Enveloped by mystic clouds at a height of around 5500 feet, Gangtok is the capital of the eastern state of Sikkim. Once a significant trade route for merchants travelling between India and Tibet, the city is now a hub for travellers seeking peace and tranquillity. It is a perfect base for a picturesque view of the world-famous Kanchenjunga Peak that makes it one of the favoured tourist destinations in India.
This serene paradise is home to several monasteries, exquisite temples, heritage museums and colonial churches that attract a huge influx of both domestic and international tourists. This cosmopolitan city is also dotted with many shopping complexes, cyber cafes and nightclubs, which make it as vivacious as any other thriving city in India. A Gangtok tour remains incomplete without tasting its local delicacies like momos, thukpa, wai-wai and shah-phaley that are served at all big and small eateries.
Sightseeing in Gangtok
While planning a sightseeing tour of this mesmerizing hill station, travelers must divide their travel itinerary in such a way so that they can visit all its natural and cultural marvels. Tsomgo Lake, also known as the Changu Lake, is not only considered sacred among local people, but is also one of the most stunning locations in the country.
Surrounded by giant mountains, it is certainly a heavenly sight that needs to be captured in a camera. To behold more natural beauty, vacations must visit the Tashi Point, from where they can see a breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga Peak. This point also offers a majestic view of Phodong and Labrang monasteries.
For a spiritual experience, visit various centuries-old Buddhist shrines dotted across this less trodden city. Spend quality time in exploring Do-Drul Chorten, which is among the biggest stupas in the state, features around 108 prayer wheels (or Mani Lhakor).
The other famous religious attraction is the Rumtek Monastery that is mainly known for the Kagyu (Red Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. While there are many small and large Buddhist monasteries, the place also has various revered Hindu shrines, such as Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok, which are dedicated to namesake Hindu deities.
Tourists who want to delve deeper into the rich history of Gangtok, can explore the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (NIT), which is esteemed for its architectural grandeur. NIT is a library, museum and general reference centre that houses a huge collection of rare Tibetan, Lepcha and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues, unique Thankas and other art objects. It is considered to be among the best Tibet institutes in the world with such a heritage collection.
At the end, travellers can undertake an excursion to the MG Marg, the main shopping street of Gangtok town. It is much acclaimed as the first litter and spit free zone in the country. With no vehicular traffic, travellers can have a great time relaxing and shopping in this pollution free area.
So, while booking India tour packages make sure to add this mesmerising hill city in your travel itinerary.