Uttarey (7600 ft.) is a small village in West Sikkim. It falls right near Nepal border named Chia Bhanjyang which is only a day's trek from Uttarey.Within the village of Uttarey only, there are interesting spots to visit like Monastery, Subba village, and Lake in Uttarey. Five hours from Gangtok (147 kms), Bagdogra Airport, New Jalpaiguri (N.J.P.) Railway Station and Siliguri (152 km), three hours from Darjeeling and Kalimpong and one and a half hours from Pelling – Uttarey in extreme West Sikkim is the “Virgin and Hidden Paradise on Earth”, and also is popularly known as the “Base Camp of Adventure Tourism for the Singalila Range Eco-Tourism Trekking Trail Towards Khangchendzenga” and also an important “Gate Way of International-Indo-Nepal Border Trade Route” through Chewabhanjyangla pass. From Bagdogra , Uttarey by road is 160km via Sevoke-Tista-Melli-Jorethang-Reshi-Rinchenpong-Kaluk-Dentam-Uttarey Valley (or Jorethang-Budang-Soreng-Kaluk-Dentam-Uttarey Valley).
The word “Uttarey” is derived from many nomenclatures like “Utey-Tarey” which means “Call and Bring Together” in Limboo language, i.e. Uttarey was generally named from the habitations made by different communities who were called and brought a century year ago from different places by the Limboo Chiefs giving them shelter as neighbors in that area then was the pasture land. It is the factual telling of the octagenerarian people.
In the next, “Uttarey is derived from the Nepali word “UTTAR” which means the North. Just in the midst of South Part of valley, there is a holy perennial source of water stream floating out towards the North, so that is called as “Uttarey”. But it is wonder that its twisting outlet source West. There is a famous and believing “Durga Mandir” blessing the valley with peace and prosperity. In the extreme North-East corner of the lake, in a jungle, there lies a “Jalpa Devithan,” which is believed to be the guard of the lake.
Located at the base of Singalila peak, Phokteydara, Phaleylung (Phalut), Sugochuli, Dichenphu (also known as Nedham) and Chewabhanzyang, Uttarey valley is a small paradise on earth. Set amidst pristine nature, the valley is surrounded by hilltops, waterfalls, evergreen forests, and herbs. The valley is an ideal place for eco-tourism and educational tour for botany, zoology, ornithology, ethnology. Also it is the ideal home for the quiet holiday seekers, nature lovers, and bird watchers with rewarding walks, trekking trails, and panoramic view. For a day of laid back moments one has only to walk 10-15 minutes up the stepped path below the Maneybong Kagyuk Monastery.
Here one can also find Chorten, Maney, Falaicha and Maneybong Mangheem. Warmed by the morning sun one can view the lower Singalila Range, bathe in the glory of Mother Nature and be revitalized from the drudgery of busy city life. Open all seasons. If one is lucky one may even experience the winter snowfall from the safety of their rooms, long balconies and large dining hall at Nagbeli Resort / Hotel. Moreover Uttarey valley is the last road head for the shortest to the longest treks in Sikkim Singalila Range and Khanchendzonga.
There is a treasure of ruins hidden under the earth in and around Maneybong Kagyuk Monastery. The ruins were very much in sight as late as 1982 when this Monastery was rebuilt with the relics found around the place. It is strongly believed that even now there are hidden scriptures buried in the earth. It is a historical fact that King Tensung Namgyal married Princess Mukma Hangma, daughter of Yomo Hang, the Limboo King of Aruntambar of Nepal. Ancient history of Sikkim claims that the couple with its entourage walked through this Uttarey Valley.
There is a belief among the people here that the water from the Gombadara pokhri near the Maneybong Kagyuk Monastery and the water from the Durga Mandir nearby run northward that is why the place earned its name Uttarey which means northbound. There was a huge pokhri in Uttarey Valley which has now dried up over the period. It is heard from the octogenarians that this pokhri was called the justice lake. When anyone had a complaint against another, both had to tie a small coin and some rice in a piece of cloth, attach it to a stick and dip in the lake at the same time. The one who was at fault, his rice would become damp and the innocent’s would just be dry. At present this lake is filled with herbal plants locally called bojo and some parts are used as farmland by the locals. This dried up lake area has added to the greenness of the valley. Uttarey Valley is an artist’s effort at painting the innumerable shades of green.
