(3)SILK ROUTE :-
It is said "The only road-signs are the skeletons of the dead. Wherever they lie, there lies the road to India." Over the years several trade routes, which played a major role for the rise of international trades round the globe that we see now, are closed, un-used. They are never used any more for the exchange of commodities and culture. One such route was known as “Silk Road” which has got tremendous historic reference. In ancient years this route was the main commercial road that connected CHINA, to INDIA, BHUTAN and to rest of the world. It was the trade linkages between British India and Tibet through the passes of Sikkim dates back to the late 18th Century. It was the report written by john Edgar the Deputy Commissioner in Darjeeling in 1873 that really captured the attention of the British India Goverment with regard to the great strategic and commercial potentials of this route in Sikkim. The Trade through Nathula had been the outcome of the reputed deliberations and discourses at highest administrative levels between the British India/Sikkim and Tibeto-Chinese Goverments.
The Later half of the 1890s, witnessed a fairly good trade of British India with Tibet through Sikkim passes as highlighted by the extract of the diary of the Political Officer for Sikkim. The diary extract of the 16th January 1898 states, "The trade for December is very good, amounting to Rs 3, 41,290. This includes a consignment of Gold worth Rs. 16,800- the finest that has been sent in for some years."
The adventurous younghosband Mission launched from Sikkim with a military escort (1903-04) accomplished its task of reaching Lhasa thereby leading to 1904 Convention that firmed up the Anglo-Tibet trade.
This is plan for a jeep safari for a memorable trip to the mesmerizing corner of India – the ancient Silk Route, which used to connect Lhasa in Tibet via the Jelep La Pass to India and onwards to the rest of the world. In the Travel circuit, this territory is marked as East Sikkim and has been opened to tourists recently. Even now most of the route is restricted area due its international boundary of INDIA with China (Tibet) and theses route is controlled by the Indian Army named as - “Cloud Warriors”.
This route was at the forefront of the great game in Central Asia involving the British, Russians, Tibetans and the Chinese. The Silk Road or the silk routes is an extensive network of trade routes interconnected with each other connecting the Asian continent with the Europe and Africa. Extending over 4,000 miles, the routes enabled people to transport trade goods while simultaneously serving as a conduit for the spread of knowledge, ideas and cultures between different parts of the world. Trade on the silk route was a significant factor in development and in several respects helped lay the foundations for modern world.
The first person who used the term “seidenstrabe” that means literally Silk Road was the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877. The Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade, a major reason for the connection of trade routes in to an extensive trans-continental network.
The route is primarily divided into 2 sections, the Northern and the Southern route. The southern route was the one that passed through India mainly northern India. It crossed the high mountains into northeast India and then travels west along the Brahmaputra and the Ganges river plains, joining the Grand Trunk Road west of Varanasi.
India played a vital role in the trade, virtually by its position at the centre of this route, as well as its unique products like spices, hand crafted item, precious stones. Besides India had an reputation as a hub of learning and treasure house of scriptures particularly of Buddhism. Along these major routes lie many minor routes many of which have been long forgotten in due course of time. But as mentioned, these routes were a great source of development in all parts that it passed through.One such route was the one passing through the Darjeeling and the Sikkim hills. The passes, Jelep-La and Nathu-La which are both in the present day of Sikkim, were directly connected with Lhasa in Tibet. Nathu-la pass which is situated on the border of India and china was an important route of trade between the silk traders from Sikkim and Tibet. It is through this route that the Tibetans fled from Tibet after China captured it in 1950. Few years later, a fierce battle broke out between India and China leading to the closure of the trade route.
Jelep-la, a Tibetan name means "the lovely level pass", so called because it is the easiest and the most leveled of all passes.
There are 2 routes to Jelep-La, one through Gangtok and the other through Kalimpong. The Kalimpong route is the ancient one which was responsible for the boost in the local economy due to the trading of wool and furs early last century. It passes through the town of Pedong, Reshi,Kolakham, Algarah, Kalimpong and Teesta in Darjeeling, Rhenock, Aritaar, Juluk, and Kubup in Sikkim.
The place was also at the forefront of the great game in the Central Asia involving the British, Russian, Tibetans and the Chinese. It was this through which this route the great imperial adventurer Francis Young Husband led the British invasion of Tibet in 1903-04. Very few people know about this historic mission, which was to change and determine to this day the geo-strategic importance of Darjeeling and Sikkim.
These places were also at the forefront of the Anglo-Tibetan trade before and after the Young Husband Mission. It was part of famous silk route which transvered from Xian to the Roman Empire in the early periods of the Christian era. The route also facilitated the flow of Buddhist religious teachings from India to other parts of the world. The importance of trade along the route has stopped as mentioned earlier after the Indo- Chinese war in 1962.
