Sikkim Silk Route
An offbeat journey over the long forgotten Silk Route traversing through quaint villages and high passes in East Sikkim
- Best Season: October – May
- Region: Sikkim
- Duration: 7 days
- Activity: Adventure
- Grade: Easy
The Silk Route is an ancient network of trade routes connecting Central and Eastern Asia to the Mediterranean Sea. More than trade, it was the development of civilizations along with exchange of culture in which this route played a very significant role. This 10,000 kilometre route indeed was the first information super highway.
The Silk Route in Sikkim is an offshoot of the ancient trade route which came from Lhasa, crossing Chumbi Valley and passing through Nathula to finally reach the port of Tamluk in West Bengal. This portion of the Old Silk route through Bhutan, East Sikkim and West Bengal measuring around 900 kilometers was probably the most hostile one. Interestingly, silk was not the most treasured item traded in this part of the route – it was horses, wool and tea.
The Sikkim Silk Route is an offbeat journey through little known villages and passes in East Sikkim. The road less travelled takes us to quaint villages surrounded by dense temperate forests, overlooking the Kangchenjunga range. In our effort to relive the historic Silk Route, we hike through virgin forest trails teeming with life, drive over high passes bejewelled with glacial lakes and interact with communities who were once traded on this route.
- Travel to an offbeat part of Sikkim
- Stay in quaint scenic villages with local people
- Catch a magnificent sunrise over Mt. Kangchenjunga
- Cross two high passes and visit many beautiful Glacial lakes
- Hike through dense temperate forests teeming with birds
- Interact with local villagers who once traded on the Silk Route
Day 1: Bagdogra to Aritar
Pick up from Bagdogra Airport and drive to Aritar. O/n at a Homestay in Aritar
Day 2: Hike to Pangolakha Sanctuary
After breakfast we embark on a beautiful day hike to Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary. The wildlife sanctuary is linked to the forests of Bhutan and Neora Valley National Park of West Bengal making it a bio diversity hotspot. Our route will pass through dense temperate where we will be able to spot different species of birds such as Laughing Thrush, Minla, Pheasant, Finch, Yuhina and many more. A 3- 4 hour hike from Aritar will bring us to our destination – Phusrey Lake which is considered holy by the locals. On our way back we visit the village Mankhim. O/n at a Homestay in Aritar
Day 3: Aritar- Phadamchen
After breakfast at homestay depart for Phadamchen . The first part of the route we cover on foot, walking downhill from Aritar village to Rongli via the old horse trail used by traders when the trade route between India and Tibet was open. At present many sections of the route have merged with the existing road. En route interact with local villagers whose families had worked as traders during old days to learn more through their experiences. From here we drive to Padamchen passing through the scenic villages of Dalapchand, Rongli and Lingtam.
Phadamchen village lies on the foothills of Eastern Himalayas, surrounded by dense temperate forest. These forests are home to many birds such as Laughing Thrushes, Fulvettas, Honey Buzzards, Steppe Eagles, Babblers, and Tits. A clear day presents an opportunity to view hill slopes of Kalimpong, Pedong, Regu, Pakyong & Gangtok. O/n at a Homestay in Padamchen .
Day 4: Phadamchen to Nathang
Today we drive up the famous winding roads of the Silk route to Nathang valley, via the hamlets of Zuluk & Lungthung- Dhupi Dara. Morning stop over at Thambi view point from where we catch a magnificent sunrise unfold over the Kangchenjunga range.
Arrive at Nathang in the afternoon and have lunch at our homestay. After lunch we hike across Alpine terrain to the Eagle Nest bunker. Gnathang valley is a high altitude plateau is located at an altitude of 13,500 feet above sea level and flanked by mountains on all sides. O/n at a Homestay in Nathang
Day 5: Nathang to Gangtok
A scenic drive awaits us today as we drive to Kupuk, a small settlement close to Jelepla pass. On reaching Kupup walk to the nearby Elephant Lake, absorbing the serenity this place offers. Continue our drive to Tsomgo lake via Baba Mandir & Mememcho lake. By early evening we reach the capital city of Gangtok. O/n at Mintokling Guesthouse or similar
Day 6: Gangtok
This morning we visit the Rumtek monastery, the seat of the Karmapa . This magnanimous monastery houses a monastic school, a huge library and two big temples containing many rare artefacts and scriptures of the Karma Kagyu sect of Buddhism. On the way back visit the Tibetology museum to acquaint yourself with Buddhism and its advent into Sikkim.
In the evening stroll through Lal Bazaar – the lively fresh market where we can get many interesting ingredients. Those who want to buy souvenirs can explore shops would M.G. Road. Later in the evening we visit a local pub, happlity ending our offbeat tour of Sikkim. O/n at Mintokling Guesthouse or similar
Day 7: Gangtok- to Bagdogra
Drop to Bagdogra Airport. Participants are suggested to book flights departing after 2.30 pm
Cost per person:
- Accommodation on a twin sharing basis
- All meals
- Transportation using a Sumo / Mahindra Max or similar
- Necessary Permits
- Knowledgeable Guide
- Excess stay & meals due to bad weather conditions or strikes, resulting in delay of flights or any other form of transport
- Soft drink charges, table drinks, bottled water, laundry, cigarettes, telephone expenses, and liquor charges
- Any other item not mentioned in “Included” section above
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