Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim state in north-eastern India, is a hidden gem and the coolest destination for a summer vacation. Nestled in the lap of the mighty Himalayas, this enchanting city offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and tranquillity that will leave you mesmerized.
Magnificent view of the city from Gangtok Ropeways
When it comes to exploring Gangtok, there are several must-visit places that should be on your itinerary. One such place is Tsomgo Lake, located at a breathtaking altitude of 12,400 feet. This high-altitude lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, changes its colours with the seasons, making it a sight to behold. Legend has it that Buddhist monks used to study the lake’s colour to predict the future.
Another must-visit place is the Nathula Pass, part of the ancient Silk Road connecting India and Tibet. This mountain pass offers stunning panoramic views and an adventurous drive through steep and slippery slopes. It is best to visit Nathula Pass during the summer and autumn when the weather is pleasant, and the route is accessible.
For a spiritual experience, visit the Ranka Monastery amidst dense forests. This serene sanctuary offers breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga range and provides an opportunity to interact with Buddhist monks. The tranquil atmosphere of the monastery provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.
Nature lovers should not miss the Himalayan Zoological Park, the first zoo in Sikkim. Unlike traditional zoos, this park houses animals in open pens that mimic their natural habitats. Here, you can spot rare and exotic species like snow leopards, red pandas, and Himalayan black bears. The zoo also offers a splendid view of Mount Kanchenjunga, adding to the overall experience.
If you’re interested in learning about Tibetan culture and history, a visit to the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is a must. This institute houses an extensive collection of Tibetan artefacts, manuscripts, and literature. It provides a glimpse into the fascinating Tibetan culture and its deep-rooted Buddhist traditions.
Head to the Flower Exhibition Centre for a burst of colours and floral beauty. This centre showcases various flowers around Sikkim and hosts an annual flower fair. It’s a paradise for nature enthusiasts and a great spot to relax and enjoy the vibrant display of colourful blooms.
MG Marg, the heart of Gangtok, is a vibrant market area that offers a glimpse into the local lifestyle. Explore the numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes, and indulge in local delicacies and souvenirs.
Gangtok is also home to several breathtaking viewpoints, such as Hanuman and Ganesh Tok. These sanctuaries offer panoramic views of the city, the surrounding hills, and the snow-capped mountains of the Kanchenjunga range. These serene locations provide a peaceful retreat and a chance to connect with nature.
Last but not least, visit the Rumtek Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Sikkim. This magnificent monastery, built in the traditional Tibetan style, showcases stunning architecture, vibrant prayer rooms, and religious artefacts. The serene surroundings of Rumtek Monastery against the backdrop of majestic hills and waterfalls create a truly awe-inspiring experience.
To make your journey within Gangtok even more memorable, don’t miss the Gangtok Ropeway managed by Damodar Ropeways. Ropeway ensures that your journey is as beautiful as the destination and is a tourist attraction itself. Established in 2003, this ropeway is operation from Deorali Bazaar to Namnang (legislative assembly). A unique feature of the Gangtok ropeway is that it is perhaps the only ropeway built across the city where cabins move above city roads. The Gangtok Ropeway provides a unique and panoramic view of the stunning Himalayan vista including the mighty Kanchenjunga surrounding the city. As you soar above the picturesque landscapes, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys, and the vibrant city below.