Normalization of relation between India and China will possible revive the trade in the near future. The old caravan centres along the route like Jelep-La, Rhenock, Reshi, Kolakham, Pedong, Algarah, Lava, Kalimpong and Teesta will once again reverberate with the revival of the trade. As mentioned the main points to explore while in this rout are:-
Pedong is a small village in Darjeeling district in the Indian state of West Bengal, Pedong is about 26 km from Kalimpong. It is one of the oldest towns in this region with significant historical importance.Pedong is divided into two parts - lower Pedong and Upper Pedong. It is a small picturesque hamlet situated on a ridge and surrounded by pine forests; Pedong commands some magnificent views of snow ranges of Mount Kunchendzonga. “Pe” means scented tree and “Dong” means resting place. So “Pedong” denotes a resting place beneath a scented tree.Pedong is Situated at an altitude of 5000ft, the altitudinal variation ranges from the sub tropical at the Rishi Valley to Alpine at the Damsang ridge. The terrain is easily negotiable and provides some of the most breath taking views of the landscape including the Omni present Kanchenjunga in the back drop. Nestled in the lap of nature, Pedong is ideal for long walks. There are many attractions too. The Tibetan monastery is a must see. The ruins of the Damsang Durg (fort) are also worth a visit. We also visited Rikisum view point and Cross Hill viewpoint. Surrounded by pine forests on rolling hill slopes Pedong commands some magnificent views of snow ranges of Mount Kanchenjunga. Being a peaceful location amidst the natural environ Pedong is an ideal offbeat destination in Kalimpong hills. Although ranked among the lesser known destinations from tourism point of view Pedong has everything that a tourist needs apart from modern luxury. The pristine landscape dominated by greater Himalayan ranges, long river valleys, unbroken forest tracts, colourful ethnic people in picturesque villages, old monasteries, short nature and village treks, myths and legends - Pedong is not devoid of tourist attractions.To start with Variety of insects and butterflies are also major attractions for scientific community who explore these areas to understand the unique bio diversity of this region. It is interesting to note that the first Roman Catholic Priests who came to the Pedong Parish were ardent naturalist and they collected and documented many of these rare species during their stay in this part of the world. Beside this the main tourist attraction of PEDONG are:-
It is one place that attracts a lot of outsiders. The monastery is considered especially holy by the Bhutanese Buddhists who visit Pedong in large numbers. The monastery was constructed by the Bhutan's king in 1873. The Monastery showcases large number of very old paintings. Pedong is one of the oldest missionary outposts in the district of Darjeeling through which the Roman Catholic priests tried to spread Christianity to Tibet. The testimony to this adventure is recorded in the Pedong parish and the Cross Hill. In fact the arrival of missionaries in this part of Darjeeling district in 1880s was to change the destiny of the place forever. Their arrival can be accorded as the first forces of modernization to reach such a remote area with its transformative power.
Tinchule view point
A short 900m walk will take one to the Tin Chuley Hill. There are lovely views of Kashyone village, thick wooded forests, and terraced fields brimming with green paddy. The Jelepla pass and Nathula pass can be viewed at a very close range, as well as the entire Mt. Kanchenjunga range, Sikkim and also a far as Gangtok town. This is the highest point in the region with excellent view of almost the entire mountain range of Darjeeling and Sikkim including parts of Bhutan and Tibet. About 180 degrees in front, one can see the snow capped mountains. The hills rising from the Tista river and going up to the highest mountains of Kanchanjunga are all visible from this place. This place is unique one. It gives a clear view of almost all the major towns of this hill including Gangtok, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The place is also an excellent point for Hangliding.
Rikkisum view point:
Situated on a hill top on the Pedong - Lava road, Rikkisum commands some maginificent view of the snow ranges Kunchenjungha Mountains. There is an old Bungalow which was built by the British in the year 1902 simply because this is easily the best view point of the Kalimpong sub-division where you can see the entire Kanchenjunga range also Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Gangtok, Pedong towns and all this is set amidst beautiful Pine Forests.
This is a Bhutanese monastery built in the year 1706. It is situated at a distance of about 300 Mtrs. from Pedong Monastery. All the antique belonging to the Damsang Fort are kept in this monastery after the fort was destroyed. Many old paintings and fresco works are present.Lord Buddha’s idol is not present here. Instead the painting and photo of head Rimpochela is worshipped in the front and hidden behind is the idol of the God of piece and Evil destruction.The Chyaam dance is performed during the Raninvmi festival.
It is is one of the oldest forts of the region. Located at a hilltop about 3 - 4 km from the monastery, the fort is at present in ruins, but the unique location allows beautiful view of the hills and the plains. When the famous Damsung Fort collapsed the valuables of this fort was transferred to the Pedong monastery.
It is just 2 Kmtrs. from Pedong bazaar and 900 Mtrs of walk from the motorable road. Not yet developed as a decorated park.
This memorial stone has been built in the honour of a local young lad of 20 years working in Indian army. Let Palender Rai, shahid on 10th June 02 at Thangdhar J & K sector (Kargil war).
This is the highest point of the cross hill and clear panoramic views of Sikkim on the opposite.
It is about 6,400 ft. 10 Km. from Pedong bazaar. Jeep road thrugh the dense forest. It gives breathtaking panoramic view of the rivers all around and Kancenjunga. Longest view of Tista is available only from here.
