Places of Interest
Perched at a height of 5500 ft, Gangtok ‘top of hill’ lures visitors
with its fabulous view of magnificent Mt. Khangchendzonga. Its strategic
location, a strong Buddhist presence and heady cultural offerings are a
tempting insight into this stimulating land. Sample some of its
treasures before heading out of town to savour Sikkim’s other delights.
One of the most delightful ways to do this is to sign up for one of the
Purnima (May) to enjoy the famous Saga Dawa festivities. Walking in
colorful pro-cession, the holy monks carry the holy books of Buddha’s
teachings from the Tsuklakhang Monastery in the palace to different
parts of town.
Research Institute of Tibetology
This world-renowned centre for Buddhist philosophy and religion, the
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is the world’s largest treasury of
invaluable old Tibetan books and manuscripts on science, medicine,
astrology etc. It attracts Buddhist scholars from around the world.
The centre also has a wide range of Lepcha and Sanskrit manuscripts and
scrolls of ancient vintage. The museum attached to it contains over 200
icons, old tankas and some ritual vessels amongst the various objects d
art on display. Upstairs you can observe the cataloguing and restoration
of these treasures. Open 10am-4pm
Government Institute of Cottage Industry
This institute is located at about a kilometre uphill from the main
market of Gangtok. It was established, in 1957 wiht the purpose of
promoting the manufacture and sale of local handicrafts, Thankas which
are scrolls of paintings, hand carved foldable wooden tables known as
Choksees and exquisitvely woven wollen carpets, masks and dolls. Hand
made paper is another unique novelty o the Institute and is made from
the bark of a tree Algeri. The paper is used extensively for invitation
cards and letter-pads.
Flower show, Ridge and White Hall
The ridge is a small stretch of plain flat road above the town of
Gangtok. It is just about fifteen minutes walk from the main market. The
Ridge has the white hall and the chief ministers official residence,
known as the Montokgang, meaning "blossomed crowned hill top" on one end
and the beautifully designed palace gate with a pagoda roof top on the
other end. A statue of Nehru, the late Prime Minister of India, adorns
the roundabout above White hall. Situated on the ridge is also a resting
shed using Tibetan architecture. The ridge is line dwith plants and
trees which when in bllom are a riot of colours. Flower show which
attract tourists from all over the world are held just below the Ridge.
This monastery is located just adjacent to the Tourist Lodge (Siniolchu
Lodge) and the TV Tower about a Kilometer uphill from the White Hall.
The monastery is located in a dense wood and one can see the
Kanchendzonga range over the crown of trees. Lama Druptob Karpo is
supposed to have built a small hermitage at his spot after he flew here
from Maenam Hill (South Sikkim) more than two-hundred years age. During
the reign of Sidkeong Tulku, a monastery follows the Nyingma Order and
main Puja and dances are held here on the 18th and 19th of the twelfth
month of the Tibetan Calendar which normally corresponds to the month of
Located just next to the Sikkim Legislative Assembly and the ropeway
terminus, this view-pint offers an excellent view of the deep valley
below with the river Ro-ro-chu snaking through it.
Inaugurated on 7th Dec 2003, the ropeway operates between the Main
Secretariat Deer Park, Sikkim Legislative Assembly and the Tibetology at
Deorali. The two cable cars have a capacity of accommodating 25
passengers each. The ride gives a breathtaking view of the river about
1000 metres below as well as the Deorali Bazar.
Tashi view point
Situated along the North Sikkim Highway, it is only 8 kms from Gangtok.
From this point you get a breath taking view of Mt. Khang-chen-Dzonga
and Mt. Siniolchu, one of the most graceful peaks in the world. Ideal
time to visit is early in the morning.
short distance from the town centre gets you to this unpretentious
mandir and offers splendid photography.
Located just above the town this Ganesha temple offers splendid views of
the surrounding hills.
Himalayan Zoological Park
The park is located exactly across the road opposite Ganesh-Tok and
covers an area of 205 hectares. This area is also known as Bulbuley and
extends almost upto Hanuman Tok. Although a 3 kilometres long jeepable
paved cement path that passes by fenced open air enclosures housing the
red pandas, barking deer, bears and other animals of Sikkim in a semi
natural habitat. as the enclosures encompass a hge area the animals are
sometimes not easily visible and one has to be patient to get a sight of
The Saramsa Garden
This garden is located at a distance of about 14 kilometers downhill
from Gangtok, 2 kilometers from Ranipool. The area covered by this
garden is six acres. The garden has been named so because of the plant
Ipecac that is grown here. This garden contains a wide variety of other
flora including numerous types of orchids and medicinal plants. A large
green house also accommodates many other species. The garden is a very
popular picnic spot. One has to take a taxi to reach this place.
A drive through the picturesque terraced rice fields will bring you to
the head quarters of the Dharma Chakra Centre, the present seat of His
Holiness, the Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kargyupa Sect. The main
monastery is a recent structure, built by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in
strict accordance with the traditional designs of his monastery in
Tsurphu in Tibet.
Pal Zurmang Kagyud Monastery, Lingdum
For those interested in Buddhism, a visit to this monastery at Lingdum
which lies on a bifurcation on the Gangtok-Rumtek road towards Ranks can
be fruitful. It is the seat of the incarnation of Zurmang Gharwang
Rimpoche. Built in 1997, this monastery is palatial in size.
An ideal day trip from Gangtok is a visit to Tsango Lake. With an
average depth of 50 ft, this spectacular lake is situated 37 km north
east from Gangtok at an altitude of 3,752 metres on the Gangtok -
Nathula highway. The road with an awesome precipice on one side takes
you through the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary. The snow and the frozen
lake make it even more exciting during the winter months.
Ahead of Tsangu located on the Indo-China border lies the Nathula Pass.
This pass was a point of conflict during the Chinese aggression in 1962
. It was an important point on the India-Tibet trade route until the
border with Tibet was closed in 1962. It has been reopened in 2006.
This is another beautiful lake located twenty kilometers ahead of the
Changu Lake. The 2 kilometeres length steep narrow road from the Baba
Harbajan singh Temple reaches the lake. Quite big in size, it lies
cradled between the mountains below the Jelepla Pass and is also the
source of the river Rangpo-chu which meets the Tista at Rangpo. Like the
Tsongmo Lake it also derives its water from the melting snow around
especially from the stream that originates just below the Jelepla pass.
The Lake is famous for its trout and a farm to cultivate these fish also