Escaping into the Serenity of Sikkim

“It feels great to be back home right?”

I never said yes. Because I had just come back from a place that felt closer than home.

Sikkim, oh you small wonder!

Sikkim has breathed life into my stagnant self. It is amazing the effect that a place can have on you. The breathtaking Himalayas, the gentle locals, the tiny and close-knit city, the peaceful monasteries and ambient nature. One tends to turn into a poet upon visiting this place or even a monk ( I am actually weighing one of those options).

Skies at Rumtek, Sikkim
Skies at Rumtek, Sikkim. Picture Credits: Nidhi

I decided to make a travelogue about Sikkim, but that has to hold on for a bit. I first want to relish every single feeling that erupted in my mind upon arriving at this tiny eastern thumb of India. This place has etched something so deep in my heart, even the most delightful red velvet cake can’t counter that effect.

Most of the people around us are not even aware that Sikkim is a state and not a city. For those who have never explored the opportunity of a vacation at this place, here’s a real life experience straight from the horse’s mouth for you.

General Information

Map of Sikkim
Map of Sikkim

Sikkim is a small eastern state surrounded by 3 countries – Nepal, China and Bhutan and consisting of 4 zones, marked by 4 major cities –

  1. East Sikkim – Gangtok –State Capital
  2. West Sikkim- Geyzing
  3. South Sikkim – Namchi
  4. North Sikkim – Mangan

Temperature

Summer: Max 21 C and Min 13 C

Winter: Max 13 C and Min 5 C

Best time to visit: Sept-Oct (Summer) | March – April (Post winter)

Languages: Hindi, English, Nepali, Bhutia and Bengali (scarcely)

State Tree: Rhododendron niveum

Religion: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam

Culture

Sikkim as a whole package is a winning combination. The culture here is heavily influenced by Buddhism which is evident by the beautiful monasteries surrounding it, maroon clad cool monks sprinkled in the population and the general discipline and humility exuded by the locals here.

A Bhutanese devotee at Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, Deorali
A Bhutanese devotee at Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, Deorali. Picture Credits: Nidhi

Let me ask you, what makes a place or a city perfect?

I say the sound balance in thought and conduct of each and every individual who lives there makes even the remotest place serene. Sikkim is one such rare beauty. The people, no matter what occupation, caste, creed or religion they belong to, live by the same principles as the others – modesty, cleanliness, discipline, humility and honesty. In-spite of the variety in background and occupation, everyone takes the onus to keep their surroundings clean. Even the public toilets are clean here! I have never heard of the concept of a clean public loo in India!

Social Life

In Sikkim, there is a complete absence of gender bias. I have crossed paths with more women police than men in Sikkim.

The laws are strict and people follow them. The most interesting and a healthy habit that makes these people so adorable is that they give equal importance to work and enjoyment. Their day starts at 6-7 AM and the streets are empty by 8 PM. Every evening from 1600 hrs onwards, the entire city of Gangtok is on MG Marg enjoying the picturesque view, the fountains, coffee and endless dishes of momos and rolls. Oh, I have had more momos in the 4 days I was there than in my entire lifetime! 😀

Evenings at MG Marg
Evenings at MG Marg. Picture Credits: Nidhi

Old, young, working class, children everyone spends time in the evening talking, taking a walk, meeting their friends or just doing pranayama on of the wooden benches.

What you won’t find here is eve-teasing, robbery, spitting or defecating in public, throwing trash on the streets and physical fights.

Streets painted with Buddha murals to avoid spitting
Streets painted with Buddha murals to avoid spitting

I miss my morning coffee at Baker’s café, at my favourite table overlooking the Kanchendzonga mountains and daffodil shrub growing on the rooftop below.

View of a cloud laden Kanchendzonga from Baker's Cafe, MG Marg, Sikkim
Kanchendzonga from Baker’s Cafe. Picture Credits: Nidhi

I miss this lovely city of Gangtok where Football is more revered than God and where, roads are connected by hidden staircases.

I miss this state of world biodiversity heritage where orchids line the streets and even the most deserted bus stop looks like a mural monument 🙂

I miss the prayer flags, the saintly cats…the ropeway, the bakhut clad elegant women scurrying to work, the Tata Max sumos cruising through winding roads and above all the fresh air.

Sikkim, here is my humble ode to you and your people. I am coming back soon.

Prayer Flags at Tsomgo Lake, 14000 ft above sea level
Prayer Flags at Tsomgo Lake, 14000 ft above sea level. Picture Credits: Nidhi

All the pictures are clicked by me on my visit to Sikkim. Being original media, any form of plagiarism, editing or reusing of images and content without my prior permission will be treated as an infringement of copyright and bear legal consequences.

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4 thoughts on “Escaping into the Serenity of Sikkim

    1. Hi! Although I am not a follower of Buddhism myself but there a few things which they follow religiously. Enrichment of knowledge, humility towards humans and animals around, meditation to connect with God and their conscience and healthy living. I also happened to witness a condolence procession where they were carrying a deceased to the monastery for the last rites. I must say, they celebrate the journey of life from this world to the afterlife. Thanks for your interest 🙂

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