying and performing religious activities. The first floor has a marble statue of Sri Shiridi Sai Baba (on a high platform) and paintings of Lord Vishnu (a Hindu god) depicting his ten different incarnations and other Hindu gods and goddesses around the wall. The ceiling resembles that of a planetarium.

Sai Mandir - Outside
Sai Mandir - Outside

Day 2: Next Stops–Ngadak Monastery and Samdruptse

1. Ngadak Monastery

Next in our itinerary list was Ngadak (meaning promise) Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries of Namchi. No cars were allowed inside the monastery, so we walked a little into the monastery. We were spellbound by the spectacular beauty of the monastery.

2. Samdruptse

Close to the monastery is the Samdruptse (meaning wish fulfilling hill in the Bhutia language). The counter and the covered car parking zone are close to the entrance gate. We payed both entry and car parking fees.

To visit the statue of Guru Padmasambhava sitting on a lotus, we first ascended the hilly road (walkway) with Buddhist prayer flags fluttering on one side of the road. We then reached an area under the statue and enjoyed the panoramic view of the landscape from there. Next, we climbed the stairs that led to the statue kept on a high platform. The place also has a monastery.

This is the highest statue of Guru Padmasambhava in the world. The intricate design, grandeur of the statue, and engineering involved left us awestruck. The vista of the surroundings from there was breathtaking.

We grabbed breakfast in one of the food stalls near the car parking zone before heading to our next destination.

Ngadak Monastery
Ngadak Monastery

Temi Tea Garden—an Indescribable Beauty

The enchanting view of the tea garden would not only remain ingrained in our memories but also allure us to visit it again.

I think the photograph below gives a glimpse of the beauty.

The breathtaking view of Temi Tea Garden
The breathtaking view of Temi Tea Garden

Festival and Flower Show

Namchi Mahotsav

The land is not only famous for its stunning lakes or waterfalls, meandering hilly roads, snow-capped high mountains, rich flora and fauna but also for its people who are simple and friendly, its festivals, and the flower shows.

Namchi Mahotsav (Mahotsav meaning festival) is organized every year to showcase traditional skills; ethnic handloom and handicrafts, and traditional houses and food of the ethical groups of Sikkim; host dance performances and flower exhibitions; organize tours to different tourist attractions; and conduct multiple activities, such as trekking.

Flower Festivals

Each year flower festivals are organized in Namchi. Sikkim is known for its wide variety of species of flowers, specifically rhododendrons and orchids.

Official Requirements

Domestic tourists do not require any permit to visit South Sikkim. However, foreign nationals need RAP (Restricted Area Permit) and other documents to enter Sikkim.

Some More Interesting Places–Yet Pending in Our Travel Wishlist

With not much time left before heading to our next destination, Ravangla, these places remained unticked in our list:

  • Rock Garden: It is close to Samdruptse, houses various plants and trees, and has a cable car facility to reach the garden.
  • Tendong Hill: Trekking enthusiasts can trek from Damthang to reach Tendong Hill. The trekking trail passes through a forest that is a home to several birds and wild animals.
  • Tarey Bhir View Point: The cliff is known for offering amazing views of forests, river valleys, and the confluence of the two rivers of Sikkim Teesta and Rangit. An ideal place for ridge walkers to get some wonderful views from here.

Which Months Are Best to Visit Namchi? How Accessible Is Namchi?

Namchi can be visited any time of the year, but the temperature is quite low during the winter. But if one loves to visit Namchi in the winter, he or she should carry adequate woolens. Hill stations are better to be avoided during the monsoon.

Namchi can be accessed from West Bengal, Gangtok, Pelling, and other places of Sikkim.

Helicopter Service

Tourists can also avail Helicopter service provided by Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC), a division of Sikkim state government, to visit Namchi and Gangtok. Different categories of the helicopter service can be availed at varying rates.

The service may be suspended depending on the bad weather condition, so keep this in mind while planning the trip.

To know about the time, number of people allowed, when to make reservations for availing the helicopter service, weight limit of the baggage, fare, and mode of payment, visit the website of STDC.

Transportation and Accommodation

How to Reach Namchi by Road
Accommodation
Best Time to Visit
From NJP Station/Bagdogra Airport: Shared or private taxis, buses from Siliguri, cabs hired from registered tour operators
Hotels
Anytime
From Gangtok: Shared or private taxis, buses, cabs hired from registered tour operators
Resorts
Temperature is low during the winter season
From other parts of Sikkim: Buses and cabs
Homestays
Avoid to visit during monsoon
A
NJP Station, India:
New Jalpaiguri Jn., Nawapara, Ward 35, Nayapara, Siliguri, West Bengal 734007, India

get directions

We met our guide and driver here.