It is named so because of the holy cross that adorns the hill. Christian missionaries made this during the 19th century. This place gained tourist significance due to the clear view of Kanchenjunga that it allows. Kashioni Village is quite near from this hill.
Sangchen Dorjee Monastery:
A 300 year old monastery built by the Bhutanese during their era in Pedong. The famous Chyam Dance also known as the Gumba Dance takes place here in the month of April.
Franco – Swiss Museum:
It shows a brief history of the journey of Christianity in Pedong.
Institute for the cultivation of Silk:
It is a unit for the cultivation of silk worms from Mulberry bushes.
Sillery Gaon is a village of only 24 families in the midst of the jungle with no electricity and transport.
It is about 6 Km. from Pedong bazaar on the way to Ramitey a small forest area with a grassy land of quietness. It is a huge pasture bordered with dense pine trees.
It is a one of the most enjoyable places for fresh trout and river- side lunch at an Eco-camp.
It is just 15 Km. from Pedong bazaar. Rishi and Mudum khola unites to form Rishi khola just before the bridge. West Bengal and Sikkim are on either side of the rivers. It is really a romantic natural atmosphere.
Just below the bridge there is an adventure camping site on the riverbed. Fishing, camping and rafting are arranged at this tent site. However rafting is not directly done here but arranged at the 7 Km. stretches from Melli to Untris miles on Tista.
A very old Lepcha house is the heritage exhibit and it is under development to decorate with Lepcha culture and utilities.
Photo shows Mr. Sonam Chering Lepcha standing. He is the 8th generation descendent of his family tree living in the same house. It fixes the construction of this house to1600.
There are few interesting architectural features in this house. The wooden foundation columns have been laid on the rock base, which itself is floating. No nails have been used and the hinge type wooden joints are supporting the house. This house is the only left standing specimen of more than 300 years old Lepcha craftwork.
It is about 8 kms from Pedong bazaar ahead cross hill. Rongpo khola joins Tista behind this village. Cinchona plantation and a little ahead is Ranibon that has been declared as a preserved forest and under development.
The next point after Pedong is RESHI. Reshi is just 17km from Pedong. Reshi is located on the banks of the Reshi khola, a small riverlut. This river borders West Bengal and Sikkim. Historical significance of the place is that this was the original trade route between India and Tibet in the earlier days, and it is better known as the Silk Route.Reshi is 37 kilometers from Kalimpong in Darjeeling district. Reshi or Rishi or Rishi Khola is located in the Kalimpong sub division on the West Bengal –Sikkim Border. Rishi Khola derives its name from the Reshi River (Khola in Nepali meaning a small stream) and has gained prominence as an upcoming offbeat tourist destination as recently a number of resorts have come up on the banks of the river, not surprisingly because of its unique location and scenic beauty. Topographically, Reshi Khola divides the states of West Bengal and Sikkim. It’s a perfect stopover for tourists intending to visit 'The Silk Route' as it is a nice picnic and camping ground for tourists to have fun and chill out on the banks of the river rishi. It is also an idyllic spot for romancing the moonlight with a light barbecue and bonfire. Tourists can also indulge in luxury of bathing in the crystal clear river water and to cast the net for a light barbecue. Tourists can also get a feel of staying in pitched tents and test their wilderness streak.For trekkers and adventure lovers, Reshi offers innumerable opportunities for rock climbing and light treks. Reshi is a romantic escape from the din and bustle of the city life. Nestled amidst emerald dense forest and tall grasses beside the gurgling Reshi River, the place truly offers the true essence of nature. You will enjoy angling and bathing in the Reshi river and have your dinner and good night’s sleep beside it. The Reshi River in the moonlit night under the starry sky looks like a silver necklace lying on a green carpet. You would really love your first date with the Reshi River at Reshi Khola. The evening in Reshi was quite romantic. The babbling river, the starry sky and dots of dim light on the hills — all came together to take us to a land of dream. Reshi is an amazing location for enjoying a number of fun filled activities. In day time, you can try your hand in angling and relish your catch, fried deeply as evening snacks. If you nurture an adventurous bent of mind then experience a short stay in the pitched tents. Tourists who are fond of trekking can go for rock climbing and light treks. Moreover, bathing in the crystal clear water of River Reshi is a pleasurable experience. You will also find some exotic species of birds in the location. Tourists also organize picnics at the riverside.
These places are offbeat and is worth visiting and trekking, fishing, adventure camping, sight seeing and farm activities make up the regular itinerary. Sillery is a rural village of only a few families in the middle of the forest stretch with no electricity.It is located at an altitude of 6000 ft, in the middle of the pine forests of Damsang. Wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and a Glorious Golden Sunrise. The view of the Mt. Kanchenjunga is simply breathtaking from here and can be seen very close compared to any point in the region. Ramitey:
Ramitey is unique of its own you can see the river Tista snaking in between the Valleys and the Mighty Kanchenjunga looming majestically over it. Is unquestionable the only place where one can view the Mountains and the Teesta, also the longest view of the river.
