Namchi: Meaning sky high, it nestles
among the hills at an elevation of 5500 ft. commands a
panoramic view of the snow-capped mountains and vast stretches
of the valley. It is also the HQ of the South district.
The area is fast developing into a tourist destination
with its immense potential for allround tourist activities.
It is about 78 km form Gangtok and 100 km from Siliguri.
Tendong Hill: Above Damthang, overlooking
South district headquarter town Namchi, there is small
flat stretch of land at an altitude of 8530 ft surrounded
by lush green ancient forest which is popularly known
as the Tendong Hill. Historically, this has been a place
of recluse for Buddhist lamas who spend years in meditation
amidst the silent scenic grandeur. Legned says that the
Tendong Hill saved the Lepcha tribe from the ravages of
deluge when the whole world was flooded - a legend similar
to Noah’s of the Bible. Even today, the lepchas perform
pujas to pay reverence t the Tendong Hill. The view from
the top of the Tendong Hill is something to be cherished
and enjoyed as it spans across the plains of Bengal to
the majestic heights of the Himalayan Ranges. A trek to
Tendong from Damthang Bazar, the nearest road head, is
just about two hours of casual walk. But one can also
proceed to Namchi by trekking via Tendong Hill following
the traditional route used in the old days.
Temi Tea Garden: The one and the
only tea estate existing in the State produces one of
the top quality teas in the international market. The
tea garden is spread out on a gentle hill slope originating
from the Tendong Hill and provides a magnificent view
of the surrounding villages. A visit to the gardn, enroute
to the Tendong Hill, could be a rewarding experience for
those who want to combine nature and culture as they keep
Ravangla: At the base of Menam Hill
is Ravangla, a small township and transit to various tourist
destinations in South and West Sikkim. It is also an up-coming
tourist spot, and transit point for trekkers to Menam
Hill and Borong. There are accommodation facilities. A
trek down to the sacred cave “Shar Chok Bephy”, one of
the four holiest caves in Sikkim, would be a memorable
Menam Hill: Menam Hill towers above
Tendong Hill on the other side over-lookjing the Ravangla
bazaar settlement. Situated at an altitude of 10,300 ft,
the scenic view from this height is, perhaps, unmatched
in this part of the world. Mt Khangchendzonga and its
surrounding ranges loom above to dwarf the richly forested
and rugged hills. On a clear sunny day, it is possible
to see the plains of Bengal spanning across Kalimpong
and Darjeeling hills in the South, right across to the
Indo-China border towards the North. A short distance
away is the lengendary Bhaley Dunga, a kind of rocky spur
which juts out from the ridge top and remains suspended
in the air above Yangang village. The trek to Menam from
Ravangla takes about 4 hours and from Menam hill-top one
has the option to take the gentle trek to Borong village
or follow the more treacherous trails taken by the famous
British Botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker, down to Yangang village.
Borong: Facing the snow-capped mountains
is Borong, motorable from Ravangla or a trek via Menam.
A picturesque village with beautiful landscape and magnificient
view is also host to the hot-spring “Borong Tsa-Chu”.
The trek trail, originating from Namchi or Damthang to
Tendong-Ravangla-Menam Borong (5-6 days) is one of the
most interesting trails scaling all the hill tops along
the route. The trek can continue to Tashiding or terminate
at Borong and drive back to Ravangla.
Singchu-thang: 45 km from Gangtok
at an altitude of 3,500 ft on the banks of river Tista,
Singchu-thang is ideal for white water sports and picturesque
picnic. It literelly means, The plain overgrown with dwarf
plants and shrubs’.
Maghe Sankranti: Celebrated on the
first day of the month of Magh (January), the festival
continues for three days. It is one of the holy festivals
of the Hindus. Huge fairs are organized along the river
banks and confluence of the rivers. Jorethang, Saramsa,
Rorathang and Triveni are places where such fairs are
held every year. The rituals are solemnized from dawn
at the banks of the rivers, which is indeed a rare spectle
Sikip: Sikip is located on the banks
of the river Rangeet in the South district. The drive
from Gangtok to Sikip takes about five hours via Legship
and it is also accessible from Siliguri and Darjeeling
via Jorethang. This place is an anglers' paradise and
also has a charming natural surrounding. Together with
one can also avail of the facility of rafting down the
Phur Tsa-chu: Situated on the bank
of river Rangeet is the hot spring “Phur Tsa-chu”, half
an hour drive from Legship and one hour drive from Jorethang.
Pilgrims of all sects come to take a dip in this hot spring
Flower festival at Namchi: Flower
exhibitions are organized as an annual feature at Namchi
during the month of February. The venue is at Children's
park, Namchi (South Sikkim). One can see the rare species
of orchids in a riot of colours.
Samdruptse: It is 72 km from Gangtok
and close to Namchi. The word means in Bhutia language,
'the wish-fulfilling hill'. At the top of the hill is
a 135 ft statue of Guru Padmasambhava. The dalai lama
had laid the foundation for the statue in 1997 and it
was completed in three years. A ropeway from Namchi is
being built via the Rock Garden.
Rock Garden: Between Namchi and Samdruptse
is Rock Garden, full of a variety of plants and flowers,
a place to relax.