Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim which is located in the Himalayan range. This is also the largest city and municipality in the state. Sikkim is the 1st state to ban polythene and become litter free. Gangtok is the least populated capital town in India. Gangtok rose to prominence as a Buddhist Pilgrimage center by the establishment of Enchey Monastery in 1840. Gangtok name refers to hill cut. Even after the Independence Sikkim remained to choose to remain as an independent monastery, with Gangtok as it’s capital. Only after 1975 Sikkim is integrated into Indian Union as 22nd state with Gangtok as capital. Much of it’s history is not known, the only available are dating back to 1716 after the construction of hermitic Gangtok monastery. Gangtok is an attractive tourist destination, offering scenic beauties of tall mountains and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of it. It’s a blend of modernity and ancient tradition, reflecting the serene nature and amicable environment along with many tourist attractions. Here we are mentioning the top 10 places one must visit on their trip to Gangtok, Sikkim.
It is also known as Dharmachakra centre. It is a gompa built under the direction of Changchup Darje 12th Karmapa Lama in the mid 1700s. It is located 23 kilometers from Gangtok and mostly resembls the Tibetan Architecture of the original one Tsurphu, Tibet. It belongs to the kargyu sect of Buddhists which originated in 12 the century. The monastery is located on the opposite hill of Gangtok, so on reaching Rumtek one can see the magical view of Gangtok city from other side of mountain. It is a beautiful 3 storeyed building containing the Buddhist religious artwork and is a renowned center of kargyu teachings.
Timings :- 6.00 AM – 6.00 PM
Entrance fee :- 10Indian rupee
Nathu la ( Nathula – listening ears, La – pass ) is the mountian pass that connects Indian Union with the China’s Tibet autonomous region. It is allowed only for Indians to visit only after getting the required permission from the authorities of Gangtok. The pass is located at 4,310mts ( 14,410ft ) above mean sea level. It’s the part of ancient silk road and located on 54 kilometers east of Gangtok. During winters the pass is blocked as a result of heavy snowfall. Due to it’s steep slopes and gravelly loamy surfaceit’s prone to land slides. Besides that it’s sub tropical forest environment and Alpine vegetation lefts you in awe with nature’s beauty.
Tsomgo in Bhutia language refers to Tso – Lake, Mgo – head. The lake is located at an elevation of 3,753m ( 12,313ft ) .The lake remains frozen during winters . The lake reflects different colors with changing seasons which is considered to be very auspicious by the local Sikkimese people. The lake is surrounded by high steep snow covered mountains . During summer these snow melts and water enters into the lake. Tsomgo lake is situated at 40 kilometers from Gangtok. This land locked lake surrounded by mountains gives a deep high with in you and uplift your soul. Cool and cozy weather of the lake when visited with your dear ones gives you a sense of warmth.
As it is evident that Sikkim itself is in the Himalayan range, so definitely it should be containing peaks with higher altitudes. Kangchenjunga the 3rd highest mountain in the world with an elevation of 8,586 mts ( 28,169ft ) that partly lies in Sikkim and partly in Nepal. The kangchenjunga landscape is a complex of three distinct eco regions they are eastern Himalayan broad-leaved and coniferous forests, the Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows and the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands. Kangchenjunga peak is the highest peak in India.
Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve
It is one of the UNESCO’S World heritage sites located in Sikkim and named after the kangchenjunga peak. It is a home for many glaciers Zemu glacier and accounts wide variety of Flora and Fauna such as Musk deer, Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard and Himalayan Tahr are examples. Few tribal settlements such as Lepcha are inside the park. Trekking here starts from Yuksom. Trekking lovers will love this place as it provides many routes to go for.
Best time to visit is April and May
Rabdentse served as the second capital of former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The city was destroyed by the invasions of Gurkha army and only now the ruins of the palace and the chortens can be seen now. Pemayangtse Monastery is one of the oldest monastery which is located close to the ruins. From this point on can have the beautiful view of kangchenjunga peak. This site is been declared as of national importance by Archeological survey of India. It is located close to Pelling.
Pemayangtse Monastery is a Buddhist monastery which is very ancient in pemayangtse situated near Pelling, Sikkim. Built by Lama Lhatsun Chenpo in 1705 as a small Lhakhang later it was renovated largely during the reign of third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal. This monastery follows the Nyingma Order of Tibetan Buddhism and controls all other monasteries in the Sikkim according to that order. The word pemayangtse means “perfect sublime lotus”. From here one witnesses the clear skies in spring summer and unveiling the ravishing beauty of the Himalayan ranges.
Best time to visit :- March to June
Deorali Orchid Sanctuary
Deorali Orchid Sanctuary is located near to the Namgyal institute, Gangtok in Sikkim. There are a total of 454 variety species of Orchids out of which 200 species are found in this sanctuary. Orchids in this sanctuary vary from season to season. Visiting this sanctuary during the blooming seasons extending from the months of April to May, July to August and October to November. Besides orchids it also grows over 40 genus of Rhododendron. Not only preserving the orchids but also it forms a ecological hotspot that aims at conservation and further propagation of these species.
Yumthang valley is the flower sanctuary consisting of hot springs, lakes rivers yaks and grazing pasture. It is located at a distance of 150 km from the city of Gangtok. Popularly known as valley of flowers hosts a variety of flower species and the state flower of Sikkim Rhododendron. The nearest town near to this valley is Lachung and the valley is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall. Tourists can enjoy the skiing in the valley.
Jawaharlal Nehru botanical gardens
It is located near Rumtek Monastery named after the 1st prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and is also institute for research is home for many species of Orchids and more than 50 species of trees especially oaks. You will be mesmerized by the lush greenery, colourful flowers and is maintained by the forest department of government of Sikkim.. Visiting this gardens during the flowering season of March to late May and October to mid December is the best experience one can get through.
The Thakurbari Temple and The Ganesh
It is a Hindu temple located in the city of Gangtok. It is one of the oldest temples located in Sikkim. It covers almost all the deities and is a a major pilgrimage center for Hindus. A four day long Chatth Puja is organised by Thakubari Temple by the Chatth Puja organizing committee Gangtok, sikkim . It is performed to show gratitude of humans towards god for sustaining life on Earth and to fulfilling the wishes where the sun is main deity who believes for granting prosperity and well being. The temple is dedicated to Ganesh and the circular balcony on the temple offers a picturesque view of mountain ranges.
The trip to Gangtok, Sikkim is a spiritual, holistic and recreational one where one can find themselves in altogether in a different perspective. Gives you memories that’ll be cherished for a long time. Visiting it in a spring summer gives you the best experience on the whole.