The famous silk route that connected Lhasa (Tibet) to Kalimpongwas 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 mountaipass) (It is and 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.

Weather: 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. Wildlife sanctury: 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. How to reach zaluk: Zuluk is about 3 hours from Gangtok. You need to pre arrange special permit for visiting this restricted area that is issued from a place called Rangli or it can be arrange at sikkim infromation center at gangtok.
Itinerary for 1N/2D
Day 01 Pick Up from Gangtok, NJP (Siliguri) or Bagdugra to LIngtam via Rangpo, Rongli Bazar, Sisney Aritar lake (lampokhari lake) and overnight stay in Lingtam or Zaluk.
Day 02 Lingtam or Zaluk to Gangtok(Silk Route) via Phademchen view points, Q-khola Falls, dhupidara, Lungthung, Salamidara, Tukla Dara (Baba dham), Gnathung, Kupup, Sarathang (China Market) Nathula Pass, Changu Lake, Mandakeni Falls.
Itinerary for 2N/3D
Day 01 Pick Up from Gangtok, NJP (Siliguri) or Bagdugra to LIngtam via Rangpo, Rongli Bazar, Sisney and overnight stay in Lingtam.
Day 02 Sunrise at Ganak Dara (1200ft. Alt) via Zaluk Silk Route (Zig Zac Road 1, 2 & 3, Thambi View, Salami View points, Bhutan View, Black Lake, Old Baba Mandir, Gnathang Velley, Tugla Battle Field, Elephant lake, Jelepla Pass, Mac Mohan Line ( Indo China Border). Overnight Zaluk.
Day 03 Kupup Valley, Memen-chu lake, New Baba Mandir, World Highest Golf Course (Gunnies Record), Young husband treck, Sharathang Trade Mart, Thangu lake, Nathula Pass and Gangtok Overnight stay at Gangtok.

There is a debate still raging over the definition of the word and concept. But that has not prevented it from becoming one of the fastest growing segments in the travel ?tourism sector. According to statistics, nature oriented tourism, which comprises 20 percent of the world travel market has been growing more than any other sector. And eco tourism, a segment of it, has also been growing a segment of this market, has been growing between ten and 30 percent per annum. It is turning out to be a trump card for tourism industry. But care has to be taken not to over play it

Recognizing the global importance of Eco-tourism, The United Nations designated the year 2002 as the International Year of Eco tourism. Growing demand for environmentally friendly destinations and holidays has prompted the organizers of World Travel market in London to highlight this sector.

With the advent of Eco-tourism, mass tourism has reached the remote and up-to-now unscathed natural regions, often home to sensitive and fragile ecosystems. There is a general agreement that Eco-tourism is a type of travel to a natural area that supports conservation activities, contributes to local community development and leads to greater understanding and appreciation of the natural and cultural environments. At the same time Eco-tourism is subject to considerable debate in international forum, between critics and proponents. The former including many who have become disillusioned by the abuse of the tem and the inability for the ideal of Eco-tourism to be achieved.

Around the world there are many cases where tour operators promote socio-cultural and environmental concerns simply as a gimmick to increase profits and attract a clean image. Calculations by the International Eco tourism Society shows that experienced ecotourism's are willing to spend more than general tourist. Green and eco brands are good marketing tools also. A distinction must be drawn between traditional tour operators and principled eco tourism operators.

The former frequently shows no commitment to conservation or natural are management. They merely offer the clients an opportunity to experience exotic places and people before they change or disappear. Principled eco tourism operators, on the other hand, have begun to form partnerships with protected area managers and local people, with the intention of contributing tot he long-term protection of wild lands and local development, and in the hope of improving mutual understanding between residents and visitors. Eco tourism with such participation provides not only an economic inventive/alternative for local people.Low visitor impact and sustainable tourism are the buzzwords of ecotourism. Take nothing but memories. Leave nothing but footprints.

Need to Preserve Nature Ecotourism means many things to many people. To some it is travel to enjoy the world?s amassing diversity of the wilderness and to some a purposeful travel to natural areas. But, the one thing that has not been identified yet is that, the concept of eco tourism finds full expression only with due emphasis on nature, the identification of the cultural, social and geographical features of region along with serene and scenic beauty.

The sudden growth of ecotourism and the recognition it is gaining world over, has made experts to think about the various environmental, economical and cultural impact it can bring tot he has country.

The UN has declared 2002 as the International Year of Eco Tourism. The United Nations Environment programme has taken the lead in organizing activities for this year at the International level. Eco tourism, the idea that nature based tourism could contribute to the social and environmental benefits burst into public consciousness in the late 1980s and became virtually a phenomenon in the 1990s.

In particular, the team is surrendered by confusion, Is it a form of ?Alternative Tourism? Is it sustainable? Is it responsible? The list is endless and it is feared much of the debate counter productive. Ecotourism can be seen as a particular variant of the alternative tourism. A crucial component in this is that the affected local communities need to be the recipients of the benefit. Spreading benefits to local communities is also fraught with problems and often inadequate to offset the appeal of short term but more lucrative extractive industries.

However, in the decade of eco tourism, one can see that benefits are not always easy to deliver. Undoubtedly, there are forests still standing, rivers still clean and wildlife alive because of eco tourism. Conservation issues are now at the forefront of public opinion. One cannot just write off, the sudden decline of nature rainforests, loss of endangered species, global warming and land degradation. One thing however is certain, the increasing global interest and exponential growth in eco tourism cannot simply be explained as another in a long line of recreational trends. Instead, it reflects a fundamental shift in the way human beings view and engages with nature.

Eco tourism has appeared to hold promise to ameliorate another dilemma of our age. The twentieth century has seen the tragic and rapid demise of the rich cultural heritage of the world?s indigenous people by the relentless pressure of modern industrialized society.

So one can see how the UN declaration has proved itself because it is a testimony of the growing importance of eco tourism, not only as a sector with great potential for economic development-especially in remote areas where few other possibilities exist, but also as a powerful tool for conservation of the natural environment, if it is properly planned, developed and managed.


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