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Adventure in Sikkim

Sikkim, offers a vacation that is more like a voyage of adventure and discovery. When the misty rain wraps the slopes in lacy wisps of clouds, you will find yourself trekking at 14,000 ft or more. If you are more enthusiastic about the thrills of untamed waters, then go for some Rafting or Kayaking experience in Teesta River. And as the mountain scopes of Eastern Himalayas are so luring, how about having a mountaineering expedition and conquering those virgin peaks, which are yet to be explored! The ones looking for safari trips check out the Yak Safari's that is an unforgettable experience in itself.

Y ou can wander up lush green mountain trails, in the very footsteps of those early travellers. Test your endurance trekking the unknown paths each leading to a paradise. Acquaint yourself with a land that is bizarre at the same time fascinating. With its endless intriguing trails, mountains, flora and fauna, Sikkim offers you a dream - a voyage of adventure and discovery.

Trekking

The captivating landscape, with an incomparable diversity of flora and fauna, Sikkim is a refreshing treat to the trekkers. Sikkim is the ultimate destination for a trekking holiday, offering everything from easy and  short excursions to the long challenges of the snowy peaks, invoking visions of the spectacular Himalayas, the lush meadows, green woodland and fragrant orchards.

Technical climbing experience is not necessary as most of the trek routes are between 6000 and 14,000 feet. Camping & trekking equipment is available on hire from the tourism department and from reputed travel agents. The ideal time to go trekking is mid February to late May and between October and mid December.

Trekking in Sikkim:
Sikkim has to offer a number of fascinating trekking routes to enterprising trek enthusiasts. The best time to trek in these parts of the Eastern Himalayas is between mid- February to May and again from October to December. The treks pass by beautiful gompas, simple but colourful hamlets and through so fascinating alpine forests full of a rich variety of flora and fauna. Yuksom is an ideal take-off point for trekking. This point is invariably used as a centre of climbing and trekking expeditions by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. The trek to Bakhim is an unforgettable B experience. Dzongri at an altitude of 3,962 metres, offers the visitor an excellent and unobstructed view of the Khangchendzonga Massif. It also provides a trekker with superb views of sunrise and sunset. 

Trekking Permits:
Foreigners have to obtain permits for trekking on most routes in Sikkim. Permits can be obtained from any of the following places: Delhi, Kolkata, Siliguri. Permit restrictions mean that trekkers can only follow well-beaten trails and within a limited period of time.

Treks offered in and around Sikkim:

Dzongri Trek
Goechala Trek
Singalila Trek
Greenlake Trek
Greenlake/ Yumesamdong
North Sikkim Trek
Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking is another adventure sport that has been recently introduced in Sikkim. Most of the roads in Sikkim are negotiable by mountain bikes. This sport is definitely poised to become popular in Sikkim in the near future and it is being promoted in most parts of North Sikkim & West Sikkim

The popular routes for Bikers starting from Gangtok are:
Phodong - Rangrang - Dikchu - Makha - Singtam or
Gangtok - Lingdum - Rumtek - Martam - Sang - Makha - Singtam - Singchuthang - Temi Tea Garden - Ravangla - Dentam - Sombarey.

Another popular desired route in East Sikkim is :
Gangtok - Bhusuk - Assam Lingzey - Pakyong - Rorathang - Rhenock - Rongli - Aritar. 

Mountaineering

The Sikkim Himalayas, the epitome of the world's mountains, encompass a wonderland, which for sheer beauty and magnificence remains unbeaten elsewhere in the globe. In the southwestern part of Sikkim, in the main Himalayan range, lies the majestic Khangchendzonga or Kanchenjunga, rising to a staggering height of 8,585 m (28,169 ft) above sea level Beside this third largest peaks, other famous mountaineering peaks in Sikkim include- Kabru, Kirat Chulior Tent Peak (7,365 m) and Sinolchu (6,887 m). Mountaineering expeditions, unlike trekking, require more planning and paperwork as clearance is required from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi. Besides these the local governments also impose royalties on certain peaks.

Little History: The first European to explore the Khangchendzonga area was Douglas W. Freshfield who reached its base in 1899 from the Green Lake Basin area. A German expedition led by Paul Bauer made the first attempt to reach the summit in 1929 followed by another attempt in 1931 and reached an altitude of 26,000 ft. In 1955 Charles Evans conquered Khangchendzonga a few feet below the summit from the Nepal side.

