Namchi is one of the main cities, and district headquarters of South Sikkim. Though just as developed as Gangtok, it preserves its local color and is less tourist area and crowded than Gangtok. It is located at an altitude of 1675m. The people of Namchi are mostly Nepalis, Bhutias, and Sherpas. The word “namchi” literally translates to “the top of the sky” in Bhutia. As such, the city has excellent views of the hills, especially Kanchenjunga and the Rangeet valley, and is a great place to wander around and reconnect with nature. Fewer tourists make the experience more refreshing. Namchi is one of the more populous cities of Sikkim. Respected by Buddhists for some of its great sights, several legends are floating around the many Buddhist sights around Namchi.
What to see
Namchi has both, natural, as well as man-made tourist attractions which make it an intriguing place for travelers. Though the greatest charm is of the location of the city itself, which gives beautiful views of the Himalayas, there are other places and activities you can revel yourself in while you are in town.
Solopok Char Dham
This is a tourist spot constructed by the Sikkim government under the Chief Minister of Sikkim. It is also known as Siddheshwar Dham and was inaugurated in 2011. It is located on top of the Solopok Hill, a beautiful and ethereal location for the temple cum cultural complex. The complex features a recreation of the four sacred places of pilgrimage for Hindus – Badrinath, Jagannath, Dwarka, and Rameshwaram – and a giant Shiva deity, which is 108 feet tall. The Shiva deity is accompanied by Nandi. 12 Shiva linga representing the sacred jyotirlingas are also found in this complex. Opposite to the Shiva deity is another deity of Kirteshwara, another incarnation of Lord Shiva, who blessed Arjun with divine weapons to win the Mahabharat war. It also includes a Sai Baba Temple. The space is very quiet and gives a spiritual experience to anyone who visits.
The entire complex is maintained very well and is always found to be clean. Restaurants serve delicious pure vegetarian food.
A visit to Samdrupste Hill is assured if you’re touring Namchi. It is on top of the hill that the world’s tallest statue of Guru Padmasambhava is perched.
Read More at: Samdrupste Hill
An old monastery near Namchi, it was built during the reign of Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal by Tensung Namgyal. After some damages during the earthquake of the 17th century, a new Gompa was added to the monastery. The word “Ngadak” means “promise” in Tibetan, and legend has it that whoever visits the monastery must promise to visit it again.
Nestled in the hills, with tall trees all around, it is a beautiful monastery with typical Tibetan architecture. It is an ideal place for being in a meditative space.
Temi Tea Estate
Cuddled within the snow-capped hills lies 440 acre-stretch of land covered with tea plants, Temi Tea Garden, the only tea producing region of Sikkim.
Read more at: Temi Tea Garden
When to reach
Winter between October To February
Winter is such an amazing season in Namchi and is a great time to capture its natural beauty. During this season the temperature ranges between -15°C to 8°C. It is biting cold in the months of December and January and the temperature drops to a negative degree. So it is advisable that you carry heavy woolens and other things that you might need in extreme winter to keep yourself cozy and warm.
Spring between March To April
The Spring season is neither cold nor hot in Namchi. The weather remains moderate presenting it a good season to travel and around the town. The temperature ranges from 17°C to 27°C.
Summer between May To June
Namchi is such an amazing destination that it can be joyfully traveled to even in the summer as most of the time it enjoys a pleasant climate. The temperature ranges between 12°C to 28°C. It is a perfect time to enjoy sightseeing and entertain in various outdoor activities.
Monsoon between July To September
As the monsoon season starts in July in Namchi, it starts receiving moderate rain. Gradually, in August and September, it witnesses heavy rain. The temperature hovers between 5°C to 13°C. It is advisable not to travel to Namchi in monsoon as the heavy rain can dampen your sightseeing and travel plans.
How to reach
Namchi is 80 km from Gangtok and the most convenient way to reach Namchi is to first come to Gangtok and then from there drive down to Namchi. Gangtok is the nearest town of Sikkim from Pakyong Airport, located in Pakyong village which is around 35 km from the south of Gangtok.
The New Jalpaiguri railway station in Siliguri, West Bengal, is the nearest railway station located at a distance of 98 km through NH10. Namchi is 78 km from Gangtok and the most convenient way to reach Namchi is to first come to Gangtok and then from there drive down to Namchi. The railway station links some of the major cities of India through regular trains. Rented taxis are available at the station and in Gangtok. State-run buses are also available to reach Namchi.
A good network of roads connects Namchi with the major cities and other places in the region. One can easily reach Namchi from the neighboring places like Gangtok, Pelling, and Yukosom through National Highway 31A. Namchi is 78 km from Gangtok and the most convenient way to reach Namchi is to first come to Gangtok and then from there drive down to Namchi. Rented taxis are easily available to reach Namchi.