About Old Silk Route
The natural scenic path of East Sikkim bears witness to the history of human civilization. Since ancient times, trade with India has been going on in Central Asia.
This route from East Sikkim merges with the Lhasa of Tibet through the Jelepala Pass. We left to learn the history of the Old Silk route and to enjoy its natural beauty.
Tour Plan of Old Silk Route :
As we do not have adequate time to cover all the areas we had to shorten our route. But I hope you wish to explore the Old Silk Route with all the famous and offbeat destinations.
Here is the recommended tour plan for Old Silk Route :
Day 1: Get a cab from Bagdogra Airport/NJP Railway Station and transfer to Sillery Gaon / Icchey Gaon. Stay at the homestay for that night.
Day 2 : You can enjoy a short Trek to Ramity View Point. If the weather is clear you will enjoy a beautiful view from Ramitey Dhara view point.
After getting back to the homestay, have your breakfast, and move towards Zuluk. On the way to Zuluk, you can cover Mankhim Top, Rangli, Kuekhola Water Falls, Lingtam, Nimachen, Padamchen.After reaching Zuluk stay the night at Homestay at Zuluk.
Day 3: The next day you must get up early to have the wonderful sunrise from Thambi Viewpoint. Also, the scenic beauty of Mt. Kanchenjungha will mesmerize you.
Return to your Homestay and have your breakfast. Now the start your journey for Silk Route.
This journey will cover Lungthung Valley covering Ganek, Thambi View Point, Adi Baba Dham, Tukla Valley, Kupup, Elephant Lake, Golf Course, Jelep La Pass View Point. If you are following this plan, you have to stay this night at Gnathang.
Day 4: The next day, take your breakfast and leave your homestay and start your journey towards Reshikhola. On the way do not miss Bidyang. Stay this night at Reshikhola.
Day 5: Your Journey has come to an end. take the breakfast and move towards NJP or Bagdogra.
Journey to Silk Route :
From Sealdah we board Uttar Bengal Express at 7:35 pm, and reached NJP station at 8 am the next morning. The car was already booked. So we got into the car after getting refreshed at NJP station and having our Tea.
Today our destination is Mankhim. We will reach Mankhim via Aritar.
The distance from Aritar to NJP is 110 km. On the way, there will be Sevoke, Kalijhora, Rambi Bazaar, Rangpo. In this way, Teesta is our traveling companion.
As the journey began, we started to feel refreshing due to the fresh air in a pollution-free environment.
The car was parked at the restaurant next to Teesta for breakfast. We had our breakfast with alu paratha and coffee in front of the magnificent view of Teesta.
With the Coronation or Sevoke Bridge on the right, our car ran off towards Kalijhora. After Kalijhora, Rambi Bazaar, and Teesta Bazaar, the car stopped for a while. From here, Rangpo is 17 km.
We took a halt there for refreshment and started our journey again.
We arrived at the Rhenock Bazar at noon. From here it took sometimes as the road is quite steep and in bad condition.
Finally, we arrived at Aritar lake. This beautiful lake is surrounded by high mountains and pine forests. It is one of the oldest natural lakes in Sikkim. Its local name is Lampokhri.
The height of this lake of boot shape is 4600 feet. There are boating facilities on the lake. Next to the lake, there is a monastery of Guru Padmasambhava.
After spending some time, we left for Mankhim towards our homestay. We witnessed the sunset and after entering our room we were amazed by the view from the window of our room which my vocabulary fails to explain.
Mankhim is located above the village of Dalapchand. Dalapchand is actually a Kanchenjunga viewpoint. After sunset, it was slightly visible.
If the sky is clear, Jelep La Pass and Zuluk Village could be seen from our homestay.
Arita Lake is also visible from here through the eyes of a bird. One can cross the forest from here to reach the monastery at Aritar.
I finished my dinner with hot chicken curry and went to bed early as I need to get up early the next morning.
