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Gangtok

Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim is all about culture, panorama and monasteries. Often termed as ‘Lofty Hill’, the city is popular for its 1716 built Gangtok Monastery. Tourist can enjoy some of the best nature created scenery in Gangtok.

Pay a visit to the Dul-Dul Chorten and Labrang Monastery. The Deer Park and Kangchendzonga National Park are haven for those wanting to see some unique flora and fauna. Some other famous attraction in Gangtok includes Kechopari Lake, Phurchachu Reshi Hot Springs, Kabi Longstok, Rumtek Monastery, Tsomgo Lake and Yumey-Samdong hot springs. Shopping for wooden handicrafts and bags and carpets should not be missed.

Popular excursion from Gangtok is to Changu Lake, Chungthang, Hanuman Tok and Phoodong Monastery among others. Trekking is a wonderful adventure option but one requires permits in order to explore the area.

April to Mid June and September to November is the ideal time to visit the city. While the closest airport is Bagdogra (124 kms), the nearest railhead is at Jalpaiguri (148 kms). The best way to reach the city is by roads that will reveal some of the most delightful sceneries.

When To Go

Gangtok enjoys a gentle, moderate climate all year through. The best time to visit the place is from September to June.
  • Winters (December-February) has an average temperature of about 4°C. Snowfalls in the higher altitudes sometimes cuts off different tourist spots. This period is favorable for honeymoon trip in Gangtok.
  • Spring (March – mid of April) season is pleasant and is the best time to enjoy the natural vista of the place.
  • Summers (April end – June) are mild and mercury levels range from an average maximum of 22°C. The period is suitable for all types of tourist activities as the weather is nice and comfortable.
  • Monsoons (July – September) offers heavy rainfalls and often causes landslides in the region. July month records maximum rainfalls. It may not be a good idea to visit in rainy season.
  • Autumns (October – November) are beautiful with pleasant climate. The period is the best time for sightseeing and enjoying holidays in Gangtok.
Honeymoons are ideal during winters in Gangtok. The place has moderate climate in summer allowing you to carry out all types of tourist activities and adventures. The best season for Gangtok tourism is during spring and autumn when the weather is pleasant.

Travel within city

The city of Gangtok is one of the prime tourist destinations in India, and is a bustling place that is active throughout the year. Gangtok has a lot of places of interest, and you should make sure that your commute around the city is easy for you to visit all the important places conveniently.

Taxi


Taxis are a convenient mode of transport in Gangtok. These are also the safest mode of transport and the most preferred mode of transport in the city of Gangtok. You can opt for a taxi ride to any destination within Gangtok, and the charges involved are normally around Rs 100 to 200, depending on the distance covered.

Bus


You can also opt for buses to travel around the city of Gangtok. Buses in Gangtok are run by the local government and these SNT buses are taken up by a majority of the population. This is because traveling through a bus is a very economical mode of travel. Bus fares in Gangtok will vary from Rs 3 to 5, depending on the overall distance covered.

Shared Jeep/Mini Bus


You can also opt for shared jeeps or minibuses in order to travel around the city of Gangtok. This is also a cheap mode of transport in the local region. The taxis and jeeps in Gangtok do not run on meter and drivers will normally quote a flat rate. Fares for shares jeeps will be around Rs 20 to 30.
Attractions

Do Drul Chorten

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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 the East Sikkim. This has been built in the year 1945 under the supervision of late Truslshi Rimpoche.

There are about 108 prayer wheels (Mani-Lhakor) in this chorten. There are some mantras have been engraved in these prayer wheels; by turning these prayer wheels, the devotees can read and chant these mantras. The renowned chorten has a gold-plated steeple. Devotees and pilgrims from all parts of the state and from other states come to devote their homage at this sacred stupa.
Timings: Sunrise till sunset (open on all days).  Charges: Entry fee: Rs 10 (Indians)  

Enchey Monastery

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

The monastery was constructed on this site blessed by the renowned Tantrik guru Lame Druptab Karpn, who is recognized for his flying powers. This monastery has been built as a small hermitage. However, during the period of Sikyong Tulku (from 1909 to 1910), the current monastery was constructed in the form of a Chinese Pagoda. No other construction is allowed built near this monastery. This monastery has icons of Goddesses, Gods, and other spiritual objects in its premises.

