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Gangtok, The Land Of Monasteries – Best Places To Visit In Gangtok

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Gangtok, The Land Of Monasteries - Best Places To Visit In Gangtok

Among all the popular hill stations in India, Gangtok has got a prestigious position and acclaim. Gangtok is situated in the North Indian state of Sikkim. In the former days, Gangtok was not a tourist center in India. It was a place crowded with Buddhist pilgrims around the year.

It is pilgrim tourism in the city that paved way for different opportunities in the field of casual tourism. The city was a different territory until the Indian Independence of 1947. Until then it was under the reign of a particular royal group. Later when the British left the country, the city of Gangtok expressed its wish to join hands with the republic of India in the year 1975.

Now, the city wisely uses its resources to develop adventure tourism as well as pilgrim tourism. The geographical outlook and landscapes of the city are quite fit to attract different types of tourists into the city. Some of the tourist destinations which will give the best Gangtok experience are mentioned below. 

Table of Contents

Places To Visit In Gangtok

Nathu La Pass

You can spot this mountain pass in the Himalayas, precisely in its Dongkya Range. The pass is spread in the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal. 4310m is the estimated elevation of the pass. Photography and the snowy experience you will have in this unique place in the city of Gangtok are quite irreplaceable.

Places To Visit In Gangtok-Nathu La Pass

Since the pass is also the location of many significant political boundaries you can also find several military officials in the area. But if you are an asthma patient, remember that the particular area often suffers from low oxygen levels.

But if you have the health and strength to climb to the top, you can just touch the soil of China and experience a totally different vibe from the place. May to mid-November would be the best time to visit the pass on account of the weather conditions. 

Kanchenjunga Mountain

This is one of the most magnificent mountain ranges in India. The average altitude of the mountain is around 8586m. It is spread in the countries viz. Nepal and Sikkim. It was George Band and Joe Brown who first took that daring effort to ascend this mountain and embark on history over the peak.

About Kanchenjunga Mountain

Even if you are an adventure lover, consider ascending the mountain after several rounds of analysis. This is because it is reported as the most difficult mountain in terms of ascending risks. So this is not a mountain to be ascended just to satisfy your adventure interests.

However, the majestic beauty and vibes of the mountain are never ending and will continue to seduce you at every glance. Moreover, the peak of Kanchenjunga is the third highest when considering all the other peaks in the whole world. The rivers like Arun and Brahmaputra originate from this mountain. 

Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo Lake has got several other names such as Tsongmo lake and Changgu Lake. The lake is formed by the contribution of the glaciers and is hence regarded as a glacial lake. From the city of Gangtok, you are required to travel a distance of about 40km to reach the location of this Tsomgo Lake.

About Tsomgo Lake

3753m is the altitude level where the lake is situated. If you are visiting the lake during the winter season, it will be in a frozen condition. Heavy snowfall is also experienced in this region. Apart from the scenic beauty of the lake, there are also several religious myths and beliefs that surround the lake.

These myths bring more people including pilgrim tourists to its location. The natives of the area consider the lake to be holy and make it a point to worship and pay respects to the lake. 

Seven Sister Water Falls

This is one of the places in Gangtok where most of the casual tourists are found. You can visit the falls if you are traveling on the highway of Gangtok-Lachung. The exact location of the waterfalls is 32km away from the city center of Gangtok.

About Seven Sister Water Falls

The appearance of the waterfalls justifies the name of the same. All you can find will be a disciplined row of seven streams of waterfalls organized in an orderly manner. The cascades flow harmoniously and this is one of the most soothing things to watch in the entire Gangtok trip.

The best time to visit the waterfalls would be the time just after the monsoon months. The view and the vibe of the place are quite impressive to indulge in. The rugged cliffs of the mountain bring a beautiful contrast to the milky streams of the waterfalls accentuating the elegance of the falls. 

