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Sikkim - Gangtok
Gangtok - the gateway to Sikkim:
The picturesque Gangtok, at an altitude of 1547 meters, covering an area of 954 square km, had become the part of Sikkim in 1894. It is the capital of Sikkim. This hill resort is 110 km from Siliguri (Siliguri is 606 km away from Kolkata). Gangtok or High hill, the capital of Sikkim, is an inimitable hill resort of northeast India and certainly one of the coveted spots. Gangtok is illustrious for its prettiness and spectacular vista of the Kanchenjunga, the 3rd highest mountain in the world. Pandim, Narsingh, Sinol, and chu are the other ice-capped peaks are also clearly visible from Gangtok. The small town of Sikkim offers a mild and varying temperature through out the year.
Gangtok is bordering Tibet. Nathula pass, situated at an elevation of 14400 feet from the plains, is just 56 km away from Gangtok. The charm of the city is getting diluted due to the unrealistic and irrational development of the capital. Though the 5 to 6 storied homes built in Sikkimese architecture appear stunningly beautiful on the city landscapes but never the less the urbanization is hampering the greeneries and the earlier ambiance of the mountain town is on a toss. The population of Gangtok is more than 50,000 now and increasing day by day as the facilities and amenities of the majestic town are also on the rise.
About 3 km towards the north-east side of the bus stand of Gangtok, is Enchey Monastery. The monastery, rebuilt in 1909, resembles the architectural richness of the Chinese Pagoda. There is a library on the 1st floor. The masks of Lama Dance are the rare and atypical collections of the monastery. The attractions of the Cham or Lama Dance celebration to the tourists are admirable and irresistible. Mriga uddan (Deer Park) and museum, built on the lines of Sarnath, on the slopes of the hills, look like a portrait on the canvas. Even though the door of the nearby Suk-La-Thang (The palace of the king) is closed for the tourist but on December, at the propitious occasion of Pang Lhabsol, the palace is kept open for general mass. Royal chapel Darbar hall, Namnang view point, at the opposite side of the hall, Raj bhawan are some of the significant and noticeable places around. The panoramic view of the great Kanchenjunga, mount Siniyolchu and sunrise from the Tashi view point, about 8 km off the town, will surely force you to redefine the meaning beauty. Tourists who love to see and buy handcrafted items can go to Institute of Cottage Industries and craft museum.
The Tibetan pilgrimage spot, DO-TA-BA (House of stones), about 3 km off the town, built in 1945, is a heaven for those who feel that they have committed a sin and it is believed that a roundabout traversal of the 108 pillars of it will take care of their problems. The adjoining monastery has an idol of Padmasambhar, the Buddhist saint. The Institute of Tibet-logy, the 3rd highest Tibetan library, built by Dalai Lama and opened by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, houses a large collection of more than 30, 000 lepcha, thonkas idol, Sanskrit and Buddhist books. The Chogial Paulden Thondup Namgiyal Memorial and white Do-Drul-Chorten should also be seen.
The collection of orchids, about 14 km away from the city, definitely has the power to amuse orchid lovers. Ganesh tok (Small temple), 7km away from Gangtok, on a hillock, on Gangtok-Nathula Road, offers a bird's eye view of Gangtok along with the panoramic view of the marvelous Kanchenjunga.
The Himalayan Zoological Park, spreading over a rambling area of 205 hectors, houses a large varieties of wild animals. Red panda of east Himalaya, Black Bear, Snow Leopard, Blue Sheep, and many more reptiles are the residents of the park.
Hanuman tok, just on top of Ganesh Tok, the viewpoint is offering a pleasant view of the mountains along the horizon and the Gangtok town. There is also a Temple of the God Hanuman here.
White hall, built in 1932, the commemorative of the officer called Claude White, has now become an officer’s club. The Gangtok flower festival houses a huge collection of 600 species of orchids, 240 types of typical plants, 46 kinds of Rhododendron, 150 species of Gladioli, Poppy flowers and different kinds of Magnolia.
The Saramsa garden, spreading an area of 7 acres, at a distance of 15 km, organized an exhibition and competition of flowers during 14-16 March, 2008. But exhibition on the permanent exhibition ground continues throughout the year.
The butterfly park, only of its kind in India, built in 1992, exhibits more than 400 species of colorful butterflies.
The enjoyable rope way ride of 1 km from Deorali market to secretariat offers the view of heavenly Gangtok.
Hiring a private taxi will cost you 300 to 400 rupees and you can complete the whole tour of Gangtok within 3-4 hours. Helicopter is also available for the city tour. The cost of hiring a helicopter is 1200 to 1500 rupees per minute. Rates may differ.
How to reach: Gangtok, located at a distance of 114 km from Siliguri, is very well connected to Siliguri by bus. Gangtok is not yet connected by railways to any part of India. Siliguri can be accessed directly from Kolkata by bus, by air and by train.
Where to stay: Hotel Norkhil, Orange Village, Hotel Royal Plaza, Sidlon Residency, Teen Taley Village Resort and Hotel Sonam Delek are some of good ones. Refer to our Hotel booking link below for rates, options and online booking.