South Sikkim

South Sikkim

About the place

South Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Namchi. South District of Sikkim lies at an altitude of 400 mtr to 2000 mtr with unique and countryside escape of endless waves of agricultural field and the terraced slopes intercepted by spring patched forest and encompasses a total area of around 75000 hectares. Area wise it is the smallest district of Sikkim and population-wise second one. Its total population is 1,46,850 (as per 2011 census) among which 76,670 are male and 70,180 female. Namchi or Namtse (meaning Sky High) is the headquarter of South Sikkim which is nestled among the hills having elevation of 5500 fts and which commands panoramic view of snowcapped mountains and vast stretches of valley. South Sikkim is the most industrialised district in the state, owing to the availability of flat land. Since the geology is stable the roads are in good condition as compared to other parts of the state which suffer from landslides. The district is also known for Sikkim tea, which is grown near Namchi. South Sikkim is one of the least populated regions of the state. The people are mainly of Nepali descent. Other ethnic groups include the Lepcha and Bhutia communities.


COMMUNICATION / CONNECTIVITY

Airport

The nearest airport is Bagdogra in North Bengal, 124 km from Gangtok, or nearly five hours drive. Bagdogra has regular flights from Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati. Heli service is also available from Bagdogra to Gangtok. The two closest railway stations are Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (125 km).

Rail Way

The closest railheads are Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (148 km), from Gangtok. They are connected to Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati and other major Indian cities. From the railway station a taxi to Gangtok costs around Rs1500/-. A jeep on sharing basis cost you Rs120/- per person.

Road

Gangtok is at a distance of 114 km from Siliguri and will take 4 hours from Siliguri to reach Gangtok. Gangtok is connected by road with Darjeeling (4 hrs), Kalimpomg and all other cities in Bengal.Travel time from Bagdogra airport to Gangtok is nearly 5 hours by road.A taxi from airport to Siliguri is about Rs150.


PLACES OF INTERESTS

The Buddha Park of Ravangla, also known as Tathagata Tsal, is situated near Rabong (Ravangla) in South Sikkim district, Sikkim, India. It was constructed between 2006 and 2013 and features a 130-foot high statue of the Buddha as its centerpiece. The site was chosen within the larger religious complex of the Rabong Gompa (Monastery), itself a centuries-old place of pilgrimage. Also nearby is Ralang Monastery, a key monastery in Tibetan Buddhism. The statue was consecrated on 25 March 2013 by the 14th Dalai Lama, and became a stop on the 'Himalayan Buddhist Circuit'.The statue of the Buddha marks the occasion of the 2550th birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha.

Namchi is located at 27.17°N 88.35°E.[2] It has an average elevation of 1,315 metres (4,314 ft). Namchi is situated at an altitude of 1,675 m (5500 feet) above sea level. It is situated at a distance of 78 kilometres (48 mi) from the state capital Gangtok and 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the town of Siliguri, the nearest railhead and airport. Namchi lies off the road between Melli and Jorethang. Namchi is well connected to other towns in Sikkim and West Bengal. Jeeps and buses regularly ply between Namchi to Gangtok, Pelling, Jorethang, Kalimpong and Siliguri. Namchi is fast becoming a major tourist spot and a pilgrimage centre. The Namchi Monastery, Ralang Monastery and Tendong Hill are important Buddhist pilgrimage centres.

The Temi Tea Garden in Ravangla, established in 1969 by the Government of Sikkim, is located in South Sikkim in the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim. It is the only tea garden in Sikkim and considered one of the best in India and in the world. The Temi Tea estate was established in 1969 covering an area of 177 hectares (440 acres). The lie of the land shows gentle slopes that originate from the Tendong hill range. The ground conditions indicate loamy soils with slope of 30–50%. The ground surface is subject to moderate erosion and is spread with reasonable degree of stones.The garden has 406 workers supported by a staff of 43. Its annual tea production is on an average about 100 tonnes. The estate functions under a Tea Board set up by the Government of Sikkim and under its aegis the ‘Sang-Martam Tea Growers' Cooperative Society’ has been established to promote growing of different varieties of quality tea.”

Samdruptse Hill; the 'wish fulfilling hill' is just 5 km away from Namchi, situated at an altitude of 2134 m (7000 ft). This epic hill is ornamented with a giant statue of the Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche); the patron saint of Sikkim who has been showering its blessings since more than 1,200 years. It is a 45 m tall statue, overlooking the whole city, and is gilded with gold that glitters when the sunlight falls over it. The hill offers the vista of the magnificent Mt. Kangchenjunga amongst the richly forested hills under the blue painted sky. It is believed that the hill is a dormant volcano and only prayers can hold it from erupting, that is why the local monks offer their reverence and devotion to it. The repository within the premises of the statue, has a profound collection of historical photographs of sikkim also including the fading photos of Mahatma Gandhi, come as a delight for the history buffs.