This state is called ‘Heaven on Earth’ by people around the globe, and rightfully so, the beauty and charisma of Sikkim has proved it. Sikkim is always frequented by visitors around the year for the most unique experiences and to visit the most exquisite places. Despite being the least populated, Sikkim boosts of hygiene, law and order, tourism, multilingual approach and above all, rare and natural form of beauty.
Mangan, a small town on the Tibetan plateau of the state, is the headquarters of the north eastern area of the state. It lays 65 Kms from the capital, Gangtok. The place attracts Indian and foreign tourists for its famous tourist destinations. The best places to visit when you come to Mangan are included below.
1. Rong Lungten Lee
Rong Lungten Lee is a heritage house, located 8 Kms from the main city of Mangan. Inaugurated in 2003, it is a resemblance of the Lepcha house, which is situated at Namprikdang. Here, artifacts of the Lepcha tribe are stored and displayed in three rooms. An attic, traditionally called a ‘Phodong’, is constructed to help store valuables. Lepchas believe that their ancestors belonged to Malay Lang, a mythical country, at the feet of Kanchendzonga Hills. The Lepcha community is small and said to hail from Tibet or Nepal.
2. Sirijonga Yuma Mangheem
Built in the year 1983, this heritage centre resembles Sirijonga Yuma Mangheem of West Sikkim, in Martam. It is the most visited during the month of January, to celebrate the festival of Maghey Sankranti. Celebrated by Nepalese and Sikkim people alike, this festival marks the commencement of a warmer and more pleasant weather. According to their Bikram Sambat calendar, the festival falls on the first day of the tenth month. This calendar was made and followed by the legendary Indian King, Vikramaditya. Different activities, fairs, huge meals and parties become part of the celebration. It brings out the culturally diverse side of Sikkim.
3. Phodong Monastery
Built in the year 1740, this Buddhist monastery of worship houses around 250 monks. Phodong Monastery was built by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal, who belonged to the Kargyupa sector. The monatery has been rebuilt and renovated, but old paintings and murals embedded in the walls, can still be seen in parts of the building. An annual festival called ‘Chaam’ is celebrated on the 28th and 29th days of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar. The Phensang Monastery and Labrang Monastery can also be visited nearby. Buddhism was introduced here by Guru Rinpoche.
Singhik is considered to be the best place to view the Siniolchu Mountain and Kanchendzonga Ranges. This picturesque village is located 5200 feet above sea level and around 4kms from Mangan. The hills surrounding it appear to touch the mountains, the peaks covered in white snow, the gushing waters of the river Teestha below seems to the only noise in this quiet village. Many trails start and pass though this place, for amateur as well as advanced trekkers. The citizens here belong majorly to three tribes, Nepali, Lepcha and Bhutia. A very ancient monastery lies on the border of the village, which is a must visit.
5. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
This beautiful nature park has forty species of rhododendron trees. Located in the Yumthang Valley, it has incredible species of birds, which include wood snipes and hoary throated barwing. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is surrounded by two looming mountains on both sides, Chuba Sagochen and Chomzomei Tso. A spring goes though this 43 square feet territory, providing natural supply to the different varieties of plants and shrubs here. The best time to visit is during the months of April to July, since the winter snowfall doesn’t do well to the trees.
Mangan celebrates a three-day music festival too, during the month of December. Food festival, cultural events, traditional display of performing arts, folk music and dance, exhibitions of handicrafts are enjoyed by tourists and local citizens alike. Apart from this, the festival of Cham, a dance festival, dedicated to the Kanchendzonga Mountain Deity is famous.There are lots of places to shop and trek here. Summer months are largely sought after by tourists to visit.