To the southern hilltop of Uttarey Valley the sky opens up to the majestic snow peaks of Khanchendzonga, Nathula Range and other dominant neighbouring peaks. The Singalila Range trail is also clearly visible from this point. The sunrise on lower Singalila range from Uttarey is an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. The flat hilltop allows space for incredible camping site. If one is fortunate one can encounter or find footprints of wild animals too. About 14 km to the south west of Uttarey Valley one can get a panoramic view of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest). Despite global warming Uttarey still experiences winter snowfall. In October-November the cherry is in full bloom and by January the variety of rhododendrons begins to open up which continues till April-May. When the flowers are in full bloom the buzzing bees, the fluttering butterflies and the chirping birds are not very far away.
It is believed with the facts that there was a big lake with full of water in this valley about 100 years ago. But, later, it was drained out because of endangering loss of many domestic animals and even for the human beings hebitated around and has becoming dried slowly since last 80 years. However, there lies still a big mercy land with full of herbal plants called as Bhojo in the local language.
Further, there is a wonderful and a quite interesting story based on the facts that Uttarey Lake was once a famous for “Water Judgment” so we called as “Water Judgment Lake”. Just in the North-West part of the valley we find an old long Buddhist stupa and is called as “ Maney” in the Local Language. Just below that “Maney” there was “Water Judgment Pond” with the area of 15x15ft. in all its width, length and depth prepared by the village chiefs since the time immemorial and was the supreme place of COURT to judge and decide all difficult and doubtful cases quite impartially which could not have had decided through the discussions and some or the other means of compromising normally.
The judgment according to the telling of the live octagenerarian people is quite interesting, surprising, amazing and wonderful. The story tells -“the parties for the judgment had to be submerged down to the bottom of the pond one after another through a long bamboo pole and one had to keep oneself inside the water to the maximum limit of time in once own favor. This was the system of judgment based on spiritual super natural power and godly believing on Reality and Guilty. The village chiefs as the judges and all the concerned in relation to the cases had to witness this judgment so seriously as well as with a deep curiosity. The judgment could led natural and automatic.
The person who was in reality could happen nothing inside the water and stayed as much as possible time with a normal breathing having no feeling even of being oneself in the water. But, now just on the other hand who was guilty in the case happened to be scared of water and even with a vehement try to be submerged inside the water oneself happened to be felt like one wild boar was vigorously pushing the guilt out of the water coming up from the bottom of the pond. Some had different experiences as some times some other evil spiritual body happened to push the guilt up and so could stay not at all any longer time inside the water pond. Ultimately the judgment for reality and guilty had to be decided and action could have been initiated accordingly by the village chiefs. The concerned persons excepts some few witnesses are no more now in this universe as the practice of such judgment was happening of before 1920 and slowly the pond also was vanished and has now become a barren land only.
Located on the lap of the SINGALILA RANGE, PHOKTEY DARA in the West and Neydham (Dichenphu) in the north, Uttarey is a small but beautiful and a virgin paradise on earth set amidst the pristine valley. It is surrounded by hill tops, waterfalls, frothing rivers, evergreen forest, medicinal herbs and mountains hamlets.
On the panoramic view of Singalila Range, the morning starts with the soft and lovely golden sun rays on its top so warmly welcoming the day and just in the reverse the evening starts with setting up of the sun passing through the same peak welcoming breezing and freezing night is really a unique and a quite memorable experience one can enjoy in the life.
The climatic condition of Uttarey Valley is so suitable for every tourist visitors visiting from different climatic habitants of the world as is neither so cold nor so hot, but remains so moderate with calm, silent, peace and clean environment and so goes open in all the seasons. Despite the global warming, Uttarey sometimes enjoys with heavy snow fall during winter seasons.
Every visitor shall become so compelling to make oneself a poet expressing the heavenly imaginary core language wave of the heart on Cheery Blossom in the months of October – November and on Rhododendron Blossom in the months of March-April-May in fact dancing with the fluttering butterflies, singing with the chirping birds and enjoying with the breezing bees all around.
Uttarey Valley, so far its itineraries around are concerned, is an ideal place for eco-tourism, adventure tourism, educational tourism on botany, zoology, ornithology , ethnology and also an ideal place for the quite holiday home-seekers, village-tourism, nature lover, bird watchers with rewarding walks and trekking trails with the nature’s panoramic view.
So far the ACCOMODATION is concern; Uttarey has now become a rich with ample choice of hotels, lodges, restaurants, resorts etc. Apart from the above, there are many beautiful Home Stay Villages around, like-Banduckey Limboo Tribal Home Stay Village, Sherpagawn Tribal Heritage Home Stay Village and Ferek Lepcha Tribal Heritage Home Stay Village adorned with their respective different language, custom, tradition, culture, wellness and different food habits especially for the nature and village environment lovers, cultural and heritage seekers etc.
