Public Holidays in Sikkim – Sikkim being a part of India observes many public holidays. According to the government of Sikkim, All banks and government offices remains closed on this Public Holidays. List of famous Holidays in Sikkim, India.
|Public Holidays in Sikkim|
|01 January||New Year’s Day|
|14 January||Makar Sankranti|
|26 January||Republic Day|
|16 May||State Day|
|15 August||Independence Day|
|28 August||Pang Lhabsol|
|02 October||Gandhi Jayanti|
|Laxmi Puja / Diwali|
|30 December||Tamu Lhochar|
Reaching Sikkim in India
Juxtaposed between two neighboring countries namely Bhutan and Nepal with West Bengal on its South, Sikkim lies on the extreme North Eastern corner of India. Whether you are traveling by road, air and train, you can only reach Sikkim by passing through West Bengal. The state of Sikkim is well-connected with air, rail and road network. However there are certain restrictions for foreigners coming to Sikkim. Tourists coming from other countries have to fulfill certain formalities for entering into Sikkim. Get to know more on various means of transport available to reach Sikkim in India.
Sikkim by Road:
National Highway no. 31 serves as a connecting link between the state capital Gangtok and Siliguri, one of the major towns on the northern fringe of West Bengal. Gangtok is also well connected to Kolkata (721 km) and Darjeeling (139 km) with a good network of roads. Kalimpong is another well connected destination with Gangtok. However the NH no. 31 is the most famous route between Gangtok and Siliguri. There are regular buses plying between Siliguri to Sikkim and vice versa. Tourists can reach various towns of Sikkim through easily available cabs/taxi.
The nearest railhead to Sikkim is in New Jalpaiguri near Siliguri at 117 km from Gangtok. Overnight trains can be boarded from Kolkata to Sikkim that reaches New Jalpaiguri Station in the morning. Another railway station at Siliguri is also well connected with Gangtok in Sikkim. From railway stations, taxi’s and cabs are easily available for tourist service.
Sikkim by Air:
Bagdogra near Siliguri, 120 km from Gangtok is the nearest airport to the state. Regular flights connect it to the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata from where daily flights are available to New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and all the major cities of India. The state is also planning to have its own first airport soon. There are regular flights to and from Calcutta (Kolkata) throughout India.
Another special Helicopter service has come up in Bagdogra for reaching Sikkim. It takes around 20 minutes to reach Sikkim (Gangtok) from Bagdogra by this Helicopter. You can use this service once in a day and four people are allowed at one time. For booking related request, please contact a travel agent.
Formalities for Foreigners:
Foreigners cannot enter the state of Sikkim directly. They have to get an inner line permit for traveling to Sikkim. This permit is easily available with Indian Mission and embassies abroad. This entry permit allows a stay of seven days for traveling and sightseeing in Sikkim. However this limit extends to ten days in case of Group trekkers.
Monasteries in Sikkim
Red robed lamas enchanting sacred mantras, drums and trumpets blowing wildly in the background, prayer wheels whirring vibrantly and white lights flickering from decorative lamps is a not only a ritualistic presentation but is also a true picture of a rich cultural heritage and religious lifestyle of the people of Sikkim which is closely interwoven with the monastery culture. There are about 200 monasteries or Gompas of Nyingma and Kagyu order in Sikkim. Guru Padmasambhava is the preseiding deity at all the monasteries.
Adorned with life-like frescoes of hoary Buddhist legends, these Gompas and monasteries offer a unique opportunity of being one with the nature to people. A rare closeness to the Providence is felt here. These monasteries also serve as a store house of ancient Tibetan manuscripts, exquisitely carved wood work and icons of silver and gold. Some of the major monasteries in Sikkim include:
Located at a distance of 140 kms from the capital city, this monastery is at Gyalshing in West Sikkim. Belonging to the Nyingma order, this monastery is subordinated by several others. Apart from its religious significance, the monastery is also well known for its scenic location as it commands an impressive view of Mount Khanchendzonga.
A half an hour’s drive through the beautiful landscapes and mountains will take one to the monastery. The Rumtek Dharma Chakra centre at 24 kms from Gangtok was built in 1960s by his holiness the late 16th GYALWA KARMAPA during the period of his refuge in Sikkim after the Chinese attack. Some of the most unique art objects, ancient manuscripts and icons of the world are housed in this monastery.
A 200 year old structure situated in Gangtok on a hill top blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his flying powers is known as Enchey Monastery. Built in the reign of Thutob Namgyal, it is an important seat of the Nyingma order. The monastery houses various images of Gods and goddesses along with several religious objects. A religious masked dance or ‘Chaam’ is performed here in January here.
Built in 1721 by Jigme Pawo in the Northern part of Sikkim, this monastery was totally devastated by fire in 1947 and was rebuilt in 1948. Around 300 monks under the monastery celebrate their annual function in the month of December.
Home to around 260 monks, the most beautiful monastery in Sikkim is the Phodong Monastery. 28 kms from Gangtok, in the Northern region of the state, this monastery has been rebuilt. Ancient wall paintings are stored in this monastery that is put on display during its annual festival. Religious dances are an integral part of this festival.
Nestled on a hilltop looming between the Rathong and the Rangit rivers, the Tashiding Monastery is around 40 kms from Gyalshing by road. Lying in the Western part of Sikkim, this monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order is bordered by a plethora of Prayer flags that keep fluttering in the air.
Built in 1700 near Yuksam on a hilltop, the Dubdi Monastery was established soon after the consecration of Phuntsog Namgyal, the first Chogyal of Sikkim in 1641 A.D. Dubdi literally means ‘The Retreat’ and can only be reached by foot.