Yuksom is a small emerging off-beat destination nestled in the western part of Sikkim, India. Yuksom is known as the ancestral capital of Sikkim. Nestled at an elevation of about 1780 meters (5840 ft.), Yuksom offers stunning views of the breath-taking snow-capped Himalayan ranges and the surrounding landscapes. Tucked amidst the dense greenery of Kanchenjunga National Park, the village of Yuksom is blessed with abundance natural flora all over. The forest cover at Yuksom consist of broad – leaved Oak, Birch, Maple, Chestnut, Magnolia, Rhododendron, Silver Fir, Ash and Alder trees which complement the epithet of ‘biodiversity hot – spot’ given to Sikkim. Apart from dense greenery one will also get to witness wide meadows of grasslands at Yuksom village. For the Bhutia community of Sikkim, Yuksom has a special significance both in terms of religion and culture as it houses number of Buddhists monasteries and historical monuments as well as small Gorkha villages nearby. Yuksom attracts numerous mountaineers and trekkers from all over the globe as Yuksom is the gateway for Mt. Kanchenjunga trek and Dzongri- Goechala Trek route. The word Yuksom literally translates into a ‘meeting place of the three learned monks or Lamas’ who came here long away from Tibet and selected Phuntsog Namgyal the first Chogial King of Sikkim in 1642 AD and since then Yuksom became the first capital of Sikkim until 1670 when Phuntsok Namgyal’s child Tensung Namgyal, moved the capital. Yuksom is spread over an area of 812.6 hectares (2006.9 acres) and is mostly inhabited by Bhutias and Nepalese with Bhutia being the dominant group. Being set at the head of Kanchenjunga National Park, Yuksom beckons tourists for its rich culture, history, tranquil waterfalls, valleys, lakes and adventure which are a perfect refuge for the mind, body and soul. The culture of Yuksom is predominantly Buddhists and the local inhabitants mainly belong to the Lepcha, Nepali and Bhutia tribes. The Lepchas at Yuksom are the native tribes while the Bhuitas are the Tibetan residents who migrated away from Tibet to Sikkim while the Nepalese have also found a good shelter in this historic town of Yuksom. The chief languages spoken at Yuksom are Lepcha, Limbu, Bhutia, Nepali, Hindi and English. The local inhabitants of Yuksom are mainly associated with agriculture which is the main source of livelihood, but gradually Yuksom is developing as a leading tourist destination hence many villagers are also indulging in tourism activities like offering homestays and vehicle service, working as a guide and others. Tourists visiting Yuksom are advised to taste their local delicacies like items made from Yak meat, traditional Tibetan dishes, Tongba (Bamboo Drink), Tibetan Bread, Champa and others. Tourists can also opt to collect some ethnic Sikkimese articles from Yuksom like Tibetan Thankas, Lepcha Weave Bags, Tibetan Carpets, Rugs, Dragon Sets, Canvas Wall Hangings, Prayer Wheels, Handicrafts, Wooden and Bamboo Artefacts and many others.
Places of tourist’s interest around Yuksom:
Coronation Throne of Norbugang:
There is a ‘Coronation Throne’ at Yuksom made of soil and stone which is preserved here. This throne belongs to Phuntsog Namgyal the first Chogial King of Sikkim was nominated at ‘Norbugang’ in the presence of three Lamas. This ‘Coronation Throne’ of the first Chogial King known as the ‘Throne of Norbugang’ which is situated beneath a Pine Tree and is located around 01 km away from the village on a hill top with dense wilderness all over. This hill top offers panoramic view of the whole region of Yuksom along with the Himalayan Peaks to the far horizon.
Khecheopalri Lake is a pilgrimage destination for the locals of this region lies at Khecheopalri village and is located around 26 km away from Yuksom. Khecheopalri Lake is a sacred lake for both Buddhists and Hindus and is believed to be as a wish fulfilling Lake. The Khecheopalri Lake is also part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit involving the Dubdi Monastery in Yuksom, Pemayangtse Monastery, the Rabdentse ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, and the Tashiding Monastery at Yuksom.
Tashiding Monastery is one of the most revered monasteries in Yuksom located around 16 km south east of Yuksom. Tashiding Monastery is a Buddhist Monastery that follows the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism in Western Sikkim. Tashiding Monastery is a part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit that started the first monastery at Yuksom in Sikkim. Tashiding literally stands for ‘The Devoted Central Glory’ and this monastery was founded at Yuksom by this name in the year 1641 by Ngadak Sempa Chempo Phunshok Rigzing who belonged to the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Tashiding monastery is set atop a heart shaped hill at an elevation of 1465 meter above the confluence of rivers Rothang Chu and Rangeet. The spot also offers stunning view of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges at the backdrop.
Dubdi Monastery is also a Buddhist Monastery of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism at Yuksom. Dubdi Monastery is often called as Yuksom Monastery established in the year 1701 amid the rule of Chogyal Namgyal and is the most established monastery in Sikkim. The word Dubdi literally stands for ‘The Retreat’, and is located around 03 km away from Yuksom which is an hour walk. Dubdi Monastery at Yuksom is a two storied stone structure set at an elevation of 2100 meters (7000 ft.). The intricately painted interior with images of divinities, saints, other symbols and collection of manuscripts and texts are housed in the monastery. Dubdi Monastery is also known as Hermit’s Cell.
