Gangtok the capital of Sikkim, is a unique hill resort of northeast India and undoubtedly one of the oft-visited ones. Perched on the ridge of a hill at an altitude of 1700 mt, the town is famous for its scenic beauty and spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga, their highest mountain in the world. The town offers a mild temperate climate with a temperature of around 23-degree centigrade in summer and around 6 degrees centigrade during winter.
This hill resort is 110 km from Siliguri and well connected with other major places of the region.
The official population of Gangtok is below 1 lakh according to the 2011 census. The actual number is probably around 1,50,000. The principal language in Gangtok as in other parts of the region is Nepali. But Hindi, English, Bengali, and Tibetan are also spoken and understood by a large section of the population. The town covers an area of approximately 25 square kilometers.
Gangtok is connected to the rest of the world through NH31A which connects Sikkim to Siliguri. The NJP rail station (125 km) at Siliguri is the nearest station. Bagdogra airport (130 km) is the nearest major airport although there is a small helipad in the outskirts of the town. Helicopter flights connecting Gangtok to Bagdogra is also available.
There are regular buses and taxis connecting Gangtok to all other towns including Siliguri and Darjeeling.
Foreign tourists visiting Sikkim need to have an Indian Visa. In addition, they need a special inner line permit. Details about the inner line permit can be found here.
Rumtek Monastery: The largest monastery in the Eastern Himalaya, built by the Gyalwa Karmapa in strict accordance with the traditional designs of the monastery in Tibet. Rumtek is the seat of Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. This magnificent Gompa is only 24 km from the town.
Nathula: At an altitude of 14200ft, Nathula pass is the border between India and China in the Tibetan plateau. Only 56 km away from the Gangtok, the tranquillity of this place is very charming. Waving Chinese soldiers and Chinese tourists on the other side of the border is an added attraction. more
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology: Built in 1958, this is a unique institute for research into Mahayana Buddhism and the language and tradition of Tibet. This is a common destination for tourist itinerary in Gangtok. A renowned center for Buddhist study, the institute houses a rare collection of Tibetan, Sanskrit and Lepcha manuscripts, statues, Thankas (tapestry used in Buddhist liturgy) as well as more than 200 Buddhist icons.
Enchey Monastery: This 200-year-old monastery is famous for the mask dance called 'Cham' performed in the month of January. An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery meaning the Solitary temple, was originally built with the solace that no other construction would be allowed near it. Monasteries in Sikkim.
Flower Exhibition Centre: Located near the White Hall Complex of Gangtok this place houses a variety of orchids, seasonal flowers as well as bonsai. It is open between April to June and September until the end of November. In recent years, this show has become quite popular and famous, as there are flower exhibitions throughout the year in accordance with the seasons and the flowers in bloom.
Do-Drul Chorten (stupa): This Chorten houses the complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba, a set of Holy Books, complete 'Zung' (mantras) and other religious objects. The Stupa was built by the venerable Trulshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism in 1945. Around this Chorten are 10 Mani-Lhakor (prayer wheels).
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden: 24km away Gangtok, this garden is consist of temperate forest of Oaks and as many as 50 different kinds of trees species.
Tashi View Point: Built by the late King of Sikkim Sri. Tashi Namgyal this viewpoint is at a distance of about 8km away from the town and offers a good view of Mt. Siniolchu and Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Ganesh Tok: This spot, 7km away from Gangtok, offers a bird's eye view of the town. There is a small temple of Lord Ganesh at this place. It is on a hillock on Gangtok-Nathula Road.
Hanuman Tok: Just above Ganesh Tok lays this viewpoint offering a nice view of the mountains along the horizon and the Gangtok town, there is a Temple of Hanuman here.
Saramsa Garden is a new tourist attraction and sightseeing point near Gangtok. The Garden is located near Ranipul. The garden is spread over several acres of land and is a nice place to spend an afternoon. There are lots of flower beds, trees, water bodies etc spread over the well-maintained garden. There is nothing in the garden that can be considered as really unique or that makes the place a must visit. But if you are done with your day's sightseeing and want to spend some leisurely hours, or if you are honeymooning and want some time with your newlywed in a peaceful surrounding, Saramsa would be hard to beat.
Saramsa Garden is where Sikkim government hosts large events of significance. There is an auditorium, conference hall as well as lots of open space to organize major events here. The International Floriculture Show, as well as the International Travel Mart, were both organized here.
Just before you reach Gangtok, about 10 km from town, the last town you cross is Ranipul. It is from here that the uphill drive to reach Gangtok starts so does the traffic snarl. The local taxis of Gangtok also mostly ply till Ranipul. As you cross Ranipul towards Gangtok, a road towards your right i.e to the east takes the Pakyong road. Take the right road and Saramsa Garden is just about 4 km from the crossing. The total distance from MG Marg of Gangtok, which is the heart of the town, is about 15 km.
Map of Gangtok Town
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