Sikkim comes under one of the most beautiful northeast states of India. It’s situated in the eastern parts of the Himalayas in about 7,096 square kilometres. It is also the youngest and one of the smallest states of the incredible India. It was once ruled by the Namgyal dynasty, which independently ruled Sikkim for over 300 years between 1642 to 1975, when it permanently became a part of India as an union state. The state is mostly famous for its breathtaking architecture, historical places, lush-green surroundings, and peaceful ambiance.
Despite being a Buddhist majority destination, the state also shares a fair portion of hindu temples, monasteries, and even gurudwaras. These old religious sites hold enormous historical significance for their antiquity. Altogether these ancient temples in Sikkim attract a plethora of travelers from all over the globe.
Thakurbari Temple is one of the oldest hindu temples in Sikkim. The temple is located in Gangtok and was built on donated land by a ruler of the Namgyal dynasty in 1935, showing their acceptance towards other religions. Since its inspection, the temple had gone through a series of upgrades to make the place an important center of convergence for the Hindu community of Gangtok. Right now the temple houses almost all major hindu deities.
Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple
The Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple is located at a small town of West Sikkim, Legship. It is built right along the left bank of Rangeet river. Surrounded by an emerald forest of the Rangeet river, this temple is one of the renowned and most visited hindu pilgrimage sites of Sikkim.
According to hindu belief, the place where the Kirateshwar Mahadev temple is located shares some historical attachment to many events mentioned in the hindu mythology, Mahabharata. They say lord Shiva himself appeared in front of the prince Arjuna in an avatar of a forest hunter, seeing his hard penance and devotion. It’s widely said that the temple now stands at the exact spot where the hunter incarnation of lord Shiva happened.
Spreaded 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 at 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, 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, and 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 a 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 3rd October 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 kilometres from the town of Gangtok. It’s called Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple or popularly Baba Mandir.
There is a heart-touching story of an Indian border-patrolling soldier associated with the temple, making it a famous 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 dreamed of him asking for a memorial built on 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”. On the entrance to the temple complex, you can see a huge statue of lord Shiva of 45 meters tall, sitting on top of the main temple. As per popular beliefs, 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.