Kolakham is a small village near Lava. Kolakham village is situated at an altitude of 6,000m. This is located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal and showcases beautiful views of the Mt Kanchandzongha range. I have read about this village earlier also in various articles growing as one of tourist destinations and hill station in North East. The small village is growing up on a self dependent economy mainly on tourism and farming. The people staying in village are from the Rai caste exceptionally honest and soft spoken. This place has got another attraction apart from the splendid view of Mt. Kanchandzongha which is its sheer location near Neora Valley National Park. Even a nature lover can chose to stay in this place to have guided treks and safaris to the forest area. Local guided tours can be another option a day trek inside the forest. Neora Valley National Park is famous for the existence of snakes and such places may be avoided during rains if not trained or equipped. Besides Neora valley forest one can enjoy the nearby waterfalls known as Chengi Falls. It is indeed a beautiful place for a days’ picnic. In short for me Kolakham is a place for rest with the Mighty peak Mt. Kanchandzongha always in front of your eyes. Kolakham is an ideal destination for tourists nursing an adventurous bent of mind. Nestled beside the Neora Valley National Park this charming location offers majestic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Located just 8 kilometers from Lava the village of Kolakham is perched on a hill 6100 feet high overlooking the mighty Eastern Himalayas. From Kolakham, you can get a view of Mt. Kanchenjungha with its allies like Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabru and others touching the sky. Kolakham is a tiny village amidst the abundance of nature with a panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayas upto the Nathu La Pass.Wildlife is in abundance here and you can take nature walks and short treks all around Kolakham. Kolakham offers an array of activities like rock climbing, trekking and rope traversing to make your stay more interesting. You can also enjoy village walks or nature trails along the picturesque landscape of the region. Experience an exciting jungle camp at Neora Valley national Park, which boasts of its amazing biodiversity of endangered species of plants, animals and birds. You can also explore the forests surrounding Kolakham and hike over the rocks to savor the view of a splendid waterfall.
After 9 KM from RESHE you will reach Legship, here you can break for tea and visit the temple of Kitetshwar Mahadev dedicated to Lord Shiva across the river Rangit. Every year Bada Chaturdasi festival is celebrated in the month of November.
Algarah is a village located at a distance of 15 km east of Kalimpong in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, It lies at an elevation of 1,780 m (5,840 ft) and has a population of about 3,000. Algarah is famous for the remains of the ancient Damsang Gadi (Damsang Fort). It is said that the Lepcha king Gyabo Achuk had built this fort in 1690 with the help of spirits who brought the big round smooth stones from the Reshi River. Initially built to fight the Drukpas of Bhutan, it was later used to ward off the forces of the British East India Company. The fort fell into ruins after the 1864 Anglo-Bhutan War. ALGARAH is one of the hidden hamlets of trhis region. Tourists kicked off their day with a visit to Algarah, around 14 km from Kalimpong, where they watched a cultural show and sampled the local cuisine before revelling in the beauty of the breathtaking mountains. Algarah is well known for the birding mile that starts from Algarah to Lava. Rikisum is 6 km away from Algarah.Rikisum is a scenic hill from where one can see Sikkim, Bhutan and Kanchenjungha.
'Aritar', a region in East Sikkim under Rongli Sub-Division, is known for its natural and landscaped beauty. It is located on the edge of the Himalayas, Aritar, a pristine hamlet nestled in the Eastern border of Sikkim under the Rongli Sub-Division, is a relatively new tourist destination, boasting a picturesque scenic landscape and a beautiful “boot- shaped” lake called Lampokhri. The place unique in its own way is covered with lush green forest, mountains and meandering rivers. Aritar or Arhitar is a relatively new and an off-beat tourist destination of east Sikkim which has not been exploited by the tourists yet. This new destination has the potential to be a great tourist destination in the future. Aritar offers the most spectacular views of the Himalayan mountain range including Mount Kanchenjunga, Mount Makalu, Mount Pandim, Mount Sinoulchu and of many more. Initiative taken by the Sikkim Government is turning Aritar into a fast developing tourist hot spot. This new tourist destination of Sikkim has all the potential to become a tourist hot spot in coming days. From Mankhim hilltop, the Lake looks just spectacular, if you are staying overnight at Aritar, it is recommended to enjoy its view very early in the morning. There are several small sized hotels and guest houses for the accommodation. , Aritar is steeped in history and natural beauty. Aritar gained its significance with the signing of Indo-Tibet trade convention in 1904. This convention, under the leadership of Lord Younghusband resolved to establish a trade mart at Yatung on the Tibetan side of the frontier.However, the task was no bed of roses, when the Britishers started building roads in Sikkim, it was suspicion for Tibet and in 1886, some Tibetan militia occupied Lingtu in Sikkim near Jelepla pass. In May 1888, the Tibetans attacked Gnathang below Jelepla but were driven away. In September of the same year the British called for reinforcements and the Tibetans were pushed