With the arrival of autumn, Sikkim is transformed into a red and gold landscape of trees, with crystal-clear skies and a hint of impending winter. It’s no surprise that October is a popular month for tourists to visit Sikkim. Sikkim’s “second spring” is in October, when every leaf is as lovely as a flower.
East Sikkim’s Autumnal Gold and Glory
Sikkim’s capital, Gangtok (5,840 feet), is a good place to start exploring the state’s eastern region. The city’s temperature ranges from 11 to 16 degrees Celsius, providing for cool days and near-freezing nights. In October, the Buddhist monasteries and natural wonders near Gangtok provide expansive views.
Gangtok is a bustling city, yet as you enter the sacred grounds of the Tsuklakhang Royal Monastery, you are enveloped in peace. The altars of this opulent monastery at Gangtok’s Flower Exhibition Centre are adorned with statuettes of Tantric deities and different forms of Buddha. The Kagyu sect Rumtek Monastery is 23 kilometres from Tsuklakhang, past gorgeous fall landscapes. From this gompa’s grounds, which are situated on a 5,500ft hillside, one can get a clear view of Gangtok’s roofs, which gleam in the October sunshine. Built in the 1700s, Phodang Monastery (4,500ft) is worth seeing for its unusual frescoed frescoes. The temple is located 40 kilometres from Gangtok and is well-known among devotees and tourists for its significance in Tibetan Buddhism.
A day journey to Nathu La Pass, 60 kilometres from Gangtok, is a must for anybody visiting eastern Sikkim in October. With the wet season over, the slanting rays of the sun shine brightly on this mountain pass at 14,140 feet. This route, which connects India and Tibet and was formerly a key branch of the Silk Route, offers clear views of the Himalayas and high-altitude greenery in October.
Make a pit stop at the glacial Tsomgo Lake on your approach to Nathu La. (12,310ft). This waterbody, also known as Changu Lake, is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the bright sky reflects off the waters. This oval-shaped lake, 40 kilometres from Gangtok, is best visited via the ropeway, which provides an overhead perspective.
After 15 kilometres of driving out from Changu Lake, you will arrive to the renowned Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. This is one of the country’s highest shrines, at 13,000 feet, and the tale surrounding it adds to its cultural value. Harbhajan Singh was a soldier who was killed in the line of duty. Army men stationed on the Sino-Indian border think he safeguards them.
North Sikkim’s Pristine October Skies
The month of October is great for exploring north Sikkim’s high vistas. Travelers may enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding mountainscape thanks to the clear sky. You may feel the chill of winter in the air if you visit north Sikkim in October.
The mountain village of Lachen (8,800 feet) serves as a stage for nature’s October show. While the summits are blanketed in snow, the trees come alive in amber and orange. The October vistas will make you want to stay longer as you explore Lachen. The temperature in this hamlet, which is 108 kilometres from Gangtok, ranges from 5 to 15 degrees Celsius.
Gurudongmar Lake is the biggest and tallest lake in Sikkim, as well as one of the highest in the world. Your adventure begins in the early morning from Lachen, and the 67-kilometer drive is enthralling due to the high ascent, alpine trees, and shifting light. At 17,000 feet, Gurudongmar Lake provides visitors with unrivalled views of Mt. Sinolchu and Kanchenjunga. This vacation will be remarkable to say the least, because October brings clear sky. The temperature here ranges from -5 to 3 degrees Celsius.
Lachung(9,000ft), two hours from Lachen, is another gorgeous northern town. Take in the sights of the tributaries that converge in this town before continuing on to feed the Teesta. During the day, the temperature is approximately 19°C, while at night, it is around 6°C. The modest but tranquil Lachung Gompa is easily accessible if you want to cross a monastery off your bucket list.
Prepare to see Sikkim’s October landscape as you travel from Gangtok to Lachung. On the journey, you’ll cross turquoise mountain springs, gushing waterfalls, the mighty Teesta, and golden-leaved trees. Yumthang Valley (11,800ft), located 90 minutes from Lachung, is a must-see for its natural beauty, which is at its peak in October. The speckled-blue sky contrasts well with the black alpine woods and high mountains. Yumthang Tsachu, a natural hot spring, is also ideal for a soak in October.
At 15,000 feet, Zero Point is the confluence of three rivers, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The visibility is excellent in October, and even though the 23-kilometer route (from Yumthang) is rough, the benefits well justify the effort.
West Sikkim is a gorgeously melancholy place.
In October, the mountainous town of Pelling is the most popular destination in West Sikkim (7,200ft). Pelling, around 130 kilometres from Gangtok, provides ideal fall weather (14-24°C) for exploring. The significant monastery of Pemayangtse is located 9 kilometres from town. After viewing the Buddhist statues and paintings of the gompa in October, one may gaze out into the Himalayan range that surrounds it. The Rabdentse Ruins are the sad yet majestic remnants of Sikkim’s historic capital, located 32 kilometres from Pelling. Don’t miss Khecheopalri Lake, a tranquil spot of religious and artistic value.
In October, trekkers should proceed directly to Yuksom, Sikkim’s westernmost town (6,000ft). Yuksom, the ‘gateway to the Kanchenjunga,’ is 40 kilometres from Pelling and the starting point for a variety of treks. Yuksom is the place to be in fall, whether you’re going to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp or Dzongri and Goech La.
South Sikkim’s Relaxed Attractions
In the fall, Namchi, the headquarters of Sikkim’s southern region and 80 kilometres from Gangtok, comes alive with panoramic views and pristine nature. The temperature does not dip below 15°C for those who want a somewhat warmer climate. The 138ft Padmasambhava monument, which rests magnificently in the slanting sunlight and fall air, is a notable attraction atop Samdruptse Hill (7,000ft). The Ngadak and Sherdup Choeling monasteries in Namchi are worth seeing if you’re interested in Tibetan religious architecture.
Because to its closeness to the Himalayas, the southern Sikkim village of Ravangla (70 kilometres from Gangtok) is a favourite fall getaway. For those interested in photographing the mountain ranges, a trip to Maenam Hill is a must; Ralang Monastery is a lovely site during the cool October days. The expansive Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, located 26 kilometres from Gangtok, allows visitors to see Sikkimese flora and wildlife in their native setting.
Dashain is the Nepalese’s most significant festival, which takes place in October (Durga Puja). A fifteen-day celebration with religious rites and fortunate customs, it’s a spectacular sight for fall travellers.
Sikkim’s October days are crisp and beautiful. Autumn’s beauty may add a special touch to your holiday celebrations.
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