Gangtok is the capital of the mountainous northern Indian state of Sikkim. Established as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 1840s, the city became capital of an independent monarchy after British rule ended, but joined India in 1975.
The name Gangtok is derived from the Tibetan word for ‘Hillside,’ and the city currently has a population of around 80,000 – a mixture of indigenous Sikkimese and people of Nepalese and Tibetan ancestry. The city resembles the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Devoid of large stores and book shops, this place is a nice break from typical city lives. The city is a fascinating place to spend a few nights, the winding side alleys hide some unexpected gems, and the main street (MG Marg) is pedestrianized and a pleasant place to take a stroll. The city sleeps by 9pm mostly, except for a few pubs which are open till 11 pm. Beware that Sikkim has banned all forms of tobacco. It is illegal to smoke anywhere in Sikkim or buy/sell cigarettes. Gangtok also has strictly enforced traffic and littering laws among others.
How to reach:-
By Air:- The nearest airport is at Bagdogra (IXB)situated about 40 mins drive to Siliguri.Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati is a much better connected airport but it’s 550KM from Gangtok.
By Train:- The nearest railway station to Gangtok is about 148 kilometres away in New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri. The station is well-connected to major cities like Kolkata and New Delhi and other major cities in India.
By Road:- Tourists rolling in from nearby places like Siliguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kolkata prefer to drive to Gangtok.
Things to do:-
Go for a crazy cable ride over Gangtok city,Enjoy a Yak Safari,Try Trekking & Mountain Biking,Go for River Rafting in Teesta, Go paragliding and enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayas,Enjoy a spell-binding sunset at Tashi View Point,Go for sightseeing day tours.
Places to visit in Gangtok:-
Nathu La:- Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in East Sikkim district. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road.
Banjhakri Falls and Energy Park:- The Banjhakri Falls and Energy Park is a recreation centre and tourist attraction near Gangtok, in the state of Sikkim, India. The park’s statuary and other displays document the Ban Jhakri, or traditional shamanic healer who worships spirits living in caves around the falls
Tashi View Point:- It’s located in Tashi and about 8kms from the Gangtok town. It offers a sweeping view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks on a clear day.Binoculars are recommended at this viewing platform for observing Kanchenjunga & surrounding hills.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology:- Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is a Tibet museum in Gangtok, Sikkim, India. The foundation stone of the Institute was laid by the 14th Dalai Lama on 10 February 1957 and it was opened officially by the Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 1 October 1958.
Enchey Monastery:- The Enchey Monastery was established in 1909 above Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim in the Northeastern Indian state. It belongs to the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism.
Hanuman Tok:- Hanuman Tok is a Hindu temple complex which is located in the upper reaches of Gangtok, the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim. The temple is dedicated to lord Hanuman, and maintained by the Indian army
Bakthang Waterfall:- Natural waterfall rushing down rocks into a small pool, viewable by a modest footbridge.
Thakurbari Temple:- The Thakurbari Temple is a Hindu temple located in Gangtok, in the heart of the town. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Sikkim built on land donated by the erstwhile Chogyal of Sikkim in 1935
Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary:- This 31-sq.-km. wildlife sanctuary features animals & endangered plants, including orchids.
Khecheopalri Lake:- Khecheopalri Lake, originally known as Kha-Chot-Palri, is a lake located near Khecheopalri village, 147 kilometres west of Gangtok in the West Sikkim district of the Northeastern Indian state of Sikkim.
Saramsa Garden:- Saramsa Garden is a public garden approximately 14 km east of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, India. Established in 1922, the garden has served a variety of purposes. Initially dedicated to growing fruit for the local colonial officers, it later became known for cultivating the medicinal plant ipecacuanha.
Best time to visit:-
The best time to visit Gangtok, is between October and mid December when clear views of the Himalayan peaks are guaranteed or again between March and May when the flowers are in bloom.Temperature in December to February goes to an average low of about 4°C whereas the summer season from April to June sees an average maximum of 22°C.