Kanchenjunga

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Kunjendzonga
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 mountains of the World, and it is still a virgin peak. Kanchenjunga looks to be mighty upheaval of ice and snow from the interconnecting system of the chief Himalayan Range; however, this is an illusion.

The three territories surrounds Kanchenjunga are Sikkim (in the south and east), Nepal (in the west), and Tibet (in the north). The highest summit of Kanchenjunga is 28,156 feet. The view of Kanchenjunga from Darjeeling is the best in the world. There are some trekking routes are also available in Kanchenjunga, which take the trekkers through pristine forests and bewitching villages.

Ban Jhakri Falls

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Set amidst natural greens and covering an area of around 2 acres, Ban Jhakri falls is quite a popular place amongst tourists in Gangtok. The site is just 4 km away from the town of Gangtok and it 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.

With eye-catching waterfall, the park has well laid trails to stroll around, enjoying the scenic surrounding. A foot bridge built over the water stream and a dragon adoring splash are other major attractions of this shamanistic theme park.
Charges: Rs 15  

Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom

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The Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom was founded in 1957, as Handloom and Handicrafts Centre of Sikkim. This is situated 500 metres 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.

Besides the above-mentioned products, one can find batiks, crafts made of bamboo, embroidery footwear, lamp stands, and silk cloths. Numerous tourists visit the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom to purchase and look up to the crafts of Sikkim.
Contact: 03592 - 203126 / 202926  Timings: 9.30 am to 12.30 pm & 1 pm to 3 pm (Monday to Saturday). Closed on Sundays.  

Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary

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Red Panda
Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 20 km away from Gangtok. This sanctuary 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).

It is a wonderful place to find many species of wild animals pursued with their day-to-day activities. It also domiciles many species of birds and butterflies. At the altitude of 7,000 feet, Tinjure has a wooden site-seeing tower, which has been maintained by the Forest Department. As a whole, this sanctuary would the best place for the nature lovers.
Contact: For Bookings: Savion Travel Services Pvt. Ltd. Phone: 120-4242181/82/83/84  Charges: Rs 5/-  

Flower Show

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Timings: 9 am to 5 pm  Charges: Rs 5  

Ganesh Tok

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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.

From this temple, one can get a bird’s-eye view of the Gangtok town, the Raj Bhawan Complex, and mount Kanchenjunga – the world’s 3rd highest peak. There is a place called Smriti Van, which is close to the temple, where the devotees can plant saplings on behalf of their loved ones.

Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology

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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.

Moreover, the place also boasts of having more than 30,000 xylographs and has the translation of Buddha’s original teachings by eminent scholars from all over the world. The museum is renowned for having one of the world’s biggest collections of rare manuscripts of the Mahayana sect of Buddhism.
Contact: 03592 281642  Timings: 10 am to 4 pm (Monday to Saturday). Closed on Sundays, second Saturdays every month and on official government holidays.  Charges: Rs 10  

Rabdentse Ruins

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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 is located very close to Pemayangste Monastery, west Sikkim. It is an archaeological site to be visited by all the people.

The beautiful view from the top of the ruins glancing over the deep valley to the occult heights of Kanchenjunga ranges is something to be loved and inscribed in memory. Visitors can easily reach this ruins by trek through a 2-km route in the middle of the forest that begins from Pelling and extends until Geyzing. During this trekking once can see thick forest around them.

Rumtek Monastery

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Rumtek-Sayak(9038875445)
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 the east Sikkim. This monastery is the largest monastery in Sikkim, which is dwelling to the monk community. This is the place where the monks do the sacred rites in addition to the practices of the Karma Kagyu lineage.

The monastery is situated at an altitude of 5,800 ft. During summer, the maximum temperature would range between 13 and 21°C; however, in the winter the temperature would range between 8 and 15°C.

Rumtek Monastery consists of numerous sacred things; one of the most glorious things is the Golden Stupa that holds the treasured relics of His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa.

Tashi Viewpoint

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The late king of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal, has 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.

