Activities


White Water Rafting At River Teesta

If you want to rip the white waters, then you will have to reach Melli. Ideally rafting can be done enroute, between Gangtok to Darjeeling, Gangtok to Kalimpong or Gangtok to Siliguri. Before you head for this adventure, make sure you carry extra cloths, and towels as you are bound to get wet by the splash of luxuriant river. The raft operators generally give instructions before boarding you in, which needs to be followed during the trip.

The routes for non swimmers are gentle and easy without much rapids involved. However for the swimmers and experienced clients, the routes are more adventurous with high grade rapids providing quite a thrill.

NOTE:
1. Minimum of 6 pax is required to undertake rafting.
2. Children below 4 Yrs are not permitted.
3. Children above 10 Yrs will be full charged.
4. The above cost is only for the raft ride and does not include transfers from and to the hotel.
5. Person suffering from weak heart conditions, epilepsy, expecting mothers, or those with any 6. Serious ailments are not permitted to go for rafting.
7. All clients are requested to sign the ?Assumption of risk and release bond? before undertaking the trip. (Particularly in bad weather).
8. Foreigners to write their passport no in the bond.

RIVER SIDE CAMPING WITH RAFTING
1. Rs.3200/- Per Pax ( 6 to 10 Person)
2. Rs.2300/- Per Pax ( 11 to 20 Person)
3. Rs.2000/- Per Pax ( Above 20 )


Mountaineering

The first European to explore Khangchendzonga area won Douglas W.Freshfield in 1899. Famous Sikkimese Everester Sonam Gyatso climbed the summit of Sinolchu. Though mountaineering activities now a day is not frequent yet the activities is usually taken by Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute. The Sikkim Himalayas, the epitome of the world's mountains, encompass a wonderland, which for sheer beauty and magnificence remains unbeaten elsewhere in the globe. In the southwestern part of Sikkim, in the main Himalayan range, lies the majestic Khangchendzonga or Kanchenjunga, rising to a staggering height of 8,585 m (28,169 ft) above sea level. Beside this third largest peaks, other famous mountaineering peaks in Sikkim include- Kabru, Kirat Chulior Tent Peak (7,365 m) and Sinolchu (6,887 m). Mountaineering expeditions, unlike trekking, require more planning and paperwork as clearance is required from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi. Besides these the local governments also impose royalties on certain peaks.

Little History
The first European to explore the Khangchendzonga area was Douglas W. Freshfield who reached its base in 1899 from the Green Lake Basin area. A German expedition led by Paul Bauer made the first attempt to reach the summit in 1929 followed by another attempt in 1931 and reached an altitude of 26,000 ft. In 1955 Charles Evans conquered Khangchendzonga a few feet below the summit from the Nepal side. In 1977 an expedition led by Major Prem Chand reached a few feet below the summit. In 1987 an Assam Rifles expedition attempted the peak. In 1991 an Indo Japanese expedition led by Hukam Singh and Yoshio Ogata conquered the peak. The Kabru was first climbed in 1935 by a British C.R. Cooke. The pyramid Peak was first conquered in 1949 by a Swiss R. Dittert. A British A.M. Kallas, climbed the Paunhri in 1911. The summit of Siniolchu was first reached by a German in 1936. It was later again climbed by the famous Sikkimese Everester Sonam Gyatso. Pandim was climbed in 1993 by a team from the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute.

Rathong was conquered by an Indian expedition in 1964. Khangchendzonga (8585 mtrs/ 28,146 ft) is considered the Guardian Deity of Sikkim. For sentimental, religious and other environmental reasons, permission is not granted by the Sikkim government is to scale the peak. Rathong (22,000 ft.) has some of the open peaks though they require special permits. The best known peaks in Sikkim - Talung, Jonsong and Tent are all above 24,000 feet. The amount mentioned below has to be paid in Gangtok, Sikkim, after the permit is granted by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi.

Essentials
The best season to climb in Sikkim is from May to October. Foreign expeditions have to book a peak along with a peak fee. The Indian Mountaineering Foundation(IMF) is the country's apex body that helps in organising/ sponsoring mountaineering expeditions. It is mandatory for Expeditions in Sikkim to take a liason officer from the Sikkim Mountaineering Association along with the liason officer from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. IMF functions as a clearing house for foreign expeditions and deputes a liasion officer to accompany foreign climbers. All requests have to be forwarded to IMF for clearance. It is advisable to give atleast a six month's notice before embarking on an expedition. All emergencies and accidents are looked after by the liasion officer who helps to get rescue from the Indian Air Force.


