SIKKIM : A Tourism
Tiny but most beautiful
state with abundant natural resources
9,400 ft, 28 km from Chungthang,
129 km from Gangtok
Lachen or the big pass, which is located 50 km away from the
Chinese border falls within the restricted area of Sikkim’s
A land of plenty, yet unexploited Lachen is recently opened for
tourists; the most welcome one being the entry to the sacred and
biggest Guru Dongmar Lake in Sikkim. It is the base camp to many
fascinating places, like Chopta Valley (14, 500ft), Alexander
David Neil cave, Green Lake trek, Tso Lhamo, Lhonak Valley,
Lashar Valley etc. It is a good acclimatization place for
trekkers trekking up to 15, 000ft and above.
Acclimatization at Lachen is never a bad option. Staying there,
one can take a stroll around Lachen village consisting of more
than 300 traditionally built houses with a monastery at its top.
Another ancient shrine tells you stories of the Nyingmapa school
of Buddhism. Like Lachung, Lachen has also a peculiar system of
government called Dzumsa something unique to the country. Be it
collecting taxes or setting the dates for moving the herds,
seeing to the peoples needs or representing the village to the
outside world, every little work in this village is being
functioned through this effective system of government.
In winters, there is snow all around. If visitors are interested
to see monks dance on the ground laden with snows, then opt for
a visit to Lachen in winters (January) when the monks from
Lachen monastery perform their annual chaam.
Life of the 300 Lachenpa families in Lachen revolve around
milking their yaks, making the churpis out of yak milk, weaving
their warm clothes from the wool of high altitude sheep,
building their houses, collecting firewood, making their special
shoes out of yak skin, attending their Dzumsa meetings and
dealing with the occasional tourists who visit the place.
Lachenpas spent their summers at Palung (16,000ft approx) or Tso
Lahmo tending their flocks of yak. They go there in June and
return only in September.
From Gangtok, ten seater vehicles (Mahindra Maxx or Tata Sumo)
ply daily in the morning to Lachung and Lachen from Vajra,
Gangtok. The journey to Lachen and Lachung takes about six hours
and it will be comfortable to reserve a vehicle, though it is
PLACES TO SEE
Two hours drive Lachen is Thangu. Few minutes from Thangu is
Chopta Valley at an altitude of 13,200 ft. It is a hotspot in
alpine vegetation, orchids, rhododendrons and other
high-altitude vegetation. The valley is criss-crossed by
meandering rivers. An adventurous trek through Chopta valley
leads to Muguthang valley at an altitude of 15, 500ft. The high
alpine valley of Muguthang is only inhabitable for rare high
altitude ruminants and their predators. Very few Dokpas settle
here for food and for grazing their yaks.
Guru Dongmar Lake in extreme north Sikkim draws many pilgrims
from all areas and is surrounded by many remarkable holy places
like Tamding Rangjon, Namjom Truchu and Chorten Nyima. The lake
is worshipped for long life and epidemic free existence in the
land. Infertile women and couples wishing a male issue also seek
blessings at the lake. Sometimes predictions are also made in
the lake. The devout, it is said, get to see the future in the
form of letters or scenes on the lakes water after the required
prayers and offerings have been made.
Guru Dongmar literally means "The Red Faced Guru" and sounds
similar to Guru Dragmar, which means "The Red Coloured Wrathful
form of Guru Padmasambhava". The lake at an altitude of 17,100
ft freezes during winter except at one spot believed to be
specially blessed by Guru Rinpoche.
Tso Lahmo at above 18, 000 ft is about half hour drive from Guru
Best Time: mid June to August for high altitude
For the scenic views as well as visit to the lakes, mid March to
May and October-November is best time.
PLACES TO SEE
Cave temple at
On the way to Hee Goan, a flight of cemented steps lead you
to Ahley cave. Prayers are performed here besides
celebrating the Bala Chaturdesi. Views of the mountain
ranges you enjoy walking the stairs is exceptionally
Manghim is a place of worship of the Limboos. It is a three
storey structure with a star shaped object at top called the
Namoksam, representing five power elements such as earth,
fire, water, air and sky. The main altar is based on eight
syllables, which constitutes the eight syllables of
Sirijonga – T as Teyongsi, Y as Sangaraktshak (protector),
Ong as Mangkhim, Si as Simahin (without boundary), Sh as
Shiksha (teaching), Ri as Ritiriwaz (tradition), Jun as
Janjagrankarta (awareness) and Ga as Gaon Samaj Kaa Tara
(star of the vicinity).
There are no idols or images of gods inside the Manghim; but
you will find a bust of Sirijunga.
Sirijonga or Teyongsi Sirijunga Tongnam, the incarnate of
King Sirijunga Hang is considered by the Limboos as a holy
spirit since there is a belief that Sirijunga’s soul in the
form of white bird flew towards the sky from the sack in
which his assassinated body had been thrown into the Kalej
River at Martam, West Sikkim.
He was an Ongshi group of Phedangma and hence knew Yuma
Samyo Mundhums. While he was in these areas, he wrote a
volume Yakthung Mundhum Sapla, which was preserved in the
India Office Library, London. The volume served as the base
for development of early modern Sirijunga script. Sirijunga
was successful in rediscovering and reviving this lost
script. Thus the credit of bringing about mass awakening
amongst Limboos goes to him.
The Secret Flat
Sirijunga Teyongsi is known to preach Yuma
religion and sermons sitting on this flat near the Yuma
Samyo Mangkhim at Hee Goan. During the summer days, he is
known to take rest at the base of the flat stone where there
is a cave like shady place, which is still seen. Moreover,
the flat looks taller with subsequent soil erosion over the
years. People dare not tramp on this stone nor loop any
plants and if one does, he may fall ill.
Sirijunga Phukku or Sirijunga Cave
One has to trek for about two hours towards the cave and
Sirijunga Falls crossing through stretches of paddy fields,
orange orchards and the beautiful villages of Lower Martam.
But, if you take a vehicle till the end of the motorable
road, then you need to walk for only about an hour.
Sirijunga cave is very sacred to the Limboos. It is located
at the confluence of Kalej and Reshi Khola where Teyongshi
Sirijunga took shelter. There is a white thick box-like
structure seen from a distance. People believe that
Teyongshi Sirijunga used to carry Limboo manuscripts in this
wooden box and carry around wherever he went for preaching.
Belief is there that this is the same box he had kept in the
cave before his assassination. The box like structure is
still seen in the cave, which is slowly being turned into a
stone. In reverence, the Limboos don’t stamp on the cave and
worship their saint at the base where a small platform has
been made for the purpose.
On the right side of the cave there are three beautiful
waterfalls in series of about 200 feet. This falls is also
called Reshi Falls as falls from the Reshi River. The middle
one is higher and is nearer to the cave.
People from surrounding area still believe it as a spiritual
guarded place and every year the Limboos of Sikkim, West
Bengal, Bhutan and Nepal come to this place to pay their
tribute to the great saint.
WHERE TO STAY & EAT
Staying is not a problem in Hee–Bermiok. It has well
developed homestays. Since eco-tourism is being developed in
this region, you will get acquainted with the local culture,
cuisine or religion.
For further info, can contact Hee-Bermiok Tourism
Development & Heritage Conservation Society,
Hee Goan; Mob No: 94340-12212/94342-56950/94340-60563;
(write-up contributed by Yishey D.
Hotel at Gangtok At
Royal Plaza Hotel
STAY AWAY FROM CACOPHONY OF TOWN
STAY AT TEEN TALAY
12 KMS. FAR FROM GANGOK
Cell+ 91-98320-14867 tele: +91-3592-252256