JAWAHARLAL NEHRU BOTANICAL GARDEN
Why Should I Go
The Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden is perfectly scenic and its wave-like elevation only adds to its natural charm. For those who enjoy being surrounded by fauna, this garden is Sikkim’s version of the garden of Eden.
The Parks and Gardens unit of the Sikkimese Forest Department has done a great job of ensuring that all the trees, flowering plants and shrubs remain untouched. Time ceases to exist as you follow the structured path around the garden, examining the exotic flower species and simply basking in the natural splendour of the place. The garden is said to have more than 50 different varieties of tree species that includes dense temperate clusters of giant oaks. The main reason for its varied collection of flowers is because of the garden’s unique variations in altitude that ranges from 5900ft to over 7000ft.
How Do I Get There
If you’re visiting the Rumtek Monastery, the Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical garden is a 5 minute walk from the gompa.
From Gangtok you can either board a shared cab or book a jeep to bring you to the botanical garden that is 23kms away. The shortest route is via the NH10 and Ranipool-Rumtek-Sang Road.
There is a nominal entry fee of ₹10.
When Should I Land Up
If you want to explore the beauty of this garden, the best time to visit is during spring and summer when the flowers are blooming. Anytime between March and late-May is a good idea.
For those who want to experience the trees and flowers glimmering in the sunshine, an October (post-monsoon) visit should be on the cards.
As the temperatures drop from November to mid-December, you will get to witness the garden preparing itself for the oncoming winter.
The park is open 7 days a week at 8 a.m. and visitors have to leave by 6.30 p.m. Like all botanical gardens, in order to enjoy the natural serenity, one should land up as early as possible. Two hours spent walking along the designated footpath is more than enough to explore this sprawling botanical garden.
The Finer Details
Taking up a major chunk of the Yumthang Valley, this botanical garden has a tranquil 17 acre lake within its premises. As one passes massive fiddlehead ferns, silver firs and looming oaks, a sense of wonder at nature’s elegance begins to set in. You can even rent a paddleboat for an hour and float on the calm waters of the lake.
The glass conservatory houses a number of rare orchids and rhododendron varieties. As you walk past man-made waterfalls, that up the aesthetic value of the garden, make sure you spare more than a quick glance for the melange of flora.
It comes as no surprise that Yumthang (where the garden is located) is called Sikkim’s ‘valley of flowers.’ Kaffir lily, begonias, petunias, flamingo flowers, geraniums, primulas, poppies, cobra and tiger lilies, the list is endless. If you’re travelling to Sikkim with someone who you’d like to introduce to the world of floriculture, all you need to do is bring them to this botanical garden.
Make sure you keep off the grass and stick to the clearly demarcated footpaths.
The conservatory is not a recreational park, so make sure you don’t pluck flowers, leaves or ferns. You could be fined if caught in the act by park officials.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden is designed to showcase Sikkim’s vast floriculture. Do respect the natural beauty of the place by not littering its premises.