Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim has emerged into the mainstream travel destination of the Tourism Industry, with
more and more tourist coming to this little Himalayan state every year. Sitting on the lap of the majestic Himalaya, Gangtok in Sikkim has developed into a cosmopolitan delicacy where old-world charm and hospitality exist along with the modern age of Information Technology. One can find a harmonious blend of diverse culture and religion in Sikkim Gangtok. The people of Gangtok have a strong bonding with their age-old traditions and customs. Despite of these, Gangtok is definitely not behind the rest of the world in terms of urbanisation - broad roads, flyovers, posh markets, state-of-art hospital, educational institutes, fast food outlets, discotheques, and all other modern amenities that the heart can desire for.
Major Tourist Attractions in Gangtok
Deer park also known as the Rustamji Park, adjacent to the new secretariat, it is named after one of the Dewans of the Chogyal of Sikkim. The park is home to some animals like the Red Panda and the Himalayan Bear. There's also a big statue of Lord Buddha in the park premises, in front of which a butter lamp burns perpetually, surrounded by exotic flowers.
The park provides some mesmerizing view of the hills of Gangtok.
Dud-Dul Chorten has a set holy books, mantras and other religious objects. The Stupa was Built by Trulshi Rimpoche head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism in 1945. There are around 10 prayer wheels called Mani-Lhaskar around this Chorten.
Rumtek Monastery is the largest monastery in eastern Himalayas, built by Gyalwa Karmapa strictly according to the designs of the Tibetan monastery, just 24 kms away from Gangtok.
Research Institute Of Tibetology
The Namgayal Institute of Tibetology is a center of research into Mahayana Buddhism and the language and tradition of Tibet. The institute has some rare collection of Tibetan, Sanskrit and Lepcha manuscripts, statues, Thankas ( tapestry used in Buddhist liturgy) as well as more than 200 Buddhist icons.
The Royal Chapel
This Chapel is situated in the Palace grounds and is the used as a place of worship and assembly and is also a repository of vast collection of Buddhist scriptures.
Excursions around Gangtok
TSOMGO (alt. 3,780m, 38 km from Gangtok)
The literal meaning of Tsomgo is the source of the lake in Bhutia language (TSO means lake and MGO means head). This 1 km long lake is about 15 m deep and in shape of oval. It is considered extremely sacred by the local people. This placid lake remains frozen during the winter months.
It is a home of Brahminy ducks besides being a stopover for various migratory birds.
En route to Tsomgo, numerous waterfalls, fast rushing mountain streams and the rhododendron rich Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary make this excursion all the more thrilling.
Sikkimese folk-lore tells the story of how Tsomgo initially at Laten, several km away from the present Tsomgo (lake) came to take present position: An old woman, one night dreamt that the lake at Laten was to shift to Tsomgo and she and her two other herder friends were warned, to leave the place as soon as possible. The old lady hastened to inform her friends but they paid no heed. In turn, she hurriedly milked her dri (female yak) and poured the milk on the ground, as an auspicious sign and left the place for Lhachungkar near Thegu. Just before leaving, she happened to see an old lady with srikinly white hair and of fair complexion who was carding yarn, entered Tsomgo where immediately the earth turned into water and formed this Tsomgo (lake). The two yak herders are believed to be sub-merged in the lake along with their herd of yaks.
This sanctuary is located at a distance of 25 km from Gangtok and has an area of 51.76 sq km. The main vegetation here is Oak, Katus, Kimbu, Champa with thick bamboo forests and ferns. The sanctuary is also home to large number of wild orchids, rhododendron etc. This area, being close to Gangtok is developed as a short trekking trial.
56 km from Gangtok is the Nathula pass at an alt. of 14,200 feet, bordering between India and China in the Tibetan plateau. It is one of the highest motorable roads and richly covered by various species of Alpine Flora and Fauna.
Foreigners visiting Gangtok must possess an Indian visa. In addition to an Indian visa, foreigners must obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim. The permits can be obtained from all Indian missions, Tourism Office, New Delhi, Sikkim Tourism Office, Calcutta and Sikkim Tourism Office, Siliguri on the strength of an Indian Visa.
By Air : Nearest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal( 124 kms.)
Helicoprter Service: between Gangtok - Bagdogra - Gangtok
By Road : Gangtok is connected with all weather mettaled road with Siliguri, Kalimpong, Gangtok etc.
By Rail : New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal (148 kms.)
Local Transports :
Private Taxis, Jeeps and Landrovers ply regularly on the Gangtok- Siliguri Highway and are available for transfer of passengers between
Gangtok and Siliguri/ New Jalpaiguri Junction/ Bagdogra, and also for local sightseeing at fixed rates and may be reserved through Tourist Bureau, Govt. of West Bengal, Gangtok.