A perching shed and a modest cafeteria are there at Tashi Viewpoint, which provides shelter and other comforts to the visitors. The park present near the viewpoint is a great place to savour the picnic.

Tashiding Monastery

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

It is roosted on top of the hill uprising between the Rangit River and the Rathong River and. The monastery consists of many holly Buddhist mantras, precisely carved on stone plates (Manis). The monastery appears stupefying with an amazing backdrop represented by mount Kanchenjunga.

Trekking

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A visit to Sikkim and missing the trekking midst its challenging slopes means to miss a major attraction of the place.

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.

Trekking is allowed up to Dzongri, and one needs to be accompanied by a travel agent recognized by the Indian tourist Development Corporation and a liason officer or guide provided by the Government of Sikkim.

Trekking gears are easily available at Gangtok. The most popular trek is from Gangtok to Pemayangtse via Rumtek. The other well-known trekking routes are Nayan Bazar- Pemayangtse-Yaksum-Dzongri and Rangpo-Gangtok-Yaksum-Dzongri.

A low-altitude trek is from Namchi to Pemayangtse and vice versa. The best season for trekking is between the months of April-May and October-November.

Tsomgo Lake

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Tsomga 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 makes a role of the erstwhile trade route from India to China. This lake has been worshipped as a holy lake by Sikkimese. The average depth of this lake is about 50 feet and 1 km long. An inner permit is required to explore this region.

The cool and tranquil water harmonies with the beautiful scenery around it attract so many visitors. During the winter season, the lake would be in frozen condition. A moderate-sized temple of lord Shiva is present on the lakeshore. Many beautiful flowering plants like primula and other plantations like alpine add beauty to the lake.

. The place has a small market from where tourists can purchase yak cheese, trinkets and local curios. A small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located on the banks of the lake and is a major crowd puller. Tourists can enjoy day time snowfall here during the month of June and July. There are many spots and shed where tourists can relax and enjoy the scenic beauty. The temperature here is very cold through the year hence carrying woollens is recommended.

Hanuman Tok

  
Hanuman Tok is situated approximately 5 km rising from White Hall on a bifurcating road of the Gangtok–Nathula highway. And it is 11 km away from Gangtok town. The height of this point is roughly 7,200 ft. From the top of this hillock, once can get wonderful view of Gangtok town and the nearby hills. It is a temple dedicated to lord Hanuman.

This temple has been managed by a division of the Indian Army and can be observed to be completely neat and clean. Nearby this spot, the “royal cremation grounds? of Lukshyama is located, where the mortal remains of the members of the former Namgyal dynasty were confined to the flame.

Institute of Tibetology

  
Namgyal -
The foundation stone of Namgyal Institute of Tibetology was reposed by the fourteenth Dalai Lama on 10 February 1957. The late Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has declared it open on 1 October 1958. It is a hoarded wealth of huge collection of rare Lepcha, Sanskrit and Tibetan manuscripts, ancient statues, and Thankas, which is colourful tapestries exploited in the Buddhist liturgy. Besides an appealing museum, the institute consists of more than 200 Buddhist icons and many other treasured objects of art.

Presently, the institute is the famous worldwide centre for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion. The construction work of the institute is a noble memorial and an excellent example of the architecture of Sikkim.

Kabi Longstok

  
The historical site of Kabi Longstok lies around 17 km north of Gangtok. It is the place where the treaty of brotherhood was signed between Khey-Bumsar, the Tibetan chieftain and the Lepcha shaman Te-Kung-Tek. A stone pillar amidst the dense trees marked the location of signing the treaty. Place near the Thakurbani Temple in Gangtok is the Statue of Unity, which is erected in the memory of the event.

Kabi Lungchok

  
Kabi Lungchok is a place of historical importance, which is situated 17 km from Gangtok on the highway of north Sikkim. This is the place where the historic accord of union between Bhutia chief Khey-Bum-Sar and Lepcha chief Te-Kung-Tek was ceremonially signed. A monumental stone pillar has been erected in the place where the ceremonial occasion happened.

This place has been densely covered with trees and bushes. This place is open to everybody without the requirement of an extra permit. It would take approximately one hour to reach Kabi Lungchok from Gangtok. The stone pillar and the statue memorializing the historical event are the important attractions of Kabi Lungchok.

Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary

  
Situated around 31 km from Gangtok, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is one of the tourist places of the region. Set near the well-known Tsomgo Lake and abounds in natural beauty, the sanctuary extends an area of around 31 sq. km. It is a home to various rare species of plants, trees and wildlife.

Many species of trees such as tall juniper, rhododendron, silver fir, orchid, primulas, gentians, wild strawberries and more are found in this sanctuary. While various medicinal plants like Nilo Bikh, Kutki and Jatamasi are also common in Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary.

The sanctuary houses various wildlife and some of the commonly seen animals here includes Black Bear, Musk Deer, Blood Pheasant, Leopard, Red Panda, Common Langur, Himalayan Marmot, Serow and many more. It is also a great place for bird enthusiasts as the sanctuary houses a wide variety of birds which includes both residential and migratory birds.

Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is also an ideal spot for trekking, which attracts a lot of trekkers. The best time to visit this sanctuary is from October to November months.

M.G Marg

  
March-April is the festive season at sikkim
M.G Marg, set in the heart of the city is the most happening place in Gangtok, stretching over a kilometer with hotels and shops. A total free vehicle road with many restaurants, bars and shops on both sides, this place is ideal for hanging out with friends and family especially in the evening. In fact, a perfect place for shopping and dining while in Gangtok.

Mountain Biking

  
Mountain Sports is one of the most popular adventure sport tourists can enjoy in Gangtok. Some of the most popular biking routes are –

  • Gangtok – Rumtek – Sang – Sirwani – Temi – Damthang – Rabong – Kewzing – Tashiding – Yoksum – Geyzing – Dentam – Rinchenpong – Soreng – Sombaria - Jorthang – Namchi - Rangpo.
  • Gangtok – Rumtek – Sang – Sirwani – Temi – Namchi – Namthang – Rangpo
  • Gangtok – Phodong – Rangrang – Dikchu – Makha – Sirwani – Temi
  • Gangtok – Rumtek – Sang – Sirwani – Temi – Namchi – Jorthang – Melli
Various adventure operators are present across the region to assists the tourists with this adventure sport.

Phensong Monastery

  
Phensong Monastery was built in 1721 during the period of Jigme Pawo. It is located on a mild slope extending from Kabi to Phodong in north Sikkim. It pertains to the Nyingmapa order of the Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery consists of about 300 monks. It is a significant monastery of Buddhists.

The surroundings of the monastery are one amidst the most beautiful sites of the north Sikkim district. Visitors from all around the state come to look at this bewitching dance of lamas. Currently, Phensong Monastery is enduring intact in the middle of the prominent hills and impressive landscape of the area.

River Teesta

  
This river flows right across the length of Sikkim. Rangeet is a major tributary and is originated from the Rathong Glacier, meeting it at the border between Sikkim and West Bengal. River Teesta originates from the Cholamu Lake and can be visited while in Sikkim. However, during monsoons the river is swollen, swift, muddy and becomes dangerous.

Seven Sister Waterfalls

  
Located at a distance of about 32 km from Gangtok, Seven Sister Falls is a picturesque and lovely place to be visited in Gangtok. One can get the magnificent view of the seven waterfalls lying next to each other, which becomes truly alive especially during monsoon season. Favorite among picnickers, this amazing Mother Nature’s creation is worth a visit.

Yuksom

  
The term Yuksom means the meeting point of the three Lamas. Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim. It is situated about 33 km from Pelling. It is located at an altitude of 1,780 metre. This place is famous because it is the starting point for the mountain-climbing expeditions and treks to the higher ranges of the mount Kanchenjunga.

The Phamrong waterfall is situated approximately 9 km from Yuksom. The bridge present nearby this waterfall provides awesome scenery of the Phamrong waterfall. Yuksom can be reached either from Pelling or Tashiding Monastery. The path from Tashiding Monastery transits dense forests. The main attractions of this place are Coronation Throne, Dubdi Monastery, Kartok Lake, and Phamrong waterfall.
Distances
Pelling 110 km 2h, 20m
Chalsa 128 km 2h, 10m
Kolkata 670 km 12h
 

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