back from Lingtu. A memorial was built at Gnathang for the few British soldiers who died in the engagement.The British sent an expedition led by Col. Younghusband to Lhasa via Jelepla in 1904. The expedition met with resistance from the Tibetan army, which was defeated, and a treaty was dictated by Younghusband on Tibet. The Treaty secured monopoly-trading privileges in Tibet for the British The route started from Kalimpong, Pedong which is located in Darjeeling Distraict and further to Nathula via Rhenock, Aritar, Jaluk. When the first expedition was lunched to find the trade route to Tibet, it became an essence to establish a police outpost, hence Sir.James Claud White the first British political officer of Sikkim, established the first police outpost is Sikkim at Aritar, on the due course a rest house was also built for a night halt, therefore, it is known that Aritar had its commercial significance more than that of Gangtok in the past. It is said that three of the British had died in their way to the expedition, whose cemetery can still be seen at Aritar. The Lampokhari Lake ar Aritar served to quench thirst of the mules and merchants on their tiresome journey to Tibet. Goods were usually packed in black tarpaulin in order to protect from rain and snow, hence the term Kalo Bhari in Colloqual gained popularity among the people. It is said that people were often dragged from their home by the despotic heads, they had to work reluctantly for construction of the mule tracls else they were put behind the bars or faced heavy penalties.A breathtaking view of Khangchendzonga only adds to the many natural riches that Aritar is blessed with. Lush green forests, sweeping hills of paddy fields and placid lakes hidden inside deep forests makes it a perfect destination for those in search of nature trails and a serene holiday. The Lampokari Lake surrounded by lush greenery is considered one of the oldest in Sikkim. This lake has been recently provided with artificial embankment to facilitate boating, a first for Sikkim. A short trek leads you to Mankhim Dara, where a temple dedicated to the ethnic Rai community is located. Mankhim offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding areas. The Aritar Gumpa is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim belonging to the Karma Kagyu lineage order of Tibetan Buddhism.
Aritar is worth visiting destination, whether you may paddle boat around the lake, or take a hike up to Phusrey Lake, visit surrounding hills or just make a plan to trek to Rachela, which is about 6 hours from Aritar. You can enjoy the scenic trees on the way, jungle orchids, splendid giant mountains of Bhutan and Bengal and the overwhelming feeling takes over you as you take the last step towards the Rachela, where the red rhododendrons bloom here like nowhere else. There are many tourist attraction waiting for you to explore here, the main of those are:-
Aritar is famous for its Lampokhari Lake. Initially one of the oldest natural lakes in Sikkim situated at an altitude of 4600 ft (1,400 m). This vast natural lake shaped in the form of human foot is flanked by emerald green forest. You will be enthralled to view the serene and calm deep water of the lake. The lake is ideal to enjoy paddle boating. There is also a Lodge and cafeteria beside the lake. The Changey waterfall boasting a height of 50 meters is located near the Lampokhari Lake.
Aritar Monastery is amother place for you to visit. It’s a Monastery which houses some remarkable painted murals, rare manuscripts and Buddhist artifacts.
Popularly known as Ari-Bangla it is an old British built bunglow built by Sir James Claude White (first political officer of Sikkim during British rule in India) in the year 1895. At the same premises Sikkim’s first treasury was built as well as Sikkim Police was raised and the first outpost started functioning in the year 1897. Of late, the bungalow has been transformed into a lavish hotel and resort.
A monastery of the Kagyuapa order,considered as one of the holiest and oldest in Sikkim.The visitor’s can imbibe the tranquil air with splendour of monastic arts reflected in its traditional architecture, carved & painted murals and treasure of manuscripts and icons.
‘Parbateyswar Shivalaya Mandir –
It is the most respected shrine with picturesque landscape, where thousands of devotees throng for the blessing and participate during the month of “SAWAN” to offer water and sip the sacred water from a sacred vessel. This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva enjoys a unique beautiful location.
“Mangkhim”, a Temple of the Rai of Nepali origin is located at a height of 6500 ft at “Maity Village” (Kheselakha). Hattipailay is another virgin village where the visitors can see elephant footprints on rock. The viewpoint near the temple offers a panoramic view of the mighty Eastern Himalayas,
This place situated about 5 km (approx) from Rhenock Bazar, is an abode of “Nirmal Guruji” (a.k.a) “Kopchey Baba”, known for his miraculious healing power, which has attracted hundreds of devotees from all over India and neghbouring countries. It is the ashram of Nirmal Guruji, also known as Kopchey Baba, renowned for his miraculous healing power, which has attracted hundreds of visitors from all over India and neighboring countries as well.
Phushrey Lake –
This is another lake and is located few kilometers uphill from Aritar in an isolated jungle. Tourists can trek to this lake enjoying the scenic trees on the way. The place offers sights of jungle orchids, view of splendid giant mountains and gives the feeling of being close to nature.
Ever Green Nursery & Ram Gauri Sangrhalaya –
Located at Rhenock Bazaar, the nursery and museum is privately owned and has drift wood collections, botanical & other varieties of flowers.
