Namchi is a rapidly developing hill town of South Sikkim which is located 78 kilometres from Gangtok. The word Namchi, literally translate to ‘top of the sky’ or ‘sky high’ and it is the South district headquarters of Sikkim. Located at 5500 feet above sea level, the name suits the hill town. It is gradually evolving as a prominent tourist destination and a cultural and religious centre of Sikkim tourism. Namchi is set in a picturesque location and is a well laid out township. Namchi offers a spell-binding view of the Khangchendzonga range and the extensive Rangit valley spread below.
Two prominent tourist attractions of Namchi are the Sherdup Choeling Monastery and the Dichen Choeling monastery. The ancient Ngadak monastery is located approximately two kilometres from Namchi and is now under renovation. On a small hill just above Ngadak Monastery one can visit the very beautiful Rock Garden. The garden lets you have a glimpse of some rare varieties of flowers and plants and also offers breath-taking views of the hill and valleys beyond. The garden is provided with a number of waiting sheds, viewpoints and waterbodies along its path and is a beatific place to spend a few hours with family and friends have. The alluring cafeteria serves the tourists and visitors well with local delicacies and is a nice place to grab your favourite bite amidst the beauty of the hills and mountains. Namchi also offers the pious replica of the ‘char dhams’ or four dhams or pilgrimage centres of India.
Namchi is known to host the very popular Namchi Mahotsav that attracts a lot of tourists from all across the world. It is a gala festival that is a brilliant combination of the brighter aspects of Tourism, Culture and Food, which is held every year in the month of October. A brilliant flower festival is also held annually. There is an iconic 135 feet high statue of Guru Padamasambhava present at Samdruptse near Namchi. This site can be reached by road travel of around 75 kilometres from Gangtok. Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the local Bhutia language. This unique, awe inspiring and gigantic 135-feet high statue of Guru Padamasambhava in Samdruptse is the tallest statue of Guru Padamasambhava on the face of earth. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, laid the foundation stone of the statue in October 1997 and thereby it took nearly three years to complete the construction of the statue.
The route to Namchi from the well-known tourism hub of West Bengal, Darjeeling, to Namchi takes you directly from New Jalpaiguri or the nearest airbase of Bagdogra via Melli. This journey is exquisitely scenic as you pass through Kitam Bird Sanctuary along the way. The Kitam Bird Sanctuary is a lovely spot for a sojourn for the nature lovers. This peaceful, riverside nature and wildlife conservation area is a favourite habitat for peafowl and other bird species. It is located 19 kilometres away from Namchi and is situated between Namchi and Melli. This bird sanctuary lies at a height of 1200 feet to 3200 feet above sea level and occupies an area of more than 6 square kilometres. It is refreshingly green with a thick vegetation cover comprising shrubs and forests of sal and pine trees. This sanctuary is more alluring on account of the two picturesque rivers, the serene Rangit and the charming Manpur River. Two sleepy villages Sumbuk and Kitam are located within the sanctuary. Tumbol Schor is the highest point of Kitam Bird Sanctuary and it offers great panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. Kitam Bird Sanctuary draws bird lovers from all across the world and both domestic and international tourists flock to this garden around the year for bird watching. Kitam remains open throughout the year and exhibits a wide range of more than 200 species of birds. Kitam is also known for several species of colourful and exotic butterflies. Some of the primary bird species found in this sanctuary include Grey-crowned Prinia, Yellow-vented Warbler, Rufous-necked Hornbill and Chestnut-breasted Partridge. Peacocks roam about freely inside the sanctuary and is common sight for tourists visiting Kitam. There are four distinct bird watching trails across the sanctuary. The watch towers and viewpoints in this sanctuary are good places for bird watching from higher elevation.
There are some other captivating and alluring places nearby. One can visit the gladioli farms in Sumbuk and watch in awe the huge 100-year old litchi tree and mud huts that were built 200 years back. There is also the visit to the Alley khet, which is a meadow that offers magnificent views of hills and rivers, dense cover of greenery and trees, monastery and ruins of ancient stupas. There are continual adventure options from adventure loving tourists who can try their hand in rafting and angling in the gushing waters of River Rangit. The best time to these picturesque places in and around Namchi is during the months of October to May. In the winters, the bird sanctuary gets the extra allure that arises out of the visit of the several species of colourful migratory birds who come to visit this sanctuary.
The district’s capital is Namchi, often referred to as Namtse in South Sikkim. In the local language, Namchi is a combination of the terms “sky” and “high.” Together, they denote the sky’s highest point.
Numerous tourist attractions in the area, including the Rock Garden, Tendong Hill, Temi Tea Garden, Helipad, and Solophok Chardham, have helped to turn it into a popular destination for travellers from throughout the country.
In addition to these popular tourist spots, Namchi has a few locations from where you may observe and take in the breathtaking views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world.
The enormous statue of the Buddhist Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, is located on the hillside across from Namchi and is another reason why Namchi is well-liked by tourists. The baths and bars in this town are also quite soothing for visitors.
The ideal time of year to visit Namchi is generally said to be from March to June because of the generally favourable weather conditions for sightseeing.
Ajatashatru, the king of Magadh, is said to have relocated his capital from the steep Rajagriha to Namchi in order to gain an advantage over his rivals, the Licchavis of Vaishali.
Additionally, it is thought that Gautam Buddha paid a visit here in the very final year of his life. He foresaw a bright future for the city but also issued a warning about certain losses due to conflicts, fires, and floods.
It is thought that the Chogyals were in charge of Ladakh and Sikkim. According to legend, Pende Ongmoo, a Sikkimese princess, tricked a Sikkimese named Chogyal. When Sikkimese citizens learned of this, they murdered Pende Ongmoo, a Sikkimese princess. The current Namchi is thought to be the location where the Pend Ongmoo was murdered.
The cultural and social fabric of Sikkim must include spirituality. Visit the temples, practise meditation at the historic Buddhist monasteries, or take part in religious celebrations in Namchi. Visitors who are considering a day trip to the monastery should remember to light a butter candle, which symbolizes plenty, peace, and love.
Samdruptse Hill is a significant Namchi-related station. According to folklore, Samdruptse Hill grants all of the wishes of visitors. The world’s biggest statue of Lord Padmasambhava is located on Samdruptse Hill. The hill was formerly the site of a volcano, according to history. Saints climb the hill and make a wish for a volcano that never explodes.
Namchi is also a land of festivities and carnival. At Baichung stadium, Namchi annually hosts the football competition known as “The Gold Cup.” The football tournament features teams from Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the whole nation of India. Namchi holds an annual flower exhibition in February when a rare assortment of orchids are shown.
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