The Sikkim Himalayas, the
epitome of the worlds mountains, encompass a
wonderland, which for sheer beauty and magnificence
remains unbeaten elsewhere in the globe. Lonely vales
and dales, gapping chasms and terrifying gorges,
thrilling lakes and streams, turquoise hued as mirrors,
crystal clear, on which the king of Mountains, crowned
with eternal snows, casts shadows long and lovely.
Sikkim is situated in the lap of the
eastern Himalayas below Mt.Khangchendzonga (8598m.3rd
highest Mountain in the world) to the north of Sikkim
lies the vast area of the great Tibetan plateau, to the
west the kingdom of Nepal, to the east the kingdom of
Bhutan and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet, while the
neighboring State of West Bengal stretches along its
southern boundary. Sikkim is the 22nd State of India.
THOLUNG MONASTERY TREK
Tholung Monastery was first built in
the reign of Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal in the early 18th
century. It contains rare and valuable scriptures and
artifacts of other monasteries that were brought here
for safety during the invasion of Sikkim by the Nepalese
during late 17th and early 19th century. A brass Chorten
within the monastery contains the ashes of one of the
incarnates of Lama Latsun Chembo, the patron saint of
Sikkim. All the relics are kept sealed in thirteen boxes
under the supervision of the government of Sikkim. Once
every three years in the month of April the relics are
shown to the public in the monastery complex. The last
display of the relics was held in April 91.
Tholung at an altitude of 8,000 ft
lies in the sparsely Lepcha populated Dzongu area of
North Sikkim and falls in the restricted area for which
a inner line permit is required by Indian Nationals. To
reach Tolung, one has to travel by road upto Linzey.
From Linzey to Tolung is a 20-km walk and takes
approximately five hours along the thundering Tolung
River through dense forests and cardamom groves.
Precipitous cliffs surround the easy
track, from which plummet down waterfalls in white
plumes hundreds of feet below into the narrow gorges to
the valley floor. Birds tweet louder to make themselves
heard over the sound of the waterfalls and the rivers.
Perched precariously on these cliffs here and there are
the huts of the hardy Lepchas.
As one walks towards Tholung, the
surrounding mountains on the top of which ice clings
tenaciously even during the summer seem to close in. on
reaching Tolung one can understand why the Sikkimese
chose this place to keep the relics here out of the
reach of the invading Nepalese. Because of its vantage
location it was easy to guard hence this place was
selected for relics. There is a pilgrims hut. An easy
walk of about an hour along the Tholung River takes one
to a religious spot - Devta Pani.