Changey water fall –
This is a fall, 50 m in height, near Lampokhari Lake which definitely is an add-on for the tourists.
Lover's Point or Love Danra –
Another view point at Aritar is a popular picnic spot.
Helipad View Point:
One experiences a splendid view of the Kanchenjunga Range from here.
This is a three hundred years old monastery.
Trekking destination (Lokdara, Chujachen)
Kali khola falls (Lonely falls):
100 m in height (Rorathang-Rongli road)
Trekking to Rachela is indeed another splendid experience. Aritar hosts the Lampokhari Tourism Festival is during end of March and early April. There is leisurely boating in the Lampokhari Lake, horse riding around the Lake, traditional archery competition and short treks to nearby hilltops and viewpoints. For the more adventurous, there is rock climbing and paragliding, which is guaranteed to keep your adrenaline rushing. The festival offers visitors traditional cultural shows, flower exhibition and local ethnic cuisine to tickle your taste buds.
ZULUK is one of the main points of SILK ROUTE. Zuluk is steadily growing tourist destination situated at an altitude of 3000 meters [approx. 10000 feets] above sea level near Indo-China border. This location is an untouched tourism destination, which has been less explored. It has gained importance owing to its strategic location on the historic Old Silk Route and its proximity to the Indo-China border.This beautiful small rocky terrain is situated in the lower Himalayas of the East Sikkim and was famous in olden days for historic “Silk Route”. The route starts from Kalimpong passing through Pedong, Aritar, Zuluk and Jelep La to Chumbi valley in Tibet. The “Silk Route” being the Official corridor between India & China in terms of trade in earlier days was closed since long after the Chinese aggression in the area.For centuries, merchants and others journeyed to and from China and the Middle East on ancient routes through some of the most testing landscapes in the world. These ‘highways’ – stretching some 4,000 miles – collectively came to be called the ‘Silk Route’.
Zuluk or Jhuluk is a hamlet Perched on the rugged terrain of the lower Himalayas in East Sikkim, Zuluk is a hamlet close to the Indo China border, located at an altitude of 3000 meters (10000 ft), has a primitive appeal. There are about 60 families consisting of about 700 people living in Zuluk. They are largely immigrants from Nepal who came and settled here in the hope of a better future. They are honest, simple, hardworking and hospitable by nature. However, most of them are illiterate.This small terrain is very much suitable for the peace & calm loving tourists. The feature of this place being its extreme climatic condition, in winter the temperature is freezing with severe snowfall and summer is foggy & damp. In Zuluk tourists can enjoy the stay in the small cottages of local people with attached bathrooms as there is no hotel facility available there. Room heater or fire places locally called Bukhari are arranged by the locals to make the Bedrooms warm and comfortable. A glimpse of some very rare cultural and livelihood can be witnessed at Zuluk. The place offers breathtaking view of the sunrise. The Ganek is the Sunrise point situated at the height of 10600 feet is famous for its exquisite view of sunrise at dawn. The dark eastern horizon gradually turns into reddish when sun rises behind the wide stretch of mountains and due to fall of sunrays, the scintillating reflections on the snow studded Kanchendzenga ranges on the west makes its look golden and slowly it turns into milky white. View of sun-rise is memorable and awesome experience from Zuluk.
Zuluk or Jhuluk is a comparatively a new and offbeat tourist destination Serpentine snow-strewn roads, a dazzling Kanchenjungha and its range, the historical Jelep-la leading to Tibet and a variety of flora and fauna. All these, added with consistent promotion, have led to the emergence of Zuluk as an ideal destination for tourists wanting to plunge into the nature’s lap.Located at 10,000ft, Zuluk is a tiny hamlet in East Sikkim with a population of 335 people.The place was unknown to outsiders till a few years ago. But over the past couple of years, it has emerged as an ideal tourist destination because of its idyllic locales and serenity. Today ZULUK is becpming a very popular tourist destination but even today, tourism is in its nascent stage in Zuluk and at best a maximum of 50 tourists could be accommodated there and also a special permit is required to be in ZULUK or Jhuluk and such permit needs to be obtained from Rangoli . However such permit can bearranged by SIMANACHARIYA TOURS AND TRAVELERS for you.
Zuluk is an abode of peace. It is an ideal destination for those who like serene ambience, far from the ‘madding crowd’s ignoble strife’. For a person who is long put up in a city and is tired of his humdrum existence, it is a welcome relief. Zuluk is the name of the valleywith a small hilly village and famous for the zig-zag roads which is definitely an eye-catchy landscape. The view of the snow capped peak seems to have become just more prominent along with the changing colours in the valley during the sunset. The landscape views are truly breathtaking especially during the sunset. The sunrise in Zuluk is a must see in your tour plan and the sunrise point is an hour’s drive known as Thambi View Point. Zuluk and its surrounding hills are covered with thousands of blooming Rhododendron s. Zuluk, during these months, is a demonstration of colours due to the variety of Rhododendron that can be seen here. Zuluk derives its tourism importance due to its excellent view of the eastern Himalayan mountain range including the Kanchendzenga. The three-level zigzag roads of Jhuluk offer beautiful views of the Kanchenjunga and its mountain range. The other attractions of the place include lakes, temples and ‘Young Husband Track’, a route that leads to Tibet. Some of the forests situated in Jhuluk are completely unexplored and offer a variety of flora and fauna. Various kinds of animals found in the wild forests include Deer, Himalayan Bears, Wild Dogs, Red Pandas, Tigers and Snow Leopard. The list of birds includes Monal Pheasant, Khaleez Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Snow Pheasant and many more.
