Sikkim - The Destination to Eastern Himalayas

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

SikkimOne day I was sitting along with my wife and was just planning a small trip for our summer vacation. We both came across the decision that we gonna visit Sikkim. Sikkim, a mountainous region situated in the eastern Himalayas. Sikkim is 7300 square miles in area and contains Mount Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world. Sikkim offers the Magical feel of Himalayan fairy tale land. It's an awesome Place of Hidden valley, Mystical Monasteries, Snow-fed lakes and mountain setting covered with flowers & forests. Bhutias, Lepchas and Nepalese- which provides a colourful campsite of cultural. Sikkim has 4000 species of flowering plants, making it a botanist's paradise. It has around 600 species of orchids, and 40 species of rhododendrons. With the introduction of eco-tourism, including serious birding, Sikkim has begun to focus on enterprise-based conservation.

The Teesta river is the main river in the Sikkim. The main stream Teesta originates from the glacier lake Chhu Lhamo located at the northeastern corner of the State. The Chola range in the east the Singalila range in the west determine the boundary of the Teesta. Other major rivers are Rangit, Zemu rivers. For the adventure lovers trekking in Sikkim is an experience of many in the high Himalayas. For sheer exhilaration nothing can match the view of the mountains, which seem to reach the heaven. Sikkim is a 22nd state of India tucked in the Himalaya areas. Nepal's eastern Frontier. It is Bounded by Tibet to the north, Bhutan to the east and Darjeeling to the South respectively. You can reach Sikkim by Air, Train/Rail and Road.

East Sikkim

The capital of East Sikkim district is Gangtok which is also the state capital. It is the hub of all administrative activity in the state.The district is a very sensitive area with the Indian army having control over most areas east of Gangtok and near its borders with People's Republic of China and Bhutan. This region is restricted and just a few areas are open to tourists in the areas east of Gangtok. Popular tourist places to visit are the Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir and the Nathula Pass. The Nathula Pass formed the offshoot of the ancient Silk Road which connected Lhasa to India. The pass and the famous Baba Mandir are open to Indian nationals only. To enter this region a special pass — The Inner Line Permit has to be obtained one day prior to departure. This pass is made through local tourist offices.

West Sikkim

West Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Geyzing, also known as Gyalshing. The district is a favourite for trekkers due to the high elevations. Other important towns include Pelling and Jorethang.You can witness the protected forests of silver fir, hemlocks, magnolia and many more. Some important species like the Maroon-Backed Accentor, Red-faced Liocichla and so on are found around these forests. The Khecheopheri Lake hosts migrant ducks and occasionally some rare species such as Black-necked Crane, Black-tailed Crane and many others can be seen here.

South Sikkim

South Sikkim is the district in Sikkim. Its capita is Namchi. Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is the main attraction. The sanctuary starts from 2000m, with a sub-tropical forest, gradually taken over by moist temperate forest at around 2500-3000m and then sub-alpine conifer forests at altitude higher than 3000m. Rabongla/Ravangla to Maenam top is about 12km and a further 1km trek will take one to Bhaledhunga, a cockscomb shaped stone. Important birds in this trek include Satyr Tragopan, Kalij pheasant, rusty-bellied Shortwing, Minivet, Yuhina, flycatchers and many more...

North Sikkim

The capital of north sikkim district is Mangan. It is the largest of the four districts of Sikkim. The people are mainly of Nepali descent. It also has one of the lowest populated regions of the state. Tholung Valley, in North Sikkim is also a treasure house of birds.Over 67 species were recorded in this region from Little Cormorant, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle, Common Kestrel, Himalayan Monal, Kalij Pheasant, Spotted Dove and many more. Most of North Sikkim is restricted to travelers and permits are needed to visit these areas. The area, which shares a sensitive border with the People's Republic of China is heavily patrolled by the Indian army.

Climate of Sikkim

The climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the northern parts. The tundra-type region in the north is clad by snow for four months a year though the temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) almost every night. The peaks of north-western Sikkim are perpetually frozen. Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim, however, witness a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer or dropping below 0 °C (32 °F) in winter. The mean monthly temperature in summer is 15 °C.[29] The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, and autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F)

Best Time to Visit

The beautiful state observes the five seasons, winter, summer, spring, autumn and monsoon respectively. Summer season prevails from April to June and provides a fine time to enjoy the blooming rhododendrons and orchids that grow in the region. Summers are the ideal time to grab the opportunity for trekking too. Sikkim is one of those rare states in India that receive regular snowfall. During monsoons, the rivers and roads becomes surmounted. Sikkim is prone to land-slides, thus it is recommended not to visit the state during the monsoons. The best time to visit Sikkim is between mid-March to Mid June.

How to reach Sikkim?

The nearest airport is Bagdogra which is near to Siliguri, West Bengal, India. The airport is about 124 km away from Gangtok nearly 5 hours drive. Bagdogra has regular flights from Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati. The Bagdogra airport is connected to Gangtok by a helicopter service which takes approx. 30 minutes to reach Gangtok. Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation operates the service at a fare of Rs1500/- per person. It is a five-seater chopper and mountain flights and other such tours to North Sikkim are also conducted. The two closest railway stations are Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (125 km) connecting to Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Lucknow and other important cities in India. National Highway 31A and National Highway 31 together link Siliguri to Gangtok. The Sikkim National Transport runs bus and truck services. Privately run bus, tourist taxi and jeep services ply throughout Sikkim and also connect it to Siliguri.


Tour to The Taj Mahal in India

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The official one of the 7 wonders of the world "The Taj Mahal" is situated in Agra, India. Agra is a historic town in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This immense mausoleum was built on the orders of Shah Jahan, the fifth Muslim Mughal emperor, to honor the memory of his beloved late wife. Built out of white marble and standing in formally laid-out walled gardens, the Taj Mahal is regarded as the most perfect jewel of Muslim art in India. The emperor was consequently jailed and, it is said, could then only see the Taj Mahal out of his small cell window.

The Taj Mahal attracts from 2 to 4 million visitors annually, with more than 200,000 from overseas. Most tourists visit in the cold months of October, November and February. Polluting traffic is not allowed near the complex and tourists must either walk from parking lots or catch an electric bus. The grounds are open from 6 am to 7 pm weekdays, except for Friday when the complex is open for prayers at the mosque between 12 pm and 2 pm. The complex is open for night viewing on the day of the full moon and two days before and after, excluding Fridays and the month of Ramzan. For security reasons only following five items are allowed inside The Taj Mahal — water in transparent bottles, small video cameras, still cameras, mobile phones and small ladies' purses.

Climate of Agra

The climate of Agra is extreme and tropical. Summers in Agra are extremely hot and the maximum temperature can be as high as 45 degree Celsius, while winters are cold and foggy. Heavy rains and high humidity mark the monsoon season. Agra travel & Taj Mahal travel is nice throughout the year, but one must avoid the extreme hot summers (April-June) and rainy season (July-Sept). The most suitable time to visit The Taj Mahal is in winters.

How to reach The Taj Mahal?

Agra itself has a domestic airport with very few services. Best would be to reach Delhi by flight or by train and then tour to Taj Mahal. From Delhi you can plan a trip of same day back either by a hired taxi, luxury coach or even good express train (called Shatabdi express). Agra is 200 km from Delhi. My suggestion is to keep Delhi as a headquarter, unless you want to spend more time or even a night there.


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