Wreathed in clouds, Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim is located on a ridge at
a height of 5500 feet. With a spectacular view of the Khangchendzonga, the town
provides the perfect base for travel through the state. Once an important transit
point for traders traveling between Tibet and India, it is today a busy administrative
and business centre and presents an interesting mix of cultures and communities.
Gangtok is a cosmopolitan town which offers the tourist all possible amenities.
Hotels are available in a range of prices along with a variety of eateries serving
cuisine for all tastes. Shopping complexes, cyber cafes, night clubs and pool parlours
abound for those so inclined.
MG Marg, the main street of Gangtok town is a great place to chill out. The countrys
first litter and spit free zone, no vehicular traffic is allowed into the marg.
You can sit at the Titanic Park or at the various benches stretched across the mall
and take in the carnival like atmosphere, especially during the tourist season.
The Mall is lined with shops on both sides of the road so shopping becomes an added
MG Marg is also the venue for the annual Gangtok Food and Culture festival held
in December each year when Sikkims multi-cultural cuisine, along with music and
dance performances are showcased. This event attracts a large number of locals and
tourists each year.
For a birds eye view of Gangtok take a ride on the bi-cable Zig-back ropeway. The
one kilometre ride from Deorali to Tashiling Secretariat costs Rs. 30 one way and
is completed in 7 minutes. Each cabin has the capacity to ferry 25 people at a time.
The ropeway has been fitted with fully computerized modern safety mechanism of international
standards. On clear weather the ride offers a great view of the Khangchendzonga
range apart from an overview of Gangtok town and the valley below. After you get
off at Tashiling Secretariat you can walk to the Ridge Park and soak in the beautiful
surroundings as well as visit the ongoing Flower Festival held just below the park.
For a view of Gangtok and all its surrounding, one can got to Ganest Tok situated
on a ridge at a distance of 7 kms from Gangtok. From this Spot one can get a view
of sprawling Gangtok town, while across the hills Mt. Khang-chen-Dzonga and Mt.
Siniolchu loom over the horizon. A cafeteria serves hot tea, coffee and snacks.
The view from here is truly breathtaking with snow peaks providing the perfect backdrop
for a panoramic view of Gangtok town.
Hanuman Tok, a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, is situated at an altitude of 7200
feet at a distance of about nine kilometres uphill from Gangtok on a blissfully
calm and quiet hilltop. The location is completely free from the pollution of city
life. Apart from the clear view of the peaks surrounding Mount Khangchendzonga,
some portions of Gangtok town, one also gets a bird's eye view of the Selep water
works, which supplies drinking water to Gangtok. Adjacent to this area is Lukshyama,
the royal cremation ground having stupas and chortens. Here the mortal remains of
the erst-while royal family members of Sikkim are cremated.
Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology is the most prestigious research institute
of its kind in the world, NIT is a treasure of vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan
and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare Thankas (colourful tapestries used in
Buddhist liturgy). Apart from an attractive museum, it has over 200 Buddhist icons
and other prized objects of art. As far as its collections are concerned, it is
only next to an institute in Tibet. Today it is renowned world wide centre for study
of Buddhist philosophy and religion. The institute was established in 1958 to promote
serious study and research on Buddhism.