Sikkim, a land of majestic mountains, serene landscapes, and vibrant culture, is a dream destination for travelers. The Indian state is famous for its majestic peaks and monastic serenity. Yet, there are still corners of this beautiful region that remain relatively unexplored. One such place is Aritar, a tranquil hamlet in East Sikkim. Unscathed by commercial tourism, Aritar presents a pristine picture of untouched nature and rich heritage.
A Serene Landscape
Nestled amidst lush greeneries and set against the backdrop of the mighty Himalayas, Aritar is a vision to behold. Blessed with verdant forests, terraced paddy fields, orange orchards, and beautiful waterfalls, Aritar is a paradise for nature lovers. The Lampokhari Lake, one of the oldest natural lakes in Sikkim, is a highlight here. Enclosed by emerald forests, the boot-shaped lake offers enchanting views, especially during sunrise and sunset. The lake is also a prime spot for paddle boating, an experience that is heightened by the tranquility of the surroundings.
Aritar is a repository of rich culture and heritage, evidenced by its ancient monasteries and temples. The Aritar Gumpa, one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim, stands as a symbol of the region’s spiritual legacy. The monastery, known for its exquisite architecture, houses ancient murals, statues, and scriptures, offering a glimpse into the past. Close to the monastery lies the Aritar Dak Bungalow (Ari-Bangla), a British-era structure with historic and architectural significance, offering panoramic views of the Himalayan landscape.
For adventure enthusiasts, Aritar offers numerous trekking trails that pass through verdant forests, across bridges, and past waterfalls. The trek to Mankhim Dara is especially popular. It’s a gentle climb leading to a viewpoint from where one can enjoy panoramic vistas of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga peak and the beautiful Lampokhari Lake. It’s also a bird watcher’s paradise, as the region is home to various endemic and migratory birds.
The Enthralling Festivals
Inhabited predominantly by the Lepcha and Nepali communities, Aritar is a land of vibrant culture and captivating festivals. One such festival is the popular Lampokhari Tourism Festival, held annually in March/April. The event celebrates local culture, art, and traditions, featuring folk dances, music, traditional crafts, and delicious Sikkimese cuisine. It’s an excellent opportunity for visitors to interact with locals and delve into their unique cultural traditions.
A Gateway to Other Attractions
Apart from its local charms, Aritar serves as an excellent base for exploring other attractions in East Sikkim. It’s a short drive away from places like Zuluk, a small village known for its historic Silk Route and stunning views of the Eastern Himalayas, and the Tsomgo Lake, a glacial lake revered as a holy site.
Aritar, with its blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and thrilling adventure options, is a hidden gem in the Eastern Himalayas. The tranquillity of this lesser-known destination offers an ideal retreat for those seeking an escape from the bustle of city life. Whether you are an ardent nature lover, a history enthusiast, or an adventure junkie, Aritar in Sikkim awaits to fascinate you with its enchanting charms.