Tashi Viewpoint 

When you have finally reached the city of Gangtok, the Tashi Viewpoint would be the most easily accessible location you can consider visiting. The viewpoint is just 7km away from the city center of Gangtok. The breathtaking views in the backdrop of the misty snowy atmosphere is a heartwarming experience you will earn from the visit to this city.

Tashi Viewpoint

If you are a lover of mountains, this viewpoint will give you the most impressive views of the mountains in the city. If you would like to see the mountain of Kanchenjunga, enjoy its most beautiful side from this viewpoint. Sinolchu is the other mountain you can watch from the viewpoint of Tashi.

If you are visiting the viewpoint on a very clear day, you can also see one of the best sunrises possible in the city. The viewpoint is also maintained properly by the authorities to ensure smooth and hassle-free tourism. 

Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

Even if it is an Institute of Tibetology, it has got more inclination toward the Tibetan Buddhist aspects. The culture, traditions, and history of Tibet Buddhists are the most prominent sights inside the institute. It has got an excellent museum worth taking a stroll through.

About Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology also has a library with a grand collection of books from which you can gather any info related to their customs and way of life. The ambiance and atmosphere of the institute are quite calm and pleasant making it a place you would wish to visit more often.

If you are somebody who has an interest in history, this is a place you should not skip in your Gangtok visit. Photography and videography have got certain restrictions inside the institute, however, you can take pictures from its scenic and classy exteriors. It was the Dalai Lama who laid the foundation of the institute. 

Mangan

This is the headquarters city of the district of Mangan in Sikkim. When considering the rest of the districts in the state of Sikkim, Mangan is the largest on account of its geographical area. The headquarter town is located on the southern side of the district of Mangan. River Teesta flows nearby the city of Mangan.

About Mangan

This town is quite famous among tourists especially those who are coming to Sikkim to visit the city of Gangtok. The music festival that happens in the city is quite famous and during this time tourists from different parts of the world flock to this place in Sikkim. The festival is held for 3 days in the town.

12th December to 14th December is the time of the music festival in Mangan. The food festival held in the city is also popular among the Gangtok tourists. You can also enjoy the literature, arts, tradition, craftworks, and handicrafts that are distinct to the city of Mangan on the visit. 

Phodong Monastery

Another Buddhist monastery you can visit in your Gangtok holiday. From the main center of Gangtok city, you can travel a distance of 28km to reach the location of the Phodong Monastery.

Phodong Monastery

The early 18th century is marked as the period of construction of the same. Believers of the Karma Kagyu sector belonging to Tibetan Buddhism are the ones who are responsible for the maintenance and running of the monastery. The current building structure of the monastery was not the original one.

The original one got destroyed in an earthquake that happened in the area. Later in the year 1977, the lamas rebuilt the monastery and made it functional again. The government and its authorities also helped considerably with the reconstruction of the monastery. The new building excels the original one in terms of grandeur and elegance. 

Mahatma Gandhi Marg

This is a road particular for pedestrians, located in the city of Gangtok. This is a shopping area targeting tourists. On all Tuesdays, the shops in the lane will remain closed and during the other days of the week, it will be open from 8 in the morning to 7 in the evening.

About Mahatma Gandhi Marg

You can also find a Tourist Information Center at the ending point of this road. This is one of the liveliest places in Gangtok in terms of the number of people visiting the location. You can also try different varieties of food that are distinctive to the culture of Sikkim in general and Gangtok in particular.

There are also shops from which you can buy souvenirs from your Gangtok vacation. The area has restrictions for smoking and other activities disturbing the smooth life of the tourists. Vehicles are also restricted in the area for the same purpose. 

Himalayan Zoological Park 

The flora and fauna of this hill station town can be enjoyed in its full fledge with a visit to this zoological park. The most important species in the park is Red Panda. Most of the tourists visit the park in order to see these exotic animal species. Wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, etc. are the common visitors to the park.

