Zuluk, is a secret destination in old Silk Route in the Eastern Himalayan mountain range in the East Sikkim is an up growing popular offbeat tourist destination. Though it is noted that Zulukwas once a transit point to the historic Silk Route from Tibet to India. It was commonly used by traders traveling to Tibet through Jelep-la (“La” stands for mountain pass) as an overnight base.There is also an Indian Army base at Zuluk, which has been used as a transit camp for the army movement to the Chinese border, a few kilometres away. However, it isnow an eco-village set in the middle of a forest with orchards blooming in and around it. Here, you’ll find serenity and the kind of calm where if you listen hard enough, you may hear your heart beat. It is still a virgin destination in the silk route, which was opened to the tourists’ couple of years back only. No phones in the rooms, no television to distract. There is only music – of the cool mountain breeze, complimented by swinging of the leaves and the birds flapping their wings in unison.
Zuluk(altitude – 10000 ft) is located on the Old Historic Silk Route which started from Kalimpong and went through Pedong, Aritar, and Jelep la to Tibet. Zuluk is a hamlet close to Indo-China border.This place derives its importance due to its charming view of the Eastern Himalayan mountain range including Kanchanjunga. The land around Zuluk is still a virgin territory and is bathed with alpine vegetation, with numerous waterfalls lining the hillside.
How to Reach
Zuluk can be reached by rail, road and air. A drive form the nearest railway station New Jalpaiguri will take one to Zuluk. One can reach Zuluk through drive from the nearest airport Bagdogra. Zuluk can be reached from Siliguri or Gangtok by various hired vehicles. Alternatively, one can stay overnight at Aritar / Mankhim and proceed to Zuluk the next day. Otherwise, one can reach Rangpo from NJP/Bagdogra and then proceed to Zuluk via the nearest town Rongli.
Places to Visit
Zuluk is a hilltop and a transit point within the Silk Route. While staying at Zuluk you can cover Padamchen, Lungthung, Nathang, Kupup Lake, Tukla Valley and all other spots in the Silk Route circuit in day trips. There are lots of places around Zuluk where tourists can go for sightseeing. Thambi view point, Lungthang, Kupup, Memencho Lake, Old Baba Mandir, Gnathan valley Nathula gate are some of the sightseeing spots around Zuluk. Tourist can reach Gangtok fromZuluk after seeing these spots or can back.
The Nag Temple–There is a local Nag Temple in Zuluk. The temple has a cave like structure and the deity of King Cobra or Nag, famous Hindu mythical god is worshipped in the temple. The image is a believed to be naturally formed through cracks in giant sized rocks.
The Sunrise point (Ganek) – Zuluk offers excellent view of sunrise on Himalayas. There is a place called Ganek, which is situated at the height of 10600 ft is famous for its exquisite view of sunrise at dawn.You have got be there within 4.30am to catch a view of this breath-taking experience. The gradual reddening of the dark Eastern Skies, its scintillating reflections in the Kanchanjangha range, are worth a watch. The rising of the sun is a phenomenon which is beyond description. During the sunset the landscape view become more breathtaking. The snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas along with the guardian of the Sikkim, Mt. Kanchanjangha make an excellent showcase in the entire north.
Thambi view point – Thambi view point (11200 ft.) is a great attraction of Zuluk (14km). It is the best view point of 95 turn three levelzigzag road(like coiled python) on the adjoining hillswhich is the only one in its nature in the entire Himalayan range.This geometry of curves is matchless and during snowfall it takes a panoramic appearance that is beyond description.Thambi view point also provides excellent view of sunrise over Mt Kanchanjangha.The glittering rays of the rising sun kisses the snow clad peak of Mt. Kanchanjangha, which slowly turns crimson and then golden and finally silver. The spectacle is truly breathtaking.Three Level Zigzag roads
Lungthung or Dhupidara –.you will reach Lungtung(altitude of 13,000 ft) or Dhupidarafrom Zuluk through the road which makes almost 32 hairpin turns. Enjoy the excellent beauty of nature from here.
