Places to Visit in Gangtok: Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is built on a cloudy ridge 5,500 feet above sea level. It is probably the cleanest city in India, which makes it a pleasant place to spend a few days sightseeing and organizing onward travel. If you feel like some pampering, then one of the top Himalayan spa resorts in India is located in Gangtok. It also has a casino.
Many places to visit in Gangtok can be found on the ubiquitous “three-point”, “five-point” and “seven-point” local tours offered by travel agents, hotels, and taxi drivers. The “three-point” tours include three main viewpoints of the city (Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, and Tashi Approach). Forms such as Enchi Monastery can be added for “five-point” tourism. “Seven Point” tours include monasteries outside Gangtok, such as Rumtek and Lingdam.
8 Popular Places to Visit in Gangtok
- Enchey Monastery
Sikkim’s monasteries are among its most popular attractions. You will find Enchey Monastery on a ridge above Gangtok. The name of this serene place means a secluded monastery. It was initially built in 1909 but had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1947. This monastery is relatively small and non-commercial. However, it is beautifully decorated with colorful murals, sculptures, and a large collection of masks used in ritual dances. The founder, Lama Druptob Karpo, was a tantric master known for his ability to fly and fly!
Enchey Monastery is open from 4 am to 4 pm. Monday to Saturday, and until 1 pm. on Sunday.
Two famous monasteries can also be visited on scenic day trips from Gangtok: Rumtek, and the newer and more attractive Lingdam (Ranka) with its colossal golden Buddha statue. Reach Lingdum at 7.30 am or 3.30 pm. To hear the monks chant in mesmerizing voices.
- Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok
From Enchey Monastery, take the road northeast to the colorful Ganesh Tok with its fluttering prayer flags, for dramatic views of Bangkok. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, as well as cafes and souvenir shops. Above Ganesh Tok, and arguably with a better viewpoint, sits Hanuman Tok. Visitors are greeted by a huge orange statue of Lord Hanuman. The Hanuman temple there is maintained by the Indian Army, so it is clean and peaceful. It is surrounded by beautiful sprawling gardens, walkways, and a spectacular view of Mount Khangchendzonga on a clear day.
- Himalayan Zoological Park
Opposite Ganesh Tok, Himalayan Zoological Park is one of the better-maintained zoos in India with a natural jungle setting. It is spread over 230 hectares of hills and houses rare animals, many of which have been saved from traders and poachers. These include Himalayan bears, snow leopards, Tibetan wolves, and red pandas.
The zoo is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm except on Thursdays. The ticket price is Rs 60.
- Tashi Viewpoint
Tashi Viewpoint, north of the city, is said to offer the best views of the Khangchendzonga Mountains within Gangtok. However, some complain that it is not worth the climb, and similar views can be found elsewhere. Views are very weather dependent and you will most likely be disappointed on a cloudy day. There are binoculars you can pay to use, and there is a roadside gift shop run by the Indian Army. The money from the sale helps support it.
- Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and Do-Drul Chorten
For those interested in Buddhism and Tibetan culture, the Namgyal Tibet Institute of Science will be worth a visit. Established in 1958, its traditional Tibetan-style building houses a museum and a library that houses the largest collection of Tibetan works in the world outside of Tibet. The museum houses sculptures, relics of monks, ritual objects (including improvised bowls made of human skulls and human thigh trumpets), artworks, thangkas (painted, woven, and embroidered scrolls), and a rare collection of ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit. , Tibetan, Chinese, and Lepcha. There is also a souvenir shop and coffee shop on the premises.
The institute remains open from 10 am to 4 pm. Monday to Saturday. It is closed on Sundays, second Saturdays of every month, and on government holidays. The entry fee is Rs 10.
The sparkling white Do-Drul Chorten is located on the same street not far from the institution. Going by its fascinating history, this stupa was built by a powerful Tibetan lama, who came to rid the site of the evil spirits that were haunting it. It is surrounded by 108 prayer wheels, and in the evening hundreds of lamps are lit in a glass room next to it to pave the way for departed ancestors.
- Gangtok Ropeway
Close to the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and Do-Drul Chorten, board one of the Damodar Ropeway’s cable cars for a bird’s-eye view of Gangtok and the surrounding valley. This will take you up the ridge to the Tashiling Secretariat. The ropeway operates daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. Tickets cost Rs 110 per person, and there are discounts for children.
- Flower Exhibition Center
If you are visiting Gangtok from April to June or September end of November, then get off the cable car at Tashiling Secretariat and walk to Ridge Park and the Flower Exhibition Center just below it. This greenhouse is bursting with high-altitude flowers, especially orchids. Orchid bulbs and seeds are also available for purchase there. It is open from 10 am to 6 pm. And the ticket cost is Rs 20.
Deorali Orchid Sanctuary, near Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, is another place to see exotic varieties.
Or, stay at Orchid Farm, one of the best homestays in India near Gangtok, Hidden Forest Retreat.
- MG Marg Market
From the Flower Exhibition Centre, it is easy to walk to MG Marg, the atmospheric main street of Gangkok. The road is freshly free of litter, spitting, smoking, and vehicles – as all are banned there. It is a popular hangout spot though, and the evenings can get very crowded and carnival-like. Go shopping there, and make travel arrangements with the many tour operators that have outlets there.
Golden Tips Tea Showroom (Poonam Building, First Floor, MG Marg) is loved for its boutique teas, including Temi tea grown in Sikkim’s only tea estate.
Shops on MG Marg usually open at 9 am and close by 8 pm. Apart from this, many shops are closed on Tuesdays.
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