As Sikkim enters the shortest month of the year, the cold continues to hold sway over this lovely state. Sikkim, on the other hand, is far from unwelcoming. There’s a chill in the air, the days are clear enough for sightseeing, and the nights are cold but not unbearable. February is an ideal time to visit since it falls just before the peak tourist season, allowing you to see the key sights without having to contend with the hordes that March brings.
East Sikkim’s Icy Attractions
At an elevation of 5,840 feet, Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital, is coldest late at night and early in the morning. The temperature in February ranges from 5 to 14 degrees Celsius. A stroll in the early morning is a must, as the sun gives a pleasant glow across the city. If you want to see the wonders of Gangtok and east Sikkim, get up early.
Leave the chaos behind and visit the Tsuklakhang Royal Monastery in Gangtok, which is just a short distance from the Flower Exhibition Centre. The ancient royal gompa’s inner sanctuary is lined with Tibetan Buddhist deities, and you’ll learn about a religion that formed the mountain state’s very essence.Hire a car to get to the Rumtek and Phodang gompas from Tsuklakhang. Rumtek was founded in the mid-1700s and is located 23 kilometres from Gangtok at an elevation of 5,500 feet. Its resurgence as a key centre of Karma Kagyu Buddhism makes it an important monastery for individuals interested in religious teachings and architecture. On a bright February day, one can see the city of Gangtok from the grounds of the gompa. Phodang is a must-see gompa because of its unusual frescoed paintings and wall murals. The 4th ruler of Sikkim built this 18th century monastery, which is 40 kilometres from Gangtok.
Due to excessive snowfall, visiting the legendary Nathu La Pass in January is nearly impossible. However, because winter is winding down in February, your odds of making the trip are marginally greater. The old Silk Route passed over Nathu La, which stands at 14,140 feet and is historically significant. Aside from that, the February snowfall adds an amazing touch, and you won’t be disappointed if you’re lucky enough to acquire access. By jeep, Nathu La Pass is 56 kilometres from Gangtok.
Tsomgo Lake, also known as Changu Lake, is a natural marvel. The waterbody is never entirely frozen over throughout the year, despite its location at nearly 12,000 feet, 17 kilometres from Nathu La. In February, sheets of glittering ice with areas of blue cover the oval-shaped glacial lake.
The famed Baba Mandir sits 15 kilometres ahead of Tsomgo Lake, through serpentine roads that pass through glittering alpine foliage. Built in honour of Harbhajan Singh, an Indian soldier who died in combat and whose spirit is claimed to protect army members from the hazards of serving in such a dangerous environment. Baba Mandir is located at a height of 13,000 feet, providing spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
East Sikkim’s three primary attractions are located at high altitudes. Large snowfall in February may force you to cancel your plans, but if the roads are clear, bring a heavy jacket to keep the cold at bay. Those interested in seeing a frozen body of water should go to
The Chilly Delights of Northern Sikkim
During the month of February, temperatures in north Sikkim will be below freezing. Northern Sikkim is home to exquisite landscapes that come alive in the February winter, so this shouldn’t put a damper on your travel plans.
In February, the village of Lachen in north Sikkim seems like something out of a fairy tale. The temperature ranges from -8°C to 10°C, and the rooftops of this charming town, as well as the streams, are blanketed with snow. If you’re want to immerse yourself in the local culture, Lachen is the place to be. Although Gurudongmar Lake may be closed due to severe snowfall, you may still visit Lachen Monastery.
A journey to the northern hill-station of Lachung in February should be on your bucket list if you’re an adventurous tourist. This village, located 47 kilometres from Lachen at an elevation of 9,000 feet, is a great winter hideaway. The temperature ranges from -4 to 12 degrees Celsius in February. Don’t miss the Lachung Monastery, a modest yet quiet shrine four hours from Gangtok where you may meditate calmly while the cold rages outside. The two tributaries of the Teesta River that converge here, as well as the surrounding vegetation, have earned Lachung the title of “the most lovely settlement in Sikkim” by a British explorer.
