For the gangtok sightseeing we hired a cab that would show us 10 points around town. The cost was actually Rs 3000 as it is a peak season, but we fix up it at Rs. 2700. There’s no point going by the kilometers traveled… fares are all fixed. After a hearty breakfast, the next morning, we commenced our gangtok sightseeing tour at 10 AM.
My gangtok sightseeing (10 points )
1) Ganesh Tok
Ganesh Tok is a temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. This small temple can accommodate only a few persons at a time. The temple is a favorite tourist spot visited by travelers with much enthusiasm. Devotees plant saplings on the ground near the temple on behalf of those they love. Ganesh Tok is the right place to have a complete view of Gangtok, which is spread wonderfully over the hill slopes. Being the highest point here lying at an altitude of 6500 feet and just 7 km from Gangtok, Ganesh Tok offers fantastic views of the city and the magnificent Khangchendzonga.
Before you start for the temple above, you can acquire the traditional dress of the land from the shops for rent. They also help you to get dressed up in their attire. Many tourists enjoy wearing the conventional dress with which they go ahead to the temple and the viewpoint. The shops here also sell many curio items.
Close to the Ganesh Tok is the observatory tower, which has a small space at the center to sit. The view of snow-clad Kanchenjunga from here is stunning. It would be best to plan your visit in the morning as the weather could play spoilsport towards evening. My first quick look of this majestic peak quick look me. In my heart, I was actually anxious if the weather Gods would be kind to me. Indeed they were!
2) Tashi View Point
From Ganesh Tok we drove towards Tashi Point. The viewpoint named after Tashi Namgyal, the late king of Sikkim who constructed it. Tashi Viewpoint situated along the North Sikkim Highway, about 8 km from Gangtok. Amazing perspectives of generous Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Siniolchu should be enjoyed from here. It’s located in Tashi and about 8kms from the Gangtok town. It offers an all-encompassing view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks on a clear day. In fact, the view of the sunrise from here is memorable; you will see the peaks astounding with changing colors. But for that, you must reach the point before 5 am. There is no admission fee. However, you can pay Rs. 10/- to get a closer view of the peaks through a binocular and telescope mounted here. The forests in the opposite mountains look so close that I spent some good 10 minutes hunting for some wild animals through the binocular. There is a resting shed here as well as a shop offering tea, coffee, snacks as well as gift & souvenir items. Prices are reasonable.
3) Rumtek Monastery
Our next stop was Rumtek Monastery, one of the many in Sikkim. Rumtek Monastery, also called the Dharmachakra Center, is a gompa in the Indian state of Sikkim near the capital Gangtok. Originally built under the direction of Changchub Dorje, 12th Karmapa Lama in the mid-1700s. Rumtek served as the main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage in Sikkim for some time. But when Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, arrived in Sikkim in 1959 after fleeing Tibet, the monastery was in ruins. Despite being offered other sites, the Karmapa decided to rebuild Rumtek. To him, the site possessed many auspicious qualities and surrounded by the most positive attributes. For example, flowing streams, mountains behind, a snow range in front, and a river below. With the kindness and help of the Sikkim royal family and the local folks of Sikkim, it built by the 16th Karmapa as his main seat in exile.
After four years, construction of the monastery completed. The sacred items and relics brought out from Tsurphu Monastery, the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet, installed.
The monastery is the largest in Sikkim. It is home to the community of monks and where they do the rituals and practices of the Karma Kagyu lineage. A golden stupa has the relics of the 16th Karmapa. Opposite that building is a college, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies.
Rumtek located 24 kilometers from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, at an altitude of about 1,500 meters (4,900 ft).
4) Ranka Monastery
Also known as Lingdum monastery, located about 20 km from Gangtok. A relatively new monastery in a vast area. This is the seat of Zurmang Kagyud lineage of Buddhism and follows the direction of the 12th successor of the lineage Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche. This turned out my favorite of all the earlier monasteries which I saw as this one was extremely peaceful and the view is just breathtaking. And there are many young lamas undergoing training here. This monastery is full of wall paintings, murals, and scriptures which placed orderly inside the main workroom. In all, these monasteries took me to an altogether different world. A world of faith, belief, and peace!!
5) Bhan Jhakri Waterfalls
Ban Jhakri Falls is about 10-12 kilometers from Gangtok on the way to Ranka. Ban Jhakri Falls is a new sightseeing destination for tourists, its compound spreads on two acres of land. The main attraction of the park is the waterfalls which cascade from a rocky height of almost 40 feet and plunges down with intense force. Around the waterfalls, gardens have been beautifully landscaped and the place is further decorated with several statues of Ban Jhakri, Lyam Lymay, Mangpas, and Lepcha ancestors. Other recreational activities and refreshment stalls are also placed at the entrance of the park. Entrance fee levied for all visitors.
