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About Namchi – History and Overview
Namchi means “Sky High” according to the Bhutia community people. One can understand from this meaning that Namchi is located at quite a high spot. It is situated at an average height of around 4314 feet or 1315 metres above sea level. The local inhabitants of Namchi are mostly the followers of Hinduism and Buddhism religions, hence, there is no dearth for temples and monasteries here. The beauty of these ancient places of worship set against the backdrop of the foggy mountains and pleasant climate have attracted lots of tourists and pilgrims who come here from far across the globe.
Being South Sikkim’s headquarters, Namchi has become a place of great political significance as well. The languages that are mostly spoken here are Hindi, Nepali and English. Namchi is located at such a strategic location that is well connected with all the major cities of Sikkim and neighbouring states like West Bengal. Though the hill station of Namchi is quite small in size, there is a reasonable presence of educational institutions here. The private schools alone are about 6 in number. There is also a Government school and college here which explain the importance that the local people of Namchi have for education.
Geographical location of Namchi
Namchi which is located at 27.17 degrees towards the North and 88.35 degrees towards the East is an important tourist destination in Sikkim as it is easily accessible from all the major cities of East India. This is located at about 92km from the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok.
How to reach Namchi and local modes of transport
Air – Bagdogra airport, which is 100 km far from Namchi, is the closest airport available.
Rail – New Jalpaiguri Railway Junction at about 90km from Namchi is the nearest railway station. This is connected very well with all the major cities not only in East India but all over the country.
Bus – Private sector and government buses run from important places like Gangtok, Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri, Yuksom, Pelling etc. to Namchi every day for the comfort of the tourists and pilgrims who come here daily.
Local modes of transport – Jeeps can be hired for going within Namchi. It is always recommended that tourists take the services of local experts, as they know their way through the dense forests and valleys better.
Tourist Attractions in Namchi
Helipad – If tourists want to view the beauty of the majestic peak of Kanchenjunga, they have to visit the Helipad at Namchi. Located at a staggering height of 5000 feet, this place looks like heaven with its cool winds and mist-covered peaks all around.
Temi Tea Garden – This is an important tourist spot as this is the only tea garden in the state of Sikkim. Spread over 435 acres, this tea garden has been producing a whopping 1000 million tons of tea annually.
Char Dham – This is a famous Shiva temple and located at about 5km from Namchi. This temple is believed to have been there right from the Mahabharata times as legend has it that the Pandava King had come here to pay his respects to the Lord during the famous war of Kurukshetra.
Rock Garden – This place is extremely beautiful as it houses some rare varieties of flowers and trees. This is a highly sought after tourist destination and hot beverages like tea/coffee taste delicious in the cafeteria here.
Ralong Monastery – This is one of the largest monasteries in East India. Many pilgrims come here to take a look at the intricately-carved paintings on the walls and ceilings of this monastery. This was constructed by the twelfth Gyaltsab Rinpoche.
Tendong Hill – This is a famous trekking point in Namchi and it is believed to be a volcano which is dormant. All along the trekking trails, tourists are treated to some exotic and rare varieties of flora and fauna.
Samdruptse – The Buddha statue that is found here is known as Guru Padmasambhava and is the tallest statue in the world. Clicking a picture in front of this giant statue is the favourite activity of many Buddhist pilgrims who come here. The total height of the statue is 135m. This place is at a short distance of about 5km from the main city of Namchi. Samdruptse means “The hill that fulfils wishes”.
Ngadak Monastery – This is also an ancient monastery which contains wonderful paintings and typical Tibetan architecture. Samdruptse and the tallest Buddha statue are clearly visible from here.
Doling Gumpa – This is a very old monastery that is maintained by the followers of the Nyimgpa sect. Many tourists reach this monastery through trekking along a picturesque path.
Things to do in Namchi
Trekking is the main activity that tourists can indulge in when they come to Namchi. There are many small and big peaks that lead to the various temples and monasteries. These trekking trails also play host to an excellent wildlife and bird collection which is a visual treat for the nature lovers. Pilgrimage is the other important activity for tourists here as the place is filled with tranquil monasteries and temples.
Famous restaurants and local delicacies
There are no exclusive restaurants in Namchi as it is a small town. However, there are many resorts available for the tourists to stay and they have some excellent in-house restaurants. Pork is the local delicacy here and when marinated with the local herbs and spices, it tastes heavenly. Non-vegetarian food occupies predominance in the cuisine of Namchi. Rice beer is the local drink that is enjoyed by tourists.
Where to stay in Namchi
Seven Hill Resort and Yangsum Heritage Farms are some of the 4-star accommodation options in Namchi. Kava Suites is a 3-star hotel that offers tourists excellent view of the hill city of Namchi. The services offered are excellent and tourists can have a whale of time in their suites with personalised care from the hospitality department of these resorts. Other budget hotels for tourists are Kesang Hotel and Maya Hotel.
STD, PIN and emergency numbers in Namchi
The STD and PIN codes of Namchi are 03595 and 737126 respectively. The emergency numbers for Ambulance, Fire Brigade and Electricity are 263729, 263888 and 263726 respectively. The STD code of 03595 should be the prefix for all these numbers. The Superintendent of Police can be reached at 03595 263722.
Banks, Hospitals and Tourist Office in Namchi
1 - Axis Bank
Namchi Bazaar, South Sikkim District,
Namchi – 737126
Ph: 03595 263393, 0395 263396
2 - HDFC Bank Limited
Chetri Market, Central Park in Namchi Bazaar,
South Sikkim District, Namchi – 737126
Ph: Not provided
Sisters & Sisters Diagnostic Centre
Opposite to District Hospital of Namchi
Namchi – 737126
Tourism Information Centre of Sikkim,
Below Alley Road of Dak Bungalow, Namchi
South Sikkim District – 737126
Ph: 03595 264557.