Namchi & Ravangla
Namchi is about 78 kms from Gangtok, literally translating as ‘top of the sky’ is the South district headquarters and fast emerging as a tourist destination. Set in a picturesque location, Namchi offers an unmatched view of the Khangchendzonga range and the Rangit valley. Here you can visit the Sherdup Choeling Monastery and the Dichen Choeling monastery. Around two kms from Namchi is the old Ngadak monastery which is now being renovated. Situated on a hill just above Ngadak monastery is the very attractive Rock Garden, which is full of rare flowers and plants and also offers breathtakingly beautiful views.
Namchi hosts the very popular Namchi Mahotsav, a Tourism, Culture and Food Festival, every year in October. A flower festival is also held annually.
The 135 feet high statue of Guru Padamasambhava is present at Samdruptse near Namchi at a distance of 75 kms from Gangtok. Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the Bhutia language. A unique, awe inspiring and gigantic 135 feet high statue of Guru Padamasambhava is built at Sandruptse. It is the highest statue of Guru Padamasambhava in the world. His Holiness the Dalai Lama laid the foundation stone of the statue in October 1997. It took nearly three years to complete the statue.
There is also the Namchi Rock Garden located between Namchi town and Samdruptse. This popular garden has many attractive plants, flowers and species of trees. A number of waiting sheds, view points and water bodies along its footpaths have been provided. A neat and clean cafeteria serves the tourists and visitors well.
Ravangla is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Sikkim. At an altitude of 7000 ft, located on a ridge between Maenam and Tendong Hill, Ravangla offers unmatched views of the Greater Himalayas. The beauty of its landscape and its location as a transit point to nearby destinations has made Ravangla a must-visit place. Ravangla stages the Pang Lhabsol festival in a grand manner every year around August-September. The festivities last for three days, culminating in the traditional dances known as ‘Chaam’ on the last day.
8 kms on way to Damthang is the Rayong sunrise view point that offers spectacular views of the first rays of the sun falling on snow peaks. Visit the Ralong monastery as well as the Tibetan Carpet Centre. The traditionally designed and woven carpets available here are said to be the best you can buy anywhere.
In April Ravangla stages its own Tourism, Culture and Crafts Festival.