Epic Road Trips
Mountainous terrain, national highways and winding, narrow roads itched on rocks, precarious at every bend and the reward of gorgeous views of valleys and distant mountain peaks attracts travellers. Welcome to the east of Sikkim. What was once the remains of the old silk road transiting from Tibet to India is now a bucket list for bikers and 4×4 enthusiasts.
The hamlet of Dzuluk (or Zuluk) at 2,900 meters is surrounded by wild forests, home to deer, Himalayan bear and red panda. It is here that we find the three level switchback roads (Kalimpong – Zuluk Route) with about 45 hairpin bends, possibly one of the most scenic drives in India. The entire route is 90 kilometers in length with an elevation of 1,800 meters. The views overlook the terrain and plains of Sikkim and West Bengal with the Teesta River meandering down, forming a path of its own.
Zuluk could be one of your bases to explore the higher altitude jewels such as Nathang Valley, Kupup and Tsongmo lake.
Buddhism can be found in every corner of Sikkim with 75 Buddhist monasteries, the oldest dating back to 1700s. This is the land filled with tales and teachings of lamas, age old monasteries, colourful murals hiding behind walls and simple living. Namchi (or Namtse) is the capital of district South Sikkim and home to the Namchi Monastery and Ralang Monastery.
Glacial Lakes at 3,700 m.
Frozen in winter and a blue mirror surrounded by a riot of blue and yellow poppies during summer, the Tsomgo Lake (also known as Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake) mountain paradise feeds from the melting snow resting on ancient alpine mountain range. With a depth ranging from 5 m to 15 m covering 60 acres, this large waterbody surrounded by soaring peaks makes for a dramatic selfie backdrop. The revered oval shaped lake can be found 40km from Gangtok, in the East Sikkim district.
The Buddha Park of Ravangla, (also Tathagata Tsal) located in South Sikkim district is home to a the 130 foot tall statue of Lord Buddha, consecrated in 2013 to mark the 2550th anniversary of the birth of Gautama Buddha. The complex also includes the centuries old Rabong Monastery.
Forest Bathing & trekking along passes
Catch up with a Yak
Walk amongst ruins of an old kingdom.
Visit Tea Plantations
View the roof of the world from monasteries
Visit a mountain lake in winter!
© This article was first published online in Sept 2020 – World Travel Magazine.