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Things To Do In Namchi
In the southern district of Sikkim, located at an altitude of over 1600 m is an alluring tourist town called Namchi. With amazing views of the Kanchenjunga and numerous architecturally brilliant monuments on offer, Namchi is every travel explorer’s dream come true.
While it is most well known for its two towering shrines of religious deities, the culture of this ancient town accompanies a number of legends that set it apart from an average holiday destination. From the belief in the hill that protects the people of this land from floods, to the folklore about the spirit of Pende Ongmoo, accused of killing one of the kings, still haunting the town of Namchi, there is a lot about Namchi that will keep you hooked and interested in coming back for more.
Read on to know more about some of the best things to do on your next trip to Namchi.
Cable Car at Namchi Rock Garden
Situated at the base of Samdruptse Hill down a steep path that can be reached through a flight of stairs, the Rock Garden is a wonderful park with a wide variety of plants and vibrant blossoms, little water bodies with arched bridges, viewpoints, and even play-areas for children that make it a great place to just stroll around and relax while enjoying nature’s beauty.
The highlight of the area are the cable cars that are operated from the top of Samdruptse Hill down to the Rock Garden; after exploring the garden to their heart’s content, visitors can go back up the hill through the same cable car.
Bird Watching at Kitam Bird Sanctuary
The Kitam Sanctuary is located around 19 km away from Namchi, and is one of the most famed bird sanctuaries in Sikkim. The rivers Ranjit and Manpur flow through the sanctuary, along with the villages Sumbuk and Kitam being a part of it as well. Apart from being a major attraction to bird lovers from around the world with species like the Yellow-Vented Warbler, Grey-Crowned Prinia, Rufus-Necked Hornbill, the sanctuary also features prominently on a lepidopterist’s itinerary – being home to more than 200 species of butterflies.
There are watch towers and viewpoints that are perfect for bird watching, and the Alley Khet that offers amazing views of the hills, landmarks and landscapes in the area. Tumbol Schor is the highest point in Kitam with brilliant panoramic views as well.
Climb Tarey Bhir
At over 3000 m high, Tarey Bhir is a stone ridge with footsteps constructed in its structure, located on a cliff at Sadam village, around 16 km from Namchi. It is a popular spot among adventure enthusiasts who enjoy the climb and the views of the breathtaking landscapes. There is a watch tower at the end of the pathway that offers great views of the snowy hills, the town of Kalimpong, the meeting point of rivers Teesta and Rangeet, and the Temi tea garden all from different vantage points in the same location.
Trekking at Tendong Hill
The meaning of Tendong in the local Lepcha language is ‘the upraised horn’; according to legends in the area, Tendong Hill has played a role in protecting the people of Namchi from floods by upraising its land. Till date, it is worshipped by locals who pray to the hill to keep devastations caused by floods away. With peaceful and serene surroundings, Buddhist Lamas spend a lot of time here for meditation as well.
Apart from having religious significance for the natives, Tendong Hill is also a great location for trekking, which starts from Damthang. The surrounding landscapes appear lush with dense forests and blossoming plants and trees.
Helicopter Ride at Namchi Helipad
Bagdogra Airport has helicopter services to Namchi Helipad on every Thursday, which is a great way to explore this scenic town from a vantage point, and take in the beauty of its landmarks almost all at once. You can also admire the spectacular snowy peaks of the Kanchenjunga along with brilliant views of the Kalimpong Hills and Darjeeling.
While Sikkim features a number of locations for adrenaline junkies to try their hand at water sports, Namchi is one of the top choices for river rafting enthusiasts and anglers to give these activities a try at the River Rangit.
At first glance, Namchi may not appear as a top choice in shopping destinations. Nonetheless, it does feature some interesting stores that sell exquisite arts and craft merchandise. The Kanchenjunga Handicraft Center and the Technical Handicraft Center are undoubtedly worth a visit for their stunning pieces.