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Tourist Places To Visit In Yuksom
Yuksom is a delightful little village located in the western district of Sikkim, which once served as the first capital of this north-eastern state; today, it is a steadily growing popular vacation destination. The name Yuksom translates to ‘the meeting place of the three monks’; a symbolic meaning for a historically significant town.
Yuksom is home to a mostly Buddhist population, and the fact is evident in the numerous monasteries present in this little town. Moreover, its scenic landscapes and panoramic vistas make it a great location to let your senses relax and delve deeper into nature’s bounty. Every aspect of this town, from historical to cultural to religious, makes it a region worth experiencing on an up close level. Read on to know more about some of the best places to visit in Yuksom.
A significant monument for Buddhists, Tashiding is believed to have been visited by the revered saint Guru Padmasambhava, and is considered to be one of the most sacred monasteries in Sikkim. It is situated at an altitude of over 1400 m on a hilltop and pays great homage to Buddhist architecture as well with its beautifully designed building. The festival of Bhumchu is celebrated here and is a spectacle worth witnessing, along with a number of sacred ceremonies performed in the monument that provide a glimpse into Buddhist culture and are worthy of an experience as well.
At almost 400 years old, the Dubdi Monastery is believed to be the oldest monastery in the world, and was built by Chogyar Namgyal as a place of worship for the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The interiors of the monument consist of beautiful Buddhist paintings and sculptures, along with images of saints and symbols, and preserved manuscripts.
It is located on a hilltop surrounded by lovely gardens, and requires about an hour long walk to reach the gompa. The name Dubdi literally means ‘the retreat’; a moniker you will find quite apt upon reaching its scenic premises.
Tashi Tenka is the remains of a palace that used to be the royal residence of Yuksom back when it was the capital of Sikkim. Today, it is mostly known for being a brilliant sightseeing location that provides 360ᴼ views of the entire town. Visitors to this part of Yuksom can enjoy the breathtaking landscapes from the top of the ridge where this ancient monument is located.
Norbungang Coronation Throne
About a 20-minute walk away from Yuksom Market lays the Norbugang Coronation Throne, which is situated in a park and is a popular tourist spot. It marks the crowning of the first Chogyal of Sikkim and holds significant cultural importance for the locals. The entire park appears covered in prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and apart from the four-seat throne, it also houses a small lake, a temple and a giant prayer wheel within the complex. The Norbugang Chorten is a structure present in the park that contains earth from different corners of Sikkim.
The park is also the location where three Lamas had gathered to preach about Buddhism, and holds a stone with a footprint that is believed to belong to one of the Lamas.
Situated at an altitude of over 1500 m and the largest lake in the state, Khecheopalri Lake is a holy water body that is visited by devotees all year long. It is surrounded by thick forests on all sides, while the water of the lake itself surprisingly remains immaculately clean and untouched, with not even a fallen leaf visible on the surface. Needless to say, while it is a frequented site by pilgrims who also believe the lake may be related to the goddess Tara, it is a popular hotspot for tourists as well who visit Yuksom and the surrounding regions.
Amidst numerous prayer flags in the park that houses the Norbugang Coronation Throne is a small lake that may not seem like much, but it holds immense significance for the locals. It is assumed to be the soul lake of the Lama Kartok Kuntu Zangpo; the locals believe it also has the ability to grant wishes. The Lamas hold a purification ceremony here every year and use it as a medium to connect with God.
Apart from its religious importance, the beauty of the lake itself deserves a special mention. The crystal clear waters reflect the surrounding hills and the skies above in a mesmerizing manner; upon closer inspection, you will also observe numerous gold fish swimming under the surface of the waters that impart a lovely appearance to the lake.
Right opposite the Kartok Lake is the location of the Kartok Monastery, which has been named after the Lama Kartok Kuntu Zangpo; he was part of the coronation ceremony of the first sovereign state of Sikkim. Architecturally an impressive monument, it features as one of the six important monasteries of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism.