Tholung Monastery Trekking - 10 Days
Tholung monastery trekking can be called the best among all the treks in Sikkim. Tholung Monastery was first built in the reign of Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal in the early 18th century. It contains rare and valuable scriptures and artifacts of other monasteries that were brought here for safety during the invasion of Sikkim by the Nepalese during late 17th and early 19th century. A brass Chorten within the monastery contains the ashes of one of the incarnates of Lama Latsun Chembo, the patron saint of Sikkim. All the relics are kept sealed in thirteen boxes under the supervision of the government of Sikkim. Once every three years in the month of April the relics are shown to the public in the monastery complex.
The last display of the relics was held in April 91. Tolung Monastery situated at an altitude of 8,000 ft lies in the sparsely Lepcha populated Dzongu area of North Sikkim and falls in the restricted area for which a inner line permit is required by Indian Nationals. To reach Tholung, one has to travel by road upto Linzey. There is a daily bus service from Gangtok to a place slightly short of Linzey. From Linzey to Tolung is a 20-km walk and takes approximately five hours along the thundering Tolung River through dense forests and cardamom groves. Tolung monastery trek trail is precipitous cliffs surround the easy track, from which plummet down waterfalls in white plumes hundreds of feet below into the narrow gorges to the valley floor. Birds tweet louder to make themselves heard over the sound of the waterfalls and the rivers.
Perched precariously on these cliffs here and there are the huts of the hardy Lepchas. As one walks towards Tolung, the surrounding mountains on the top of which ice clings tenaciously even during the summer seem to close in. on reaching Tolung one can understand why the Sikkimese chose this place to keep the relics here out of the reach of the invading Nepalese. Because of its vantage location it was easy to guard hence this place was selected for relics. There is a pilgrims hut. An easy walk of about an hour along the Tolung River takes one to a religious spot - Devta Pani.
Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra Airport, Bhadrapur Airport or NJP Railway Station. Drive to Bagdogra to Gangtok (1600m). O/N Hotel.
Day 02: Full day sightseeing around Gangtok including Rumtek Monastery. O/N Hotel.
Day 03: Drive north of Gangtok to Mangan and on to Singhik. Enroute visit Podong Monastery. O/N camp at Singhik.
Day 04: Enjoy early morning views of Kanchanjunga range from Singhik. Drive from Singhik to the road-head at Lingsha. Start trek to Tsana (1573m) in Tholung valley. O/N camp.
Day 05: Continue trekking up the valley to Tolung Monastery (2600m).
Afternoon visit the little known Tolung Monastery. O/N camp near Monastery.
Day 06: Rest day to exploration O/N camp.
Day 07: Trek back to Lingsha. End of Tholung Monastery Trek. O/N Camp.
Day 08: Drive back to Gangtok. Afternoon free in Gangtok. Overniht hotel.
Day 09: Leisure day in Gangtok. Optional day trip to Thangu Lake. Hotel.
Day 10: Drive to Bagdogra airport for flight to Calcutta or Delhi. Or to Bhadrapur for flight to Kathmandu, Nepal.