Yuksom is a small town in the State of Sikkim known for its gorgeous landscape and snow-capped mountains. Also known as the “gateway to Kangchendzongha”, the town is known for its monasteries and Buddhist heritage as well. Located at an altitude of 1780 m, Yuksom was originally the ancient capital of Sikkim and therefore, has a religious connotation attached to the place as it symbolically represents ‘the third eye of Sikkim‘.
The meaning of the term Yuksom is “meeting place of the three lamas”. It has been said that at the famous Norbugan Coronation Throne located in the city, the three lamas who originally came from Tibet met here to strengthen their own hold in the state of Sikkim. Apart from having religious importance, the town also has numerous lakes and monasteries to visit. Let us look at the top 7 places to visit in Yuksom–
1. Khecheopalri Lake
The Khecheopalri Lake is situated at a height of 6000 ft. and is about 28 km from the city of Pelling. The lake is known as one of the largest lakes in the entire state and therefore attracts a lot of tourists. Not only is the lake very big, it is also known to be sacred and is located inside a forest.
According to legends, the lake is known to be connected with the Goddess Tara. Different stories about the lake can be heard from locals but all of them deem the lake to be sacred. The lake has clean and pristine waters and the surface of the lake always remains clear. Pilgrims come to the lake every year and offer prayers.
2. Tashiding Monastery
The Tashiding Monastery is a very important place for Buddhists because according to the legends, the place was visited by the Buddhist master Guru Padmasambhava. Amazingly, the area has suffered numerous earthquakes and every time, the monastery is rebuilt and reconstructed with the help of funds from the State government. The beautiful building has dazzling colours and beautiful Buddhist architecture. Many sacred ceremonies are hosted here and one should definitely visit the place to experience the local way of life!
3. Dubdi Monastery
The Dubdi Monastery translates into ‘the retreat’. It was built in the year 1701 and is said to have been established by Chogyar Namgyal. The monastery is also known as the Yuksom Monastery and is situated on a beautiful patch of green land. The interiors have beautifully painted and carved Buddhist designs and houses pictures of saints, Buddhist symbols and even manuscripts. The monastery is a must see while in Yuksom.
4. Kangchendzonga National Park
The Kangchendzonga National Park is said to be over at least 820 sq km. The park is home to animals like the snow leopard, the sloth bear, Himalayan black bear, Red Panda and various other Himalayan creatures. The park is considered to be one of the best national parks in India because it is located at a very high altitude and remains untouched by human intervention. The park is also home to over 500 different species of birds and flora.
5. Tashi Teenka
The royal complex of Tashi Teenka was constructed when the town of Yuksom was still the capital of Sikkim. It is located on a ridge and therefore, offers a full 360-degree view of the entire city. Tourists must visit this place to witness the heritage of Yuksom city as well as to take in the natural scenic beauty around the spot.
6. Norbugang Coronation Throne
The Norbugang Coronation Throne is of great religious and cultural importance because this is where Phutsog Namgyal was crowned as the first Chogyal of Sikkim. This is also the place where the three lamas used to gather to preach Buddhism. The site also has a park that has a prayer hall, a prayer wheel and a stupa. The complex also has a little holy lake which is called the Kathok Lake. The Buddhist prayer flags adorn the entire place and emit a divine feeling into the air. This place is the epitome of Yuksom’s cultural and religious heritage.
7. Kartok Monastery
The Kartok Monastery is located opposite to the Kartok lake; the monastery is one of the most important monasteries in town. It has been named after the Lama who was part of the coronation of the first sovereign of Sikkim. Donned in intricate Buddhist architecture and colours, the Monastery offers a glimpse into the Buddhist way of worship.
Yuksom is one of the best hill-stations to visit while in Sikkim. Unlike the other commercially important hill stations of the state, Yuksom is rather rich in culture and heritage. The place is largely home to the locals and the occasional tourist. Owing to its Buddhist heritage, Yuksom is the best place to go for a peaceful vacation away from the city-life.