Gangtok, Sikkim: Scenic beauty & striking views of Kanchenjunga

Gangtok, Sikkim

Rumtek Monastery

Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim. An incomparable hill resort of northeast region of India, it is one of the most frequently visited places. Gangtok is situated on the ridge of a hillock at an altitude of 1,700 meters.

It is widely known for its scenic beauty and striking views of the mount Kanchenjunga, 3rd highest peak in the world. The hill resort is about 110 km from Siliguri and it is very well linked with other important places of this region.

With various cultures and religions thriving in perfect concord, Gangtok has proved that ‘unity in diversity’ exists in Sikkim. Sikkimese people possess firm bonding with their antique customs and traditions. Gangtok is emphatically not behind the rest of the places in the world in terms of modernization and urbanization. The town has broad roads, discothèques, educational institutes, fast-food centers, flyovers, posh markets, state-of-art hospital, and all other advanced and modern comforts that the heart can want for.

The important destinations present around Gangtok are Darjeeling (94 km), Dzongri, Kalimpong (80 km), Nathula (56 km), Pelling (125 km), Ravangla, Siliguri (110 km), Yuksom, and Yumthang.

Soft woolen aprons in summer, warm aprons in winter, and a handy umbrella would be very useful for visitors.

Tourist attractions

Namgyal Institute of Tibetology: Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is a premiere institute and research center located atop a small hill. The main attraction here is the museum which houses around 200 Buddhist icons, antique paintings, thangkas, statues, shrines, tapestries, masks and other religious works of Tibetan Art.

Rabdentse Ruins: Rabdentse Ruins was the second capital of the past Kingdom of Sikkim after Yuksom and until the year 1814 AD. The state has been ruled by the king of Sikkim from this place. The ruins are located very close to Pemayangste Monastery, west Sikkim. It is an archaeological site to be visited by all the people.

Ban Jhakri Falls: Set amidst natural greens and covering an area of around 2 acres, Ban Jhakri falls is quite a popular place among tourists in Gangtok. The site is just 4 km away from the town of Gangtok and is enroute to Ranka Monastery, which is another tourist spot. A park with shamanistic theme, the ethnic sculptures and figures maintained in the park gives a picture of the Jhakri culture.

Kanchenjunga: The word “Kanchenjunga” is a Tibetan word, which means “five treasuries of the great snow”. Kanchenjunga is the World’s 3rd highest peak, which is the most monolithic and striking mountain of the world and it is still a virgin peak. Kanchenjunga looks to be a mighty upheaval of ice and snow from the interconnecting system of the chief Himalayan Range; however, this is an illusion.

Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary:

Tashi Viewpoint: The late king of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal, had constructed the Tashi Viewpoint. It is located 4 km away from Gangtok, from where the visitors can get a perfect view of the opposite hills, besides mount Kanchenjunga. The snow range of Kanchenjunga could be seen on clear days. From this viewpoint, the visitors can easily see the Phodong Monastery and the Labrang Monastery on the opposite hill.

Tsomgo Lake: Tsomgo Lake is located in the north eastern part of Sikkim. It is situated 35 km away from Gangtok on the Gangtok–Nathula highway, which is the erstwhile trade route from India to China. this lake is worshipped as holy by the Sikkimese. The average depth of this lake is about 50 feet and it is 1 km long. An inner permit is required to explore this region.

Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary: Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 20 km away from Gangtok. It is very famous for varied flora (like bamboo, champa, ferns, katus, kimbu, oak, orchids, rhododendrons, and so on) and fauna (binturong or bearcat, civet cat, Himalayan black bear, red panda, and so on).

Do Drul Chorten: Do Drul Chorten is the biggest and the most important stupa in Sikkim. It is located near Gangtok. It is the most important tourist spot in East Sikkim. It was built in the year 1945 under the supervision of late Truslshi Rimpoche.

Enchey Monastery: Enchey Monastery, which means solitary temple, is a 200-year old monastery. It is situated on a hilltop, just 3 km away from the metropolis centre. There are about 90 monks in this monastery.

Ganesh Tok: Ganesh Tok is a very small temple located next to the television tower on the hillock on Gangtok–Nathula road. Ganesh Tok is located 7 km from Gangtok. The altitude of this spot would be 6,500 m. This temple is devoted to Lord Ganesh. It is so small; it can just accommodate one person. One must crawl to get into the temple.

Rumtek Monastery: Rumtek Monastery is also known as Dharma Chakra Centre. From its location on a hilltop, Rumtek Monastery is facing the city Gangtok. The monastery is located 24 km away from Gangtok, in east Sikkim. It is the largest monastery in Sikkim where the monks do the sacred rites in addition to the practices of the Karma Kagyu lineage.

Tashiding Monastery: Tashiding Monastery is an ancient and holy monastery in Sikkim. It was founded in the year 1717. It pertains to the Nyingmapa order. It is located approximately 40 km from the town Geyzing in West Sikkim. Tashiding Monastery is considered a significant holy place for Buddhists. According to ancient notions, the devotees are purified of all their sins if they visit the great sacred Tashiding Monastery, at least once.

KanchenjungaDirectorate of Handicrafts & Handloom: The Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom was founded in 1957, as Handloom and Handicrafts Centre of Sikkim. This is situated 500 meters from the central market of Gangtok. This organization has been established to conserve and pass around the art and craft skills of the artificers of Gangtok. In this centre, the visitors can see blankets, elegant hand-carven folding tables (Choktse), hand-loomed carpets with conventional themes, hand-painted masques, shawls, traditional paintings, wooden dolls and many other handicrafts.

Trekking: Sikkim, with its exotic flora, is a paradise for trekkers. Earlier, trekking was not allowed here, however to develop tourism and encourage tourist inflow, Government is now inspiring the trekkers to apply their skills on the mountainous topographies of Sikkim.

Best time to visit

Gangtok enjoys a gentle, moderate climate all year through. The best time to visit the place is from September to June.

How to reach

By Train: The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri, which is 148 km away from Gangtok.

By Air: The nearest airport is Bagdogra near Siliguri, which is 124 km from Gangtok.

By Bus: The Gangtok city is well connected to other cities in Sikkim and the neighboring states by bus services.

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