Sikkim was once a Himalayan Kingdom in its own right before becoming a state of India since in a merger in 1975. It is wedged in between the Kingdoms of Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east.
The topography and location of Sikkim means it has a diverse range of flora,more tropical in the low-lying areas and alpine in the high reaches of the mountains. The human population throughout history has been very low, which has helped this place to maintain a high percentage of forest cover still evident today. A journey to Sikkim necessarily involves awakening the senses and discovering the pristine and mystic beauty of the land. Sikkim is a dreamland here to be discovered now that the area is open to all.
The state offers a wide range of adventure sports opportunities including mountaineering in the Himalayas. There are four main trek routes: the Monastic Trek, Rhododendron Trek, Kanchenjunga Trek and Coronation Trek. River rafting is possible in the rough waters of the Teesta and the Rangit. Kayaking is arranged on the Teesta only for special groups. Yak safari’s are arranged from Dzongri onwards. In north and west Sikkim, mountain biking is very popular these days. Jorethang in west Sikkim and certain parts of north Sikkim are popular places for gliding. As per regulations foreigners should be in a group of 4 persons or more for trekking in Sikkim.
Sikkim is bounded by Tibet (China) in the north, West Bengal in the south, Tibet and Bhutan in the east and Nepal in the west. The state is spread below Mount Kanchenjunga (8,534 m), the third highest peak in the world. The locals worship the mountain as a protective deity. The elevation of the state ranges from 300m to over 8,540m above sea level. The nearest airport is Bagdora (120 km. from Gangtok, the capital). There are regular flights connected to Calcutta, Delhi and Guwahati. There are also regular train services to other parts of county.
The Monastic trek
After a couple of days in Kathmandu we drive to the Nepalese border town of Kakarvitta after clearing customs we travel on to Siliguri