It’ll be a good idea to forsake the touristy site of Gangtok for a few days and investigate South District which will come as a revelation. Among the off-the-beaten-track destinations in Sikkim south District finds a place of prominence.
Occupying a small area of 700 square km, the South District is the smallest of the districts in Sikkim. Abounding in host springs, tea gardens and towering statues, the South District is a place ideal for those who wish to spend their holidays far from the madding crowd.
The headquarters of the south district is Namchi is 75km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, and it takes three hours to reach there from the capital.
With its 135ft-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava in Samdruptse Monastery, majestic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and the Char Dham point, Namchi offers much to do and see. Salleybong Bul Cave, Tirikhola Dancing Falls and Rayong Sunrise View Point are some of the other sightseeing sites in and around Namchi.
14 kilometres away from Namchi is located the State Biodiversity Park and Medicinal Plants’ Herbal Garden at Tendong. Tendong arguable offers the best panoramic view of the mountains in Sikkim. From here you can have the view of the Chola range, Singelila range, Kunchanjangha, Paunhari peak. You can also have a panoramic view of Darjeeling, Nathhula, Gyalsingh and Gangtok from here. Located at an altitude of 2640 m Tendong offers awe-inspiring views of both sunrise and sunset. Located at an altitude of 2640 m Tendong is located on a small plateau atop the mountain.
A latest addition of the list of attractions in Sikkim, Siddheshwar Dham, popularly known as Char Dham, was inaugurated in 2011. Located at Namchi, the structure was built at a cost of Rs 56.51 crore. Home to a 108 ft towering statue of Lord Shiva, the Char Dham features replicas of Badrinath, Jagannath (Puri), Dwaraka and Rameshwaram as well as the renowned Pashupatinath temple of Kathmandu . Near the Char Dham is located the Sai Golden Temple.
Located midway between Damthang and Namchi, 135ft-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava in Samdruptse Monastery is a famous attraction of South Sikkim. The patron saint of Sikkim, Guru Padmasambhava had founded the Naingnapa sect of Buddhism to which most of the monasteries in Sikkim belong. Made of copper, cement and concrete, the enormous statue can be seen from the miles away.
Namchi is famous for its nurseries offering a wide array of orchids and flowers endemic to Sikkim. The town also hosts the annual tourist festival Namchi Mahtsav in November. The colourful festival is marked by traditional cultural programme and flowering competitions. The whole town is decorated with many categories of flowers like chrysanthemums, dendrobiums
Located equidistance from Gangtok and Pelling in west Sikkim, Ravangla is located at an altitude of 7,800ft above sea level and is 35km from Namchi.
Also called the Palchen Choeling Monastic Institute, the Ralong Monastery is the start attraction of Ravangla. A fine specimen of Tibetan style of architecture, the Ralong Monastery has been the venue for celebration of the annual Chham (masked dance) known as Phang Lhabsol, attracting many visitors to this place. This festival was popularized by third Chogyal of Sikkim, Chokdor Namgyal. You will get candy and chocolates as prasaad at the Monastery.
The Buddha Park, inaugurated by the Dalai Lama, is home to a 148 feet high idol of the Buddha. A 40 minute drive Ravangla will take you the scenic Temi Graden, the only tea garden in Sikkim.
Several hotels to suit varying budgets can be found here. Summit Sobralia resort and Spa, Sumnima Homestay, Dungmali Heritage Resort, Hotel Mayel, Hotel Dhondup Khangsar, Juniper Residency Hotel, Hotel Samdruptse, Hotel Zimkhang and Seven Hills resort are some of the popular accommodation options in Namchi.
How to reach Namchi by Air: Bagdogra airport serves the town of Namchi. Take taxi, cabs to Namchi which is 90 kilometer from Bagdogra
How to reach Namchi by Rail: New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead that is connected to Delhi, Kolkata, and other major cities of India.
How to reach Namchi by Road: Namchi is easily accessible by roads. 90 km from Siliguri from where Namchi can be reached by jeeps and cars. enjoying the scenic drive to this beautiful place in South Sikkim.