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The largest town as well as the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok is located at an altitude of 4,715 ft in the Shivalik Hills of the Eastern Himalayan range. The hill station has a total population of 80,000 that belong to various ethnic groups like Lepchas, Nepalis and Bhutia. Gangtok offers fabulous views of Mt. Kanchenjungha, some exclusive day trips to nearby lakes and monasteries and all the facilities of a modern city. Gangtok experiences a mild-temperature almost throughout the year and that makes it a hotspot among tourists. Gangtok also acts as a base for trips to other parts of Sikkim like North Sikkim and the Old Silk Route (Nathang Valley, Zuluk and Lungthung). The accommodation options in Gangtok is varied. BOOKING DETAILS OF GANGTOK

Places to see at Gangtok: The Institute of Tibetology is one of the prime attractions of Gangtok, which is visited by tourists interested to know about Buddhism. The Institute stocks around 30 thousand books and documents on Tibet related to Buddhism.

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The beautiful Enchey Monastery is located near the TV Tower within think vegetation with grand views of Mt. Kanchenjungha. The Phurba Chorten located near the Institute of Tibetology is a towering stupa with 113 small prayer wheels surrounding it. The Hurhuray Dara located near the Sikkim Legislative Assembly offers great views of the valley below and the Ro-Ro Chu river flowing below.

Nathula Border

The Tashi View Point located some 5 kms from Gangtok on the way to North Sikkim offers a stunning view of Mt. Kanchenjungha. Another nice place to visit is Ganesh Tok, which is a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha perched on a hill around 6500 feet above with a bird’s eye view of Gangtok and Mt. Kanchenjungha. Another similar spot with great views of Mt. Kanchenjungha and the surrounding areas is Hanuman Tok located at Gangtok-Nathula Highway at 7200 feet above. Few other attractions that should not be missed, when you are in Gangtok are Bakhthang Waterfalls and Ban Jakhri Waterfalls. Bakhthamg Waterfalls is located on the North Sikkim Highway towards Tashi View Point and Ban Jakhri waterfalls is around 7 kms from Gangtok on the road towards Ranka. There is also a solar park here.

View from Ganesh Tok near Gangtok

Nearby attractions from Gangtok: Gangtok can act as a very good base to visit various interesting nearby lakes, monasteries, gardens, mountain passes and temples. The Rumtek Monastery located almost 22 kms from Gangtok was established in 1922. This is the largest monastery in Sikkim and certainly one of the most beautiful ones. It is three-storeyed with a huge prayer hall intricately decorated with statues, wall paintings and thangkas. The Sarmsa Garden previously known as Ipecac Garden located around 14 kms from Gangtok near Ranipool is one of the best gardens to spot orchids and Medicinal Plants in Sikkim. Another nice garden is the Nehru Botanical Garden located near Rumtek Monastery.

Lingdum monastery near Gangtok

The Lingdum Monastery located near Rumtek is another extravagant monastery near Gangtok. You can also visit one of the most picturesque lakes in Sikkim called Changu Lake (also known as Tsomgo Lake) around 35 kms from Gangtok at an altitude of 12310 feet. Special Inner Line Permits for Indian as well as Foreign officials are required from police and Tourism Department to visit this lake. Tucked within hills which are covered with wild flowers in spring and 3 feet of snow in winters Changu lake is a treat to the eye. In winters, Changu gets completely frozen.

Nathula Pass located at 14400 feet is a major pass connecting Sikkim with Tibet. There is an Indian check post and Chinese check post located here. From Nathula pass you can view Mt. Chomolhari (also known as Jomolhari) towering 24,035 ft at the Bhutan side. There is another interesting non-religious temple call Baba Mandir near Changu lake. There is an interesting belief about this temple. Baba Harbhajan was an Indian army soldier who died near the Nathula Pass. He is revered by the soldiers of the Indian army, who have built a shrine in his honour. Baba is believed to have granted favours to the soldiers, and guard each one in the inhospitable terrain.

Ropeway at Gangtok

Things to do in Gangtok: You can take a rope way ride at Gangtok between Sikkim Legislative Assembly and Deorali. The ride takes around 10 mins and gives a great view of rivers, valleys and Gangtok city below. You can also hang out for shopping and restaurant hopping at M G Marg, which is the main market area in Gangtok. Around a kilomter long this road is traffic free and surrounded by the best restaurants, shops and hotels. The shops open by 9:00 am and close down by 7:30 pm. M G Marg Market stays closed on Tuesdays. If you are fond of shopping then you can drop at Lal Bazar, also known as Kanchenjungha Shopping Complex. You would find all types of goods here and it serves up the local population. The Lal Market stays closed on Thursdays. However, if you are food of local handicrafts, then drop at Govt. Institute of Cottage Industries for Choksees (foldable wooden tables), carpets, hand made paper, Thankas and masks. The Institute stays open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and stays closed on Govt. Holidays. One of the most popular pieces of attraction in Gangtok is the zoo, which is home to some animals like the Himalayan Bear and Red Panda that are native to the state. The zoo extends for around 205 hectares and you to walks all around to view some of its inhabitants. If you are fond of flowers, then you can also drop at White Hall for the flower show in winter.

Rumtek Monastery

How to reach Gangtok: If you are traveling by plane, then the nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport, from where you can hire a taxi or a cab to reach Gangtok. By train, you need to get down at New Jalpaiguri station and then hire a taxi to Gangtok. You can avail state buses or jeep from Siliguri to Gangtok, which takes around 4 hours. You would also get rented cars from New Jalpaiguri Station for Gangtok. Gangtok can also be accessed via road as the place is well connected with Darjeeling and Kalimpong by National Highway 31A.

Best time to visit Gangtok: Gangtok can be visited any time of the year. If you want to see the flower show that takes place in Ridge Park Complex, near the White Hall, then you must visit sometime during mid February to April and again from October to mid December in the autumn season.

Gangtok Hotel

Lodging and dining facilities at Gangtok: Our hotel in Gangtok is located in a quiet corner very near to M G Marg M G Marg. You can walk down to M G Marg from our hotel within 10 minutes. With 24 Deluxe rooms and a terrace facing Mt. Kanchenjungha, the hotel has a very nice lobby, deluxe rooms, super deluxe rooms and suites. All rooms have wall-to-wall windows, LCD Televisions, tea makers, wardrobes and king-sized beds. All bathrooms are Western type with hot water geysers, showers and all other facilities. The hotel has internet Wi-Fi Connectivity, a parking space, two terraces, an extensive Dining Hall, a travel desk and a 24-hr reception. The hotel’s restaurant is truly multi-cuisine serving all types of food ranging from authentic Sikkimese to Bengali and South Indian dishes.

Photographs by Sourav Das, N Mookerjee, Manoj Chettri, Rashmi Das, Soumava Chowdhury and others.



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