Gangtok is tucked amongst the high peaks of the Himalayas with a favourable climate all round the year. The place is considered as an excellent holiday spot. Located in the eastern Himalayan range at an elevation of 5410 ft, the place is home to people of various ethnicities: Nepali, Lepcha and Bhutia.
Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is nestled in the Himalayan ranges. It is also one of the least populated states in the country, followed by Goa. Gangtok has some amazing geographical terrains and stunning locations.
The early history of Gangtok is still a mystery. The earliest record dates back to 1716 after the hermetic Gangtok monastery was built. The place remained as a small hamlet until the Enchey Monastery was constructed in the year 1840, and the place turned out to be a major pilgrimage centre for the Buddhists.
Best Time To Visit Gangtok
Gangtok is a year round destination and can be visited anytime throughout the year. However, the temperatures drop significantly during the winter season which starts from December and ends by February. However, the summers are one of the best seasons to explore the place.
How To Reach Gangtok
By Air: The nearest airport to Gangtok is the Bagdogra airport in West Bengal which is located at a distance of 125 km. The airport offers flights to all the major cities within the country and also provides helicopter services to Gangtok.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Gangtok is the New Jalpaiguri railway station which is located at a distance of 117 km from here. The station is well linked to all the major towns and cities across the country.
By Road: Gangtok is well connected by roads and has regular bus services from Siliguri. Siliguri is at a distance of 117 km from here and around 97 km from Darjeeling.
1. Rumtek Monastery
This beautiful Tibetan Buddhist monastery was built in the 16th century by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk and was later renovated by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. The monastery embodies the vision of the 16th century Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje and was built to establish his seat in exile and also to spread Buddhism throughout the world.
One can notice the pictures of Dalai Lama and Ganesha at the entrance of the monastery to symbolize the linkage between Buddhism and Hinduism.
2. Enchey Monastery
The 200 year old monastery is built atop a hill and was blessed by Lama Dhrupthob Karpo who was a renowned saint and was known to have flying powers. The sacredness of the monastery is associated with two protecting deities of Khangchedzonga and Yabdean who reside in this monastery.
3. Hanuman Tok
Tok when translated means temple. Hanuman Tok is a well known temple dedicated to Hanuman. The temple is located at an altitude of approximately 7200 ft and is well known for its peaceful atmosphere and the magical views of the mighty Kanchenjunga.
According to local legend, Hanuman is believed to have taken rest here while carrying the Sanjeevini mountain to Sri Lanka. The idol of Hanuman was erected here in the year 1950 after an officer named Appaji Pant had a divine dream at this location.
4. Tsomgo Lake
One of the most well known and holiest spots here is the Tsomgo Lake. The local people consider the lake as holy and have been worshiping it since time immemorial. One can find a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the lake shore which adds on further to the peaceful environment.
5. Do Drul Chorten
The stupa was constructed by Trullshi Rimpoche who was the head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, in the year 1945. Inside the stupa one can get to see the complete set of Dorjee phurba, Zungm, a set of Kang Gyur relics and other religious objects.
There are 108 prayer wheels or Mani Lhakor around the stupa which are turned by the devout Buddhists along with the chanting of 'Om Mani Padme Hum'.