Yumthang Valley, located in the north, is 25 kilometres from Lachung, and the Teesta River runs through it, providing breathtaking vistas for the adventurous traveller. If you’re visiting Sikkim in February, make your Yumthang trek early or late in the day to obtain the greatest views. The valley’s undulating hills are coated with snow, while the massive summits are partially obscured by clouds. Snowfall is forecast in this area, so be prepared to play in the snow as you make your way to Zero Point. Zero Point, located 25 kilometres from Yumthang and at an elevation of 15,000 feet, is inherently magnificent since it is where three rivers converge and mountain peaks loom in the background.
Pleasingly Parky West Sikkim
While the north might be difficult for some, west Sikkim is a great place to visit in February. Pelling, at 7,200 feet and 130 kilometres from Gangtok, has gradually become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. This is mostly due to its position, which offers spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga; in February, temperatures range from 6°C to 17°C. Pemayangtse and Sanga Choeling are two places to visit if you’re interested in Tibetan architecture. Pemayangtse, or ‘Perfect Sublime Lotus,’ is a significant gompa dedicated to the Nyingma Sect of Buddhism, located 9 kilometres from Pelling and facing the Kanchenjunga Range. Sanga Choeling, on a ridge opposite Pemayangtse, was one of the first monastery erected in Sikkim.
The Khecheopalri Lake, about an hour and a half from Pelling, is a sacred waterbody for Buddhists and Hindus alike. This lake is particularly beautiful in the winter, when the mountains reflect in the quiet waters. Ask your driver to take you to Rabdentse Ruins, which are a few kilometres away, once you’ve finished touring Pemayangtse Gompa. The majestic remnants of Sikkim’s former royal capital are located in this location. As you travel through the chestnut trees and follow the stone path, you will enter an other Sikkim, one where kings and queens ruled this mountain realm.
Yuksom is appropriately known as the ‘gateway to the Kanchenjunga.’ Yuksom, 40 kilometres from Pelling, is the beginning point for several western Sikkim hikes. Many of these excursions are unfeasible in February owing to the constant snowfall. Depending on weather circumstances, you might sign up for one that takes you to Dzongri peak if you’re experienced enough. Yuksom was Sikkim’s original capital in the 17th century, and since visitors don’t arrive until March, you may wander the town at your leisure and take in the breathtaking vistas of the Himalayas. The road going up to Dubdi Monastery, one of Sikkim’s oldest monasteries, is a hiker’s paradise.
The Calming Winters of South Sikkim
In February, the southern area is the most accessible, with Namchi, the capital, providing stunning views of the snow-capped mountains. The 148-foot tall statue of Guru Padmasambhava atop Samdruptse Hill is Namchi’s main attraction. Samdruptse Hill, at 7,000 feet, provides beautiful views of the natural surroundings as well as monks chanting mantras as you gaze up at the magnificent statue shining in the February sun. If Buddhist temples pique your curiosity, stop by the Sherdup Choeling and Ngadak monasteries while in Namchi. The weather in Namchi is nice in February, with somewhat cooler evenings (averaging 10°C) and pleasant days (averaging 17°C).
The village of Borong in south Sikkim provides visitors with a look into the Sikkimese people’s daily existence throughout the winter. Ravangla, a popular tourist destination, is located in the south. Ravangla, 26 kilometres from Namchi, is a wonderful February destination. The temperature swings from 6 to 14 degrees Celsius, and you may go to Maenam Hill (12 kilometres distant) for spectacular views of the southern snow-covered peaks. For visitors interested in Buddhist art, Ralang Monastery, 13 kilometres from Ravangla, displays an excellent collection of paintings and thangkas.
The Losar festival is one of the key reasons why you should visit Sikkim in February. This is the Tibetan New Year, and if you time your visit to coincide with this auspicious period, you will be able to immerse yourself in Tibetan culture. The Bhumchu Festival’s opening day is also in March. Tashiding Monastery (near Pelling) opens a holy pot of water on this day, and the lamas forecast Sikkim’s future for the next year. This celebration dates back to circa 804 CE in ancient Tibet.
If you want to learn more about Sikkimese culture and customs, February is the best month to visit.
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