B
Bagdora Airport:
Bagdogra International Airport, Airport Road, Bagdogra, Siliguri, West Bengal 734421, India

get directions

C
Namchi Char Dham:
Solophok, Namchi, Sikkim 737121, India

get directions

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Prantika Samanta

Comments

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    • Suchismita pradhan profile image

      Suchismita pradhan 

      13 minutes ago from Odisha

      Lovely place..your writing makes it more enticing

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      2 days ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you, Natasha. Glad to know that you have liked my article. A great place for unwinding.

    • Natasha Tungare profile image

      Natasha Tungare 

      3 days ago from India

      It seems such a beautiful place! If I get a chance to, I would love to visit it

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 days ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you, Linda. I am glad that you have liked my article and the photos.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It sounds like you had a very interesting trip. Your photos are lovely. I enjoyed reading your article very much.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      12 days ago from Kolkata, India

      Hello Chitrangada,

      Thank you so much. I am glad that you have liked it. Please do visit Namchi.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      12 days ago from New Delhi, India

      An excellent article, well presented with all the useful information, one would require to visit this beautiful place.

      I have been to the some of the wonderful locations in the Northeast of India. But reading the details about Namchi, through your article, makes me want to visit this beautiful place. Your pictures are beautiful and give an idea of what to expect from the tour.

      Thanks for sharing the details and your personal experience.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      3 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you. Northeast indeed offers spectacular landscape vistas.

    • Shreenidhi KS profile image

      SHREENIDHI 

      3 weeks ago from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

      Thanku so much for sharing such an informative article..northeast is an heaven on earth..

    • profile image

      digitalkp 

      3 weeks ago

      Very good and informative article.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      3 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you Ms. Shaloo Walia.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      3 weeks ago from India

      Beautiful pics and an informative hub.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you, Sanjay. I am glad that you have liked my article.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you Sanjay. I am glad that you have liked it.

    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 

      4 weeks ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Thanks for sharing the details of your trip. I felt like being transported to the place. It was a delightful reading.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you so much. I am glad that you have liked my article.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      4 weeks ago

      Great article Prantika full of interesting facts and beautiful pictures. Family bonding is so important and what better way to bond and relax than in this wonderful place. Thank you for sharing.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you, Dr Pran Rangan. I am glad that my articles have motivated you. Please do visit Sikkim. You will like the place.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      4 weeks ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks for such an informative article. It appears that Namchi has many places of religious significance. Your articles have motivated me to visit Sikkim.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you, Priya. Please do visit the place. I am glad that you love reading my articles.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you, Liz. I am glad that you have liked the article.

    • profile image

      Priya 

      4 weeks ago

      Prantika

      I love reading your articles. It is well written, interesting and nice. I feel like visiting this place with your wonderful description. Snapshots of the places are very good. Keep going. :)

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 weeks ago from UK

      This is a very well-illustrated and interesting article.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you, Arpita.

    • profile image

      Arpita 

      4 weeks ago

      Very useful information and well written Prantika. Keep writing such alluringly description about Sikkim.

    • profile image

      Arpita 

      4 weeks ago

      Hi Prantika, after reading your article am sure this place is as beautiful as you have described. Please keep visiting more places and jot down your lovely experiences with us.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you, Abitha. Please do visit the place. You will enjoy your stay there.

    • Abitha Deepak profile image

      Abitha 

      4 weeks ago from Chennai, Tamilnadu

      Now I have "Sky high" love for Sikkim, thanks to the wonders you have unearthed in this article. Loving the pictures and Temi Tea sounds very inviting.

    • Prantika Samanta profile imageAUTHOR

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 weeks ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you. Please do visit the place.

    • hmkrishna profile image

      Halemane Muralikrishna 

      4 weeks ago from South India

      Wonderful place. A mixture of a hill station, communal harmony, pilgrimage and wonderful description. Anyone who reads will feel visiting. Keep writing Ms Prantika.

    • Connect Rajinder profile image

      Rajinder Soni 

      4 weeks ago from New Delhi

      Hey Prantika, thank you for providing such a detailed itinerary of this place. I loved your photograph of Temi Tea Garden and I have an immediate craving to visit this place now. The map and its pinned locations are quite helpful. I really liked the Sai Sham temple and Lord Shiva statues and the monasteries.

      Could you please share the exact month when the flower festivals happen there?

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