DZONGU: AN UNFORGETTABLE PARADISE FOR NATURE LOVERS AND BIRD WATCHERS
Dzongu is a small Himalayan village of the Mangan sub-division, bounded by river Teesta to the south-east, river Tholung Chu to north-east and by rising mountains to the west those leads up to the snowcapped mighty Kanchenjunga. Dzongu is mainly a pristine forest block of the northern Sikkim, in the state of Sikkim, India. Dzongu is the habitat of mainly the Lepcha community, the original inhabitants of Sikkim. Dzongu is at an elevation ranging between 3000 ft and 20000 ft. As As the periphery of Dzongu is a completely isolated, the Lepchas live here with their own traditional believes and practice in complete harmony with nature. Dzongu mainly comprises of small streams, long stretches of hills, falls, Lepcha Villagers with simple life style, long stretches of paddy fields and lush dense greenery those adds up to its beauty . From Dzongu Mt. Kanchenjunga is clearly visible. This Lepcha habitat Dzongu has an eye catching view and lays at one part of Kanchenjunga Biosphere reserve. Spread within an area of about 700 to 6000 meters in altitude, this periphery of the old Sikkimese Lepcha Tribe community is now regarded as a special reserve for the Lepcha community by Sikkim Government. An ideal place for bird watching. From Dzongu nearby several nature trails and trekking routes has emerged. Dzongu is mainly comprised of accumulating few small Himalayan villages. The route to Limthang village is via Passingdon village. The route is though bamboo forest path and few step cultivated lands. Mt. Kanchenjunga is also clearly visible on this route. There is a small Buddhists Monastery, encircled by dense thick Pine trees. In the monastery, the Lamas used to practice Nyingma tradition (is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism The Nyingma particularly believes in hidden terma treasures and place an emphasis on Dzogchen). In the month of December, an annual program of the monastery is held, where the locals participate in mask dance. To reach the village one needs avail the trekking route. From Passingdon, you can visit to Hee-Gyathang village by jeep to the uphill route. This village is located at lower Dzongu. Here you will get to see a small pond in the middle of the village. The pond is surrounded by Buddhists prayer flags and is home to small silver coloured fishes. In this village the locals are mainly the Himos of the Lepcha Community. From Dzongu one can go around and visit Pentong village. On the way one can visit the Lingzya falls by car which is at a distance is of 30 minutes (approx). Pentong is the last village of Dzongu. There you will get to see two big stones at Pentong, the locals believe that one is God and another is Demon. From Dzongu to the opposite, Sakiong village is clearly visible. From Dzongu one can visit to the aged old Tholung Monastery (Gumpha), which is a day trek. At the end of the 18th century, Lothung Chenpo Lama, build this monastery to prevent the attacks of the Gorkha and to preserve the old manuscripts of Rimpoche. After every consecutive three years these scriptures and manuscripts are taken out and kept on display for the locals and tourists. Once in the very past Dzongu used to be the habitat of Guru Rimpoche. While on the way to Tingvong, one will come across a big lake; the lake has emerged from the water of river Riyang. Due to heavy landslide, once this river got blocked and all its water got accumulated in one place and gave birth to this lake. River Riyang has flown though Mantan village. One needs to cross this huge lake of 700 meters deep and 300 meters wide to reach Tingvong village. The militaries are serving all day long and helping the locals and tourists to cross the lake with boat and life jacket. After crossing the lake one needs to travel another 10 kilometers to reach Tingvong village, which is a journey of 40 minutes (approx). The route is quite rough and made of boulders. Tingvong village is at an altitude of about 4200 feet. Around Dzongu, you can go around to the nearest villages Kusong and Nung. At Kusong there is a monastery which is worth visiting. From Tingvong village a route has gone to upward section and intersected at Kusong monastery. From there through the jungle path at about 2 kilometers is Kusong village. And from Tingvong to the lower section is Nung village. You can visit to the nearest Tingvong waterfall. Dzongu is home to numerous Himalayan birds those inhabit the place along with 72 different species of butterflies which are found here. The main sources of livelihood of the locals are mainly cultivation of Elaichi and Ginger. But due to the attack of a virus, the crops got very affected. As Dzongu is far away from madding crowds and the hustle and bustle life of the town, that is why these birds, butterflies and the Lepchas live here peacefully and continuously contributing their efforts to upkeep the balance of nature in this paradise for nature lovers.
How to reach: Dzongu lies in the northern part of Sikkim. There are two different routes available to reach Dzongu, one is from New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri by the route of Singtam – Mongong upto Dzongu, it takes around 3 hours to reach Singtum, again around 3 hours to reach Mongon, and around 1 hour 45 minutes to Mongong to reach Tingvong village. Or you can also choose the route from Gangtok. One stay at Gangtok, the next day from Gangtok taxi stand, by shared or hired car you need to reach Mongong and from there by another car you can reach Pashidiang village at Dzongu. While you way to Dzongu, you will come across many small villages like Dikchu, Makha, Rangrang. Dzongu is at distance of about 70 kilometers from Gangtok