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Tholung Valley Trek – A trek to little visited Tholung Monastery & Kishong Lake
Tholung Valley Trek to Kishong Lake located in Dzongu Region of North Sikkim leads to the ancient Tholung Monastery and to the holy Kishong Lake (4500m). With altitude varying between 7000feet to 14,800feet above mean sea level, the Tholung Valley Kishong Lake trek can be graded as Moderate to Strenuous trek and can be completed within five days for an average trekker.
Tholung valley in North Sikkim is the stronghod of the ethnic Lepcha tribes, who live in small villages amongst the dense forested slopes high above and around the Tholung Monastery, which also forms a buffer zone for the Kanchenjunga National Park. Tholung Valley Trek to Tholung Monastery and to the holy Kishong Lake in North Sikkim is amongst the lesser known treks in Sikkim and not as popular as the Goechala Trek, as it is an off beat trek route in North Sikkim. Moreover, Tholung Monastery Trek is also less frequented by outsiders due to the permit formalities as Tholung Valley and Kishong Lake area falls in the restricted area of North Sikkim.
Highlights of the Trek
Highlights of the Tholung Valley Trek in North Sikkim is the Tholung Monastery nestled cozily at an altitude of 8000 feet, surrounded on all side by the high mountains, secluded and remote. Tholung Monastery houses rich artifacts and relics brought in from other monasteries from all over Sikkim for safe keeping, during the invasion by the Nepalese Army in the late seventeenth century and the early nineteenth century.
This ancient Monastery was built in the beginning of the 18th Century by Chogyal Phuntshok Namgyal II, the then King of Sikkim. Once in three years these artifacts are displayed to the general public during the festival of Kamsil which falls in the month of April.
Trekking in the Kishong Valley
The other significance of the Thoulng Valley Trek is hike up this beautifully forested valley that leads to the higher alpine valleys where yaks graze below the snow capped mountains of the Kanchenjunga range and to the Holy Kishong Lake. At an altitude of 4500m above mean sea level and surrounded by the white snow capped mountains of the Kanchenjunga Range, a trek to this lake is a pilgrimage that trekkers look forward to. Alaos, Kishong Lake is of immense religious value to the Lepcha Tribe of North Sikkim, they believe that Kishong Lake shows the way to heaven, and also their ancestors originated from this lake.
Getting there and away
Singhik & Lingshya about four hours drive and 68Km from the Capital of Sikkim , Gangtok is the trek head for the Tholung valley trek that leads to the secluded Tholung Monastery and to the high altitude Holu Kishong Lake. Singhik and Lingshya are two small villages situated on the slopes of the Tholung Valley copmrising of a few houses belonging to the ethnic Lepcha Tribe of North Sikkim. Few Home stays have sprung up now as more people are seeking secluded trekking destinations.
Best Time to Trek in North Sikkim
March to April is recomended for Tholung Valley Trek in North Sikkim. Not only for the wonderful views and the Kamsil Festival is held here on the grounds of the Tholung Monastery, but also for the different colors of the Rhododendrons and the wild flowers that bloom here during Spring.
Sikkim is Blessed with natural beauty and the Himalayas. Therefore, October to December is a good time to trek here for the wonderful views, and as well for an experience to trek and live among the ethnic tribes of North Sikkim.
TRIP FACTS :
THOLUNG VALLEY TREK ITINERARY
Day 1 : Arrive Bagdogra Airport/NJP Railway Station/Nepal Border. Drive to Bagdogra to Gangtok. Hotel(B/B).
Day 2 : Full day sightseeing around Gangtok including Rumtek Monastery. Hotel (B/B).
Day 3 : Drive north of Gangtok to Mangan and on to Singhik (63Km/3Hrs). Enroute visit Podong Monastery. Overnight Home stay.
Day 4 : Enjoy early morning views of Kanchenjunga range from Singhik. Drive from Singhik to the road-head at Lingsha. Start trek to Tholung valley. Trek to Tholung Gompa (3200m/12Km/6Hrs). Camping.
Day 5 : Trek Tholung Gumpa to Gikithang ( 3800m/6Hrs). Camping
Day 6 : Trek Gikithang to Kishong Lake (4500m/6Hrs). Camping
Day 7 : Trek Kishong Lake to Tholung (5Hrs). Camping
Day 8 : Trek Tholung to Lingthem (4Hrs). Overnight Home Stay
Day 9 : Drive Lingthem to Gangtok ( 68Km/3Hrs). Overnight Hotel
Day 10 : Drive to Bagdogra Airport/NJP Rail Station/Nepal Border for Final Departure. End of the Trek.
Note: The above itinerary is a sample, intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, the physical ability of the participants,etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the trail. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well being.
Recommendations: The trek is strenuous and demands good physical form. A physical fitness check-up is recomended.
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