Gangtok : Capital Beauty
The beautiful land of Gangtok is interspersed with forests and monasteries. Spread over the Shiwalik Hills, Gangtok is the scenic capital of the fascinating state of Sikkim.The city offers you an inspiring glimpse of the Kanchenjunga Peak which towers over the horizon in the west. The range of monasteries adds a spiritual aura which adds to the tranquility of the city. You will love the relaxing atmosphere of the place while you enjoy the interesting local culture.
Gangtok has an inescapable Tibetan influence. In fact, it was populated by Tibetans before the English defeated and conquered the region. However, their legacy lives on through the incredible monasteries that stand stoutly against the serene surroundings.
How to Get There
By Air :
The airport located nearest to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport of West Bengal which is only 124 Kms away from Gangtok. There is an availability of the flights from International destinations such as Paro and Bangkok.
Bagdogra is also connected with Gangtok by daily helicopter service operated by Sikkim Tourism development Corporation and it will take only 20 minutes to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra.
By Rail :
New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri are the two rail stations nearest to Sikkim located in West Bengal. NJP is 125 Kms and Siliguri is 114 Kms from Gangtok and is well connected to all the major cities.
By Road :
National Highway 31A connects gangtok with Siliguri and this picturesque highway runs through the lush green forests along the bank of river Teesta on one side and sky touching mountain ranges of Eastern Himalaya on other side.
Distance from places; Siliguri: 114 km, Pelling: 118 km, Ravangla:69 km,Darjeeling:97 km,Lachen: 107 km, Lachung: 104 km
Situated on the northern fringes of Gangtok, the Enchey Monastery stands. You approach it via a road lined with tall and glorious conifer trees that rustle under breeze. It is a simple structure but easily among the most attractive of the monasteries in Gangtok. There are some incredible murals and the idols of the Tantric deities are interesting. As you walk around the monastery, you will be entranced with the simplicity of the structure. Even the prayer flags that colorfully flutter under the wind can be a source of enchantment.
Do drul Chorten
Built in the year 1945, the Do drul Chorten is counted among the finest monasteries to grace the wonderful land of Gangtok. Located at the top of a hill, the Do drul Chorten is like a drop of white against the blue sky. The place is filled with rare artifacts of Buddhism such as a complete set of Dorje Phurba. You will also find here rare holy books and Kangyur relics. Surrounding the stupa, are 108 intricately designed prayer wheels or Mani Lhakor as they are known locally. Two immense statues dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava stand here magnificently surveying the area.
Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology (NRIT)
The building of the Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology itself looks fascinating. It has been built in the traditional Tibetan style for mansions. The collection of artifacts here is astounding in its range. Most of these rare antiquities are related to the Tibetan culture and the Vajrayana school of Buddhism. The museum as built in the year 1958 as an effort to promote cultural and scholastic research into Tibetan culture.Here you will find some amazing items such as Buddhist icons, manuscripts, and thangkas. Fascinating objects for Tantric rituals are displayed here as well such as the thöpa, a bowl crafted from the skull of a human and the kangling, a trumpet made from a human thighbone. You can glimpse many precious tomes on Buddhism, some of which are more than a few centuries old.
Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre
The Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre is popularly called the Rumtek Monastery. The beautiful monastery was constructed in the 16th century. The monastery is surrounded by a lavish display of verdant serene hills. It makes the humble monastery seem glamorous. The sanctum sanctorum of the monastery contains a stunning Golden Stupa surrounded by interesting statues and pictures of Lord Buddha.As you enter the monastery, you will be greeted with a rare sight. There are pictures of Lord Ganesh and the Dalai Lama displayed together. It symbolizes the links between the two religions of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Tsomgo (Changu) Lake
The famous Tsomgo Lake is located at a height of 3753m. Even during the summer months, you may notice a thin layer of ice shimmering under the rays of the sun. The lake is considered to be holy and is a picturesque sight indeed. The tall snowy mountains and the gorgeous landscape is a sight to remember indeed. There are many small temples on the banks of the lake, all of which are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Nathu La Pass
The Nathu La pass once served as a passageway between Tibet and India. Located at a height of 4310m, the pass can offer you some spectacular views of the Himalayan Mountains. As you travel on the road leading to the Nathu La pass, you will be regaled with some breathtaking views of the Changu Lake. You can add a dash of excitement to the journey by recalling that you are travelling over one of the highest roads of the world which can be traversed with a car. A rich collection of alpine flora can viewed as you move along the road. Foreigners are not allowed to visit the Nathu La pass due to security reasons
The colorful Baba Mandir can be sighted on the road to Nathula pass. Unlike other temples, the Baba Mandir is not dedicated to any god. Instead, it is a shrine and a memorial to Major Harbhajan Singh, a soldier in the Indian Army. He died near the Nathu La pass and his comrades built the shrine in his honor. Indian Army soldiers revere him as the Hero of Nathu La and he is now considered to be a saint. Here, you can pay your respects to a true legend and learn more about his life.
Tashi View Point
The View Point at Tashi lives up to its name. From the circular viewing platform, you can command a stunning view of Mount Kanchenjunga, the tallest peak in India and the third highest in the work. You can also glimpse the graceful slopes of Mount Siniolchu. As the sun alights on the slopes during the daybreak, your breath will be taken away by the shimmering snow covered slopes of the mountain range.