Zuluk offers breathtaking view of the sunrise. The rising of the sun is a phenomenon which is beyond description. The snow clad tip of the Khangehenzonga with sun rays illuminating the peak in a spectacular view. One has to see it to believe it.Since Zuluk is bestowed with abundant natural beauty and has its own significance in the history because of Jelep-la, we thought of making every family in the area self-empowered. The residents can sustain themselves and enrich their lives by adopting tourism as a means of livelihood. With the revenue from tourism, they could improve their standard of living. The people were earlier engaged in cattle rearing or used to work as casual workers under the Border Roads Organisation.
Zuluk also called as Dzuluk is fast emerging as a new tourist destination in East Sikkim. Zuluk derives its tourism importance due to its excellent view of the eastern Himalayan mountain range including the Kanchenjunga. During the summer months, Zuluk and its surrounding hills are covered with thousands of blooming rhododendron. Zuluk during these months is a riot of colors due to the variety of rhododendron that can be seen here. Zuluk is a place which you would visit for the beauty of the mountain and the forests rather than going for typical sight seeing tours. A few kilometers drive from Zuluk would take the tourists through a winding road to the Thambi view point. The Thambi view point at an altitude of 11,200 ft provides excellent sunrise view. The entire eastern Himalaya can be viewed from this spot.
On the way to Thambi view point you can also stop over to the spot where a group of local people have reportedly seen the Yeti. The story of "Yeti", "Bonzhakri" and other folklore seems very plausible sitting besides the small fire in the night under the open moonlit sky. Listing to those stories from the locals may itself turn out to be a good reason to visit Zuluk. Normally visitors sight seeing is limited to going to the Thumbi view point, if you are the adventurous type, and dont mind a little bit of physical challange, naturebeyond may arrange special permits for going much beyond. Further ahead you will reach Lungtung at an altitude of 13,000 ft. You may continue till you visit the Adi baba mandir and the Kalpokhri Lake. Further one may go up to Kupup and Memenchu Lake. Kupup is another army base and is known for the highest golf course in the world at an altitude of 13,500 ft. The Memenchu Lake is also known as the hati lake (Elephant Lake) as the contours of the lake looks like an elephant from up the hills.
The sunrise in Zuluk with Kanchenjungha in the foreground would be futile. You have to see it to believe it. The three-level zigzag roads, a symbol of man’s engineering skills, are also mesmerizing. ZULUK is enriched with flora, fauna and landscapes, the desire to respect local cultures and traditions and an unquenchable thirst to soak in the pristine beauty of nature. The tourists can visit Nag temple which is nearby where the local people offer there prayer to the deity of the King Cobra, worshiped as god in Hindu mythology. The temple is a cave like structure where the image is formed through natural cracks in a giant sized rocks.
You can also vist the local monestry, Mankhim Temple here, Dhuppi Dara just 4 km from ZULUK.
From the Thambi View Point at 11000ft. one can have unhindered view of the three level zigzag roads on the adjoining hills with unique geometrical curves.
Zuluk is an abode of peace. It is an ideal destination for those who like serene ambience, far from the ‘madding crowd’s ignoble strife’. For a person who is long put up in a city and is tired of his humdrum existence, it is a welcome relief. Zuluk has a primitive appeal. One has to get up at 4.30 am - 5 am to reach in time the Sunrise Point (10,600 ft) at Zuluk. The rising of the sun is a phenomenon, which is beyond description. The dark eastern horizon gradually turns reddish as the sun is about to appear. Then as the sun rises from behind the distant mountains, its glimmering rays first touch the snow clad tip of the kanchanzonga range on the West , which slowly turns crimson and then golden and finally silver. All this is a futile and crude attempt to describe a scene, which is breathtaking and awe-inspiring. One has to see it to believe it. After this exciting experience i.e enjoying sunrise in morning, the tourist may offer obeisance to the Nag God at the Nag Temple. The temple is a cave like structure in which the deity is the King Cobra or Nag, a Hindu mythology god. Here the image is a natural formation made through cracks in giant sized rocks. The local people worship with great reverence.
The Thambi View Point at 11000ft. is a place from where one can have unhindered view of the Three Level Zigzag roads on the adjoining hills. This geometry of curves is really unique and unparalleled.
