The sleepy, spread-out hamlet of Yoksum, which occupies a large shelf at the entrance to the Rathong Chu gorge, 40-km north of Pemayangtse at the end of the road, holds a special place in Sikkimese history.
This was the spot where three lamas converged to enthrone the first religious king of Sikkim, Chogyal Phuntsog Namgyal, in 1642. Named the "Great Religious King" he established Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim. Guru Rinpoche predicted this meeting of three lamas coming from different directions across the Himalayas nine centuries earlier. Lhatsun Chenpo is supposed to have buried offerings in Yoksum's large white Norbugang Chorten built with stones and earth from different parts of Sikkim.
From here a path branches left through the village to a small grove and the simple stone throne of the first Chogyal. In front of the throne an impressive footprint embedded in a rock by one of the lamas no doubt impressed the king too.
Nyingma Dubdi Monastery
High above the town, prayer flags announce the site of the Nyingma Dubdi monastery, built in 1701. From the end of the road at the hospital, a path threads past water wheels and a small river and rises through the forest to arrive at the dramatically situated Gompa, looking out over Yoksum.
Kathok lake, a small scummy pond at the top end of town has nothing of the pristine beauty of sister-lake, a small scummy pond at the top end of town has nothing of the pristine beauty of sister lake Khecheopalri, but has views of the snow capped peaks in the distance.
While the Western District headquarters are at Geyzing, the real adventure begins from Yuksom, which serves as the base camp for unforgettable treks into the wilds of the mountains. These high altitude alpine treks take one through fairy tale landscapes and lush Rhododendron forests to heights of about 12,800 feet at Dzongri.
For the more experienced trekker or mountaineer, trips can be made up to Goe Chala at a height of 18,000 feet and at the foot of the awe-inspiring Mount Khangchendzonga.
Shared jeeps leave from Gehzing for Gangtok, Siliguri and
Pelling and other local destinations from
the main square. A bus to Siliguri leaves early morning daily, and other
buses to Jorethang leave at 9.30 am, 1.00pm and 3.30 pm - change there for
and Siliguri. There is a daily bus for Gangtok
at 7.00 am and a daily service to Khecheopalri Lake at 2.30 pm, passing
through Pelling. At 2.00 pm another bus service leaves for Yoksum via
Legship and Tashiding.
Note: Visitors with west Sikkim permits are welcome in Yoksum, but unless one has a Dzongri trek permit one is not supposed to venture any further. The police are quite vigilant, so there's not much chance of a surreptitious high mountain.