Yuksom At A Glance: Attractions - Valley, Mountain, Trekking, Adventure State - Sikkim Region - East India Nearest Railway Station - New Jalpaiguri (NJP) - 145 KM Nearest Airport - Bagdogra (IXB) - 160 KM Yuksom is a picturesque village located in the Western parts of Sikkim. Perched at an altitude of over 1780 meters above the sea level, the place is famous for its astounding scenic beauty. Bounded by gigantic mountains from all quarters, Yuksom is often referred to as the 'land of beautiful landscapes' - dotted with snow-clad peaks, dancing streams and serene lakes. It's a genuine escapade for the individuals who prefer spending a peaceful vacation far away from the mad-rush of tourists. Being the ancient capital of Sikkim, the place has a significant historical background. It was at Yuksom where the first Chogyal of Sikkim, Phuntsog Namgyal, established his capital in the year 1642. The word 'Yuksom' literally translates to 'the assembly point of three monks' - refering to the three Buddhist Lamas who came from Tibet to introduce Buddhism to the native folks. Yuksom is regarded as a pious place for the followers of Buddhism and is home to several revered Tibetan monasteries. Tourist Attractions in Yuksom Khecheopalri Lake: Located near the Tsozo village, the Khecheopalri Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Sikkim. The beautiful water-body is situated amidst pristine natural surroundings at an elevation of 1700 metres (5600 ft). The place is a popular site for bird-watching as it serves as a resting place for trans-Himalayan migratory birds. Common merganser, cormorants, tufted duck, white-breasted waterhen, Himalayan grebe and brown crane are a few of the exotic winged visitors that can be commonly sighted here. Besides its natural beauty, the lake is considered as a holy site of pilgrimage by the Buddhists. Even the Hindus consider it to be sacred. Tourists visiting the lake also visit the Khecheoplari Gompa, a small monastery located close-by. Tashiding Monastery: It is the most sacred and famous Buddhist monastery in the state of Sikkim. Tashiding Monastery was established in 1641 by Lama Ngadag Sempa Chhenpo and it belongs to the Nyingmapa Sect of Buddhism. Apart from its religious significance among the followers of Buddhism, the monastery attracts lots of casual tourists due to its distinct Tibetan-styled architecture. Dubdi Monastery: Dubdi Monastery, also known as Yuksom Monastery, is the oldest monastery in Yuksom. It was the first monastery established during the rulings of Chogyar Namgyal. The monastery is located on top of a hilly ridge at an elevation of 2100 meters. It is a two-storied structure with a bell-shaped gilded dome. The monastery has a rare collection of ancient manuscripts and other Buddhist ritual texts and symbols. Kartok Lake: Kartok Lake, also known as Kathok Lake, is one of the most popular natural lakes in West Sikkim. Although much smaller in size compared to the massive Khecheoplari Lake, the crystal-clear waters and the picturesque backdrop make it a must visit place in Yuksom. Edged by verdant forest, the place offers a quiet and soothing ambience for the nature-lovers to unwind in the lap of nature. It also has religious significance to the followers of Buddhism. Kartok Monastery: Located right across the Kartok Lake, the Kartok Monastery with its brightly pained exteriors and peaceful surroundings is another must visit tourist attraction in Yuksom. It is one among the three most important religious places in Yuksom, alongside the Dubdi Monastery and Tashiding Monastery. Khangchendzonga National Park: The Khangchendzonga National Park is one of the two famous Himalayan Wildlife Reserves in India, the other one being the Great Himalayan National Park in Kullu Valley. Spread across an area of over 830 square kilometers, the high-altitude habitat of KNP is home to a wide variety of animal and avian species. Snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, sloth bear, Himalayan black bear, red panda, Tibetan wild ass, Himalayan blue sheep and musk deer are a few of the unique attractions at Khangchendzonga National Park. The park also houses several native and migrating birds. Blood pheasant, tragopan, osprey, Tibetan snowcock, snow pigeon, Himalayan griffon, Asian emerald cuckoo and lammergeier are a few of the avian species that make KNP a birdwatcher's paradise. Tashi Tenka: Tashi Tenka is the ruins of an ancient royal complex. It is one of the most famous historic sites around Yuksom. Set on a protruding ridge, the place offers breathtaking 360° views of the Yuksom settlement below. Trekking in Yuksom Popularly known as the 'Gateway to Khangchendzonga', Yuksom serves as the origin point of several enthralling treks and hikes leading to the third highest mountain peak in the world. Yuksom-Dzongri and Yuksom-Goecha La trek routes are exceptionally scenic and very popular among the trekkers. Yuksom-Dzongri is a 4-days trek of moderate difficulty level. Yuksom-Goeche La is more strenuous and it can stretch for upto 8 days. Yuksom handles a large influx of trekkers and mountaineers from all parts of the world during the peak trekking season between March and June and September to November. How to Reach Yuksom? The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) - around 150 KM away from Yuksom. Bagdogra has the nearest airport at a distance of 170 KM. Buses are available from Siliguri's Tenzing Norge Bus Terminus to take you to Yuksom. The journey lasts for around 7 hours and the fare is INR 120. Shared jeeps are the best alternative to the bus service. There are direct jeep service between Siliguri and Yuksom, although the frequency is on the lower side. Siliguri-Jorethang route has frequent jeep service. From Jorethang, you need to catch another jeep to arrive at Yuksom. If you are not keen on using public transport, then you can hire a taxi directly from NJP railway station or Bagdogra airport. It would cost you around INR 3000. Do remember to bargain hard with the taxi driver to get better rates. Best Time to Visit Yuksom Yuksom can be visited throughout the year, except for the monsoon season. Monsoon typically arrives in the later half of June and lasts till August. March-June is considered as the best season for trekking. Casual tourists, however, prefer to visit Yuksom during the October-Novemeber autumn season. If you are a solitude lover, then plan for your Yuksom trip in the winter season. With the temperature falling below 10ºC, December-January is the lean tourist season and your best chance to spend a quiet and peaceful vacation away from the holidaying crowd. Popular Hotels in Yuksom: 1. Demazong Hotel: A budget accommodation option run by a friendly Tibetan lady. A standard double room would cost you around INR 500. Contact No - (+91) 97754 73687. 2. Hotel Tashi Gang: A standard family hotel. Tariff starts from INR 850. Contact No - (+91) 99330 07720. 3. Limboo Homestay: A cosy homestay run by a Sikkimese couple. Double rooms are available for INR 1500. Contact No - (+91) 97330 84983. 4. Yuksam Residency: An upmarket option. Tariff starts from INR 2000 per night. Contact No - (+91) 3593 241 277. 5. Pemalingpa Cottage: Ideal for those who are looking for comfort and luxury. Be prepared to shell out in excess of INR 2500 per night. Contact No - (+91) 9733 029 569.