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SIKKIM - South destinations

Top travel sites in Sikkim: Gangtok (East Sikkim), Tsomgo Lake (East Sikkim), Nathu La Pass (East Sikkim), Baba Mandir (East Sikkim), Khangchendzonga (West Sikkim)

Sikkim Govt Tourist Information Centres:- Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Gangtok: MG Road, Gangtok Ph: 03592-221634/227720; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, New Delhi: 14 Panchsheel Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi PIN 110021, Ph:011-26115346, 26115171; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Kolkata: 4/1, Middletown Street, Kolkata-16 Ph: 22817905; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Siliguri: SNT Colony, Pradhan Nagar, Siliguri, West Bengal Ph: 2512646; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Bagdogra: Bagdogra airport Ph: 2698030; 2698036

What does the legend has about Tendong Hill in South Sikkim?

The Tendong Hill saved the Lepcha tribe from deluge when the whole world was flooded, like Noah's Ark that saved mankind and the animals from extinction during the Great Flood. Even today, the Lepchas perform puja to the Hill.

Namchi: Meaning sky high, it nestles among the hills at an elevation of 5500 ft. commands a panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains and vast stretches of the valley. It is also the HQ of the South district. The area is fast developing into a tourist destination with its immense potential for allround tourist activities. It is about 78 km form Gangtok and 100 km from Siliguri.

Tendong Hill: Above Damthang, overlooking South district headquarter town Namchi, there is small flat stretch of land at an altitude of 8530 ft surrounded by lush green ancient forest which is popularly known as the Tendong Hill. Historically, this has been a place of recluse for Buddhist lamas who spend years in meditation amidst the silent scenic grandeur. Legned says that the Tendong Hill saved the Lepcha tribe from the ravages of deluge when the whole world was flooded - a legend similar to Noah's Ark of the Bible. Even today, the lepchas perform pujas to pay reverence t the Tendong Hill. The view from the top of the Tendong Hill is something to be cherished and enjoyed as it spans across the plains of Bengal to the majestic heights of the Himalayan Ranges. A trek to Tendong from Damthang Bazar, the nearest road head, is just about two hours of casual walk. But one can also proceed to Namchi by trekking via Tendong Hill following the traditional route used in the old days.

Temi Tea Garden: The one and the only tea estate existing in the State produces one of the top quality teas in the international market. The tea garden is spread out on a gentle hill slope originating from the Tendong Hill and provides a magnificent view of the surrounding villages. A visit to the gardn, enroute to the Tendong Hill, could be a rewarding experience for those who want to combine nature and culture as they keep trekking.

Ravangla: At the base of Menam Hill is Ravangla, a small township and transit to various tourist destinations in South and West Sikkim. It is also an up-coming tourist spot, and transit point for trekkers to Menam Hill and Borong. There are accommodation facilities. A trek down to the sacred cave Shar Chok Bephy, one of the four holiest caves in Sikkim, would be a memorable experience.

Menam Hill: Menam Hill towers above Tendong Hill on the other side over-lookjing the Ravangla bazaar settlement. Situated at an altitude of 10,300 ft, the scenic view from this height is, perhaps, unmatched in this part of the world. Mt Khangchendzonga and its surrounding ranges loom above to dwarf the richly forested and rugged hills. On a clear sunny day, it is possible to see the plains of Bengal spanning across Kalimpong and Darjeeling hills in the South, right across to the Indo-China border towards the North. A short distance away is the lengendary Bhaley Dunga, a kind of rocky spur which juts out from the ridge top and remains suspended in the air above Yangang village. The trek to Menam from Ravangla takes about 4 hours and from Menam hill-top one has the option to take the gentle trek to Borong village or follow the more treacherous trails taken by the famous British Botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker, down to Yangang village.

Borong: Facing the snow-capped mountains is Borong, motorable from Ravangla or a trek via Menam. A picturesque village with beautiful landscape and magnificient view is also host to the hot-spring Borong Tsa-Chu. The trek trail, originating from Namchi or Damthang to Tendong-Ravangla-Menam Borong (5-6 days) is one of the most interesting trails scaling all the hill tops along the route. The trek can continue to Tashiding or terminate at Borong and drive back to Ravangla.

Singchu-thang: 45 km from Gangtok at an altitude of 3,500 ft on the banks of river Tista, Singchu-thang is ideal for white water sports and picturesque picnic. It literelly means, The plain overgrown with dwarf plants and shrubs.

Maghe Sankranti: Celebrated on the first day of the month of Magh (January), the festival continues for three days. It is one of the holy festivals of the Hindus. Huge fairs are organized along the river banks and confluence of the rivers. Jorethang, Saramsa, Rorathang and Triveni are places where such fairs are held every year. The rituals are solemnized from dawn at the banks of the rivers, which is indeed a rare spectle to watch.

Sikip: Sikip is located on the banks of the river Rangeet in the South district. The drive from Gangtok to Sikip takes about five hours via Legship and it is also accessible from Siliguri and Darjeeling via Jorethang. This place is an anglers' paradise and also has a charming natural surrounding. Together with one can also avail of the facility of rafting down the Rangeet.

Phur Tsa-chu: Situated on the bank of river Rangeet is the hot spring Phur Tsa-chu, half an hour drive from Legship and one hour drive from Jorethang. Pilgrims of all sects come to take a dip in this hot spring during January-March.

Flower festival at Namchi: Flower exhibitions are organized as an annual feature at Namchi during the month of February. The venue is at Children's park, Namchi (South Sikkim). One can see the rare species of orchids in a riot of colours.

Samdruptse: It is 72 km from Gangtok and close to Namchi. The word means in Bhutia language, 'the wish-fulfilling hill'. At the top of the hill is a 135 ft statue of Guru Padmasambhava. The dalai lama had laid the foundation for the statue in 1997 and it was completed in three years. A ropeway from Namchi is being built via the Rock Garden.

Rock Garden: Between Namchi and Samdruptse is Rock Garden, full of a variety of plants and flowers, a place to relax.

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