Perched at a height of 5,500 ft. Gangtok ‘top of hill’ lures visitor’s with its fabulous views of magnificent Mt Khangchendzonga. Its strategic location, a strong Buddhist presence and heady cultural offerings as a tempting insight into this simulating land, Sample some of its treasures before heading out of town to savour Sikkim’s other delights. One of the most delightful ways to do this is to sign up for one of the heli-tours. A good time to be here is around Buddha Purnima (May) to enjoy the famous Saga Dawa festivities. Walking
in colourful pro-cession, the holy monks carry the holy books of Buddha’s teachings from the Tsuklakhang Monastery in the palace to different parts of town.
Air: Bagdogra (124 km) is the nearest airport. Daily helicopter service – Gangtok – Bagdogra – Gangtok are available.
Rail: Gangtok has no air or rail connection to the town. You have to take the train up to New Jalpaiguri (125 km) and then continue your journey by road.
Road: From Siliguri, one starts for Gangtok on NH-31 and then branches off to NH-31A, from Sevoke, 20 km from Siliguri. The main link between Gangtok and the rest of the country is through Siliguri (110 km). One can also go to Gangtok from Siliguri, Kalimpong or Darjeeling is exhilarating, with the highway hugging the Teesta River for long stretches, passing through forests. On a clear day, a trip to or from Gangtok can be combined with picnics at beautiful spots enrooted.
Enchey Monastery: Enchey Monastery is situated adjoining the Siniolhu Tourist Lodge, 3 kms from Gangtok town. The Enchey Monastery is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his power of flying. This 200-year-old Monastery has in its premises images of gods, goddesses another religious objects. Every year around January ‘Chaam’ or religious masked dance is performed with great fanfare for two days. It is situated adjoining the Siniolhu Tourist Lodge, 3 kms from Gangtok town.
Khangchendzong Viewing: Tashi View Point, 8 km from Gangtok, is popular picnic spot offering grandstand views of Khangchendzonga. The Enchey Monastery too has one of the best views of the entire mountain range.
Nam-Nam Chorten (Stupa): Situatedin the vicinity of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, one can have very good walk from Nam Nam View Point to Sikkim Press. The visitors can also experience the breath taking view of a dense forest of Tsomgo Area and lush green valley. A serene area to relish.
Do-drul Chorten (Stupa): The venerable Trulshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, built The Do-drul Chortenor Stupa in 1945. Inside this Stupa, there are complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba, a set of Kan-gyur relics, complete ‘Zung’ and other religious objects. Around this Chorten,which is one of the most important stupas in Sikkim, area 108 Mani Lhakor (Prayer wheels), These prayer wheels are turned by the devout Buddhist while chanting “Hall to the jewel in the Lotus”, to invoke the Buddhisattva. Chorten Lakhang and Guru Lhakhang surrounded the Chorten, where there are two huge statues of Gure Rimpoche.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology: This world-renowned centre for Buddhist philosophy and religion, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is the world’s largest treasury of invaluable old Tibetan books and manuscripts on science, medicine, astrology, etc. It attracts Buddhist scholars from around the world. The centre also has a wide range of Lepcha and Sanskrit manuscripts and scrolls of ancient vintage. The museum attached to it contains over 200 icons, old tankhas and some ritual vessels amongst the various objects of art on display. Upstairs you can observe the cataloguing and restoration of these treasures. Open 10 am to 4 pm daily.
Ganesh Tok: It is situated on a ridge and is only 7 km from Gangtok. From this spot one gets bird’s eye view of sprawling Gangtok town down below while across the hills Mt. Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu loom over the horizon. A cafeteria serves you hot tea/coffee and snack.
Tashi View Point: Tashi View Point constructed by the King of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal. Situated along the North Sikkim Highway, it is only 8 km from Gangtok. From this point you get a breathtaking view of Mount Khangchendonga and Mt. Siniolchu, one of the most graceful peaks in the world.
Hanuman Tok: It is 11 km away from Gangtok town, above Ganesh Tok with a Hindu Temple where the devotees come and offer prayers. Because of its locational advantage the view of the mountains along the horizon is just magnificent, especially on a clear sunny morning.
Water Garden: Water Garden at Martam Kholais on 31-A National Highway some 16 km South Gangtok. It is an ideal spot for picnic with a small swimming pool for children.
Zurmang Kagyud Monastery: Just 20 km out of Gangtok is the Zurmang Kagyud Monastery at Lingdum. The present Gharwang Rimpoche is the 12th successive incarnation of the glorious emanation of Zurmang Gharwang. It is reputed for its exquisite architecture.
Rumtek Monastery: The picturesque 24 km drive from Gangtok to the impressive Rumtek Monastery takes you through some of the prettiest areas around the town. This lavishly built monastery is said to be a replica of the Tsurphu Monastery of the Kagyupa order, in Tibet. It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site, but visitors can imbibe of the tranquil air and beautiful location while soaking in the significant cultural elements, which make it a must-visit.
Jawaharla Nehru Botanical Garden: It is 24 km from Gangtok. Stop over on your way to the Rumtek Monastery at the Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden established here in 1987 at an altitude of 1800 mts. to 2200 mts. This entire tract comprises of virgin temperate forestland rich in oak and about 50 varieties of trees. The Garden is situated at a place, which is not only a scenic beauty for the tourists but also adjoins the Rumtek Monastery and Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary. It is open for the visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary: Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary is located at distance of 25 km from Gangtok and has an area pf 51.76 Sq km. The main vegetation is Oak, Katus, Kimbu, and Champa with thick bamboo forests and ferns. The Sanctuary is also home to a large number of wild orchids, rhododendrons etc.
Map Of Gangtok, Sikkim :