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Holidays for Soul - Gangtok

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Spiritual Holidays - Gangtok
| Places to see | Places Nearby | Places to Stay | How to Reach |

If one has to opt for a holiday in the North-east that pleases the senses, Gangtok for sure would be the obvious choice. The capital city of one of India’s smallest state (Sikkim), Gangtok is a fine mix of scenic beauty, pleasant climate and cultural heritage. In fact the very name of Gangtok brings images of orchids, the Kanchenjunga in the backdrop and ancient Buddhist monasteries to mind.

A fine family vacation destination, Gangtok offers a relaxing and laidback holiday experience. It is a small town situated atop a ridge, at an altitude of 5,800 ft. The city overlooks the river Ranikhola and provides lovely views of the world's third tallest peak Kanchenjunga. Once a small village, Gangtok grew after it became an important pilgrimage centre when the Enchey Monastery was constructed in 1840. With the end of the monarchical rule in 1975, Sikkim came to be known as the official state of India with its capital at Gangtok.

Today, Gangtok draws a large number of tourists from across the country and different parts of the world. The appeal lies in its beautiful landscape and a strong Buddhist culture that permeates through its many ancient monasteries. The colourful monasteries in Gangtok present a pretty picture with red-robed lamas busy in their daily routine.

Places to see in Gangtok
Enchey Monastery, Gangtok

Gangtok is best explored on foot. Just head out of the main town and there are many places worth checking out. Enchey Monastery is a popular tourist attraction and is believed to be more than 200 years old. The monastery is situated next to the Tourist Lodge and is about 3 km from the city centre. The monastery comes alive in Dec-Jan when annual religious dances are performed here. The Institute of Tibetology or the Namgyal Institute is an exciting place to check out. The institute houses rare antiques, scriptures and thangkas. The institute was built in 1958. It has the world’s largest collections of books and rare manuscripts on Mahayan Buddhism.

Deer Park is another popular spot and viewpoint located next to the Secretariat building. The park as the name suggests has deer and a statue of the Buddha, which is a replica of that stands at Sarnath near Varanasi. Do visit the park at 7 am when the dear are fed.  

Tsuk-La-Khang, Gangtok

Tsuk-La-Khang has interior covered with murals and lavishly decorated altars holding images of the Buddha, Bodhisatvas and Tantric deities; the Tsuk – La – Khang is the principal place of worship of the Budhists in Gangtok. It is also the repository of a large collection of Buddhist scriptures. It is open to visitors but Photography is not allowed inside. If shopping is what you have in mind, just walk down to Lall Market. The other shopping areas in Gangtok are the Old Market and Super Market.

Orchid Sanctuary, Gangtok

No tour to Gangtok is complete without a visit to Orchid Sanctuary. The sanctuary is famous for its rare and varied collection of orchids. The sanctuary’s collection also varies depending on the seasons. Timings: Monday to Friday 10 to 4 pm.

Besides the above mentioned places, other popular spots of tourist interest in Gangtok include Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok and Tashi View Point.

Places Nearby
Phodong Monastery, Gangtok

Phodong Monastery, 28 km away from Gangtok is regarded as the most beautiful monastery of Sikkim. The monastery is home to around 260 monks. Pemayangtse Monastery situated at a height of 2085 meters is the 2nd oldest monastery in Sikkim. The monastery belongs to the Nyingma-pa sect, which was established by Padma Sambhava in the 8th century.

Rumtek Monastery, 24 km from Gangtok is a must visit tourist attraction. The monastery is visible from Gangtok on the other side of the Ranipool valley. Rumtek Monastery is the seat of the Gyalwa Karmapa, the head of the Kagyu-pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The sect was founded in the 11th century by Lama Marpa who was the disciple of Naropa. The main monastery here was built by the Gyalwa Karmapa strictly in accordance to the traditional architectural designs of Tibetan monasteries.

Tsomgo Lake, Gangtok

Tsomgo Lake is a scenic 40-km drive from Gangtok. Pelling, another good place to head out in Sikkim is 145 km from Gangtok.  Pelling is popular for its breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga range. It is a small place comprises of few houses and a good number of hotels. Pemayangtse, not too far from Pelling is one of the most revered monasteries in Sikkim. A big annual Buddhist festival is held in Pemayangtse every February.

Places to Stay

Since Gangtok is a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of hotels in Gangtok. Hotels in Gangtok range from luxury hotels to mid range and budget hotels. Gangtok hotels provide comfortable accommodation to tourists visiting Gangtok. Check hotels in Gangtok

How to reach

By Air: The nearest airport (5 hr by taxi) is in Bagdogra, 120 km from Gangtok.
Sikkim Helicopter Service arranges the flights between the airport and Gangtok.

By Train: The closest railway station is New Jalpaiguri, 130 km away. The New Jalpaiguri Railway Station is well connected with trains from Kolkata and other parts of the country.

By Road: Gangtok is well connected by road with Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Buses should be booked in advance, especially during the Durga Puja festival. One can get buses to Gangtok from Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Bagdogra and Siliguri.

Best time to visit: September - May

About Gangtok: Gangtok Information & Fact File
Altitude 1437 meters
Summer 25 (Max) & 14(Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter 16 (Max) & -1 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go March – April & October-November
Monsoon May to September
Summer April-May
Snowfall December - January
Clothes Light woolen in summer and heavy woolens in winter
Nearest Airport Bagdogra, 130 km away
Nearest Railway Station New Jalpaiguri - 124 km
Bus Station Gangtok
Hospital & Doctor

Gangtok has a state-run District Hospital which can handle emergencies

Places to see Enchay Monastery, Do-drul Chorten, Dodrupchen Monastery, Rumtek Monastery, Tsmongo Lake, Nathu La Pass…
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