Gangtok is a beautiful hill town and the capital of north-eastern state of Sikkim. This is one place which many tourists like to combine along with a visit to Darjeeling. In fact the combined trip of Darjeeling-Gangtok is a common recipe when people think about visiting this part of the country. This is mainly because of the proximity of the two places as well as easy access. And while in Gangtok, tourists visit several other places including the wonderland of Yumthang valley in north Sikkim, and Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass in East Sikkim, Pelling in west Sikkim etc.
Deorali Rope Way :
If you are at Gangtok you must experience ropeways or cable cars located at Deorali market. This rope way of about less than 1 km long has three entry points or stops. The lowest point is at Deorali market and the highest point is at Tashiling (below the state secretariat). There is a midpoint stop at Nam-Nang. One can enter from any point and return to same point after touching other two points. Cable car journey provides spectacular view of Gangtok market, valley and State Assembly hall of the state of Sikkim on its 15 to 20 minutes journey. The ticket fee for adult is Rs 50 and Rs 30 for kids below 6 years. One can carry a video camera by paying a fee of Rs 50. No extra charge for normal still camera
About 25 kilometres east of Gangtok and at an altitude of 5,800 feet is Sikkim’s biggest monastery, the Rumtek Monastery. Built in 1740 and rebuilt in 1979, the monastery features a golden stupa containing the relics of the 16th Karmapa, with several other sacred Buddhist artifacts.
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the waters of Banjhakri Falls are a treat to the eyes and senses. This is an ideal spot for a delightful picnic with family and friends.
Locally known as the Lingdum monastery, this monastery is run by the Sikkimese Gharwan Rimpoche. Known for its architecture and aesthetic value, this monastery has a collection of colorful Tibetan paintings called Thangkas that adorn the walls. Visitors can spin the long row of prayer wheels for good luck. A huge gold plated Buddha statue sits in the lotus position inside the sanctum.
Do Drul Chorten:
Arguably the most popular stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) in Sikkim, Do Drul Chorten was built in 1945 by a Tibetan Buddhist named Trulshik Rinpoche. Surrounded by 108 prayer wheels on which Buddhist mantras have been engraved, monks and tourists swirl the wheels, which is equivalent to completing 108 beads of recital. The gold plated steeple atop the Chorten is what Do Drul is famous for.
The Tashi Viewpoint is one of the best places to go to with a pair of binoculars, water and some sandwiches. From the Tashi Viewpoint, you get the perfect view of the snow covered peaks of Kanchenjunga.
This is a wonderful waterfall located on the North Sikkim Highway towards Tashi View Point and about 3kms from Gangtok town. While visiting Tashi View point or returning, it’s worth stopping at this roadside waterfall for sometime. While the height of the fall isn’t much, it’s the width of the fall that makes it so beautiful. The source of the water is at Ratey Chu.
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology:
Perched on the top of a beautiful hill, the Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology was established in 1958 to promote research into the Mahayana sect of Buddhism and Tibetan language and culture. The institute was initially known as the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology after Late Palden Thondup Namgyal (the Chogyal of Sikkim). The institute also plays host to one of the world’s largest collection of Buddhist books, rare manuscripts and Tibetan cloth paintings called thangkas.
Gangtok Handicrafts & Handlooms centre:
Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms (DHH) was established in 1957 in order to promote manufacture and sale of various handicrafts, carpets, furniture etc. It’s located at the zero point and about 1km from MG Marg. If you take the Tibet road from MG Marg, go straight up and at the end you will find the Handicraft center at the crossing. The main building in front houses the training centers for various handicraft items. It also has a museum which was opened in 2007 to showcase many artworks and items which are created in this center by local artists and artisans. Behind the main building, there is a 2-storey Sales Emporium where you can buy various products created at the center. Admission ticket is Rs. 10 per person. DHH is open from 10am to 4pm daily except Sundays and Government holidays.
Hanuman Tok Overview:
On the road to Nathu La at 7,200 feet, this temple is managed by the Indian Army. The views of Gangtok and the nearby lush hills from here are spectacular.
Ganesh Tok is a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh, located at an altitude of about 6,500 metres above sea level. It is situated next to the television tower on the hillock on Gangtok–Nathula Road. This is a really tiny temple with place only for one person at a time and you would have to crawl to get into the temple. But one you are in, you will get a nice panoramic view of Gangtok and the surrounding areas.
Himalayan Zoological Park:
The Himalayan Zoological Park is a stunning lush forest reserve that overlooks the majestic Khangchendzonga range and is spread across a total area of 230 hectares. The objective of the park is the conservation of rare and endangered species by providing them a safe and natural habitat. Two of the highlights of the Red Panda which is also the state animal of Sikkim, and the Snow Leopard, the apex predator of the Himalayas, figure prominently.
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. The monastery built around the then small hamlet of Gangtok became a religious centre.The location was blessed by Lama Drupthob Karpo, a renowned exponent of tantric (adept) art in Buddhism with flying powers; initially a small Gompa was established by him after he flew from Maenam Hill in South Sikkim to this site. The literal meaning of Enchey Monastery is the "Solitary Monastery"
Flower Exhibition Centre-Deorali:
A beautiful tropical greenhouse, the Flower Exhibition Centre in Gangtok is a paradise for plant lovers. The location is a beautiful stretch of green and is an absolute treat to the eyes.
This is also the venue of the famous Sikkim Flower Show, usually held around March, when the orchids around the region are in full bloom. People from around the country especially travel to Sikkim around this time to attend this colourful event.