About Himalayan Zoological Park 

However, a visit to the park is also appropriate if you are interested in getting enlightened and educated about the vegetation and biodiversity that are particular to the area. The park is also special since it is the “first zoological park in Sikkim”.

Here the natural habitats of the wild animals are replicated to ensure maximum comfort for the inhabitants. If you are excited to visit the location, the months from May to mid-September would be the best time on account of the weather conditions and experience. 

Rumtek Monastery

The unending list of monasteries in the territory of Gangtok has also got Rumtek in its prime position. Dharma Chakra Center is the other name of this monastery. The inauguration of the monastery is done by the 16th Karmapa in the year 1966. However, the founder of the monastery is Wangchuk Dorje who stands as the 9th Karmapa.

About Rumtek Monastery

The sect of Tibetan Buddhism prominent in the monastery is Karma Kagyu. Considering the other monasteries in Sikkim, this is the largest. The customs and rituals of the sect of Karma Kagyu are so special about this monastery and people from different parts of the world visit the monastery to witness such practices.

There is also a golden stupa inside the monastery and the relics of the 16th Karmapa are contained in it. You can also find a college on the premises of the monastery teaching Buddhism. The name of this higher educational institution is Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies. 

Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary

This is a wildlife sanctuary and a safari park you can visit without any hesitation during your Gangtok vacation. Since there are provisions for safari, you will never be bored of the visit. 51. Sq. km. is the total area of the park. This sanctuary is 30km away from the city center of Gangtok.

About Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary

The government of India is the authority that is responsible for the management of the sanctuary. There is some way to walk to the sanctuary since the motorable road ends at Pangthang. You can see a lot of endangered species in the sanctuary and it is the presence of these species that makes the sanctuary more crowded with tourists.

Some of such species you can see in the sanctuary are Laughingthrush and Rufous Headed Hornbill. Barking deer, Himalayan Brown Bears, Red Panda, and Yellow-throated Marten are the other exotic species you can see in the sanctuary. 

Gangtok Ropeway

Well, this is something that will keep you excited and engaged in your trip to Gangtok. The mesmerizing beauty of the city of Gangtok is the best to be experienced from an aerial angle and the Gangtok ropeway will make this possible for you.

About Gangtok Ropeway

You can start the ropeway from the point called Deorali Bazar. This bazaar is in the city center itself making it easily accessible for everyone. Hence this ropeway becomes an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone visiting the location. It was in the year 2003, that the ropeway service began in the city.

The ropeway is not just a means of engagement and adventure activity but it is also a proper means of transport from two different parts of the city. 935m is the length of the ropeway. Enjoy the panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga peak laden with snow from this aerial cable car ride in Gangtok. 

Reshi Hot Spring

This spring can be found on the river banks of Rangeet in Gangtok. It is believed that the water in the spring has got great therapeutic powers. People from across the globe come here to take a dip in the water of the spring so that they can cure all their skin diseases along with their root causes.

About Reshi Hot Spring

Apart from such beliefs, this scenic location is perfect if you are planning to trek or hike in the location. There are provisions for huts and other amenities nearby the spring. You can also purchase garden-fresh items from the nearby vendor at the location. 

Best Time To Visit Gangtok:

September – mid-December

How To Reach Gangtok?

Nearest airport: Bagdogra Airport

Nearest railway station: New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP)

Conclusion 

A prominent Tibetan center in Gangtok, Sikkim. You are welcome to this holiday destination if you are interested in the Buddhist culture, traditions, and lifestyle. Adventure buffs and hill station lovers can also make the best out of this vacation. Lush green nature and the snowy landscape would make your experience much better. 

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Ruchika is a “hodophile” who is always on the road. The wanderlust in her often pours out in brilliantly written features and travelogs. When she’s not writing for People Places, you’ll find her in the most obscure of travel destinations, exploring unknown vistas and clicking images in her mind for her next write-up.

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