Travel Story Contributor: Surya Raju
The last few days were spent covering North Sikkim and I was blown away by its beauty. The warmth of the people there made me want to see more of Sikkim. I had decided that I would end up visiting Lachen,Lachung,Yumesamdong,Gangtok and finally get to Pelling. Namchi was never on my list. We got talking to the driver and he mentioned that Namchi was a very good place to visit and that we should consider it. Sikkim hadn’t disappointed me for so many days and I was absolutely sure that visiting Namchi wouldn’t hurt. All I faintly knew was there is something called as “Siddheshwar Dham” over here. We started our journey early in the morning from Gangtok. Within a few hours of drive and few cups of chai, we had reached Temi Tea Estate in Ravangala. This is considered as one of the best tea estates in India and in Asia too. This is also the only tea estate in Sikkim.
Apart from being surrounded by greenery, I could also see the beautiful snow capped Kanchenjunga. They allow people to go inside the tea estate and me, having grown up watching Bollywood movies, this was pretty exciting to me. I just wanted to be there, run around and take as many pics as I could! After a cup of organic tea at Temi, we started towards Namchi. One hour later, we had reached Siddheshwar Dham. It is situated on Solophok hilltop,few kilometers away from Namchi. We were welcomed by the statue of Kirateshwara, incarnation of Lord Shiva in the form of a hunter.
What strikes the most about Siddheshwar Dham is the amount of cleanliness that has been maintained. The temple in itself is absolutely gorgoues. As soon as you enter the main premises you can see the mammoth statue of Lord Shiva at the center and the replicas “Char Dhams” on the sides.
Personally, Lord Shiva holds a special place in my heart as Lord Nataraja, the divine cosmic dancer. The statue is definitely overwhelming and awe-inspiring. I can’t imagine the number of days and hours that have been spent in getting the Siddheshwar Dham right. Brilliant part is there are replicas of Char Dham – Rameswaram,Jagannath,Badrinath and Dwaraka. They haven’t stopped at this. They have gone ahead to make replicas of 12 Jyotirlingas too!
It is such calm and a serene place. You can even get to see the statue of Guru Padmasambhava on Samdruptse hill from here. Next stop was a Saibaba mandir at Namchi. It was so beautifully contructed and it is so easy to fall in love with structures like these. You can just get lost in your own thoughts while here. Absolute silence, hardly any noise. If you need to know how peaceful a surrounding can get, then this is such an ideal place.
I couldn’t stay here for too long as Samdruptse was calling. This is where Guru Padmasambhava’s statue is present and it is a must visit if you get to Namchi,not only for the spectacular view but also for the fine workmanship.
There is a monastery just below this statue. There is a provision to get very close to the statue and if you carefully look at the picture, you can see many people standing near the railings. Though I did not know why Guru Padmasambhava was worshipped, I could still appreciate the way people prayed to him.
Namchi had a charm of its own. It is not just temple trails but much more beyond it. The warmth is something to be experienced.