Zuluk or Jhuluk is a hamlet located in the lower Himalayas, at an altitude of 3000 meters. It is located in East Sikkim, near the Indo-China border. It is comparatively a new and offbeat tourist destination. In fact, special permits are required to tour Jhuluk. The place has a population of around 700 people and the army base located there is used as a transit camp for army movement to the Chinese border, located a few kilometers away. Previously, it was a part of the popular silk route connecting Kalimpong to Tibet and was mainly used by traders traveling to Tibet. In winters, the entire area around Zuluk gets covered in snow and after the rains in September, this whole region is covered in wild flowers of all types. However, this small village of Zuluk is used as a base to see one of the most magnificient sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjungha. BOOKING DETAILS OF ZULUK
Places to see at Jhuluk: The three-level zigzag roads of Jhuluk offer beautiful views of the Kanchenjunga and its mountain range. The other attractions of the place include lakes, temples and ‘Young Husband Track’, a route that leads to Tibet. Some of the forests situated around Jhuluk are completely unexplored and offer a variety of flora and fauna. Various kinds of animals found in the wild forests include Deer, Himalayan Bears, Wild Dogs, Red Pandas, Tigers and Snow Leopard. The list of birds includes Monal Pheasant, Khaleez Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Snow Pheasant and many more.
Nearby attractions of Jhuluk: From Jhuluk, you can reach Thambi View Point by driving on a winding road. Situated at an altitude of 11,200 feet; the spot offers excellent view of the entire eastern Himalayas. You can also go ahead and reach Lungtung, at an altitude of 13,000 feet to enjoy another complete panoramic view of Mt. Kanchenjungha.
Another 30 mins drive would take you to Kalpokhri Lake, Adi Baba Mandir and Kupup Lake. The Kupup Lake (Bitang Cho lake) also known as Elephant lake owning to it shape which resembles and elephant is also a very popular destination. You would also find the highest golf course in the world near Kupup Lake. You can further travel Nathula Pass, New Baba Mandir Tsomgo Lake and reach Gangtok. Menmecho Lake, which is tyhe source of the Rangpo River is also visible in the distance from the road after crossing Kupup.
Things to do in Jhuluk: Your early morning trips from Zuluk village to nearby Lungthang or Thambi View Point would help you witness a grand sunrise over the entire Mt. Kanchenjungha range. The sunrise view points of Thambi and Lungthung offers a panoramic view of the valleys, roads and most of Eastern Himalayas. The road to Lungthung would cross some of the untouched parts of the region and you can catch a glimpse of some rare birds like monals in this region too.
How to reach Zuluk: The Zuluk trip is operated as package tours because you would need special Inner Line permits (even for Indian citizens) and exclusive Reserved Cars. The trips are usually operated from destinations like Sillery Gaon in West Bengal, Reshikhola or Mankhim (in Sikkim). The usual packages are 3 Nights – 4 Days and 4 Nights – 5 Days (ex New Jalpaiguri / Siliguri or Bagdogra).
Best time to visit Zuluk: The beauty of Zuluk is breathless in every season. Just after the rainy season in September, the valleys get covered in wild flowers. In April and early May, Zuluk is covered in blooming Rhododendrons and the winter months witness around 6 feet of snow. If you are aiming for the most memorable sunrise of your lifetime, then visit during the winters.
Lodging and dining facilities at Jhuluk: No hotel facilities are available at Zuluk but you can opt for home stay accommodations and cottages that are run by villagers and offer dining facilities to its guests. Zuluk is at an altitude of 10000 feet and has some basic good accommodation. You can also stay at Padamchin at a lower altitude or at Lungthung at 13000 feet. Your trip to the various spots like Thambi, Kupup, Nathang, Old Baba Mandir and other destinations can be visited by staying in any of these places. Padamchen is only 8 kms before Zuluk and has much better accommodation options than Zuluk and Lungthung. Good fresh food is provided in these homestays and cottages.
Photographs by Debkinkar Baidya, Ambar Ghosal.