Khangchendzonga National Park:
Khangchendzonga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site located at Yuksom of West Sikkim. This national park is also regarded as a Biosphere Reserve and is declared as a ‘Mixed Heritage’ site of India. Khangchendzonga National Park is spread over an area of 1784 sq. km and the elevation varies from 1829 meter (6001 ft.) to 8550 meter (28050 ft.) The forest cover of Khangchendzonga National Park includes thick vegetation of temperate broadleaf and mixed forests that consists of Oaks, Fir, Birch, Maple and Willow. Other species includes Alpine grasslands and shrubs at higher altitudes along with medicinal plants and herbs. Fauna includes Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Great Tibetan Sheep, Bharal, Musk Deer, Himalayan Black Bear and others. The Avifauna found in this national park are Black-necked Crane, Grus Nigricollis, Satyr Tragopan, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Tibetan Snow Cock, Blood Pheasant and Himalayan Snow Cock.
Kartok Monastery is one of the three important monasteries in Yuksom. Kartok Monastery is an important tourist attraction at Yuksom and is also one the holiest monastery. Kartok Monastery is beautifully built with painted exteriors and peaceful surroundings. This monastery is the relics of the age old customs, traditions and practices of the Tibetan Buddhism. The impeccable interior of Kartok Monastery beckons tourists to experience the relish of Tibetan Buddhism culture.
Kathok Lake is a pristine holy lake at Yuksom which is surrounded by numerous prayer flags on all sides. Kathok Lake is also known as Kathok Tsho is considered as the soul lake of Lama Kathok Kuntu Zangpo, who pioneered in introducing Buddhism to this beautiful land in 1642 A.D. This lake at Yuksom has a historical importance as it is religiously connected with the consecration of the first king of Sikkim. The view of the mountain peaks along with the shadow of the prayer flags on the water of the lake portrays beautiful picturesque scenery.
Tashi Tenka Monastery:
Tashi Tenka was once the royal palace complex situated on a ridge and located to the south of Yuksom. Presently Tashi Tenka is only a ground with promising mesmerizing 360 degree view of the region. From Tashi Tenka one can easily spot Rabdentse Monastery lies a bit higher to the left of Pemayangtse Monastery. Apart from this the view of the Rathong Valley to the north direction is also worth admiring. Tourists need to use stairway to reach at Tashi Tenka.
Trekking Route from Yuksom:
Yuksom in West Sikkim is popularly known for the gateway of two major trekking routes.
One is the Kanchenjunga or Khangchendzonga trekking route and the other is Dzongri – Goechala trek route.
Biodiversity Festival of Yuksom:
Every year a biodiversity festival is held at Yuksom for one day, the first of its kind. More than 200 villagers and foreign tourists visit the festival to create an awareness to conserve Biodiversity, natural heritage and cultural heritage of the village. This Biodiversity festival at Yuksom is organized by the Forest Department (Government of Sikkim). Through this Biodiversity Festival at Yuksom the locals are also taught the efficient methods of using waste, garbage, replacement and reuse of biodegradable wastes and promote traditional handlooms and handicrafts. Other attractions of this biodiversity festival are Puppet show and folk music and dance.
How to reach:
By Air: Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport to Yuksom located at a distance of 159 km away. Bagdogra Airport is at a driving distance of 06 to 07 hours to Yuksom. Bagdogra Airport is well connected with flight service with Kolkata, Guwahati, Delhi and other major cities of India. Another airport is at Pakyong Airport at Sikkim which is located around 35 km away from Gangtok and Yuksom is located around 123 km away from Gangtok. Tourists will get hired vehicles both from Bagdogra and Gangtok to reach Yuksom.
By Rail: New Jalpaiguri is the nearby rail head to Yuksom which is at a distance of 153 km away. NJP railway station is well connected with major cities of India by strong railway networks. From Siliguri or NJP railway station tourists will get full reserved cars to reach at Yuksom. Or tourists can also opt to avail shared vehicles upto Jorethang and again from there by direct cars one can reach upto Yuksom.
By Road: Yuksom is well connected by good motorable road with Sikkim and other major parts of India. Yuksom is located around 45 km away from Geyzing and 123 km away from Gangtok. Both reserved and shared cars are available from Siliguri, Gangtok and others places upto Yuksom.
Best time to visit:
Yuksom can be visited throughout the year except the monsoon season. But the best time to visit Yuksom is March to June and September to October. Summer at Yuksom is very pleasurable and one can witness the awe striking beauty of the lush greenery along with the surrounding waterfalls. Monsoon is best avoided as the road becomes slippery and hence makes it difficult to travel. Winter at Yuksom is chilly and the temperature may drop below sun zero level, but still the sky remains clear and one can view the snow-capped Himalayan peaks at its fullest.
CHUNGDA HIDDEN HOMESTAY
Chungda Hidden Homestay is a charming homestay at Yuksom providing calm and peaceful night halt option to tourists. Chungda Hidden Homestay is located within calm ambience with surrounding lush green forest and high mountain ranges. Chungda Hidden Homestay has staffs those are readily available to serve tourists with the utmost importance and priority. Chungda Hidden Homestay has its own wide open space along with a lawn where blooming flowers are seen. Rooms at Chungda Hidden Homestay are mainly divided into double and triple bed sharing rooms.
Spacious rooms with wall to wall carpet.
Attached bathrooms with western toilets.
24 hours running water.
Geyser available for running hot water.
Car parking facility available.
Pick up and drop facility available on request.
Arrangement of local sightseeing available.
Per person per day @ 1400/- (AP Plan).
AP Plan: Both food and lodging included.
Meals: Morning tea, breakfast, evening tea, snacks and dinner.
HOW TO BOOK: Call us at 9831311606 , 9830381306, to get the current availability status or use the query form furnished below with all you travel queries and submit, we will call/ contact you directly.
Or, you may also directly book from our Kolkata office at: 8C Shanti Ghosh Street, Kolkata – 700003. Nearest Landmark: Manindra Chandra College and Shyambazar Metro Railway Station (Gate No: 3).