GANGTOK: HISTORY, CULTURE & MODERN CITY
With a lot of vibrancy in culture and tradition and a magnificent view of the Kanchenjunga, Gangtok never fails to amaze its tourists. Being the centre of Tibetan Buddhist learning and culture, Gangtok is frequented by wanderers, eco-travelers and history buffs from different parts of the world. Surrounded by a lot of stunning sceneries, with a little dash of city life, Gangtok has turned out to be one of the most popular tourists’ destinations of Sikkim.
It’s also the capital of the state and hence, is home to a number of administrative organizations. Whether you are craving for a relaxing vacation amidst the snow-clad mountain peaks, or you are up for a thrilling and adventurous tour this time, Gangtok tourism won’t disappoint you.
GANGTOK: HUB FOR SIKKIM EXPLORATION
Being the Sikkim capital, Gangtok happens to be the base for exploring other off-beat parts of Sikkim. It’s known to be one of the cleanest places in India and most importantly, you can enjoy some delicious food and good music in the pubs and restaurants over here. Gangtok is home to the different group of people including Nepalis, Bhutia and Lepchas and it’s really amazing to experience the colorful fusion that they create by coexisting together.
No matter whether you are planning a Gangtok tour with your friends or you are planning a much-awaited family vacation, it’s important to know the essential details well in advance.
HOW LONG TO VISIT GANGTOK: 2- 3 DAYS
The city is fairly compact, so it only takes a few days to see the major sights. We recommend spending two or three full days in the city. You could spend more, of course, but two or three will give you a good overview of the city. Gangtok does have a handful of nice day trip options, so you may want to extend your stay by a few days to experience those sights or just chill & relax.
REACH GANGTOK: AVAILABLE OPTIONS
Sikkim is situated in extreme northeastern sector of India, so the traveler has the general query on how and ways to reach Sikkim & Gangtok. We compiled below general queries and wrote an exclusive article
How can we reach Sikkim?
How can I reach Gangtok?
Is there railway line in Sikkim?
How long does it take to reach Gangtok from NJP?
WHAT TO DO IN GANGTOK
Let’s take a look at the places to visit in Gangtok
- Pay a visit to Rumtek Monastery – a must-do! – Also known as the Dharmachakra Centre, Rumtek Monastery is one of the key attractions of Gangtok. Built during the middle of the 1700, under the direction of Changchun Dorje, the monastery has been renovated in the recent past, with the help of the royal family of Sikkim. Located amidst beautiful waterfalls and majestic hills, this gompa is an epitome of peace. It’s also a visual treat for the tourists, as the massive prayer hall of the monastery is decorated with some splendid statues, tangkhas, and murals.
- Enjoy the scenic beauty of Tsomgo Lake – Located at a distance of 35 km from the city of Gangtok, it’s one of the most famous tourist spots of Gangtok. Considered as a holy lake, this lake is home to a number of small temples, which are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Apart from holding a very special religious value, this place is scenically beautiful as well.
- Check in at Nathula Pass – Located at a distance of 56 km from Gangtok, this pass is used as a corridor to bridge the gap between India and Tibet. Richly surrounded by alpine flora, it happens to be one of the highest motorable roads in the world. On a sunny day, one can also view the Chumbi valley, while traveling through this road.
- Pay a visit to Hanuman Tok – The term “Tok” means temple in the local language and Hanuman Tok is a temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Apart from the religious aspects, the temple is famous for offering a surreal view of the Kanchenjunga and boasting a serene atmosphere. In order to enter the temple and offer puja to the Lord, visitors need to climb up quite a few stairs as the temple is located at an altitude of 7200 feet, approximately.
- Head to Do Drul Chorten Stupa –Built by Trulshik Rinpoche, the head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, this stupa is home to religious components like Dorjee Phurba and Kangyur relics. Around he Chorten, there are 108 prayer wheels which are turned during the prayers. Located near the Tibetology Institute and Gangtok Centre, the stupa remains open all days of the week from 8 am to 6 pm.
- Trek to Kanchenjunga – If you are an adventurous soul within, this is an opportunity you would hardly like to miss. Recently opened for trekking in India, Green Lake Basin Trek and Goecha La Trek are some of the most wonderful treks that would lead to a mind-blowing view of the majestic Don’t forget to take the required permission from the authority though.
- Explore the beauty of Bakthang waterfalls – If you are more interested in enjoying the natural beauty of a place, you would be more than delighted to visit this waterfalls. Originating from Ratey Chu, the main source of water of Gangtok, this is a picturesque natural attraction. You can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the surrounding as well as the amazing scenic beauty while visiting this place. Moreover, if you have a knack for photography, you are surely going to have a gala time at this place.
- Enjoy the beautiful Saramsa Garden – Constituted by the forest department of the Indian government in the year 1922, this is a beautiful garden, located around 14 km away from Gangtok. This garden is home to some of the rarest plants of Sikkim and beautiful species of exotic orchids.
- Explore the Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary – If you are a wildlife lover as well as a photography enthusiast, you would just love to explore this sanctuary on your own. Being home to unique species like Himalayan Beer, Civet Cat Binturong, and Red Panda, this place attracts a lot of tourists. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between September and December as well as March and May. You can also witness the beauty of a wide variety of rhododendrons and wild orchids here. The reserve is also home to different species of butterflies and birds.
BEST HOSTELS IN GANGTOK
Gangtok is an upcoming destination for budget & backpacking traveler. We compiled a list of best hostels in Gangtok. Check out the list or we recommend Hostelworld.com to check out for more information.