Lingthem: Utopia in North Sikkim

The Lingthem village is a quiet hamlet in the upper Dzongu region of Northern Sikkim. Though very scarcely populated, it is reserved totally for one of oldest and main communities of Sikkim, the Lepchas.
A 7-8 hour drive from NJP station, its worth travelling the distance to have such a transcendental experience. We stayed at the Lingthem Lyang Homestay for a couple of days and it was such a pristine experience.. This is the place for any traveller who wants to get engulfed in the meditative silence of the mountains. Secluded and tranquil, this very small Himalayan village and its life has a story of its own.

Waking up to the panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga range and sounds of the flowing Teesta took us far far away from the cacophony of our mundane city lives.

You need have a permit from Mangan to enter Dzongu region as this place is reserved for the Lepcha Community. This permit can be arranged by the owner of the homestay if informed beforehand.

On the second day, we had a feel of the place and its surroundings. We went to the mangtam lake. Heavy sedimentation over the months has resulted into an expansive stretch of sand beach over a gradually shrinking lake at Mantam, 4th Mile in Upper Dzongu, North Sikkim. The lake had emerged after a hill avalanche in August 2016 formed a dam and choked the flow of the Teesta river. The lake, then around 2 km long, has gradually shrunk leaving the other submerged portions as a sandy beach.

Mantam is about 14 km away from Mangan town and falls under Lingthem Lingdem GPU.
We also visited the Lingthem Monastery and learnt about the significance of Buddhist stupas and their concept of Life after death.

Stupa, Buddhist commemorative monument usually housing sacred relics associated with the Buddha or other saintly persons. The hemispherical form of the stupa appears to have derived from pre-buddhist burial mounds in India.

Again back to the homestay, we were treated with love and respect all the way. We were amazed by the simplicity of the family and their way of life. Surrounded by rice paddy fields and cardamom groves, they grow their own crops in the form of a beautifully designed terrace farming setup.

Each one of them had so much to share about the interesting, unique and colourful folklores of the Dzongu region that we were very happy and delighted to be at the receiving end for most of the time. At midnight, when we all sat around the camp fire, the kid chatted with us about his experiences of living in a monastery, the struggles and hardships of becoming a monk, the daily prayers and the art of coping with the process of leaving mainstream society. These are some of the moments which will be there with us forever. In fact, at all points we friends had a collective conscience which we created over the years to receive the deepest philosophies and stories the world has to offer. After so many years of togetherness whenever we travel or get together, we tend to get engrossed in broadening the horizon so that we can absorb more than we did yesterday, so that the conscience breathes in more of the mysteries all around us, so that the conscience connects with the world at large being independent of space and time.

These two days, we got totally immersed in the culture, lifestyle and food habits of the Lepcha people. While leaving the place, our very own Sangdup ji (owner of the homestay) offered us a white cloth as a token of respect and love. It was that white cloth that we wore around the neck and came down the hills with a basket full of memories and a heart soaked in the purity of nature.

For a more detailed perspective please have a look at the following narratives.

Sayan Mitra:

Pritam Chowdhury:

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