Mountain Biking

This class of adventure tourism is really introduced in this hilly state of Sikkim. Since most of the roads of Sikkim are accessible by motorbikes, this sport can gain momentum in near future. Following routes are advisable.


Helicopter Rides

Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation operates Helicopter rides/tours from Gangtok using 5 seater helicopters, the experiences and the views are breathtaking.

Tamu Tours also handles reservations for these mountain flights. Flights are however subject to weather conditions and flight operations are done only on a clear weather days. The rides are not undertaken under bad weather. The above fares are current fare and are subjected to change.


Wildlife Tourism

Due to the variation of altitude from sea level to summit Sikkim possess a wide and varied spectrum of flora and fauna. It has one of the richest assemblages of habitat in the world. The zoological and botanical richness and diversity is excellent boasting of more than 4000 species of plants, 300 species of fern and its allies, 11 species of Oaks, 8 species of tree fern 30-40 species of primula, 20 species of bamboos, 144 species of mammals, 500-600 species of birds (30% of all birds found in Indian sub continent), over 400 species of butterflies and moths, together with many reptiles, medicinal herbs and shrubs. The state can be broadly classified into three zones:-
  • Tropical (Sea Level ?1500 m)
  • Temperate (from 1500m to 3500 m)
  • Alpine (above 3500m)

The jungle of lower altitude harbor Jungle cuts, Mongoose, sparrow and has abundance of bamboos, trees firm, walnut, sub, and oak. More than 600 species of orchids are found in Sikkim, which are indeed the jewels in the crown. The most important of them are ? Cymbidiums, Vanda Cuttaleya, Hookerina, and Farmeri. Nobile orchid (Dendrobium nobile) is declared as the State flower. The fauna of Temperate Zone comprises of common Langur, Leopard cats, Red Panda, Musk deer, Himalayan black bear and the flying squirrel. The arid cold alpine region of Sikkim harbors snow leopard and wild ass roaming amongst rhododendron, the state host around 30 species of Rhododendron. The Rhododendron Nevium is delivered as the state tree of Sikkim. Parks and Sanctuaries play an important role in promoting ecotourism. some of the important parks and sanctuaries are:
  • Khangchendzonga National Park which has been declared as Biosphere resource in 2001 is the only national park in the state.
  • Fambong Lho wildlife Sanctuary located about 20 kilometers from Gangtok covering an area of 5200 hectares.
  • Maenam wildlife sanctuary covering an area of 3500 hectares located above Ravangla shelters a number of animals of temperate forest.
  • Singbha Rhododendron Sanctuary situated near Yumthang in North Sikkim covering an area of 33 hectares.
  • Kyongnosla alpine sanctuary is situated an the are near the Tsomgo lake covering an area of 400 hectares.
  • Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary this in the west corner of Sikkim.

Availability of local food is one of the attractions of the tourists. Gundruk soup, Sinki Achar, Dalley Khorsani, Silam, Churpi, Kinema are some of the traditional food that has caught the attraction of the ecotourists. River system is equally important for the promotion of the Ecotourism. The Tista and Rangit along with their tributaries provide a unique biodiversity. The floral wealth such as Primulas, Rhododendrons, Michellia and Orchids are important attractions for the tourists. Tours to high altitude areas like Yumthang, Varsey, and Yoksum etc help to promote Ecotourism. Sikkim harbors some 400 species of medicinal and aromatic plants distributed through out the sub-tropical broad-leaved forests to the alpine meadows. The temperate and alpine land species such plants are attractive items for the tourists from the plains. Sikkim being the home of some 50% of the orchids of India, tourists would like to see these in nature. Again, from Ecotourism point of view, the high altitude animals such as yak, sheep, shapi are important attractions as these animals are not seen everywhere. Grazing of these animals in alpine meadows, yak riding and alpine animals products are the important attractions that an Ecotourist would like to see.

Conclusion
Mountain environment is gifted with such an excellent ecosystem that provides a chance for organizing Ecotourism, which is expected by a man for the peace of his mind and soul.

Sikkim cannot be a destination for mass tourism. Because it cannot cope with the large number of tourists at low cost. Its carrying capacity is very low and mass tourism will just aggravate the problems that are being faced by the world today. So Ecotourism is the sonly solution to this problem that can continue the developmental process together with conserving the nature and its products.



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