Sikkim is one of the most beautiful northeastern states of India. It’s situated in the eastern parts of the Himalayas in an area of about 7,096 square kilometers. It is also one of the youngest and smallest states in India. Despite its small size, the state’s rich cultural sites attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
It was once ruled by the Namgyal dynasty, which ruled Sikkim independently for over 300 years between 1642 and 1975, then it became a union state of India. The state is known best for its breathtaking architecture, historical sites, lush green surroundings, and peaceful atmosphere.
Despite being a Buddhist majority destination, the state contains a significant number of Hindu temples, monasteries, and even gurudwaras. Because of their antiquity, these ancient religious sites have enormous historical significance. Overall, these ancient temples in Sikkim draw a large number of visitors from all over the world.
Thakurbari Temple is one of Sikkim’s oldest Hindu temples. The temple is located in Gangtok and was built in 1935 on donated land by a ruler of the Namgyal dynasty, demonstrating their respect and understanding of other religions.
Since its inspection, the temple has undergone a series of renovations to become an important central hub for Gangtok’s Hindu community. Currently, the temple houses nearly all of the major Hindu deities.
Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple
The temple of Kirateshwar Mahadev is located in Legship, a small town in West Sikkim. This temple is surrounded by an emerald forest on the Rangeet river. It is also one of the most well-known and frequently visited Hindu pilgrimage sites.
The location of the Kirateshwar Mahadev temple has a few historical associations. According to legend, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a forest hunter in front of the prince Arjuna (a popular character in the Mahabharata) after being pleased by his extreme penance and devotion. It is widely assumed that the temple now stands exactly where this event occurred.
Spread over an area of 7 acres on top of the Solophok hills, this Shiva temple is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrim sites in South Sikkim.
A giant statue of Lord Shiva can be seen in his famous meditation posture on top of the main temple, offering you a grand view of the entire complex. The temple is easily accessible via the road as it is located only a distance of 5 km from the nearest Namchi town.
Located on a beautiful hilltop at an altitude of 6,500 ft above sea level, the Ganesh Tok is one of the smallest temples in Sikkim. The temple itself can hardly accommodate one person at a time. Despite being small in size, this temple is a big crowd puller for all travelers visiting Gangtok, Sikkim.
But the entire complex and its surrounding scenic beauty of the vast green expanses are simply breathtaking. The temple complex has a circular balcony and a viewing lounge to enjoy the panoramic view of the entire town of Gangtok. You can also enjoy the magnificent view of Kanchenjunga on some cloudless days, which is the third highest mountain range in the world.
If you don’t know what “Tok” actually means, then let me tell you that it means “temple” in Bhutia (the native language of Sikkimese). So, Hanuman Tok simply means a temple that is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple is famous for its scenic beauty and attracts large numbers of tourists.
Hanuman Tok is located at an altitude of 7,200 ft. and 11 km uphill from the town of Gangtok. The temple was built in 1952 and handed over to the Indian army. You can visit the temple by taking any form of public transport, like buses or taxis, but you have to climb the paved stairs to reach the top, where the temple is perched.
According to many legends, Lord Hanuman was taking rest at the place where the temple is now situated during his flight to the mountain of Dronagiri in search of the life-saving herb “Sanjeevani” to save Lakshmana, the brother of Lord Rama.
Viswa Vinayak Temple
This hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha (also known as Vishwa Vinayak temple) is situated in the middle of the beautiful landscape of Rundung village in Rhenock, East Sikkim. This temple houses a special 12 ft. tall statue of Lord Ganesha, where he’s shown with sixteen hands.
The temple took 8 years to be fully constructed and was inaugurated on October 3rd, 2016. It’s a popular destination among all tourists visiting east Sikkim. Many Hindu devotees also visit this Ganesha temple for its religious importance.
Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple
You might’ve seen many Hindu temples in India, but have you ever seen or even heard about a temple dedicated to an Indian army soldier? You heard it right. There is a temple situated between Nathula and Jelepla Pass at an altitude of 13,123 ft and about 52 kilometers from the town of Gangtok. It’s called Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, or popularly known as Baba Mandir.
There is a heart-touching story of an Indian border-patrolling soldier associated with the temple, making it a popular destination spot among tourists. In the year 1968, he suddenly disappeared and has never been seen since. But after his confirmed death, many other soldiers dreamt of him, asking for a memorial built in his name.
Samdruptse Shiva Temple
This Shiva temple is located on one of the beautiful hills near Namchi called Samdruptse. Thus the name “Samdruptse Shiva Temple“. At the entrance to the temple complex, you can see a huge statue of Lord Shiva, 45 meters tall, sitting on top of the main temple.
As per popular belief, the hilltop where the temple lives is a wish-fulfilling place. Every year, thousands of Hindu devotees of Lord Shiva visit the temple. It’s also very popular among photographers for its magnificent scenic view.