Namchi is located about 78 km away from the city of Gangtok, Sikkim. Famous for being home to the World’s largest statue of Padmasambhava, the patron saint of Sikkim, the city is also known for its Buddhist monasteries and beautiful mountain ranges. Located at 1675 m, Namchi means ‘top of the sky’ in the local Bhutia language. Being the home to many monasteries and religious centres, the town attracts hordes of pilgrims every year and tourists who come here to spend a few days in the serene and clean place. With the picturesque beauty of South Sikkim, the place offers adventure sports and activities for the adrenaline junkies like river angling and treks. Let us look at the top 7 places to visit in Namchi–
1. Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is home to numerous medicinal plants and herbs. Spread over an area of 3500 hectares, the sanctuary has the Red Panda, Barking Deer and leopard cat. Birds like the common hill partridge, magpies, black eagle and the Blood pheasant are found in this wildlife sanctuary. Near the end of the wildlife, there exists a Buddhist monastery which is known as the Maenam Gumpa. A beautiful stream flows through the mountainous region later merging into the Teesta river. A must visits for nature lovers as well as peace-seeking tourists.
2. Ralang Monastery
The Ralang Monastery is known as the most sacred monastery of Sikkim and said to have been built to honour the pilgrimage of the fourth Ghogyal to Tibet. The monastery is home to over a hundred monks and is also known to be the home to beautiful paintings. The annual festival, Pang Lhabsol is celebrated here and the monastery lights up more than it already is to embrace the festival. The monastery is truly the epitome of Buddhist culture and is a must visit to experience the local way of life.
3. Guru Padmasambhava Statue, Samdrupste Hill
The word Samdruptse in the Bhutia language means ‘wish fulfilling hill’. The place is home to the state of Guru Padmasambhava for which the town is famous. Other than being a part of history, the statue is visually amazing and inside the complex, there exists an exhibition of rare photos and artefacts from the history of India. The statue is visited by tourists the most and is the most popular place to visit in the area. Considered to be a sacred and pious place, the place is a must visit for everyone.
4. Solophok Chardham
The statue of Lord Shiva which is 87 feet long is one of the most sacred places in Sikkim. The statue is surrounded by the replicas of the twelve jyotirlingas and the four dhams of pilgrimage places in India. The temple complex has a number of other temples as well as a musical fountain. The temple is situated on the Solophok hill from which it derives its name. The center also hosts an array of cultural activities and seminars for which the place is famous both nationally and internationally.
5. Ngadak Monastery
The The meaning of the word Ngadak is ‘promise’. Constructed under the reign of the Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal, the prayer flags welcome the tourists while they enter inside the complex. The monastery was partially damaged during an earthquake but is being reconstructed. The monastery is known to be a great example of the old city of Sikkim.
6. Tendong Hill
The meaning of Tendong means, “the upraised horn“. The hills are known to be the natural saviour of the city of Namchi from the flood waters. The Tendong hill is thus considered to be holy and people still pray to the hill to keep away from calamities.
7. Doling Gompa
The Doling Gompa is from the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism and is known to be the oldest sects of the religion. The gompa is situated inside the cardamom plantations which make it a great place to visit to see the amazing flora and fauna present here.
Sikkim has won the “most innovative and unique tourism award” in 2010 for the implementation and construction of the pilgrimage and tourism complex of Siddeswara Dham at Solophok, Namchi. The city of Namchi has a lot to offer throughout the year and every February, there is a flower show that the city hosts which is known to be the largest in the entire state. The city is no just a cultural centre but is also home to a lot of tourist attractions and festivals that cannot be missed at any cost!