This time our trip did not let me down as I witnessed the picture-perfect view of mount Kanchenjunga when the first sunlight is falling in Kanchenjunga. And that light is making it crimson red. This form of nature is could not be described in words.
Journey Towards Old Baba Mandir :
After breakfast, our destination is the old Baba Mandir through Zuluk. The distance from here is about 50 kilometres. Our car started moving along the Renak Rangli Highway. Then we halted in Rangali for permission.
Rangali is one of the most important villages in East Sikkim. The river Rangpo flows right in the middle of this village. After finishing Rangli’s work, we started our journey again.
Silk Route :
The path we are taking this time is the Silk Route.
One by one I did visit Lingtham, Padamchen.
In an instant, the environment around the road began to change. The road has a steep hillside on one side and a deep ravine on the other. In the distance, the peaks of the mountains stand in rows and above them the horizon is a wide blue sky.
This does not mean walking continuously. So I stopped the car again and again and started to realize nature.
Then we Arrived at Zuluk. Zuluk is a small village situated on a rough slope of the Himalayas at an altitude of 10100 feet.
The population is about 700. Most of them are associated with the tourism and construction industry.
If you want, you can stay here in a homestay. Zuluk is now quite popular as an off-beat destination.
After crossing the Zuluk, snow fell on either side of the road. White snow is scattered on the gray slope of the mountain. One by one I started going up after crossing a bend and when I looked down I saw the hair pin bends of Zig Zag Road.
Thambi view Point :
The car stopped at a height of 11200 feet at Thambi viewpoint. A panoramic view of Kanchenjunga is available from here. And all the curves of the zig-zag can be clearly seen.
Nathang Valley :
Leaving the Thambi view point, we came to the Nathang Valley. The Nathang Valley is a paradise at an altitude of 13500 feet.
In ancient times, the place was home to Chamari cow shepherds who came from Tibet. Small streams flow through this valley.
The snow around and the roadside prayer flag gave another dimension to this huge valley. The colors of this valley vary at different times of the year.
When the grass dries in the autumn, it looks golden, in the rainy season it is filled with flowers of various colours and in winter it is covered with white snow. And I got out of the car because I had not seen the ice moon up close.
There was uproar in the frozen snow on the side of the road.
Old Baba Mandir / Old Baba Temple :
I sat in the car again and after a while I reached the old Baba temple. This temple is established in the name of Baba Harbhajan Singh.
There are some miraculous stories behind the establishment of this temple which has become a folk tale today. I could not stay there much longer because I was having trouble breathing. So I got down early.
We will spend the night in agamlok . Take the road on the right side from Lingam to the peak of this very small Sherpa village situated at an altitude of 7000 feet. The silence and the call of birds will calm your mind.
The next morning I woke up and went to a monastery next to this village. A very small and quiet monastery on the hilltop will draw you to this place again and again.
Did not last very long. Because we have to go back today. So I got ready at the hotel and went out with a great experience for the purpose of NJP. I’ll talk again about the path I left.
Best time to visit Silk Route :
The perfect time to visit Silk Route is Oct-Mid Dec & Mid March -May. Silk route generally opens till the mid of December.
But if you are not too much adventurous, I would suggest you not to visit after Mid December as in such high altitude the weather can be unpredictable any moment.
Contact Details of Home Stays for Silk Route :
The tariff of the homestays is basically the same. It varies from Rs. 800 to Rs. 1200 including food and lodging per day per person.
Which include lunch, evening snacks, dinner and breakfast of the next day.
Heaven Valley Homestay
Contact : +918101320698
Mandala Home Stay
Cnct : +919635500551
Reshi Khola :
Reshi River Resort
Contact : +919933489825
Car Rent for Silk Route :
For SUV like Bollero/Max/Sumo
Rs.3200- 3500 /day
For a four-seater car-like Wagnor/ Alto
Rs.2700- 3000 /day