Silk Route Circuit of Sikkim

Concept Note:

Silk Route Circuit of Sikkim – Unlocking Tourism Potential
The Silk Road, also known as the Silk Route, was a historic network of trade routes that connected the East and West, facilitating the exchange of goods, culture, and ideas between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. It played a crucial role in the development of civilizations and the spread of various technologies, religions, and commodities across the continents. The Silk Road was not a single, defined route but rather a complex web of interconnected paths that traversed diverse landscapes, from deserts and mountains to plains and seas.
Sikkim’s Silk Route.

  • Sikkim’s Silk Route is an offshoot of an ancient trade path from Lhasa.
  • It passes through Chumbi Valley, Nathula Pass, and ends at the port of Tamralipta (Tamluk in West Bengal).
  • From Tamralipta, the route extends to sea destinations like Sri Lanka, Bali, Java, and the Far East.
  • Historical accounts, such as Fa Hein’s from 400 AD, highlight Tamralipta as a busy sea route on the Bay of Bengal.
  • This part of the Old Silk Route in Bhutan, East Sikkim, and West Bengal was less traveled but likely discovered by traders as early as the First Century AD.
  • Mountain passes in the Eastern Himalayas, at around 14,000 feet above sea level, remain snow-covered from November to April.
  • This inhospitable terrain makes the route one of the most challenging on Earth.
  • The distance from Lhasa to Tamralipta through this segment of the Ancient Silk Route is approximately 900 kilometers.
  • This distance is notably shorter than other seaports from Lhasa, making it a comparatively safer land route for traders’ caravans.

Sikkim’s Silk Route Circuit: A Tourism Gem

Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, the Silk Route Circuit of Sikkim is a captivating journey that weaves through the pristine landscapes, ancient trade routes, and vibrant cultures of this
northeastern Indian state. Offering a perfect blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty, this circuit takes travelers on a memorable odyssey through some of Sikkim’s most breathtaking destinations. Furthermore, the Silk Route of Sikkim offers a mesmerizing journey through quaint villages. Among the gems along this historic route are Rongli, Lingtam, Aritar, and Phadamchen, each contributing its unique charm to the tapestry of Sikkimese tourism.

Route Highlights:


  • As the gateway to the Silk Route, Rongli sets the tone for the adventure that lies ahead.
  • Surrounded by lush greenery and terraced fields, Rongli serves as a perfect introduction to the rich biodiversity of the region.
  • The Teesta River meanders through, providing opportunities for river rafting and angling.
  • Visitors can explore the Rongli Bazaar, where they can witness the vibrant local culture and purchase traditional handicrafts.


  • Continuing the journey, Lingtam is a serene hamlet embraced by hills and adorned with blooming rhododendrons.
  • The traditional Sikkimese houses and the rhythmic chants from nearby monasteries create an atmosphere of tranquility.
  • Lingtam also serves as a base for treks to destinations like Kupup Lake and Elephant Lake.
  • The warmth of the local hospitality and the opportunity to engage in village walks make Lingtam a hidden treasure for travelers seeking an authentic experience.


  • Known for its historical significance and natural beauty, Aritar is a picturesque destination along the Silk Route.
  • The Lampokhari Lake, surrounded by dense forests and colorful flowers, reflects the tranquility of the region.
  • The Aritar Monastery adds a spiritual touch, showcasing exquisite architecture and cultural heritage.
  • Visitors can also explore the Aritar Gumpa, a centuries-old monastery that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.


  • Tucked away in the lap of the Himalayas, Phadamchen is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
  • The lush alpine forests and meadows make it an ideal destination for trekking and bird watching.
  • The pristine landscapes are dotted with traditional Sikkimese houses, providing an authentic glimpse into local life.
  • The nearby Reshi Khola offers a refreshing spot for picnics, and the Phadamchen viewpoint provides a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding hills.

Zuluk: Gateway to the Past

  • Zuluk, located at an altitude of around 10,000 feet, serves as the gateway to the Silk Route Circuit.
  • Once a crucial transit point, Zuluk offers a glimpse into the historical significance of the Silk Route.
  • Visitors can explore the quaint village, interact with locals, and savor the serenity of the Himalayan landscape.

Nathang Valley: Alpine Wonderland

  • Moving forward, the journey takes travelers to Nathang Valley, an alpine wonderland adorned with vast meadows.
  • Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Nathang Valley provides a surreal experience with its breathtaking vistas.
  • The valley’s tranquility and untouched beauty make it an ideal stop for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Changu Lake (Tsomgo Lake): Sacred Waters

  • Changu Lake, also known as Tsomgo Lake, is a glacial lake situated along the Silk Route.
  • Encircled by towering mountains, the lake holds cultural significance and is considered sacred by the locals.
  • Visitors can enjoy a serene boat ride on the lake while marveling at the reflection of the surrounding peaks.

Historical Significance: Remnants of the Past

    • Throughout the Silk Route Circuit, remnants of the ancient trade route can be observed, including stone carvings and olden-day signage.
    • These historical artifacts add a layer of intrigue, providing a tangible connection to the region’s rich trading history.
      Adventure Along the High Altitudes
    • The Silk Route Circuit is not just a visual feast; it also offers adventure enthusiasts opportunities for trekking and hiking.
    • Treks through the rugged terrain provide a unique perspective of the Himalayas and a chance to witness the diverse flora and fauna.

Cultural Interactions: Local Hospitality

  • Interactions with the warm and hospitable local communities offer a cultural immersion experience.
  • Travelers can engage in traditional ceremonies, taste local cuisine, and learn about the unique customs of the Himalayan people.

The Silk Route Circuit of Sikkim is a journey of discovery, where the echoes of ancient trade reverberate through the majestic mountains. This circuit invites travelers to explore the history, culture, and natural wonders that define Sikkim, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the Himalayas.