Gangtok is the capital of the small northeastern state of Sikkim. It’s rightly dubbed as ‘the hidden kingdom’ after a book (1971) by the same name by Alice Kandell. The mighty Kanchenjunga, considered a benevolent protector, dominates the region, making itself visible from various points within the state. The town provides the perfect base for travel through the state. Once an important transit point for traders travelling between Tibet and India, it is today a busy administrative and business centre and presents an interesting mix of cultures and communities.
When to Visit Gangtok:
Gangtok like Darjeeling almost follows similar trends in weather through the year. Although there are some differences in temperature and rainfall between the two places, the overall weather change takes place in tandem in both these two places. So a good season in Gangtok is also a good season in Darjeeling. And this is one main reason why most tourists combine a visit of Gangtok with Darjeeling. December to February can be extremely cold and hence it is not a preffered tourist time as lot of tourist spots are shut beacause of heavy snowfall. Monsoon (July- Mid September) is the period where rather one can spot continous rain and cloudy sky is the common sight. Furthermore it’s the time when the region is more prone to landslides.
How To Reach:
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim. So it is well connected with other parts of country by flight, trains and road. The nearest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal. It’s located at a distance of almost 120 Kms. Journey from Bagdogra to Gangtok journey is almost 5 to 6 hours. Another way to travel is train and the nearest railway head is New jalpaiguri in West Bengal. The station code of New Jalpaiguri is NJP. NJP is well connected with Kolkata and New Delhi by direct trains. The most prominent being New Delhi- Dibrugarh Rajdhani.
Major Tourist Attractions
1. Hanuman Tok
The word “Tok” in means temple. Hanuman Tok is a famous temple in Gangtok dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple is situated at an altitude of much as 7200 feet on the upper reaches of Gangtok. It is known for its serene atmosphere and surreal view of mighty Kanchenjunga. Visitors need to climb stairs to reach the top where the temple is perched.
2. Nathula Pass
Located at a distance of probably 56 kms from Gangtok, the Nathula Pass used to be a corridor of passage between India and Tibet. It is located at an altitude of 4,310 meters and one can view the Tsomgo Lake on their way to it.
3. Tsmogo Lake
It’s another famous tourist spots and lies probably 35 kilometers away from the city on the Gangtok-Nathula highway. It’s as a holy lake which is approximately 20 km away from the Nathula Pass. This lake is situated at a distance of around 400 km from Lhasa.
4. Bakthang Waterfalls
It’s one of the most noteworthy natural attraction in Gangtok, the picturesque Bakthang waterfalls originate from Ratey Chu, which is the main water source of the city. The mesmerising scenic vistas of the mighty Himalayas at the background and a bird’s eye view of the beautiful surroundings, makes for the icing on the cake.
5. Rumtek Monestary
Rumtek Monestary is another famous tourist spot. It was built probably in 16th Century by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk and was renovated later on by the late 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. It embodies the vision and aspiration of 16th Century Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. It was built to establish his seat in exile and to help spread teachings of Buddha throughout the world.