Kupup– .Kupup(altitude of approx.14,000ft) isa part of the historical Silk route and traces of Lord Young husband’s Track are visible. Now it is an army base. An Environmental Park is being developed here. The Ice hockey ground, the Yak Golf Course, the Elephant lake are main attractions in Kupup. Yak Golf Course is known as the highest golf course in the world. Not only inKupup, but Kupup lakeis a famous tourist place in east Sikkim also. It is also called Elephant lake as its shape is just like an elephant.Kupuplake hosts the waterpolo game and it is also the highest water polo lake in the world. From.Kupkup tourists can go for Jeelep La pass.Lhasa- the seat of Dalai Lama is about 520 kms from Kupup.
The Kalpokhari Lake– On way to Adi Baba Mandir, the Kalpokhari Lake falls. Wild ducks swim in the transparent water of the Lake which freezes during the winter, giving the scintillating look of endless snows.
Adi Baba Mandir – Adi Baba Mandir(located 60km away from Gangtok ) is built in the honour ofsepahi Baba Harbhajan Singh. The legend is that he met with a tragic accident in this area (he fell from horse back on to a gorge while on duty ) and died. His Samadhi was constructed near ChhokhyaChho but was later shifted to the Watershed Memorial near LOG BR. Adi Baba Mandirhas been a sacred place for years.Baba Harbhajan Singh is worshiped by local people as well as army officials. This Mandir hosts all his memories.A Wreath lying ceremony is held at this site in the memory of all those Valliant soldiers who had became martyrs.
Nathang Valley– This Nathang valley is one of the oldest village in the North East Sikkim and is around 200 years old. You can also find British Soldiers’ Graveyard here.This area is being developed as a Ski point in Sikkim.In the winter the perfect gradient for the ski makes it the favorite destination for all ski lovers and common tourists.Chinese Watch Towers on Jelep La are visible with naked eyes.
Tukla Valley– There is a war memorial built to commemorate the death of British soldiers who died at the battle of Tukla.
Menmencho lake – Memencho lake (altitude of 12500 ft – 20 km away from Chhangu Lake &60 km away from Gangtok) is located in the North East of Sikkim. It can be reached from Zuluk in 2 hrs drive. The lake is lies below the Jelepla Pass and cradled between the mountains of Jeelep La. It is also the source of river Rongpo-Chu. This river Rongpo Chi meets Tista as Rongpo. This lake gets its water from the melting snow from the strems just below the Jelep-la. It is surrounded by a rich, varied forest and some rather interesting rock formations. The lake is famous for its trout and a farm to cultivate these fish also exists nearby. Fishing is allowed at Menmecho Lake but you have to obtain a permit from Gangtok and ascertain the availability of fishing gear. A fishing farm is situated nearby for the cultivation of the marine creature. This is why fishing is one of the very famous activity for the visitors of this lake.It is a stunningly beautiful lake with snow cover from early winter to late spring.
JelepLa –Jelep La (also spelled Jelepla) (14,300 ft.) is a high mountain pass between India and Tibet in East Sikkim District of Sikkim. The famous Menmecho Lake lies below the Jelep La Pass. Jelep-la, a Tibetan name, means ‘The lovely level pass’, so called because it is the easiest and most level of all the passes between Tibet and Sikkim. The pass is in Sikkim and the route connects Lhasa to India. The pass is 46 metres (150Ft) in length. On the Indian side there are two routes to Jelep La, one through Gangtok and the other through Kalimpong. The Kalimpong route is an ancient one which was responsible for the boost in the local economy due to the trading of wool and furs in last century. The pass was closed after the Sino-Indian War in 1962. It passes through the towns of Pedong in northern West Bengal, Rhenok, and Kupup. The route from Gangtok passes through the towns of Sherathang, nearby Chhangulake and alongside Nathu La and through Kupup. The route is scenic with forests of rhododendrons blooming in spring. Numerous hamlets dot the bucolic surroundings which give a traveller a sybaritic experience. On the Tibetan side the pass leads to the Chumbi Valley of the Tibetan Plateau.
Nathu La– Nathu La is in Tibetian plateau at a height of 14,200ft and has the highest motor able road in the world. Nathu La is the gateway of India and China. It is open for Indian nationals only on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Chhangu Lake –This is a well-known tourist spot that attracts thousand of tourists from all over the world every year. Although most people prefer the Gangtok route, this isn’t a bad idea to go from Zuluk. The Lake is 1km long, 50ft. deep and oval in shape. The Local people consider it a holy Lake. It is exclusively the home of Brahminic ducks apart from migratory birds.Rhododendrons, Primulas, Blue and Yellow Poppies grow in abundance and this is a pleasure to watch out for.