India > Sikkim > Old Silk Route

Lingtam, Kupup, Aritar Lake, Zuluk, Nathang - Old Silk Route

old silk-route from lungthung
A view of Old Silk-route from Lungthung, East Sikkim

Lingtam, Kupup lake, Aritar Lake, Zuluk, Nathang were previously known as the Silk Route. This destination is a must visit for those who seeking to explore places with natural beauty and historical essence. Located in the east of Sikkim, this is presently one of the hottest tourist spots in India. People from foreign countries are also showing interest in travelling through the Silk Route to explore the enigmatic history and astonishing natural extravaganza of this heavenly place.

Exploring Lingtam

If you are planning for a perfect getaway on the lap of nature, Lingtam can be your ultimate destination this season. This culturally enriched hamlet is one of the cleanest and the most peaceful places on earth. Tourism is the primary source of their economy. Otherwise this amazing piece of heaven is economically backward and the proportion of agriculture is negligible. If you are looking forward to explore the Jelep La Pass, make sure this is the place from where the permission is granted.

Lingtam itself is one of the best offbeat tourist destinations in Sikkim, which is characterised by its peaceful environment along with mountains, forest and rivers. It is the gateway of the old silk route, which was connected India to Tibet and China. The most significant sightseeing of Lingtam tour includes Aritar Lake, Ghambari Falls, Rongli, Keukhola Water Falls, Phademchen, Dara and Zuluk for sure.

Here tourists can rest at Dolma home. There are different hotels as well to stay at and enjoy the scenic beauty and amazing weather at Lingtam. This home stay will cost around INR 500 to 800 approximately.

Tourists often prefer to stay at the Silk Route Resort that will cost you about INR 1000- to 1500. Sometime the cost may be negotiable, which is depends on the tourist season and rush. It is a comfortable standard hotel with all amenities. The Silk Route resort is famous for its location; from where you may get a dramatic landscape of magnificent mountains and surrounding. You can call- 080137-02602, 097344-00440 for pre-booking or any other related information.

Some important things to remember:
January to mid February is the ideal time to witness snowfall. Do take the permission from the S.D.P.O. Office at Rangoli or at Gangtok to visit the Silk Route. Tourists are asked to submit one photo copy of the Government issued I-card and two passport size photography during application.

The Majestic Kupup

What to see in Kupup Lake:
You may find peace at Kupup. The lake here is blessed with majestic beauty. The spectacular ambience created by Mother Nature here has contributed best to increase the looks of the stupendous lake view. At an altitude of around 13,066 feet the lake is located. You will be excited to travel by the Jelepla Pass, which borders India and China while reaching this destination. This has been estimated to be the second highest mountain range in Bhutan. The best part of the lake is its shape. It looks just like an elephant. The right side of the lake resembles the trunk while the left hand side mimics the tail.

Kupup is the highest village in this area and this has been added to the maps for the famous Yak Golf Course- one of the highest ones globally mentioned in the Guinness World Records.

Besides, the views from the Tukla Valley offer the view of the magnanimous Kanchenjunga, Menmecho Lake and the Old Baba Mandira along with some of the best shot views of Lake Kupup.

Aritar Lake- God’s very own place

Located under the Rongli sub-division the region is rich in flora and fauna. After the four hour drive via Rangpo from Gangtok you may feel like reaching the heaven- you bet! Aritar is isolated from the rest of the state in the eastern borders of Sikkim surrounded by Mt. Kanchenjunga.

The lake is breathtaking, that is locally named as Ghati-Tso. Enjoy the lush forest, rivers and the mountains surrounding Lake Aritar.

Lampokhari, Parbateyswar Shivalaya Mandir, Aritar Gumpa, Dak Bunglow, Mankhim, Ever green nursery & Ram Gauri Sangrhalaya, Kali khola falls, Love Dara, Nirmal Dham are the greatest attraction at Aritar.

Staying at the village can be a rare experience as tourists and trekkers can’t get any star hotel there. The villagers can welcome you either try to have a thrilling experience at the Bungalow there built by the British in 1895, situated just few yards from the lake.

Zuluk- A piece of Heaven on Earth

If you want to experience the breathtaking scenic beauty of the Himalayas, Zuluk is the ultimate destination located on the eastern fringes of Sikkim. This place is luckily still maintaining the rustic efflorescence rather welcoming the present day fanciful lifestyle provided by posh hotels and resorts. But gradually this amazing piece of heaven is becoming a popular holiday destination for hill vacationers and passionate trekkers which is why few hotels are developing there to support the tourism business.

Nowadays, you will find tour operators there who can offer packages that include almost the whole of the Silk Route.

Sightseeing and attractions:
Ganek the sunrise point is a must see when you are in Zuluk. Besides the Naga Temple, Adi Baba Mandir, Gnathang Valley, Tukla Valley, Kalpokhori Lake, Golf-Course, Memencho Lake and Tsomgo Lake are worth watching.

As mentioned earlier that you will not get that facility of any metropolitans and towns there. Therefore you can accommodate at Palden home. Besides, tourists are offered shelter by the local people, making new houses there. You can say this is their endeavor to develop tourism here on the Silk Route. And what better option they can have besides reminding us the old Sanskrit chant that we all believe deep inside our heart-“Athithi Devo Bhava”. That is guests are God.

Exploring the silk route can be a journey of your lifetime. Besides the amazing flora and fauna you will enjoy the historical enchantment of the Silk Route that led the great men from China to visit India like Fa-Hien and Hiuen Tsang along with the silk merchants from the East.

Nathang Valley, another name of Paradise

Nathang valley (also called Gnathang Valley) is a high altitude hamlet at 13,500 feet above the sea level, surrounded by snow-capped mountains of the Himalaya. It is the highest inhabited place in Old silk-route of Indian part. Half of the year between November and April, Nathang valley remains snow covered with an average temperature below freezing point, which makes the valley cold-desert. Nathang valley changes its colour throughout the year, in winter it covered with thick snow, in monsoon, June to September it is flourished with known and unknown flowers, but at autumn between October and November it looks golden when the grassland dried up. Before winter some migratory birds stay here for some months and leave for new destination.

nathang valley in old silk-route sikkim
Nathang Valley in Old Silk-Route, East Sikkim

What to see in Nathang Valley:
Nathang Valley is famous for its scenic beauty. There is a Hindu temple and a small Buddhist monastery on the fringe of the village, a small bridge over small twisting streams, and some houses – most of them have home-stay facilities, some migratory birds and endless grassland surrounded by snow-capped mountains. At a glance, this is Nathang, another name of paradise to visitors. Nearby Eagle’s Nest Bunker is famous for its 360° view of the whole range of Mt. Kanchenjunga, West Bhutan, plains of Bengal, China, Tibet and the beautiful River Brahmaputra, just 5km away from your home-stay at Nathang. Sunrise over the Mt. Kanchenjunga from Eagle’s Nest Bunker is just beyond the words. Another view point Lungthung is about 20 minute’s journey from Nathang Valley. You may explore Padamchen, Genmochen, Thambi View Point, Kupup Lake, Tukla Valley, Baba Mandir and all other spots in the Silk Route circuit in a day trips from Nathang Valley.

Accommodation in Nathang Valley:
No modern hotels or Lodges are available in Nathang Valley, but there have some beautiful home-stay, which offer all basic and essential amenities you require for a comfortable accommodation – it includes hot meals and tea, hot water, comfortable beds, room heaters, attached bathrooms with geysers, electricity and blankets.