Yuksom nestles cosily in a hilly cusp,caressed by soft,downy clouds.It drizzles in a moment but clears up easily too.At the periphery of the Kanchenjunga national park this little hamlet is just the place for a quiet break,the peace all encompassing and there are many who just sit and stare.
But then Yuksom does nudge you out of languideness to get up and go about for you cannot miss out on its ancient past.Being the first capital of Sikkim history,architecture and Buddhist legacy are all pervasive here in it's monastries.
Nature too seems to have been rather partial to this little settlement.Hidden among Rhododendron and oak are fantastic trails and it is the starting point for trekkers to Goechala.Yuksom's main role these days is the start point of Dzongri trail.
How to reach Yuksom:
Bagdogra airport is the nearest airport from Yuksom.It is located at a distance of 275kms from Yuksom.To reach Yuksom by train you have to alight at New Jalpaigiri station and then travel by road from there.Yuksom is 151kms by road from Gangtok.Taxi's are available in plenty to Yuksom from Gangtok and New Jalpaigiri.
Places to see in Yuksom:
Local legends say that birds do not allow even a single leaf to float on the water of the revered Khecheopalri Lake.The lake surrounded by a thick forest is considered scared by both Hindus and Buddhists and above all is supposed to be a wishing lake.Prayer flags flutter around the lake.While in Khecheopalri,walk up to Khecheopalri Gompa situated above the lake.
The butter lamp festival takes place here every march or april,the dates vary from year to year when butter lamps are floated in the lake.
High above the town at the end of a good kilometres hike that takes you past water wheels and a small stream along a path carpetted with falling leaves and Canopy by red and pink Rhododendron is the Nyingma Dubdi Monastry.This monastry dates back to 1701A.D. and is the oldest in Sikkim.The Gompa situated dramatically atop the hill looks down upon the settlement below as if safeguarding it.Look at it's lavishly painted interior area with figures of divinities saints other symbols and collection manuscripts and texts.
A short walk amidst a thicket of tall pines and a profusion of colorful prayer flags and you are at the Norbugang monastry.The past seems to linger here as it is here that the crowning ceremony Phuntishog as the first Chogyal of Sikkim was held in 1641.
Below a massive Pine,stands the stone Coronation throne consecrated by three learnt Lamas, by sprinkling holy water from Krtokpokhari,a nearby pond.Therefore,Yuksom translates into the meeting place of three lamas.Once crowned it was here that Phuntchog set up the first capital of Sikkim known as Tashithenka.The huge white Chorten built with soil from different parts of Sikkim stands testimony to it.
Western Sikkim is ideal place for trekking especially for experienced adventurers.An eight day trek to Tsokha via Dzongria,Thanksing,Lemony,Goechala and Kokchurung will take you to a maximum height of 4950m and you will take in amazing views.You will though need a permit to procede on this trek.You may be allowed a day trek along the main trail to the Parekhchu and it's confluence with Rathongchu a 28kms round trip amidst a beautiful forest scenery.
When to visit Yuksom:
Yuksom has a moderate altitude and a pleasant climate from March to june and september to november.The winter months of December,February are very cold.You can enjoy your trip if you visit the place between march and june and september and november.
Food in Yuksom:
You can eat Momos and Thukpa at all eateries small and big besides hotel restaurants the only other places to eat are Cafe's.These Cafe's also serve basic meals like rice and Dal and are good for snacks.
Shopping in Yuksom:
There is not much to shop for in Yuksom except for Sikkimese traditional handicrafts.You can pick up the small items you like and carry them back as souvenirs.
Where to stay in Yuksom:
Demazong: Phone:0595-241115 800
Hotel Kanchenjunga: Phone:03595-241227 @INR800-1200
Wild Orchid: Phone:03595-241212 @INR800-1200
Pemathong Hotel: Phone:03595-241221 @INR1200-2500
Yangrigang: Phone:03595-241217,9474351279 @INR1200-2500
Tashigang: Phone:0355-241202-03 @INR1200-2500