Yuksom: Your Heavenly Gateway to the Goecha La Trek
The North-East of India still has many mystic and amazing places which are yet unexplored. It’s as if calling out travellers to live their ultimate dream of finding something new. With so many places to travel, Yuksom in Sikkim is one place you should definitely visit.
Yuksom is a small town but with big historical significance of Sikkim. Yuksom exposes you to the rich cultural and historical treasures of Sikkim. It is the place where the first king of Sikkim, was coronated by three monks. Since then it was ruled for 333 years. It holds a very important place in the lives of the Bhutia Tribe of Sikkim. Yuksom also once served as the capital of Sikkim. It has a treasure trove of places to explore. What is more intriguing about the place is that it serves as the base for mountaineers who want to summit Mount Kanchenjunga. But it is most famous for its Goecha La trek
Goecha La is a pass.
It is a different world on it’s own.
It is a poet’s paradise and a traveller’s home.
It’s the nature’s delightful song in peaceful harmony.
Goecha La Pass
Quick facts about Goecha La
- The Goecha La pass is at 16,207 feet above mean sea level.
- It gives a spectacular view of Mount Kanchenjunga and also acts as a base for mountaineers to summit the mountain.
- The view from Goecha La Pass is featured on the 100 rupee note.
Reasons To Do The Goecha La Trek
Goecha La Trek is the one you should not miss
This trek is one of the best treks you can ever venture on to. The glory of the peaks in front of you is just mesmerising. The main reason of why this trek is different from other contemporary treks is because when you reach the pass, the mighty Kanchenjunga is right in front of you. It's as if you can reach out to it. To add to this, the route you take to reach the pass is quite adventurous and is known to never disappoint anyone.
Sunrise on Mt Kanchenjunga. View from Goecha La
PC: By Bental_3000
Goecha La is one of the most romantic of passes
The place itself will set you in a romantic mood with the mountains. The trek starts from Yuksom and you will come across Sachen. The trail that leads to Sachen is a forested trail. With loads of Rhododendrons which come along the way, the red sheet of the flowers will just blow your mind and will make you remember the one you love. The canopy is a beautiful sight to watch.
The Red Rhododendron
Walkity Walk on the Bridge atop Prek Chu River
After Sachen the next section you come across is the bridge over the Prek Chu River. The bridge is adorned with prayer flags and walking over it with the sight of the river below is superbly adventurous! Mind you the bridge sways a little so your are in for some serious jaw dropping experience.
The Bridge over Prek Chu River
PC: Flickr, By Jayanta Pramanik
Get enthralled by the beauty of Samiti Lake, Thangsing Glacial Valley
How would feel to get a view of a lake which is at a height of 14000 feet? It sounds adventurous already, doesn’t it? Samiti lake is at a height of 14000 feet and there are no words to describe it beauty. You need to go there and live the experience, feel it, and only that can justify the beauty you will see.
View of The Samiti Lake
Thangsing is a glacial valley. Glacial Valley! The term itself is enough to get our imaginations rolling.
Enroute rest and explore at Dzongri Top
The view from Dzongri is sure to enthrall you in the beauty of the mountains. The top is the perfect place for a break where you can pitch your tents and relax for the rest of the day.
The Dzongri Top
Get a view of 14 summits from one single point: Goecha La pass
This is one of the major reasons to visit Goecha La pass and venture on to the Goecha La trek. When you finally reach the pass after trekking for days at a stretch and when you finally see those multiple summits, it just wells you up with satisfaction and happiness. The 4 Kabru Peaks, Talung ( 7349m ), Rathong ( 6679m ), ,Pandim ( 6691m ) are some peaks to name a few.
View of Mt. Pandim froma a point a Goecha La
Exposure to some unseen flora and fauna
The trek gets all the more exciting when you see the animals and birds which are rarely spotted. You can come across Barking Deer, the Red Panda, Marbled Cat, Musk Deer and the Himalayan Black Bear. As Goecha La falls in the Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve you may also be lucky to find some amazing bird species like the Himalayan Griffon, lammergeier, Tragopan pheasant, Snow Pigeon, Grey Peacock Pheasant to name a few.
The Himalayan Musk Deer
The Grey Peacock Pheasant
Yuksom which acts as the starting point of the Goecha La trek also has some treat for the adventurer’s taste buds. The iconic and original food called ‘yak cheese momos’ is what you should definitely try. They taste amazing and why not treat yourself with cheese after a long trek!
Another thing to check out is ‘tongba’ which is a bamboo drink. It contains fermented millet juice served in a bamboo container. This is the traditional and authentic beer you have been thinking about!
Places to see around Yuksom
Khangchendzonga National Park
This is a must visit place as Goecha La falls in the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve. The most beautiful thing to see other than the flora and fauna is the different glaciers you come across. The park also has a small number of lepcha settlements.
Tashi Tenka is a royal complex. It is said to offer amazing 360 view of Yuksom. It was built during the time when Yuksom was the capital of Sikkim. It is built over ridge. It’s quiet a place to surely visit.
The Khecheopalri Lake is situated at a height of 6000ft. The lake is about 28 kms from Pelling. According to the localities there is no record of where the lake came from but they say it came and stayed in the valley. Guru Padmasambhava calls this landscape as the land of hidden treasures. This lake is considered as a wish-fulfilling lake too.
Khecheopalri Lake in Pelling
Tashiding Monastery lies to the south east of Yuksom. This is the most holy and sacred monastery of Sikkim. The monastery has a stupa which is believed to cleanse all sins by mere sight of it. The stupa is called Thong-Warang-Drol which means “Saviour by mere sight”.
The meaning of Dubdi is ‘The Retreat’. The monastery is at an hour’s distance from Yuksom and is the oldest monastery in Sikkim. It is also called the Yuksom Monastery. It was established in the 1701 AD. The interior of this monastery is full of buddhist symbolism and also has Thangkas.
Norbugang Chorten is also known as the Coronation Throne of the first monarch or Chogyal of Sikkim, Phuntsog Namgyal. It carries a huge historical and religious importance. On the site of the Chorten there is a park called Norbugang Park. It has a prayer hall, a large prayer wheel, the Norbugang Chorten (stupa), and the Coronation Throne (Norbugang). The park is also connected with Kathok Lake, which is a holy reservoir. It was used for the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal.
Best Time To Visit
The Goecha La trek can be done in the following months:
How To Reach Yuksom
The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) . It is 150 km away from Yuksom. From NJP one must leave early morning and reach Siliguri to take the shared taxi. You can book a taxi to reach Yuksom and it is advisable to travel in day time as the roads are badly lit at night.
The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, 12 km west of Siliguri and about 170 km from Yuksom.
What are you waiting for. Explore Yuksom and have the trek of your lifetime at Geocha La. Do let us know about your journey in the comments sections below.