Zuluk is also surrounded by wild forest; some of the forests are completely virgin. Sighting of Deer, Wild Dog, Himalayan Bear the red panda is not very uncommon. Some tigers have also reportedly been sighted in the area. A variety of birds can also be seen such as Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Khaleez Pheasant, Snow Pheasant and others.
Zuluk has a primitive appeal. Most fortunately or unfortunately there is no hotel at Zuluk. The only option is to stay at the home stay accommodations and has to put up in small cottages which have however attached bathrooms. Bedrooms are made comfortable and worm at night by room heater or fire place which locals call Bukhari. The facilities are basic. SIMANACHARIYA TOURS AND TRAVELS will be delighted to arrange your accommodation while your stay in ZULUK.
Lingtam is a mid sized village located in the district of East Sikkim in the state of Sikkim in India. It has a population of about 1209 persons living in around 231 households. This is also a hidden hamlet of this region but now an upcoming tourist destination and famous for its scenic beauty. Beside its scenic beauty the major attractions of LINGTAM is Keukhola Water Falls and Ghambari Falls. This place is also a must vist spots for the bird watchers the rare birds like like the “Alti Accentor” and the “Grey-throated Babbler”can ve seened here. This is very close to ZULUK.
The destination of Phadamchen is located in the State of Sikkim. Phadamchen Forest Block is a small village located in the district of East Sikkim in the state of Sikkim in India. It has a population of about 9 persons living in around 5 households. It is also a place to watch for the nature lovers. Padamchin is also famous for its beautiful Sunset view.
It is another famous attraction in this SILK ROUTE. At 13500 ft above it is the Ladakh of the eastern part of India. Covered by snow during winters and temperatures were below zero during our stay. Lack of oxygen levels in the air makes it a bit difficult terrain, so one will have to take precautions as far as getting around this place is concerned. Indeed it is a heavenly place on this part of this earth and words will fall short describing its untouched landscapes. The valley is surrounded by snow capped mountains from all sides with a small village of about 50 families and a Krishna Temple and a Monastry. Undoubtedly during Decenber it was a true resemblance of a cold desert. The entire valley’s beauty was un-forgettable especially due to the virgin beauty of mountainous landscapes with glimpse of snowcapped Mt. Kanchandzongha. The peak seems to be at a stone throw distance from place to place in this valley. People who cannot visit Ladakh due to rough terrain, Gnathan can truly be the ideal option to experience this Ladakh of the Eastern India. Each bend on the road gives a wonderful landscape view which creates a chain of un-forgettable moments along the journey on this route. Besides its majestic panaromic beauty sunrise point, Kup-Kup Lake, Memencho Lake is two major tourist attractions here.
Kupup is about 32-35 Kms from Zaluk and is situated about 3000 ft Higher at 13000 Ft. The loop that takes you to KUPKUP from zuluk coil around like a python and climbs sharply as you leave Zuluk. There are numerous twists and turns and you can see it from Zuluk as well. Traction on these roads would be problem under fresh snow. Besides its scenic beauty Kup-Kup Lake, and Kup-Kup market attracts most of the traveler’s attention. The Kupuk Lake which is also named as Hati Lake or Elephant Lake of Kupup is frozen all round the year. This is the last lake in the area.
It is becoming one of the tourist attractions these days as Indian army practices with Bofors Tanks here. It is 5 km away from KUPKUP market.
Memencho Lake is another major tourist attraction of silk route. Menmecho Lake is a mountain lake located in East Sikkim district in the state of Sikkim, It lies on the way to the Jelepla Pass and is situated at a distance of 20 kilometres ahead of the Tsongmo Lake. It is the source of the river Rangpo Chu, a tributary of the River Teesta. The waters of the lake are sourced by melting snow in summer and the monsoons in the rainly season.The lake is famous for its trout, and has a large fishfarm nearby with a guesthouse.
Jelepla Pass is very important one that binds this silk route. Jelepla Pass which is also spelt Jelep La is an all weather pass between India and Tibet. Etymologically the term Jelepla is derived from Jelepmeaning lonely and La meaning pass in Tibetan. The pass is in Sikkim and the route connects Lhasa to India. The pass is at an altitude of 4,267 metres (14,300 feet) above msl and is 46 metres (150 feet) in length.
On the Indian side there are two routes to Jelepla, one through Darjeeling and the other through Kalimpong. The Kalimpong route is an ancient one which was responsible for the boost in the economy in the Kalimpong region especially in the trading of wool and furs, till the pass was closed after the Sino-Indian War in 1962. It passes through the towns of Pedong in northern West Bengal and then a further 8 km to Rhenok which is the meeting point between Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet. The road from Darjeeling passes through the towns of Ari, Sendochen and Gnatong and finally to Pedong.
The route is scenic with forests of rhododendronss blooming in spring. Numerous hamlets dot the bucolic surroundings which give a traveller a sybaritic experience. On the Tibetan side the pass leads to the Chumbi Valley of the Tibetan Plateau.
NATHANG VELLY is also falls under SILK ROUTE. It is also an upcoming tourist attraction.