A holiday in south Sikkim guarantees picturesque hills and valleys, along with lush greenery, forests and fascinating monasteries. The headquarters of the district, Namchi is located a mere 100 km away from Siliguri, and offers a respite to those not wanting to withstand the sharp twists and turns of mountain roads that is typical of north and west Sikkim. Namchi, which means ‘sky-high’, may not be that daunting at 5,500 ft, but what it lacks in stature, it more than makes up with the stunning views of Kangchendzonga Range. It is also a convenient hub for hikes on nearby hills, and hosts a flower festival in April-May, as well as the Namchi Mahotsav in October-November.


The gigantic 135-ft-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava towers over the forested ridge of Samdruptse, located 7 km outside of Namchi, and is visible from several kilometers away. The resplendent copper, pink and bronze figure is seated on a colossal lotus plinth and faces south, looking out towards Darjeeling. The Guru is shown holding a thunderbolt in his right hand, a skull in his left, and under his left armpit is the trident of the king of death.

This huge edifice was constructed by the government and is one of south Sikkim’s highlights, as much a tourist attraction as a place of spiritual importance. It was completed in 2004 and inaugurated by the Dalai Lama. You could take a taxi to the statue and back to Namchi, or walk back to Namchi, as the road that leads back passes by the 16th-century ruins of Ngadak Gompa and Fort.

Entry Indians ₹30; Foreigners ₹80 Timings Sunrise-sunset

Giant statue of Guru Padmasambhava
Giant statue of Guru Padmasambhava

On your way to Namchi, consider stopping at Temi Tea Estate, located en route from Gangtok on the Tarku-Damthang Road. Established in 1969 by the Sikkim government, the 450-acre tea garden is the only one of its kind in Sikkim, and produces quality tea comparable to Darjeeling. The Chogyal had initiated tea growing in Sikkim with a small plantation in Kewzing so as to provide employment to Tibetan refugees escaping Chinese aggression. From Kewzing, the plantation was moved to Temi and a proper processing plant was constructed thereafter. The tea garden sprawls on a gentle hill slope originating from Tendong Hill, and with miles and miles of plantations and stunning mountain views, the estate might be a great stopover for those looking to indulge in some Colonial-style life. Stay at the Cherry Resort (Cell: 09800013666; Tariff: ₹3,000-4,800), a property located right in the middle of the plantations.


Seven Hills Resort (Cell: 08348171672; Tariff: ₹3,000-4,000) in Phalidara, 7 km northeast of Namchi, is a beautiful property with good food and great views.

Dungmali Heritage Resort (Cell: 08670244061; Tariff: ₹1,200-4,000), 4 km from Namchi, is a family-run guesthouse with spotless rooms and great views from the balconies.

Mayel Hotel (Cell: 08145888268; Tariff: ₹1,200-2,500) in the market has 16 rooms and a restaurant.

Club Mahindra Baiguney (Cell: 09679998488, 09679998482; Tariff: Rs 6,500-7,500) is a riverside luxury option with top-notch amenities, 22 km from Namchi, in Baiguney.

Most restaurants serve regular Indian and Chinese food from chowmein and momos to dishes typical of Sikkim, such as shakbaley (deep fried meat bread).

When to go Across the Singalila Range in West Sikkim Location Northeast of Darjeeling, Namchi is close to the Sikkim-West Bengal border Air Nearest airport: Bagdogra Rail Nearest rail: New Jalpaiguri


Tourist Offices

Sikkim Tourist Information Centre

MG Marg, Gangtok, East Sikkim

Tel: 03592-209090

Sikkim Tourist Information Centre

Tourist Lodge, Rangpo,

East Sikkim

Tel: 03592-240818

Sikkim Tourist Information Centre Below Dak Bangalow, Alley Road

Namchi, South Sikkim

Cell: 09900724673

Sikkim Tourist Information Centre New Sikkim House

4/1, Middleton Street, Kolkata

Tel: 033-22817905

Sikkim Tourist Information Centre Bagdogra Airport

Bagdogra (West Bengal)

Tel: 0353-2698030

Sikkim Tourist Information Centre

NJP Railway Station

New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal)

New Sikkim House

14, Panchsheel Marg

Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

Tel: 011-26115171

W sikkimtourism.gov.in

Permits – Foreigners need an entry permit to visit Sikkim, which can be obtained from all Indian Missions, Sikkim Tourism Offices at New Delhi, Kolkata, District Magistrate’s Office at Darjeeling, Siliguri and Rangpo on the strength of an Indian visa. For details, check W sikkimtourism.gov.in