Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 AD by Phuntsog Namgya. Yuksom was replaced by Rabdentse as capital in 1670 when Phuntsok Namgyal’s son Tensung Namgyal, shifted the capital. Yuksom is a historical town and a heritage village in Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district in the Northeast Indian state of Sikkim.
Yuksom has a very sacred, religious and cultural significance. It is home to Demazong-meaning a valley of rice. The landscape of Demazong valley is also known as the land of hidden treasures blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. The lake Khecheopalri which is an integral part of the Demazong valley is believed to represent one of the four systems of the human body namely thorax; the other three systems are said to be represented by Yuksom which represents the ‘third eye’. Besides these, there are a number of Buddhist monasteries and historical monuments in Yuksom.
Yuksom is the starting point for the trekking trail to Mt. Khanchendzonga, which is also favorite among trekkers. It is situated at the head of Kanchenjunga National Park, which is the largest protected area in Sikkim. The hills of Yuksom were named Ney-Pemathang in the past for their beautiful landscape. The forest cover in these hills consists of broad-leafed Oak, Birch, Maple, Chestnut, Magnolia, Rhododendron, Silver, Fir, Ash, and Alder. Sikkim owes much of its title of “biodiversity hot-spot” to the natural setting of Yuksom. The popular trek to Goechala (via Dzongri) also begins from Yuksom.
The inhabitants of Yuksom have promoted eco-tourism in this as well as other regions of Sikkim. It is also considered as the model village for eco-tourism. Every year the visiting population of tourists exceeds the resident population owing to its location on the trekking route and its importance as a religious center for Buddhists. The Bhutias, Lepchas and Nepalese constitute the major communities in Yuksom.
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