Sikkim, Sikkim, India
Hailed as one of the world’s last utopias by legendary Buddhist guru Padmasambhava, Sikkim is arguably among the loveliest destinations in India. And what variety in such a small state: plunging rhododendron-clad mountain valleys in the north, West Sikkim’s atmospheric Buddhist monasteries, monumental religious statues in South Sikkim, and friendly and cheerful urban centres in the east. Then there are stunning views of Khangchendzonga, the world’s third-highest mountain (8598m), visible from almost any viewpoint in the state. Little wonder that this tiny former Himalayan kingdom is such a haven for travellers.
A strong preserve of Tibetan Buddhism, Sikkim’s public aesthetics are executed in shades of ritualistic vermilion, gold, blue and green, which make striking photo-ops. Throw in yummy local food, exotic Himalayan wildlife, picture-postcard landscapes and some great hikes in the mountains, and you have a superb mountain escape on the cards.
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