After months of brutal cold, spring arrives in March, bringing new life to the icy slopes of the Sikkim Himalayas and transforming them into vibrant green colours. The mountain air is nice and fresh, even if the nights are cold, and the sun shines brightly. It’s no surprise, therefore, that eager travellers yearn to see this magnificent metamorphosis of the mountains at this season.
Enjoyable Early Summer in East Sikkim
While temperatures in Gangtok range from 5°C to 20°C, the stunning International Flower Festival kicks off the tourism season in Sikkim in March. Sikkim is known for its diverse flora, including over 600 varieties of exotic orchids, both epiphytes and terrestrials. There are around 30 different species of rhododendron, as well as gladioli, magnolia, cactus, ferns, climbers, and alpine plants. Many of these are on show at the festival in Gangtok, which is hosted near White Hall. If you are a real nature lover, you may also want to attend some of the festival’s talks and seminars.
The Deorali Ropeway, which is not included in most tour packages, is an excellent way to obtain panoramic views of Gangtok.
A journey to Sikkim in March isn’t complete without a stop at one of the state’s famous monasteries, which offer a glimpse into the Himalayan Buddhist culture. Travel to Rumtek, one of the state’s largest and most important monasteries, some 24 kilometres from Gangtok’s main city. The monastery is the major seat of Tibetan Buddhism’s Black Hat or Karma Kagyu sect, and it includes some priceless Buddhist art and history, including multiple exquisite thangkas. The month delivers bright sunny days, and the monastery’s view over Gangtok city is breathtaking.
A March day is ideal for a picnic by a waterfall, with clear blue skies, plenty of sunshine, and a mild wind.
Visit the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, around 30 kilometres east of Gangtok, to make the most of your spring trip to Sikkim. The 31 sq. ft. space The sanctuary continues up to Lake Tsomgo, another major tourist destination in Sikkim. The sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora and animals, including several types of rhododendrons, orchids, primulas, and poppies, all of which bloom in March and make the mountains seem postcard-perfect.
If you want to see snow, keep on to Tsomgo Lake. This holy lake, positioned at 12,000 feet, remains frozen until March, while the mountains surrounding it are blanketed in heavy snow. If you enjoy birdwatching, this is a must-see location. The lake is home to a variety of resident and migratory species, some of which have flown in from as far as Siberia.
Nathu La, around 15 kilometres from Tsomgo Lake, is one of Sikkim’s most famous tourist destinations. This pass, located at an elevation of 14,000 feet in the Alps, was once part of the mythical Silk Route that connected India to Tibet, which is today ruled by China. The snow on Nathu La lasts until March, making it an ideal time to visit the region to see the snow before it melts. Visit the Baba Temple while you’re here, which is devoted to the great Sepoy Harbhajan Singh, who died at Nathu La. People think that his spirit protects troops in the region, and he is the subject of several folklore.
The Springtime Attractions of West Sikkim
Pelling, located 113 kilometres from Gangtok, may not appear to be much at first look, yet it provides as a base for some of Sikkim’s top attractions. In March, the weather fluctuates from 10°C to 21°C, making it a perfect time to visit Pelling. The Pemayangtse Monastery, which is almost 300 years old, is just 8 kilometres distant, while the Rabdantse Ruins, the seat of Sikkim’s ancient empire, are only 9 kilometres away. The sacred Khecheopalri Lake is just 32 kilometres away, and it’s a must-see in March, when the two-day Maghe Purne Festival takes place.
Spring and Snow in North Sikkim
Lachung is a beautiful tiny alpine town around 100 kilometres north of Gangtok. The location, which is located at an elevation of 8610 feet, is still blanketed with snow in March. The temperature swings from -5°C to 15°C during the month, making it a great spot for a relaxing break. Visit the 130-year-old Lachung Monastery and the Handicraft Centre if you want to buy some wonderfully woven native carpets and rugs while you’re here. Stay the night and see the beautiful Yumthang Valley, Sikkim’s own flower valley. Both locations require Protected Area Permits to visit.
Lachen is a little hamlet 47 kilometres west of Lachung, nestled at an elevation of 8500 feet. Although it lacks a big tourist destination, it is rich in natural beauty. Lachen is the beginning point for a variety of North Sikkim hikes, including the Chopta Valley climb, as well as the gateway to the spectacular Gurudongmar Lake, which is a two-hour drive away.
South Sikkim’s Pleasant Spring Locations
Namchi (80 km from Gangtok) is a must-see if you’re planning a trip to South Sikkim because of its lower elevation. During the month of March, temperatures range from 11°C to 19°C, making it a great escape for some breathtaking views of Kanchendzonga and the Rangit Valley. It has a wide range of attractions, including monasteries such as Ngadak and Sherdup Choeling, as well as the massive statue of Guru Padmasambhava atop Samdruptse Hill.
If you’re in Sikkim around the end of March, don’t miss the Lamapokari Festival, which takes place near the Aritar Lake, also known as Ghati Tso. Aritar, Sikkim’s oldest freshwater lake, is about 4 hours by road from Gangtok. The festival, which has a variety of dance, music, and cooking events, is a fantastic chance to learn about local culture. Birdwatchers will enjoy a 2-kilometer woodland route that runs from the lake to the adjacent Mankhim. You may also pay a visit to the Aritar Monastery, which is one of Sikkim’s oldest.
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