Gangtok is a very famous tourist destination in the Indian state of Sikkim. This beautiful hill station is nestled in the Shivalik Hills towards the eastern side of the magnificent Himalayas. Gangtok is one of the naturally blessed towns in India for its scenic charm and lush green surroundings. The place has a strong Buddhist influential that can be seen with the abundance of monasteries and Buddhist prayer flags everywhere. Gangtok is a colourful, picturesque and mesmerising holiday destination of Eastern India.
Location : State/District
Located in the Sikkim district, Gangtok is the largest town and capital of Sikkim. The latitude of Gangtok is 27.3300° N and the longitude remains at 88.6200° E.
Gangtok is a favourite hill station nestled in the Himalayan region.
Meditation, Family Holiday, Mountaineering, Trekking & Honeymoon Destination
Gangtok is the most ideal holiday destination for travellers looking for tranquillity and peace. It is a chosen destination for holidaying with family members. Gangtok is a perfect weekend retreat for the city dwellers in the neighbouring states. Outdoors activities like mountain climbing and trekking also lures outdoor enthusiasts to this place. The beauty and serenity of the place also makes it a superb destination for honeymooners or newlyweds. Gangtok is an important pilgrim site for Buddhists followers all over the world.
Gangtok enjoys moderate climatic conditions in all seasons. During the summer season from March to June, the temperature remains pleasant and the mercury level remains around 22° C. Monsoons in Gangtok is characterised with heavy rainfall. It continues from June to September, adventure lovers must avoid outdoor activities as landslides are a common occurrence during this time. The winter months from November to February are relatively cold in Gangtok although snowfall rarely occurs. The most ideal time to visit Gangtok is from March to June and during October to mid-December. This time is best suited to enjoy sightseeing as well as outdoor fun.
There are no such travelling requirements for the resident Indian citizens for vacationing in Gangtok. They can travel to the place at their discretion. As per the rules and regulations, foreign tourists need to take visa permission from the Indian government, specifying the purpose, time and duration of the visit. They need to undergo all the travel formalities and also keep their passports up-to-date.
Places to Visit
The natural sceneries and sightseeing destinations in Gangtok can be enjoyed leisurely as the place does not remain crowded to the hilt. Some of the must visit spots are given below.
Enchey Gompa is a famous monastery of the region and the Chinese Pagoda styled structure built in the year 1901 is the central attraction of this place. The monastery offers a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga range. The best time to visit Enchey Gompa is during the months of January and August as different festivals and dances are held during this time. The Pemayangtse Monastery and the Rumtek Monastery are also must-visit monasteries of the place.
Do Drul Chorten is a very famous stupa in the whole of Sikkim. This dome-shaped Buddhist shrine was constructed by a Tibetan Buddhist called Trulshik Rinpoche in the year 1945. The sacred stupa is bordered with 108 prayer wheels that are engraved with Buddhist mantras. The central attraction of Do Drul Chorten remains the gold plated steeple on the top and this place is a must visit for all tourists. The place is opened everyday from morning 8 to 6pm and the entry is absolutely free.
Hanuman Tok is very famous temple located on the way to Nathu La, at a height of 7,200 feet. This temple is controlled by the Indian Army and offers the most spectacular view of Gangtok and the surrounding hills. Ganesh Tok is also a small temple of Lord Ganesha on the same route. The temple is so tiny that you need to crawl inside one at a time. The place also offers splendid view of the town and the charming surroundings.
Tsongmo Lake is prime tourist spot that is a 2-hour drive from the town of Gangtok. Located on the Gangtok-Nathu La highway, the lake is surrounded by lush green landscapes. Tsomgo Lake has a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the place is a holy site for Hindus. Tourists also love the yak ride offered around the lake.
Saramsa Garden is a popular recreational spot for tourists. The garden is located on the Pakyong road, about 14 kms from Gangtok and is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna. The Saramsa Garden in Gangtok was also a chosen venue for the International Floriculture Show in the year 2008.
Deer Park is a favourite spot for children. Also known as the Rustamji Park, this sanctuary houses different breeds of deer gathered from different parts of Sikkim as well as some neighbouring states. Apart from spotting the deer at this place, you will also see the sacred statue of Lord Buddha offering sermons to his followers.
Bakthang Waterfalls is one of the most picturesque tourist spot of Gangtok. It is located at just 3 kms from the main town and the place has a very clear and clean atmosphere. This site is also known as the Tashi View Point as it offers a splendid view of the surrounding hills and valleys. The Bakthang Waterfalls is an ideal place for travellers seeking peace, tranquillity and leisure.
The surrounding hills of Gangtok are ideal for short treks. Some of these routes are beautiful while some remain tough for beginners.
Shopping is another popular activity in Gangtok. The local shops in the M.G. Road are lined with handicrafts, masks, footwear and carpets. The traditional stuffs like thangkas and collapsible wooden tables are very popular among tourists. Sikkim tea is also renowned for its exotic flavour and must buy item.
Gezing is a wonderful town located at 110 kms from Gangtok. Nestled among the Great Himalayas, this place is bestowed with natural scenic surroundings. Gezing is a not-to-be-missed destination for shopping lovers as the market place is very famous for its handmade items.
Nathu La Pass is the second highest mountain pass of the region and offers stunning view of the surroundings. This place is located at the Indo-China border and requires a permit from the tourism Department of Sikkim. The best time is to start at the dawn and reach the Nathu La Pass by morning. Along the way there are two prime stops, the stunning Jhakri Waterfalls and the splendid glacial lake named as Changu Lake.
The Kanchenjenga National Park is a very beautiful park that is home to the Himalayan tahr, snow leopard, musk deer and other rare species of birds and animals. This place is a must-visit for wildlife lovers.
Food & Accommodation
Gangtok is lined with restaurants serving all kinds of cuisines to its customers. Some of the popular restaurants of this place are Bakers' Cafe, Hotel Golden Pagoda, Glenery's, Chopsticks, 9'ine, Taste of Tibet, Parivar Restaurant and Tangerine. While in Gangtok you must try the local Tibetan food like momos at the roadside stalls.
There are accommodation options for every budget in Gangtok. Some of the premium and luxury hotels o include the Club Mahindra Royal Demazong, Orange Village Resort, Nor-Khill, The Delisso Abode Hotel and Royal Plaza. They hotels promise to offer their guests an unmatched staying experience. The mid-range hotels of Gangtok comprises of Golden Heights, Tashi Delek, Mintokling Guest House and Rendezvous Hotel. If you are tight on your pocket, look out for Sai Kripa, Superview Himalchuli, Hotel Sonam Delek, Sagorika and Little Wing Hotel.