View of Zuluk from the Zig Zag Road
The famous silk route that connected Lhasa
(Tibet) to Kalimpong
was in use even a few decades ago until the Chinese invasion
in Tibet. Zuluk / Dzuluk, located in East Sikkim, used to
be a small village on this route. It was commonly used by
traders traveling to Tibet through Jelep-la ("La" stands for
mountain pass) as an overnight base.
Today it is fast emerging as a new tourist
destination in East Sikkim. Zuluk derives its tourism importance
due to the excellent view of the eastern Himalayan mountain
range including the Kanchenjunga that it offers. A trip to
the area requires special permits. The permits though would
be arranged by naturebeyond, and as a guest you would only
need to provide your id proof and photograph.
Zuluk is a small village with population
of about 700 people. There is an army base which is used as
a transit camp for the army movement to the Chinese boarder
a few kilometers away.
During the summer months, the area and
its surrounding hills are covered with thousands of blooming
rhododendron. Zuluk during these months, is a riot of colors
due to the variety of rhododendron that can be seen here.
Besides the Memenchu Lake
Sight Seeing around Zuluk
This is a place which you would visit for
the beauty of the mountain and the forests rather than going
for typical sight seeing tours. A few kilometers drive would
take the tourists through a winding road to the Thambi view
point; at an altitude of 11,200 ft provides excellent sunrise
view. The entire eastern Himalaya can be viewed from this
On the way to Thambi view point you can
also stop over to the spot where a group of local people have
reportedly seen the Yeti. The story of "Yeti", "Bonzhakri"
and other folklore seems very plausible sitting besides the
small fire in the night under the open moonlit sky. Listing
to those stories from the locals may itself turn out to be
a good reason to visit Zuluk.
Normally visitors sight seeing is limited
to going to the Thumbi view point, if you are the adventurous
type, and dont mind a little bit of physical challange, naturebeyond
may arrange special permits for going much beyond. Further
ahead you will reach Lungtung at an altitude of 13,000 ft..
You may continue till you visit the Adi baba mandir and the
Kalpokhri lake. Further one may go up to Kupup and Memenchu
lake. Kupup is another army base and is known for the highest
golf course in the world at an altitude of 13,500 ft. The
Memenchu lake is also known as the hati lake (Elephant lake)
as the contours of the lake looks like an elephant from up
A monal Phasent near Zuluk
The road further ahead connects with the
famous Tsongo lake near Gangtok.
Other places that can be reached in this area include the
Tukla valley, where there is a war memorial in remembrance
of the battle of Tukla. The Jelep la pass can also be reached
from here. However special permits are required to travel
to this area.
Zuluk at an altitude of about 7,000 ft offers
pleasant weather during most of the year. The rainy season
is a little protracted and heavy to very heavy showers are
common. The winter may see snowfall in the area. The summer
temperature would be varying near 20 degree Celsius with substantial
difference between the day and night temperature. Tourists
visiting the area are advised to carry worm clothing and umbrella.
Zuluk is surrounded by wild forest, some
of the forests are completely virgin. Sighting of Deer, Wild
Dog, Himalayan Bear the red panda is not very uncommon. Some
tigers have also reportedly been sighted in the area. A variety
of birds can also be seen such as Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant,
Khaleez Pheasant, Snow Pheasant and others.
Where to Stay
Houses near Memenchu lake
There is no hotel around here. The only
option is to stay at the home stay accommodations. The facilities
are basic. Mr. Gopal Pradhan is a local who has taken great
initiatives to put Zuluk in the tourism map. Most of naturebeyond
guests stay at his house. Mr. Pradhan has a hands-on approach
towards satisfying the guests. He also often drives his own
vehicle to take tourists for local sight seeing.
How to reach
Zuluk can be reached directly from Bagdogra
airport or NJP railhead. The drive takes about 6 hours (depending
on road condition). You can also visit Zuluk from Kalimpong
(4 hours) or Gangtok (3 hours).