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Yuksom, West Sikkim Overview

Yuksom is a beautiful place located in the Western region of Sikkim and the village is well known for its natural beauty. Situated near the Kanchenjunga National Park, the village of Yuksom is in the heart of mountains covered with lush green vegetation. The village provides access to the base camp of Mount Kanchenjunga. Yuksom is, hence, also an attractive tourist hotspot and the base camp for some of the most adventurous treks in Sikkim. There are several interesting tourist attractions that you can see here and the local cuisine of the place are a must try.

Yuksom village is of very high historical importance to the Sikkimese with the first Chogyal crowned here in 1642. There are a number of places of religious and historical interest in Yuksom like the Dubdi and Sangachoeling monasteries, the first to be constructed in the Sikkim. The splendid Khecheopalri Lake considered holy by the Sikkimese is another great tourist attraction of the place. The beautiful town of Yuksom is historic and charming and it 's the main trailhead for the Khangchendzonga Trek, but it doesn't 't offer very clear glimpses of the high mountains. 

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Best Time to Visit Yuksom

The weather is pleasant all year long in Yuksom, so you can visit this town anytime you like. However, the best months to visit this place are the months of March, April, May and June.

Places to Visit in Yuksom

1. Khecheopalri Lake: An important highlight of Yuksom-Pelling Trek, the Khecheopalri Lake is 26 km from Yuksom. This lake is popularly considered as a ‘wish fulfilling lake’ and many people visit it from around the globe in the hope of getting their wishes fulfilled. This lake is also famous due to the fact that leaves are not allowed to float on the lake as they are picked up by birds instantly whenever they see a leaf floating on it.

2. Tashiding Monastery: This monastery is considered as an important place for Buddhists since it was built by the Buddhist Master, Guru Padmasambhava. It has been built with traditional Buddhist architecture and contains various artefacts. The best time to visit this monastery is in February/March when Bumchu Festival is held, which is an auspicious festival for Buddhists.

3. Dubdi Monastery: Located 3 km from Yuksom, the Dubdi Monastery, translated in English as, ‘The Retreat’, is also known as the Yuksom Monastery. It is situated on a patch of green land and the interiors of the monastery have been designed beautifully. It houses ancient artefacts, structures and Buddhist symbols. 

4. Kanchendzonga National Park: Located 34.3  km from Yuksom, it is considered to be one of the best national parks in India. It is home to various animals, like the Snow Leopard, Sloth Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda and various other Himalayan creatures. Although it is open throughout the year, this tourist attraction sees maximum in the months of April-May, when the weather is good for safari and maximum species are spotted

5. Tashi Tenka: The royal complex of Tashi Teenka was constructed when Yuksom was the capital of Sikkim. It is built on a ridge, thereby giving the tourists a proper view of the entire city. Due to the agreeable weather during the months from March to May, those months are considered to be the best months to visit Tashi Tenka.

6. Norbugang Coronation Throne: This complex is of religious and cultural importance because this is the place where the Phuntsog Namgyal was crowned as the first Chogyal of Sikkim. The site has a prayer hall, a prayer wheel and a stupa. The complex also has a little holy lake which is called the Kathok Lake. It is only 20 minutes walk from the main Yuksom market and one can reach the complex by foot. 

7. Katok Monastery: This monastery is located opposite Katok Lake and is very famous in Sikkim for conducting religious ceremonies and Buddhist worships. It is open throughout the year and can be visited anytime.

Things to Do

Trekking
Yuksom is a popular spot for trekking and some of the following routes for trekking are mentioned:
Yuksom to Dzongri Trek: On the way to this trek, one will observe the beautiful Sikkim landscape, towering mountains like Kabru, Ratong, Kanchenjunga, Koktang, Panding and Narsing. One will also observe the stunning waterfalls and sunset points like Tiger Hill.
Pemayangtse to Yuksom Trek: It is a six-hour trek to Yuksom through Barey and Oranges.
Yuksom to Bakhim: It is a five-hour trek which passes through dense forests and mountain ranges of 2500-3500 m.
Bakhim to Dzongri and back to Bakhim: It is a six-hour trek that passes through beautiful flower meadows.
Bakhim to Yuksom to Pemayangtse: It is a trek back to Yuksom which takes 4 hours. After that, one has to drive back to Darjeeling, which is a beautiful journey through the River Teesta.

Visit The Basudha Farm
The farm is located 30 km from Yuksom and can be reached in less than an hour from Bishnupur by car or taxi.

Attend the Biodiversity Festival
Yuksom is famous for organizing a Biodiversity festival which educates people on preserving the environment and heritage of the world

How to Reach Yuksom

Yuksom can be reached by taking a shared jeep or taxi from Siliguri, Darjeeling, Gangtok or New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) which goes to Jorethang. After reaching Jorethang, one needs to take another taxi which goes towards Yuksom. Foreigners, however, have to pass through Meilli Border before going to Jorethang. One can also take a shared jeep or taxi from Pelling which will take 1 hour and 39 minutes to reach Yuksom.

Getting Around Yuksom

Since Yuksom is a small village, its beauty can be enjoyed only on foot. The entire town can be covered by walking in about 2 hours. On the way, people will observe various shops and places of worship which are enchanting.

Biodiversity Festival

The Biodiversity Festival is celebrated at Yuksom by the Forest Department of Government of Sikkim every year to create awareness among the locals to conserve cultural and natural heritage. There is a pictorial display in the festival which highlights the natural biodiversity of the topography, the cultural heritage, consequences of deforestation and the importance of preservation in the biosphere.  

This includes a variety of topics like measures for hillslope stability, energetic efficient methods for cooking using local produce, garbage reduction, replacement and reuse, composting with biodegradable wastes, promoting handicrafts and handlooms, followed by puppet shows, music and dance. As a result of this, Yuksom has been titled the ‘Biodiversity Hub’ and everyone participates in this programme with enthusiasm.

Food At Yuksom

Being a remote place, Yuksom has infrequent food supplies. However, there are some places which offer really tasty meal and are really famous. It is suggested to try Yak Cheese Momos which tastes like it is filled with strong Feta Cheese. Another speciality is Tongba, which consists of fermented millet grains in a broad bamboo stem cut to be used as a tumbler. Hot water is added to the container which acts as port wine.

Some of the popular restaurants over there are Yak restaurant, Norling and Gupta restaurants which are found at the main junction. All of them serve Himalayan, Indian and Italian.

How to reach Yuksom

  • Air: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, about 170km from Yuksam. From here, you will have to take a bus or taxi to Yuksam.

  • Rail: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) which is about 150km from Yuksam. From NJP, one can hire a taxi to Yuksam.

  • Road: The road to Yuksam is poorly lit and it is not advisable to travel at night through there. So take a morning bus from the railway station or airport.

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