Sikkim, a beautiful state in north eastern India, is the least populated state, but the most populated and popular when it comes to tourists. Flanked by Nepal, China and Bhutan on three sides and Bengal on the Indian side, the culture here is naturally influenced by many civilizations and hence, the cultural diversity here is worth exploring.
Geyzin or locally called as Gyalshing, is the capital and the headquarters of western part of the state. The town is densely populated by Nepali population. It is situated 6500 feet above sea level. It is a beautiful place to visit during the winter season. Top 5 places to visit here are mentioned below.
1. Pemayangtse Monastery
The second oldest monastery of Sikkim, Pemayangtse means ‘lotus’. It is over 300 years old and still houses around 100 Buddhist monks. They belong to the Bhutia clan of Sikkim. It was originally built by Lama Lhatsun Chempoway in the 17th century. Monks learning and living here are called ‘Ta-Tshang’. Guru Rimpoche is worshipped here and many paintings, murals and ancient scrolls can be seen here. During the dance festival of Cham, monks rejoice and dress in colorful traditional attire to dance. This place also serves as the commencement point of a 46 kms trail of trekking, called Dzongri trail. It passes through Khangchendzonga National Park.
2. Sanga Choeling Monastery
Built in the year 1697, Sanga Choeling monastery is called as the place of ‘Secret Spells.’ It was established by Lama Lhatsun Chempo and is a very renowned holy place in Sikkim. In ancient times, Guhyamantra i.e. secret mantras were taught here. The monastery only houses male monks and belongs to the Nyingma sector. It is said that only people belonging to Lepcha and Bhutia clan are allowed to go to the inner shrine. You can reach the monastery by hiking for around 40 minutes.
3. Khecheopalri Lake
Called the ‘Heaven of Padmasambhav’ (Lotus), Khecheopalri lake is a sacred place of worship of Buddhists. It is located amid the hill of hidden treasures, Khechoedpadri Mountain. Local believers say that any wish asked here is always fulfilled. A mystical and rather interesting fact about this serene lake is that not a single leaf is allowed to fly to the surface of the water. If, by any chance, a leaf flies in, the birds pick it away gently. The lake is said to be a footstep of Goddess Tara and it is believed that Lord Shiv used to meditate in a cave nearby. The forest surrounding the lake is dense and covered with different types of flora and fauna.
4. The Ruins of Rabdentse
Between the years 1670 and 1814, Rabdentse served as the second capital of Sikkim. The ruins of the royal palace and city still lie here. The city was invaded by and destroyed by the army of Gurkhas. A notifying sign on the highway towards Rabdentse reads ‘Follow the path and you will reach the palace.’ The most interesting thing to see here is the still standing stone throne; it stands between 2 other stone structures. The palace was constructed by the second Chogyal of Tensung Namgyal. The other chambers which you can see here are the king’s chambers, the queen’s rooms, courtyard, hallways, royal kitchen and also the public assembly. The Archeological Survey of India has undertaken the task of restoring and preservative measures of the palace and surrounding ruins.
Vershey is an enchanting, but abandoned sanctuary. It is well known for its rhododendron trees. Trekking trails start from here, going through age old oak and pine trees, prickly shrubs, rare types of flowers, moss etc. the flora and fauna bloom completely during the months of April and May. The flower valley is very famous among tourists. Many local species of animals can also be spotted. A small settlement named Hilley is often the end point of the trail. From here, the unreal snow covered ranges of Khangchendzonga can be seen.
The best time to visit Geyzin is during summer months, as the tourist places can be seen in a pleasant weather. The river Rangeet flows along the outskirts. Geyzin is also an important stop over during Buddhist pilgrimages. This small town will charm you with its natural essence, peaceful surroundings and welcoming citizens.