Above The Clouds at Gangtok
Gangtok is the capital city of the state Sikkim, India. The town is situated at a height of 5500 feet and it provides a mesmerizing view of the Khangchendzonga, which is the base for travel within the state. The place offers breathtaking scenes for the tourist since it is wreathed in clouds. In the past, the place was a transit point for traders to travel between India and Tibet and today it is a business administration center. The town has a rich diversity of culture and communities.
The place has one of the most refreshing views and surroundings that will make your eyes ponder. The mountainous beauty and ancient Tibetan Buddhist culture will soothe your soul. The major places to visit include:
As much as 200 monasteries lived in the divine hilltops. The most visited monasteries are Enchain, Do-Drul Chorten, Institute of Tibeteology and the Tsuklakhang Palace Monastery. All the monasteries hold many festivals.
Flora and Fauna Sanctuaries:
Gangtok has got a great variety of plants, birds and animals. The place has registered 450 species of birds, 450 varieties of orchids, 400 species of butterflies and 40 species of rhododendron. The best places to experience serene environment are the Deorali Orchid Sanctuary in south Gangtok and Kyongnosia Alpine Sanctuary around an hour from Gangtok. The best visiting time is from early May to June.
Nathu La Pass and the Old Silk Route:
This is the most adventurous place in the entire tourist region. It is a three hour journey from Gangtok to Chinese borders. The border is surrounded by lone barbed wires and you will get the thrill of seeing Chinese soldiers. The permit is available only through a travel agency.
Seven Sisters Waterfall:
The Seven Sisters Waterfall is situated at the North Sikkim enroute the National Highway. The waterfall is one of the most pristine and picturesque sights that captures the mind of every tourist. The waterfall gets its name from the fact that it falls in seven different stages. It is one of the most visited places in Gangtok
Yuksom and Dzongri trial:
For a trekker, the town of Gangtok is a paradise. The route from Yuksom to Dzongi Peak, and far away on to Goecha Peak is the most challenging and popular treks in Gangtok. The trek consists of unspoiled forests, beautiful rivers of Kachenjunga National Park and splendid rhododendron gardens. Such a challenging trekking requires an authentic permit from travel agencies.
Not to miss:
Teesta river rafting:
Teesta River provides latest rafting adventure activity. The major route is Makha-Sirwani-Bardang-Rongpo. The place has plenty of white sand beaches and grade 2 to 4 rapids for world class rafting opportunities. The best time to enjoy the thrill is from March to May and October to December.
Do-Drul Chorten or Stupa:
The Stupa monastery was built in 1945 by the Venerable Trulshik Rinpoche. It is located near the Gangtok museum on top of a hill. The Stupa includes many religious objects such as a set of Kangyur relic, a complete Zung, a full mandala and a set of Dorje phurba. Its specialty is that it serves as a retreat to nirvana seekers, photographers and experience seekers. The historic seekers find it a fascinating religious symbol. The monastery is open daily from 8:00am to 6:00pm and pets are not allowed inside.
The garden is a major tourist attraction in Gangtok. It includes a wide variety of flora and fauna that are exclusive to the region. The gardens dwell a wide range of foreign orchids and some rare plants of Sikkim too. The fruit trees also constitute the major area in the garden. It is situated at 14 km away from Gangtok and is constituted by forest department.
The temple is situated at approximately 7,200 ft above ground and 11 kms from Gangtok Town. It is 5 km away from the White Hall on the Nathula Highway. . At such height, a beautiful view of the Town is seen. The temple was built in diligence to Lord Hanuman and it is run under a division of Indian Army.
The temple is built to worship God Ganesha. The highlighting feature of the temple is that one has to crawl to enter inside the place.
Don’t miss to purchase handicrafts items, wooden and bamboo artifacts, carpets; Lepcha weave bags, clothes and other interesting items from different markets of Gangtok.
Do try the Sikkimese cuisine while in Bangkok at different restaurants. You may also enjoy various international dishes in comfortable ambiance of famous eating joints.
How to reach:
Due to its remoteness, Gangtok is not easily accessible.
The nearest airport is 124 kilometers away in Bagdora, West Bengal. From the airport you can easily get a taxi or private vehicle that will fetch you to Gangtok in just two hours. The ride will surely set your mood with stunning mountains and River Teesta. The alternate ride includes a TSA helicopter. It will take off from Bagdogra and it will reach Gangtok in just 20 minutes. The weather conditions may be harsh and chopper flights might get cancelled due to huge bookings.
The nearest railway station to Gangtok is situated 148 kilometers away in New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri. It is a major railway station and it is well connected to Delhi and Kolkata. The alternate way includes taking a taxi or take a state-run bus that will take about 5-6 hours.
The roadside drive is a little risky. All the roads are properly maintained, with few exceptions. Tourists travelling in from nearby places like Darjeeling, Kolkata, Siliguri prefer to drive to Gangtok.
The high mountain cliffs, monasteries in the clouds, thrilling trekking paths and placid glacial lakes make the visit of Gangtok one refreshing ride. The town is one of the most beautiful place not only in India but in the world.