Lingtam and Aritar Lake – An Offbeat Destination
Lingtam is a remote hamlet on the far eastern border of Sikkim and the region is characterized by mountains, forest and rivers. There is no chaos and no crowd because it is far away from the most visited and common tourist attractions in Sikkim and I must admit that Lingtam is one of the best offbeat destinations in Sikkim. It is the gateway to the old silk route that connected India, Tibet and China. Travel Lingtam and I can assure you that this tourist spot would be one of your best places of interests in India.
We spend two nights in Limtang though we all agreed to visit the place again. We didn’t have much days in our hand and we had to leave because we had a long tour and many more destinations to cover. When we reached Limtang at mid night after all harassment due to the breakdown of the car, it was pitch dark there. We couldn’t see anything except the resort entrance and we all checked in. We stayed in “The Silk Route Resort” – the only property in Limtang. It was really a good resort with deluxe rooms each having a balcony that gives you a perfect scenic view of the beauty all around. We hired all the rooms in first floor because we were rich in number(10fellows). Next day morning, we visited Aritar lake, Kali temple, many other spots which are not named but the nature has given its own identity to the places which were so beautiful and magnificent.
Places of interest in Limtang
The beautiful lake is a few hours drive from Limtang. We had taken a Mahindra Max which could accommodate 10 pax excluding the driver. The driver was a young fellow, very friendly and he was our guide too. We left for Aritar Lake early in the morning after having our breakfast and spend about 2-3 hours there, enjoyed boating and returned. Aritar lake is a must see in Limtang and one needs to stay a day for it.
It is a stream of water at a walking distance from our resort. We visited there late at afternoon because we were late from Aritar lake. After coming from Aritar, we had our lunch and then we visited the Rishi Khola. It’s beautiful and we all chatted for long sitting on boulders and took snaps.
Its on the way to Aritar. The temple is quite old and maintained by the village people. Our driver was a local boy and he stated the history of the temple, their culture etc. I have already stated that he was a guide cum driver.
The way to the Aritar lake itself is a paradise and you have to stop here and there to take snaps and see the beauty of nature.
Some useful information
“The Silk Route Resort” –
This is the only property in Limtang run by a women from DumDum, Kolkata. The resort has double bedded rooms, one additional person can be accommodated in a double bedded room. Tariff is Rs.1,200 per room per day but on negotiation we got the rooms in Rs.1,000 per day. On further negotiation we were relieved from the additional service charge of 10% on the room tariffs and food. All the rooms are standard with all amenities and nice scenic view from the balcony.
Food is good here. You can get Bengali and Chinese dishes. Average cost of a meal is Rs.150 It is a bit expensive because there is no market around the place and they bring their necessities from the nearest market which is miles away. Average cost of a meal and breakfast is Rs.150 and Rs.60 respectively. There is no need to take the dishes for all because a dish can easily be shared among 2 or 3 persons, they provide much in a plate.
There is no direct transport to Limtang from NJP or Siliguri. One needs to go to Rongli and then take another vehicle to Limtang. I would suggest to take a pick up van from the resort. It’s just a few hundred rupees more but gives you the comfort and relief from the break journey. A pick up van takes Rs.3,000 that would wait for you at the NJP station or Bagdogra airport for your arrival and then takes you directly to Limtang. If you take a pick up van from the resort, you can stop anywhere you like for food, snaps etc. which is not possible in a share jeep. A share jeep from NJP or Siliguri to Rongli and Rongli to Limtang carries local people. You can’t hire a direct car to Limtang. So, I would suggest you to take a pick up van which is arranged by the resort. You can get a Mahindra Max or Sumo which can accommodate ten persons excluding the driver but I would suggest to travel eight to nine persons because the road condition is terrific there.
Aritar car fare:
A Mahindra Max or a Sabari(this car can accommodate more than 12persons) takes Rs.1,000 You can’t hire a taxi or a car by your own because there is no taxi stand or agency. The resort manager would arrange a car on your demand.
Limtan to Gangtok via silk route:
A Mahindra Max or Sumo takes Rs.3,500 from Limtang to Gangtok directly but if you go via Nathula pass, it takes Rs.7,000 including all passes for the border and other expenses.