The twenty years old society of Uttarey is one of the oldest society located at the Indo Nepal Border in the extreme West District of Sikkim. Though the activities of the society had begun since 1989, the same could have been formally registered in the year, 1991 only after a long struggle crossing many different hurdles. The society was firstly registered in the name of “Uttarey Consumer Co-operative Society Limited” under the Department of Co-operation, Govt. of Sikkim . The total number of share holders in the beginning were 120 (one hundred and twenty) only.
The Society, since the inception has been playing a vital role in the service of the people supplying them essential commodities in reasonable and fair marketing price opening a “consumer’s fair price shop” at Uttarey and is still running so smoothly. This Society with its Fair Price Shop has seen participating in many programmes and activities conducted by the Department of Co-operation, Govt. of Sikkim in all the corner of the State.
Sightseeing around Uttarey valley
By Road : Singshore Suspension Bridge, Dentam Alpine Cheese factory, Changey twin falls, Rinchenpong, Soreng, Timburbong, Hee Bermiok, Daramdin, Hilley, Pelling/Pemayangtse, Rabdentse, Yuksam, and Khanchendzonga falls.
Around Uttarey Valley
1. Early morning walk above clouds about ½ km.
2. The Retreat area 15 min walk along with Sikkim wild orchid species, rhododendron species & birds.
3. Simphok singalila khola.
4. Thatneykhola trout rearing centre 30-45 min walk.
5. Maneybong Kagyud Monastery 15 min walk.
6. Gombadara pokhri 15 min walk.
7. Singshore Suspension Bridge 15 min.
8. Khanchendzonga and Singalila trek trail 60 min walk.
9. Lamaney pokhri for birds and panoramic snow peak view 90 min walk & sunrise view.
10. Sunrise at lower Singalila Range 20 min walk.
11. Mainbas chetan Falls 4km away in a hidden place.
12. Durga Mandir 10 min walk.
Day Hiking from Uttarey Valley
Mainbas falls, Lamini pokhri, Thumki, Gombadara, Achaley, Chittrey tar, Sherpa, Lepcha and Limboo villages, Thatneykhola trout rearing centre, Simphok river, Yangma-sago, Fedi and others.
Short treks for 2-3 days (6700ft-13000ft) for panoramic view of mountain peaks like Mount Khanchendzonga and Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) Phokteydara, Chewabhanzyang, Dichenphu holy cave (Nedham), Noonthaley, Thulodhap, Hangeypani, Singalila peak, Phaleylung (Phalut), Varsey, Deonangali-dhap, and Tripaidara’.
Long treks 10-15 days (6700ft – 15000ft)
Singalila Range, Khanchendzonga National Park, Gorakhet, Sandakphu, the lake trek, Boktak, Sikkimey-meghu, caves, red panda, rhododendron, magnolia and orchids.
Things to do in Uttarey: You can trek till Chitrey and get to see trout cultivation in cultivation centre. Those interested in trekking can go for it till the top of Singalila via Chitrey and Chiyabhanjan. Adventure lovers can go out for short treks through forests to Barsey and Hilley or to Mainbus Waterfalls. In Uttarey, you can always take a nature walk along the surrounding hills and forests, take up soft treks to nearby monasteries and waterfalls. From Uttarey, you can also take up a 4 Nights 5 days Phoktey Dara trek from where you can see sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjungha, Mt. Everest and Mt. Kumbhakarna at the same time. This heavenly view has been described by most trekkers as the most beautiful sunrise of the Himalayas.
Best time to visit Uttarey: The pleasant climatic condition of Uttarey is favorable for all kind of visitors from any part of the world. The place offers a pleasant climatic condition as the temperature remains moderate in almost all season. So, you can visit this beautiful place during any time of the year. However, if you are planning to see the blooming of Rhododendrons, then March is the best month and winter is best for treks and hikes.
Lodging and dining facilities at Uttarey: There are now many private hotels and resorts available in the place which also offers dining facilities as well. However, most of the hotels in Uttarey are located in the valley without panoramic views of mountains. There is only one hotel located at Upper Uttarey, which is around 10 mins by car from Uttarey valley. This hotel has the best panoramic view of Uttarey valley on one side and the rolling mountains upto Jelepla Pass on the other side. This beautiful resort is located at the side of a lake where guests can enjoy boating too. It is a beautiful hotel with all modern facilities like hot water geysers, satellite TV, dining hall, extra spacious carpeted bedrooms, western bathrooms and a beautiful lobby.
All types of tents, sleeping bags and other requisite equipments are also available on hire for camping in the forests or for the treks.