Hill | Adventure
Ravangla, a small hamlet situated 103 kms from Siliguri is one of the majestic destinations of South Sikkim. It has snowy peaks, exotic tea gardens, and beautiful monasteries, making it an ideal tourist hotspot for nature and adventure lovers! Ravangla is equally famous for trekking!
Sikkim is the Himalayan wonderland and one of the loveliest places in India. A land with rhododendron clad valleys and snow covered hills, quaint Buddhist monasteries, striking view of the Kanchenjunga and rich bio diversity makes this ‘abode of nature’ an extravaganza of natural beauty! Winner of many awards and distinctions like ‘Best Adventure Tourism Destination 2007-2008’, ‘Most Picturesque Destination 2007’, ‘Best Eco Tourism Destination 2005’ and many such prestigious titles have made this place one of the most sought-after places for nature enthusiasts and honeymooners! This exotic place is bordered by Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and West Bengal. Spread across 7, 096 sq kms of land, Sikkim was completely integrated in India in the year 1975. One of the smallest states in India, Sikkim is an immensely popular tourist attraction!
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim. A famous trekking destination, the unspoilt terrains and picturesque backdrop with clear blue sky makes Sikkim an unforgettable journey for any nature lover! Divided into east, north, south and west Sikkim with minimum population, this place is slightly bigger than Goa and Delhi. Known for its awesome mountains, Kanchendzonga National Park covers more than 25 percent of the land.
Hospitable people, rewarding weather with five climatic zones and clean surroundings make Sikkim an unmatched destination in India! For foreign tourists, an inner line permit along with the Visa is essential to enter Sikkim. This can be secured from Tourism office at New Delhi or Sikkim Tourism Office in Kolkata.
The cuisine of Sikkim is a blend of Indian, Tibetan, Nepali and Bhutan influences. Rice is the main food of Sikkimese. Dal is a major side dish which is prepared with lentils, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and different exotic wild flowers. They also love to take meat and different dairy products. They also consume beef, pork and various fish preparations. Besides, Sikkimese people are ardent fan of fermented food and drinks.
Gyakho is a delicious soup served on special festivals and occasions. Momos, thukpas, tomato achar, gundruk and sinki soup, chhurpi soup, sel roti and pakku are the must-taste local snack items of Sikkim!
Sikkimese people are in love with liquors. Chaang, local brew made of fermented rice, and tomba with fermented millets are the two most popular drinks of Sikkim consumed by both male and female and served in wooden mugs.
Scores of festivals dominate this vibrant land! As it’s a mix of different religions, Sikkim observe diverse events with absolute zeal! Some of the important festivals include:
Losoong Festival is a harvest festival observed in the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar. Dance festivals at Phodong and Rumtek monasteries and archery competition mark this festival. Losar Festival is mainly observed by the young Sikkimese who take out procession in the road and observe it in the month of February. Yak dance and throwing sampa characterizes this festival. Kagyed Dance Festival celebrated on the 28th and 29th of December as per the Tibetan calendar is believed to weed out evil power and reestablish prosperity and positivity. Mainly participated by the monks, this dance festival is a delight to watch! Lhabab Dhuechen is mainly observed by the Buddhists, and takes place on the 22nd day of the lunar calendar year. Saga Dawa is an auspicious day, when Sikkimese people visit the nearby monasteries and offer butter lamps. Monks walk the streets of Gangtok with Holy Scriptures on this pious day.
Besides, Dussehra and Deepavali are observed with equal pomp and grandeur like other major festivals of India!
Sikkimese celebrates all the main Hindu festivals along with Losar, Losoong and other traditional celebrations. Many offices, schools and organizations remain closed during the Losar festival. Also, mask dance by the lamas in the monasteries constitute an important element of Sikkimese culture. Accompanied with ceremonial swords, sparkling costumes and jewelries, this festival is observed with drums and trumpets and is an event to watch!
Buddhism and Hinduism are the principal religions of Sikkim. Lepchas, Nepalese and Bhutias are the main communities of this place. Cane and bamboo works are the predominant handicrafts of Sikkim producing some of the intricate creations. Tankhas, hand woven shawls and quilt are some things that one should purchase while returning from this amazing land! Sikkimese celebrates Eid as well as Christmas with same dedication.
Locals love Indian pop music, western rock, Nepali and Lepcha music quite a lot! Football and cricket are quite popular sports along with gliding and rafting.
Rumtek Monastery, Enchy monastery, hot springs, Solophok Chardham, Versey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Changu Lake, Nathu la pass, Samdruptse, Chungthang, Baba mandir, Khecheopalri Lake etc. are the attractions that’ll make your cultural quest regarding Sikkim fulfilled! Yak safari, trekking, kayaking and mountain Biking are the ones for the adventure lovers providing a true blue Sikkimese experience!
Weaving is one of the oldest art forms of Sikkim. Carpets of the Bhutia community are well known for its designs and striking colors. Thangka paintings of gods and goddesses are traditional to this place. Wood carving is also quite famous in Sikkim. Monasteries, their festoons and icons are made of wood. Check out Pemayangtse Monastery to have a look in its intricate wood carvings.
Traditional shawls, bags, woolen blankets and jackets are some of the indigenous crafts and a must buy of this region! Foldable table or Choktse is something that’s authentic to this place and well known in abroad as well. Old market, New Market and Lal market on M G Marg are main shopping areas in Gangtok.
This multi lingual state has many languages but Nepali is the most oft spoken language of this region. Hindi is understood and spoken in many areas of the state. English is mainly spoken in the public places.
Besides, Sikkim has other local languages like Bhutia, Limbu, Groma, Dzonkha, Magar and many others.
By Road: Drop at NJP Station and take a rented cab or a jeep to reach Ravangla.
By Train: Nearest railway station is NJP.
By Air: Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport to Ravangla.GET DIRECTION
Summers and winters are the most favorable months to visit Ravangla. Avoid monsoons as it has frequent landslides.
You can also visit few nearby destinations like Ralong, Sikip, Hot Sulphur Spring, Tendong Hill, Maenam Hill, and Tinkitam village area, Temi Tea Garden, Pelling, Pemayangtse and Richenpong from Ravangla. Other than this, Ravangla is well known for trekking and bird watching!
Ralong Monastery: Ralong monastery has two divisions, one old Ralong monastery and other New Ralong monastery. The old one is a 45 minutes drive from the main market area of Ravangla. This monastery is a not miss opportunity. It’s beautiful with eye catching decorations, murals and tangkas. It has sitting arrangements to listen and watch the prayer services of the monks. Shar chok bhepu is another must visit destination in Ravangla. The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is a nice place and a key attraction of Ravangla. This sanctuary has a great collection of chest nut oak, rhododendron and magnolias. It has few endangered species like red pandas, Himalayan black bears and lots more.
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