Sikkim Silk Route – The First Century AD Route
Sikkim Silk Route or the Old Silk Route is the route that connects India and China. This route was used during first century AD for trade purposes. You could have guessed what type of goods would have been traded through this route. Yes, silk is the most common goods.
Along with silk; tea, horses and many other treasured commodities were traded. This route connects Bhutan, Sikkim, West Bengal, China and many other places. During the winter season between November and April, this route would be totally covered by snow making it the most inhospitable route. During summer and early winter, this route would be a paradise. This route connects some of the heavens in the world.
Tourism Magnets in Sikkim Silk Route
It is a hamlet amidst the mountains. This is the first tourism destination in the route. It is a few kilometres away from Rishikhola There are a very few houses in this hamlet. The main attractions in this spot are the Aritar Lake, the mountains and the scenery filled environment.
This is the most commonly sought destination is the route. It is named after the river that flows through this area, Rishi. Khola is translated as river. There are no standard resorts or hub in this place. You cannot find any luxury here. This is the place where you can enjoy nature. The hospitality of the people in this place is extraordinary. The river is worth visit. The crystal and chill water of the river is at its prime beauty all through the year.
Zuluk is for scenic value. Again, there are no resorts in this area. House stays are allowed. Usually people spend a night here and resume their travel. No matter where you see, you would find scenery that is worth taking a few pictures.
4. Nathang Valley
This area is maintained by Indian Army. There are a few British bungalows and lodges there for tourists. During winter, this place is covered with very chill wind waves. Most of the area is Army Cantonment and the tourists are not allowed in those areas. Near the valley, you can find Tsomgo Lake and Mandakini Waterfall. There are no water activities here. You can get a good view of the waterfall.
People usually skip Nathang Valley and stop at Lungthung. It is a hamlet. The place is very scenic. You can take the route towards Gangtok City and enjoy a lot of attractions. Or, you can travel in the silk route and visit Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, Zig Zag road, Thambi view point and others.
6. Menmecho Lake
It is a little away from the road. You need to trek a little to find this lake as vehicles are not allowed. It is a beautiful view and has a lot of places where you can have a picnic lunch. If you do not want to trek, you can see the lake on the way from Zuluk to Nathang Valley.
7. Eagle’s Nest
A little away from Nathang Valley, you can find an army bunker. It is not used by the army now and is opened for tourists. The bunker is located in the highest point. In the early morning you can get an aerial view of the sunrise and all the mountains. Another spot to watch sunrise is the Thambi View Point.
8. Kupup Lake
Kupup Lake is also called as Elephant Lake. If you had taken the route towards Bangkok, you can find this lake that is in the shape of an elephant. There are no water based activities in this lake. It is more of a scenic place and you can have a calm picnic near the lake.
9. Baba Mandir
There are two temples of Baba. The old one and the new Baba Mandir are maintained by Indian Army. You would be welcomed by the Jawans and you can have tea with the army heroes. In that chilling weather, the tea would be great refreshment. If you had taken the Bangkok road, you would not be able to enter the old Mandir. The new temple is opened in both the routes.
10. The Border and the Market
Nathula Pass is the India – China border. You can visit this spot only if you have authorized permit. The hotel manager at Gangtok can help get the permit. If you had taken the silk route, your journey would stop at the Nathula Pass. You can see the oldest gate that divides India and China. Though there is not much to see. This gate is worth a visit. On the way back, you can find Sorethang, the China Market. You can get clothes at a reasonable rate. You can get high quality jackets for not more than 2000 rupees. These are Chinese goods that are sold in India. This market is the first point in the Indian Territory. A lot of tourists buy things from this market as souvenir.
It should not take more than seven days if you have a tight schedule. The trip starts at Sillery on day one. You can end the day at Zuluk on the second day. The third day ends at Lungthung , fourth day in Ramdhura, fifth day in Nathang Valley, sixth day to the gate and you can start back on seventh day.
If you are opting for choosing a package from any agent, the package starts from 5,000 rupees per person and it varies based on the season and the type of package. Child below the age of five would usually not be charged. If you are planning to travel with a child, remember to forgo attractions that need a lot of walking or trekking. If you are planning to visit during winter, you can enjoy the snow capped mountains, chilled breeze and mild snow fall.
Popular Tour Packages of Sikkim :