Sikkim Silk Route History

The Silk Route in East Sikkim that’s open for the travellers to explore is actually a part of the ancient Silk Road. The Sikkim Silk Route that we see today is only an offshoot of the traditional Silk Road . Infact, it’s only a little a part of the traditional silk route that connected Lhasa in Tibet to Tamralipta in West Bengal . Yes, Lhasa was once the hotspot of ancient trade and commerce. The nearest ocean harborage to Lhasa was at Tamralipta, or present day Tamluk in West Bengal.

Sikkim Silk Route network

The Ancient Silk Road was actually a huge network of ancient trade routes that stretched from Asia to the Mediterranean covering China, India, Persia, Arabia, Egypt, Greece and Italy. This route was formally established during the Han Dynasty of China in 130 BC. It linked regions of the ancient world in commerce between the ages of 130 BCE-1453 CE.

Importance of Sikkim Silk Route

This entire Silk Road runs 900 km from Lhasa to Tamralipta, starting in the Chumbi Valley in Tibet, through Nathu La, through the hills of Sikkim in the east, and finally reaching the plains of Bengal. The Chumbi Valley is connected to Sikkim in the southwest via the Nathu La and Jelep La mountain passes. It is a thin piece of land between India and Bhutan, which in recent years has been infamous due to Doklam problem between India and China.

Trade along Sikkim Silk Route

Innumerous goods were transported and sold along the Silk Road. Chinese silk was considered a luxury and sold from the East to European countries. Other items included textiles, tea, spices, dyes, medicines, tableware, fruit, and even camels. Not only trade but this Silk Route was a medium of exchange of  knowledge, ideas and culture among various civilization’s. This ancient Silk Road has lost its prominence now due to various geopolitical issues between countries.

Silk Route

Current Sikkim Silk Route

The Indian part of the Silk Route is open for excursionists from Rongli to the Nathula Pass. The region is no doubt historically intriguing, but it’s the stunning lookouts of the route that attracts tourists to this part of East Sikkim. The Sikkim Silk Road tour can started from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal or Gangtok in Sikkim.

The Sikkim Silk Route circuit principally starts from Rongli, located at an altitude of 5000 feet near Bengal-Sikkim border.

Explore Shantiniketan 

Silk Route Group Tour Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival at IXB/NJP| Transfer to Sillery Gaon

Upon arrival our representative will help you move to the small town of SilleryGaon. SilleryGaon located at 6,000 feet and is also known as New Darjeeling. This location conveniently offers great views of Mount Kanchenjunga. Stay Overnight in SilleryGaon.

Day 2 – Transfer to Aritar

Enjoy a delicious breakfast while admiring the mountain peaks. After breakfast, drive to the East Sikkim area called Haritar, famous for its best greenery, mountains and rivers. Admire Lake Lampohari, emerald forests, broad hills with deep gorges and rare waterfalls. Overnight in Aritara.

Day 3 – Transfer to Zuluk

After breakfast, depart for Zuluk. Before doing this, you must first complete the procedures and documents to obtain a site permit. The rugged primitive city of Zuluk is very close to the border with Indochina and was once known as a stopover on the Silk Road. In the evening, you can spend leisurely time. Overnight in Zuluk.

Day 4 – Transfer to Nathang

After an early morning breakfast, drive to Nathang. The route to Nathang is interesting and subject to icy conditions. This route will take you to a height of 13000 ft above sea level. Stop at Rongli for permits and documentation. From there, head to the Tambi Observation Deck at 11,000 feet. Worth a visit on this day is Lyngthung at 13,000 feet, Gnatang Valley, Tukla Valley (12,500 feet), Jepepla Pass lookout and Kupup Lake. Also visit the Yak Golf Course, the highest in the world at 13,025 feet above sea level. Overnight in Nathang.

Day 5 – Transfer to Rishikola 

After breakfast, transfer to Rishikola, a riverside town just 37 kilometers from Kalimpong. The village of Rishikola takes its name from the River Reshi, which flows through this small place. Overnight at Rishikola.

Day 6 – Return to IXB/NJP Railway Station | Depart with a beautiful Experience

After an early morning breakfast today leave for IXB/NJP. If time permits, stop by the Coronation Bridge on the way to the airport/station to take pictures. Enjoy the flight/train with great memories.


Best time to visit the Sikkim Silk Route ?

March-May (Spring and Summer)
The best time to visit East Sikkim or the Silk Road of Sikkim is the spring of March-May. During this period, the weather is still pleasant.
Azaleas blooming in spring.

June to September(rainy season)
It is best to avoid this season. Sikkim witnesses heavy rains and landslides during the rainy season. Roads are dangerous and are often blocked by landslides. Also, during the rainy season, there is no good mountain view.

October – November(Autumn)

The fall is the best time to visit Sikkim’s Silk Road. The weather is still pleasant and sunny, and you can admire the mountains from there.

December – February (Winter)
Winters in the highlands are usually harsh. Snowfall occurs in Zuluk and Nathang Valley. The outlook is fairly clear for December and January. However, in February the weather is still cloudy and the views can be poor. Also, in winter, heavy snow often clogs roads, which often prevents trips from being completed.