During the month of May in Sikkim, spring and summer merge into one. At the beginning of the month, the flowering season reaches its pinnacle, with clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine. By the second part of May, fog and sun had begun to play hide-and-seek, signalling the arrival of the monsoons. A brilliant day may be covered in mist just as quickly as a foggy day can be transformed by a blast of sunshine.
May is often regarded as one of the finest months to travel to Sikkim. Observing the intriguing influence of the ever-changing yet pleasant weather conditions in this section of the Himalayas is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Saga Dawa, one of Sikkim’s most popular festivals, also takes place in the month of May. Saga Dawa, which falls in the fourth month of the Tibetan Lunar Calendar and occurs on a full moon day, commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and nirvana. Every year, monasteries around the state commemorate the day with considerable zeal. Sacred scriptures are carried around the town by a procession of monks from local monasteries for people to get blessings.
Balmy Days in East Sikkim
During the month of May, the temperature in Gangtok fluctuates from 5°C to 18°C, making it ideal for enjoying the great outdoors. Begin with the magnificent International Flower Show, which takes place near Whitehall in the heart of the capital. Sikkim is noted for its unique orchid and rhodendron species, and many of them will be on show during the festival, which runs through the spring months. If you’re a morning person who happens to wake up on a clear day, come to Tashi View Point to start your day by watching the sun rise. The Phodong and Labrang monasteries are nestled among deep trees on the facing slopes, and the vista of Kanchendzonga behind them is nothing short of spectacular.
A tour to Sikkim would be completed without a stop at the Rumtek Monastery. Rumtek, about 24 kilometres from Gangtok, is one of the state’s largest monasteries and the headquarters of the Mahayana Buddhist Black Hat sect. The monastery, which stands on a facing hill overlooking Gangtok, is a notable example of Tibetan Buddhist architecture. It also holds some of the Karma Kagyu sect’s most significant holy books, and the prayer rooms’ interiors are adorned with some of the most spectacular thangka paintings you’ll ever see.
The Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is located 31 kilometres from Gangtok.
Continue up to Lake Tsomgo, which is about 33 kilometres away from Kyongnosla. This holy lake, located at a height of 12,000 feet, changes colour with the seasons and remains frozen during the winter months. In May, the neighbouring woodlands are ablaze with rhododendrons, primulas, and other wildflowers, creating a spectacular picture. The well-known Nathula Pass, some 16 kilometres from Tsomgo and a stone’s throw from the Indo-China border, is a reminder of the Old Silk Route’s glory days. While you’re here, don’t forget to visit the Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. The memorial is dedicated to a martyred soldier who was tasked with defending the Indian army.
Springtide Affair in North Sikkim
When you’ve had your fill of Gangtok, drive north to Lachung, a little mountain community. Lachung, located around a 5-hour journey from Gangtok, is ideal for a relaxing retreat. The weather continues good throughout May, with temperatures ranging from 8°C to 20°C. Visit the 168-year-old Lachung Monastery after walking through the little village. Stay the night and go early the next morning for Sikkim’s own Valley of Flowers. Yumthang Valley, also known as Yumthang Valley, is about 25 kilometres from Lachung. During the month of May, the entire valley is heavily covered with a variety of rhododendron trees, all of which are in full bloom. To say the least, the scene is bizarre.
Protected area permits, which may be obtained from the Gangtok tourism office, are required to access these locations. Yumesamdong, often known as Zero Point, is 23 kilometres from Yumthang. The road literally ends here, and the drive may have been difficult, but as you get out of your vehicle, you will understand why it was worthwhile. The location, which is located at a dizzying height of 15,000 feet, is blanketed with snow all year. The sight of two flowing rivers meeting in a valley below, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, is breathtaking.
You’ll find another charming hamlet named Lachen 47 kilometres west of Lachung. Trekking provides you some amazing sights that you would miss if you’re in a car, which is why many passionate trekkers choose to undertake the full route on foot. Lachen is also the starting point for some of North Sikkim’s most beautiful hikes, such as the Green Lake walk and the Chopta Valley climb. The magnificent Gurudongmar Lake is about a three-hour journey from Lachen. It is one of India’s highest lakes, standing at 17,800 feet above sea level.
Maytime Delights of South Sikkim
South Sikkim is a great place to visit if you want to do some additional exploration. The capital of South Sikkim is Namchi, which is around 80 kilometres from Gangtok. May is a fantastic month to visit since temperatures are comfortable, ranging from 14°C to 23°C. There are a variety of attractions in and near Namchi, including the Namchi Rock Garden, Ralang Monastery, Ngadak Monastery, and the Maenam Willife Sanctuary, in addition to the world’s biggest statue of Guru Padmasambhava (guardian god of Sikkim) at Samdruptse Hill.
Budtime in West Sikkim
A trip to Sikkim’s western area is a must for anybody visiting the state. Pelling, located 113 kilometres from Gangtok and 75 kilometres from Namchi, serves as a base for exploring West Sikkim. The weather in May is ideal, with temperatures ranging from 16 to 24 degrees Celsius. Only 8 kilometres distant lies the 300-year-old Pemayangtse Monastery. The monastery belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist Nyingma sect. The Rabdentse Ruins of Sikkim are a short walk from the monastery and should not be missed. This 16th century capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim may be reached by an amazing stroll through a chestnut forest.
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