Sikkim, a northeastern Indian state, is known for its picturesque landscapes, magnificent mountains, serene monasteries, and diverse cultural heritage. However, some of its most alluring locales are hidden away from the popular tourist routes. Mankhim is one such destination, a quaint hamlet perched high in the Himalayas, where time seems to stand still.
The Picturesque Panorama
The first thing that strikes you about Mankhim is its breathtaking view. Situated on a hilltop in the village of Dalapchand, Mankhim offers panoramic views of the snow-clad Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, and the surrounding Himalayan range. The hamlet overlooks the emerald Lampokhari Lake, nestled amidst the rolling green hills, and offers views that are truly postcard-worthy. Watching the sunrise from behind the majestic Kanchenjunga is an unforgettable spectacle from this vantage point.
The Mankhim Temple
The heart of Mankhim is marked by the presence of the temple of the Rai people, the native ethnic group of this region. The temple, dedicated to their animist god Nāsyoŋ, is an epitome of the indigenous cultural beliefs of the Rai community. A visit here offers a deep dive into their rituals, traditions, and way of life. The temple also serves as the venue for Sakewa, a significant festival of the Rai people, celebrated with great fervor, typically during the month of May.
Trekking in Mankhim
Mankhim serves as a fantastic starting point for several trekking adventures. Trekking trails weave through terraced farms, lush forests, and small settlements, offering an excellent opportunity to soak in the region’s pristine natural beauty and experience local culture firsthand. A popular trek is a gentle hike to the nearby viewpoint at Mankhim Dara, from where one can enjoy mesmerizing views of the Kanchenjunga range, Lampokhari Lake, and the winding roads leading to Zuluk.
Mankhim offers an authentic insight into the unique culture of the Rai community. A visit to a local household can provide a glimpse of their traditional lifestyle, marked by simplicity and harmony with nature. Their warm hospitality is sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor. Savoring the local cuisine, marked by organically grown ingredients and distinctive flavors, is a must-have experience. The Rai’s traditional bamboo shoot curry and fermented foods offer a culinary delight that is both unique and delightful.
For wildlife enthusiasts, Mankhim presents ample opportunities. The area surrounding Mankhim is rich in biodiversity. A wide range of bird species, including several rare and endangered ones, call this region home, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. A patient observer might also spot a variety of wildlife such as deer, monkeys, and even the elusive red panda in the surrounding forests.
Mankhim is a destination where nature, culture, and adventure intertwine, offering a truly immersive experience in the heart of the Himalayas. Away from the touristy hustle and bustle, Mankhim stands as a peaceful retreat that calls out to those who seek tranquillity, cultural richness, and natural beauty. On your next visit to Sikkim, consider exploring this hidden gem – you will return with cherished memories and an enriched soul.