Beautiful, unspoilt, green, full of orchids, mountains, butterflies and monasteries, and home to some of the gentlest people you dream of meeting. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is full of tall, brightly decorated houses and is a happy, bustling place. If you love the atmosphere of Indian hill towns, then you'll love Gangtok, with its sweater-clad locals; trekkers loaded down with equipment; and the busy Lafi Market, selling almost everything
454 types of orchid, over 600 species of butterflies, 500 species of birds, red pandas; snow leopards Sikkim is a naturalist's paradise, and there are many wildlife parks and sanctuaries. The largest and most famous of these is the Kanchenjunga National Park, covering an area of 850 square kilometres and whose centre piece, naturally, is the sacred mountain of Kanchenjunga.
Mountains and Glaciers
Sikkim is blessed with a craggy topography where it is difficult to spot any flat land here. Sikkim is all about highest peaks and mountains that define this paradise. These ranges form to be an impregnable barrier. the western boarder lies the third highest mountain of the world Kanchendezonga, 28,168 ft. High. Other peaks that deserve mention are Siniolchu, Pandim, Narsing, Kabru, Pyramid Peak and Nepal Peak. Through the center of Sikkim runs another mountain ridge in the North to South direction. This mountain ridge separates the Teesta and Rangit valley and ends at the confluence of the two rivers. The peak of this ridge is Tendong above Damthang about 15 kms. away from Namchi. What add to the beauty of these mountains are the glaciers Zemu Glacier, Rathong Glacier and Lonak Glacier in North Sikkim.
Sikkim's near about 200 monasteries or Gompas belonging to the Nyingma and Kagyu order have not only been influencing the cultural heritage and lifestyle of the people, but also demonstrates the ancient rituals in practice. Devoted Lamas robed in red, chant ancient mantras to the rhythm of drums and trumpets while soft lights flicker from decorative lamps placed before statues of the great Guru Padmasambhava. The largest monastery in the Eastern Himalaya, built by the Gyalwa Karmapa in strict accordance with the traditional designs of the monastery in Tibet. Rumtek is the seat of Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism. This magnificent gompa is only 24 km from Gangtok.
You can wander up lush green mountain trails, in the very footsteps of those early travelers . Marvel at the stupas, monasteries and temples. Acquaint yourself with a culture that is at once bizarre and fascinating. With its endless intriguing rituals and festivals and festivities. Sikkim offers you a holiday that is more than a dream - a voyage of adventure and discovery. The various adventure sports which can be pursued in Sikkim are Mountaineering, Trekking, River rafting, Yak safari, Mountain biking, Hang gliding etc.
Gangtok- bespeckled Earth
Gangtok means "hill top" and the little capital of Sikkim is perched at 5,500 feet, high on the ridge of a valley. From Gangtok, you look over the hillside, the white Buddhist prayer flags fluttering in the wind, and endless vistas of many shades of green. Gangtok is famous for its scenic beauty and spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga. Jeeps and land rovers are available for local sightseeing in and around Gangtok.
Gangtok and its surroundings are famous for exotic and colorful flowers particularly Rhododendron Orchids and Blue Poppies. Colorful festivals draw visitors, particularly the Tsechu dance held at the Rumtek Monastery and the Kagyat dance performed by Lamas and Buddhist Monks on different occasions
The Organic view of the lakes
Myriads lakes of different size and nature stipple the involutions in Sikkim. The north eastern state is blessed with lakes that are spring fed and water fed. The Tsomgo Lake at Sikkim lies between Gangtok and Nathu La, 34 kms. from Gangtok at an altitude of about 11,000 ft. Khecheopalri lake is other lake that lies on a bifurcation of the route between Gyalshing and Yuksum . Menmecho lake, Green lake and Samiti lake are some other beautiful lakes. The Tsongo Lake lies 40km northeast of Gangtok, it means "Source of the Lake" in Bhutia language. This placid lake is located at an altitude of 3780m and held to be sacred by the local people. more.
Nathula-Pass between the passes
At an altitude of 14200ft, Nathula pass is the border between India and China in the Tibetan plateau. Only 56 km away from the Gangtok, tranquility of this place is very charming. Waving Chinese soldiers and Chinese tourists on the other side of the border is an added attraction. more
This 200 year old monastery is famous for the mask dance called 'Cham' performed in the month of January. An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery meaning the Solitary temple, was originally built with the solace that no other construction would be allowed near it. monasteries in Sikkim.
Tok Points Ganesh Tok
Ganesh Tok is 7km away from Gangtok, offers a bird's eye view of Gangtok. There is a small temple of lord Ganesh at this place. It is on a hillock on Gangtok-Nathula Road.
Just above Ganesh Tok lays this viewpoint offering nice view of the mountains along the horizon and the Gangtok town, there is a Temple of Hanuman here.
- The busiest route to and fro of Sikkim is the road between Gangtok and Siliguri which leads to Bagdogra Airport. The nearest railway station from Gangtok are New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. Sikkim is connected to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Siliguri. There are number of bus services run by the Sikkim Transport Company.
- The best time to visit Sikkim is between mid-March and June but especially, April and May, when the rhododendrons and orchids are in full bloom.
- Tourist Office: Tourist Information Centre, 4C Poonam Building, 5/2 Russell Street