Its strategic location, a strong Buddhist presence and heady cultural offerings make the First City of Sikkim—Gangtok, a tempting insight into this stimulating land. Sensational views of Mt. Kanchendzonga, orchid nurseries, great shopping-sample some of its treasures before heading out of town to savor Sikkim’s other delights. Sign up for one of the holy- tours to catch breathtaking vistas. During the Buddha Purnima in May, delve into the city’s cultural leaning in those superlatives Sage Dawa festivities. Follow the colourful procession of venerable lamas carrying the holy books of Buddha’s teaching from the Tsuklakhang Monastery in the palace to different parts of town.
The world’s largest treasury of invaluable old Tibetan books and manuscripts on Buddhist philosophy and religion, science, medicine, astrology, etc. the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology attracts Buddhist scholars from around the world. It also houses a wide range of Lepcha and Sanskrit manuscripts and scrolls of ancient vintage. In the appended museum are over 200 icons, old tankhas and some ritual vessels amongst various objects are on display. Take trip upstairs to observe the cataloguing and restoration of these treasures. Open: 10 am—4 pm.
Shoppers will find the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms a most convenient place to catch up on their souvenir hunting. Craftsmen in the process of weaving, woodcarving, and paintings of typical Sikkimese designs give you an up- close and personal view of these beautiful crafts from start to finish. Take home hand-woven carpets, blankets, shawls and carved magnolia-wood tables.
Just 8 km away from Gangtok is a verdant expanse of 205 hectares encapsulating the Himalayan Zoological Park. This is the natural habitat of the endangered red panda, barking deer, spotted deer and bear.
One of the most important monasteries of Sikkim and the Nyingma order of Buddhism, the Enchey Monastery (3 km) is constructed on a site blessed by Lama Drupko Karpo, a revered tantric master reputed for his power to fly. Over 200 years old, Enchey has within its precincts many icons and religious artifacts of great veneration and antiquity.
Whizzing past tiny hamlets from which rise the lazy smoke trails from a cooking pot, or a shepherd bringing home his flock of sheep, head out to the historic Enchey Monastery (3 km ) where you’ll get one of the best views of the entire mountain range with its snowy peaks a dazzling glitter in the bright sunshine. Savor those grandstand views of Mt. Kanchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu from the popular picnic spot Tashi View point (8 km) on the North Sikkim Highway. Best views - early morning.
About 14kms from Gangtok is the Saramsa Garden, the home of Sikkim’s many exotic orchids and other rare tropical and temperate plants. Established and maintained by the Department of Forests, it is an excellent recreation, leisure and picnic spot.
It literally means the “Source of the Lake” in Bhutia language. It is located at a distance of 38 kms from Gangtok. This serene lake is situated at an altitude of 3780mtrs .The lake is about 1km long , oval in shape, 15 metres deep and is considered sacred by the local people . This placid lake remains frozen during winter months. Between May and August, it is possible to see a variety of flowers in bloom, including the Rhododendrons, various species of Primulas, Blue and yellow Poppies, lrish etc. It is open for both the Foreigners and Indians. Foreign visitors have to be in a group of two or more and have to apply for the visitors’ permit through a registered travel agency.
From Gangtok is Nathula Pass situated at an altitude of 14,450 feet at the border of India and China. It has one of the highest motor able roads and is richly covered with many varieties of alpine flora and fauna. A tranquil place to visit, Nathula is open only for Indian Nationals on Wednesday, Thursday Department through a registered travel agency.
It’s about 8kms from Gangtok, acclaimed to be amongst the most popular photography point in the Sikkim Himalayas. From here, one can also see monasteries at Phudong and Labrang. An observatory tower has recently been set up so that the Tourists can avail of the facilities provided by a small but well-stocked cafeteria located here. Opposite the inspiring and imposing Sikkim Legislative Assembly is a view point called Hur Hurray Dara. Tourists can walk on the footpath edging the cliffs of Namnang leading to this viewpoint overlooks the Bhushuk Chhu in the valley below. Light of Gangtok are viewed best in the evenings from the VIP Colony entry gates.
Bowling down the partially rutted road through picturesque countryside you’ll come to the impressive Rumtek Monastery 24 km away. Commissioned by his holiness the 16th incarnate of the original Gyalwa Karmapa of Tibet and head of the Kargyudpa sect of Buddhism, this lavishly built monastery is said to be replica of the Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet. The splendors of Tibetan monastic art is beautifully reflected in its traditional architecture, carved and painted woodwork, magnificent murals and treasures of manuscripts and icons. Though this is a very holy Buddhist pilgrimage site, but visitors can imbibe of the tranquil air and beautiful location while soaking in the significant cultural elements .It is also farmed for its dazzling masked dances during important festivals. A 15-minute walk takes you to the old Rumtek Monastery (now entirely renovated), which was built in the reign of the fourth Chogyal. It is embellished with monastic paintings in the traditional style, painted by a Sikkimese lad who learnt the art from the lamas. Enshrined here is a stone slab market with the footprint of Guru Padmasambhava.
En route to Rumtek, this expanse of verdure comprise of virgin temperate forest of oaks and as many as 50 different species of trees
The White waters of the Teesta and Rangit offer an experience not to be missed by the adventure enthusiast. The thrill of riding the wild rapids and the rush of adrenalin through your body is a feeling hard to duplicate. The roller coaster ride over the frothing white water of the Teesta will leave you breathless and hungry for more. if you want to pit your skills as a river rafter against the current, try the more demanding Kayaking experience. Come and explore the daredevil in you. River rafting package program can be arranged through recognized tour operators during the tourist season. Special customized packages can also be accommodated given prior notice.
This Zigback cable car ferries the tourists from Deorali via Hur Hurray Dara near Sikkim Legislative Assembly to Tashiding Secretariat. Besides the thrill of the ride one can also enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the Gangtok hills.
The complex is a pride and joy of Sikkim where the world-famous Orchids of Sikkim are on exhibition along with seasonal flowers and bonsai. Various competitions are organized here periodically to adjudge the best orchids which are then placed for display. These shows generally coincide with the Tourist seasons.
This is a stretch of road between the White Hall and the Beautiful Palace of the erstwhile Chogyal (Maharajas) of Sikkim. During the cherry blossom season, the ridge erupts in a riot of colours and is favorite haunt for walks. The Zen-styled Ridge Park has a unique Sikkimese style gazebo, which complements the beautiful palace Gate at the other end of the Ridge.
Ban Jhakri falls has been for many years from now but has gained popularity very recently many operator still avoid this view point with other points due to its remoteness with other points. If added the one day sightseeing becomes very hectic. This is located on the route to Ranka Monastery and nearly 4 kilometers from Gangtok. Ban Jhakri Falls Energy Park lies amidst a lush green valley spread over nearly 2 acres and is quite nice and popular among tourist. It is surrounded by trees and gushing mountain stream. The Park has a Shamanistic theme. Hence, while the location of the park penetrating the forest spreads and seeks to enhance the essence of the occult and the unknown. The place itself is littered with ethnic sculptures and figurines of the Jhakri culture.
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