In 1977 an expedition led by Major Prem Chand reached a few feet below the summit. In 1987 an Assam Rifles expedition attempted the peak. In 1991 an Indo Japanese expedition led by Hukam Singh and Yoshio Ogata conquered the peak. 

The Kabru was first climbed in 1935 by a British C.R. Cooke. The pyramid Peak was first conquered in 1949 by a Swiss R. Dittert. A British A.M. Kallas, climbed the Paunhri in 1911. The summit of Siniolchu was first reached by a German in 1936. It was later again climbed by the famous Sikkimese Everester Sonam Gyatso. Pandim was climbed in 1993 by a team from the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute. Rathong was conquered by an Indian expedition in 1964. 

Khangchendzonga (8585 mtrs/ 28,146 ft) is considered the Guardian Deity of Sikkim. For sentimental, religious and other environmental reasons,  permission is not granted by the Sikkim government is to scale the peak. Rathong (22,000 ft.) has some of the open peaks though they require special permits. The best known peaks in Sikkim - Talung, Jonsong and Tent are all above 24,000 feet.

The amount mentioned below has to be paid in Gangtok, Sikkim, after the permit is granted by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi

Royalties for Peaks in the Sikkim Himalayas:

Height
Royalty
Peaks above 8000 Mtrs.
USD 8000
Peaks between 7501-8000 Mtrs.
USD 7000
Peaks between 7001-7500 Mtrs.
USD 6000
Peaks between 6501-7000 Mtrs.
USD 5500
Peaks below 6500 Mtrs.
USD 5000

Essentials:
The best season to climb in Sikkim is from May to October. Foreign expeditions have to book a peak along with a peak fee. The Indian Mountaineering Foundation(IMF) is the country's apex body that helps in organising/ sponsoring mountaineering expeditions. It is mandatory for Expeditions in Sikkim to take a liason officer from the Sikkim Mountaineering Association along with the liason officer from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. IMF functions as a clearing house for foreign expeditions and deputes a liasion officer to accompany foreign climbers. All requests have to be forwarded to IMF for clearance.

It is advisable to give atleast a six month's notice before embarking on an expedition. All emergencies and accidents are looked after by the liasion officer who helps to get rescue from the Indian Air Force.

River Rafting & Kaying

Rafting is a later entrant of adventure sport in Sikkim. Rivers Teesta and Rangit  offer long stretches which are ideal for safe rafting. Teesta has been graded on the International scale at Grade 4. The icy cold waters of the rugged Teesta have a series of rapids with varying intensity and character. It offers one of the finest rafting stretches in the world. Rangit, a tributary of the Teesta, has more turbulent waters and offers a challenge to more experienced rafters

On both the rivers, the riverbanks have deep forests, with some patches of terraced cultivation, and small villages. Plenty of white sandy beaches exist, offering good campsites. Rapids of classification 2 to 4 are interspersed with placid floats, making rafting an enjoyable experience. Facilities for overnight River beach camping is available. Beginners as well as experienced adventurers can seek the assistance of the Department of Tourism and travel agents for arranging river rafting trips .

For more information on rafting and kayaking your can get in touch with Mr.Tashila Lepcha of Tashila Tours & Travels .

KAYAKING: Kayaking is undertaken on the River Teesta and is arranged for special groups. Some experience in kayaking is required. Kayaks are available with Sikkim Tourism.

Yak Safari

Yak Safari is an unforgettable and unique experience organized in different areas of Sikkim. Popular trails are Dzongri area and
Tsomgo lake . You will get to ride the yak in Tsomgo lake and in various trekking points like Dzongri in West Sikkim onwards.

About Yak: Yaks are bovine mammal. It is oxlike in build, with short, thick legs, humped shoulders, large upcurved horns, and a thick coat that hangs down to the ankles. Wild yaks were formerly found from Kashmir to West China, but were so extensively hunted for meat and hides that they now survive only in isolated highlands at elevations above 14,000 ft (4,300 m). They live in herds numbering from 10 to 100 animals, mostly females and young led by a few old bulls; males are mostly solitary.

Yaks have been domesticated for centuries, and the domestic form has been introduced into other parts of central Asia. The wild yak may attain a shoulder height of 65 in. (165 cm) and have horns 3 ft (90 cm) long; its coat is dark brown. The domesticated yak is smaller, with short horns; its coat, which may be long enough to reach the ground, may be black, brown, reddish, piebald, or albino. Yaks can live on vegetation so sparse that it cannot support other domesticated animals. The domestic yak is a source of milk, butter, meat, hair (for cloth), and leather and is also much used as a beast of burden.


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