Sikkim is close to all traveller’s hearts who wish to rejuvenate their body and mind amidst the tranquillity and beauty of its mountain ranges and rich biodiversity. Its world-famous Buddhist monasteries coexist with multiple Hindu shrines set amidst lush valleys and clear blue skies. Here are our top picks for a spiritual journey to this northeastern state. By Upasana Singh

1. Hanuman Tok

According to an ancient legend, this is the place where Hanuman, a Hindu god and a central figure in the epic Ramayana, rested after flying with Dronagiri Parvat, which contained sanjeevni (a magical herb) to save Lord Rama’s brother, Lakshman. The temple has been built in the upper reaches of Gangtok in dedication to Lord Hanuman. Set amidst green hills and a spectacular view of the Kanchenjunga range, divine and heavenly feelings take over visitors who hear the sound of prayer chants and religious music as they walk up to the stairs leading to the temple.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Madhura Rahalkar (@madhurarahalkar) on

Getting There

The months between March and June are the perfect time to visit this holy site as the climate is pleasant and enjoyable. The temple is open all week from 06:00 am to 07:00 pm. The distance between Hanuman Tok and Gangtok is 11 km so visitors can hire a cab from the city. With an ethnic Sikkimese ambience, you can choose to stay at the Elgin Nor-Khill hotel, which is one of the oldest heritage properties in Gangtok and has hosted numerous celebrity guests.

2. Dubdi Monastery

Established in 1701, this is the oldest monastery in Sikkim. Also known as the Yuksom Monastery, the two-storied stone structure greets visitors with flying prayer flags and images of divinities and saints. The top of the roof has an ornate bell-shaped gilded dome called the Gyaltshen. A rare collection of manuscripts and religious texts is preserved inside the monastery.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Preet Sandhu | Trek Coach (@treknowledg.e) on

Getting There

For people who wish to embark on a soul-searching meditative journey, this is the perfect place. Standing at an altitude of 7,000 ft, the only way to reach the monastery is by trekking on steep slopes. You can reach Yuksom from the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station or the Bagdogra Airport. For traditional heritage ambience, opt to stay at The Chumbi Mountain Resort and Spa.

3. Solophok Chardham

Located atop the Solophok Hill in south Sikkim, this pilgrimage-cum-cultural centre can be seen from miles away with its 87-ft high statue of Lord Shiva. The complex has replicas of 12 Jyotirlingas and the four Dhams—Badrinath, Jagannath, Dwarka, and Rameshwaram. To attain moksha (liberation), it is believed that Hindus should perform pilgrimage to all existing Chaar dhams. Apart from visiting the sacred site, taking religious courses, and participating in cultural activities, tourists also come here to attend seminars, follow trekking trails, and go on mule and yak riding to feel the essence of nature and its beauty. Much to our delight, the destination is open all-year-round so you can plan a trip anytime.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by © Bhakti Sarovar 🙌 (@bhaktisarovar) on

Getting There

Solophok Chardham is five-km away from Namchi town and is easily accessible via road. To reach Namchi, you can take a flight to Pakyong. If you are travelling by train, the nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri, West Bengal. Stay at the Summit Sobralia Resort & Spa in Namchi or the beautiful Ging Tea House and The Elgin in Darjeeling that are just over a half-an-hour drive away.

4. Samdruptse Shiva Temple

Another must-visit spiritual destination near Namchi is the Samdruptse Shiva temple. Situated on top of the Samdruptse hill, popularly known as the wish-fulfilling hill, a towering statue of Lord Shiva is the prime attraction for tourists. On the other hand, the hill is adorned with a statue of Guru Padmasambhava, gilded with gold and overlooking the entire city. Local monks offer daily prayers at this site. It is said that the Samdrupste hill is a dormant volcano that can only be kept from erupting through extensive prayers.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Clubside Tour and Travels (@clubsidetour) on

Getting There

A good time to visit the temple is between February to May and September to mid-December when the weather is favourable in Sikkim. The temple is open from 09:00 am to 05:00 pm every day. Buses or taxis can be hired to reach Samdruptse Hill that is seven-km away from Namchi. The Temi Bungalow South Sikkim is an amazing accommodation set amidst green valleys and thick clouds.

5. Enchey Monastery

About 200 years old, the Enchey Monastery belongs to the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism. A local legend attributes the sacredness of monastery to the belief that the protecting deities—Khangchendzonga and Yabdean, reside inside the monastery. The religious significance of Enchay Monastery is deeply entrenched in every household of Gangtok. The large prayer hall is fully covered with paintings and murals. The entire galaxy of Mahayana Buddhist deities is also beautifully depicted inside the monastery.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by SIKKIM INDIA (@sikkimadventures) on

Getting There

You must visit this adobe of peace and serenity during Detor Cham—the vibrant cham or religious masked dance festival that is held during January/February every year as per the lunar month of the Tibetan calendar. If you don’t mind walking, the best way to reach the monastery is by the Nathula-Gangtok road that enables you to witness the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You can also hire a taxi from Gangtok and reach the site in 15-20 minutes. Although there are several budget hotels nearby, we recommend you stay at the top-rated Sikkim Villa Tosca.

Related: Here’s Why You Need To Explore These Spiritual Destinations In West Bengal!