In an earlier post we discussed about the beauty of North East India. If striking views, sweeping valleys and lush forests are your thing, Sikkim is your next holiday destination. And Ralong in Sikkim should be right at the top! Why do we say so? Let’s find out.
Sikkim is a vibrant, cultural and natural hub in North East India. The state has the highest peak in India, Kangchenjunga. It is the third highest peak in the world! Who doesn’t want to see that? The mountain is so vast that 3 peaks are in India while the other 2 are in Nepal! Sikkim shares its border with Nepal and Bhutan. A visit here will allow you to view a never seen before side of India. You will be welcomed with open arms by the loving and highly educated and literate citizens of the state. The young generation has brought an infusion of energy and zest which is evident wherever you go. If you thought Himachal Pradesh was blessed with abundant natural beauty, wait till you check out Sikkim! The Himalayan range stretches far and wide in the state making it a vastly mountainous region. A boon for hikers and trekkers, some of the terrain is downright dangerous. Due to the mountains, there are many glaciers and rivers in the state. The weather is challenging and winters can go as low as -40 degrees Celsius! So plan your visit in the summer months of March to May. The area experiences heavy and risky landslides in monsoon so please don’t try to plan your trip during rainy season. Also, it receives snow for nearly 4 months a year. So if a snow-laden vacation is what you have in mind, this is it!
Sikkim is also a state that is rich in flora and fauna. Rare animals and birds are found here. It is one of the only 3 ecoregions of India. An ecoregion is a specific type of vegetation, wildlife or habitat that exists in a rare manner. A lot of vegetation and forests in Sikkim are under the threat of extinction. The legendary and rare snow leopard, red panda, Tibetan wolf, leopard cat, musk deer and Himalayan Goral are some of the unique species found here. You don’t know you may be lucky enough to spot one! For travelers and tourists, getting to Sikkim is slightly inconvenient. The first airport in Sikkim has only been functional since October 2018. The weather and the mountains made it risky to fly a plane in those conditions. Trains from all major cities run to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. You can take a bus, cab or taxi to Ralong from there. It is approximately 75 kilometers.
Despite being one of the coldest regions in India, there are many natural hot water springs here. The contrast is fascinating and worth noting like with Panamik hot water springs. One of the most popular and well known springs is the one at Ralong. Close to Ralong Monastery, the hot water springs are known to possess sulphur. Avid photographers and travelers should also visit this monastery which is a peek into local culture and faith. The water is known to reach temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius and higher. Of course it is a dream come true in winter but staying too long in the springs can harm you or burn your skin. Dip your feet or body to enjoy the medicinal properties of the water and let go of the stress. Local lodges and guest houses offer rooms but very few of them provide meals or beds. It is better to travel back to a bigger city or town after the visit to the springs and the monastery.