Ban literally means forest or jungle, and Jhakri means traditional healer. A Ban Jhakri is a mythical man, who exists only in folktales within the Nepali Community in Sikkim. Local people believe that Ban Jhakri dwells in the forest and live in rock caves worshiping spirits. The ethnic communities of Sikkim still believe in such mysteries as it is part of their tradition and culture.
6) Shanti View Point
Located on the way to Rumtek Monastery, Shanti View Point offers a panoramic view of East Sikkim. The nearby eateries and stalls that serve local food are perfect to take a break on your journey to Rumtek and enjoy the dishes with the fabulous view. The view of the surrounding mountains that meet the open sky, makes for a tranquil and peaceful view-point true to its name ‘Shanti’. The view of the valley after dark is just as charming. The place is ideal for a short road trip when you visit Gangtok.
7) Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden
It is one of the very popular tourist hangouts in Sikkim. Situated near Rumtek Monastery, the botanical garden conserved by the Department of Forest of the Sikkim Government. The Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden at Sikkim is only 24 kilometers away from Gangtok and is accessible easily by road. Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden in Sikkim is a favorite tourist spot for nature lovers especially for those who are too fond of plants because of the garden decorated with various species of flora including some rare species as well as the ones who are facing the danger of getting extinct.
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden of Sikkim is a perfect move away from the noisy and crowded city life. Moreover, nature and the calm and pleasant weather makes it the finest spot for spending some quality time with your near and dear ones.
8) Ropeway- Cable Car
One of the must visit the point of Gangtok Full Day sightseeing. The Ropeway ride or Cable car is one of the major tourist attractions of Gangtok city. This is a must see at Gangtok as tourists can have a stunning view of Gangtok town during this ride. Whether the young couple, children or any aged member of your family this is a memorable ride for everyone. The ropeway ride has three terminal stations and you can choose to start your ride any of the convenient points in Tashiling, Namnang or Deorali. The ropeway ride offered throughout the day between 8 Am to 4.30 Pm. Each cable car can accommodate a maximum of up to 24 People at a time. There is no sitting arrangement inside the ropeway. The 15 to 20 Minutes ride provides spectacular bird view of Gangtok city and the surrounding valley.
Per Head Rs. 60/-
Child below 6yrs Rs. 30/-
Video Camera Rs. 60/-
9)Institute of Tibetology
The most famous temple in Sikkim is also one of the most famous museums in the world. The main hall of Namgyal Institute of Tibetology houses an invaluable and well-explained collection of culturally Tibetan iconography and artifacts. The roof offers spectacular views of the forest that surrounds the campus of NIT.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is widely regarded for its extensive research in the areas of Tibetan language and culture. The land for the institute, donated by the late King of Sikkim Tashi Namgyal after whom it named. The foundation was laid by 14th Dalai Lama in February 1957, and it inaugurated by Late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in October 1958. The main building surrounding the museum considered to be one of the finest examples of Tibetan designs in the world.
The museum on the ground floor and has rare collections of thangkas, coins, Tibetan artwork and objects, statues and ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and Lepcha. However, the most prominent of all is the grand and majestic image of Manjushri which brought all the way from Tibet. The Library, which holds one of the largest collections of Tibetan documents and literature in the world, on the first floor of the building. It has over 60,000 volumes. If you wish to take a souvenir back home, there’s a cute gift shop facing the NIT which offers exquisite items.
10) Enchey Monastery
Our last point of Gangtok Full Day sightseeing is Enchey Monastery. Enchey Monastery in Gangtok is a very sacred and beautiful place of worship in Gangtok. Set up at the capital of Sikkim in the year 1909, constructed on a picturesque hill above Gangtok from where one can enjoy a stunning view of Mount Kanchenjunga. According to a legend, this monastery which belongs to the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism is present in a place that blessed by Lama Drupthob Karpo – an expert in a tantric art of Buddhism with flying powers and that he set a small monastery in the place, having come flying from the Maenam Hill in South Sikkim. The name ‘Enchey Monastery’ means solitary monastery and yet another legend says that the place sacred for the presence of the protecting deities – Khangchendzonga and Yabdean within the place. All these fascinating legends have provided this beautiful place of worship, a special place in the hearts of the people of Gangtok and other devotees, who believe the powerful deities within the gompa will fulfill wishes of one and all. The gompa is very decoratively constructed and has many attractive images of the deities inside. The main deities worshiped here are Loki Sharia, Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava. The Gompa also includes an array of masks used for the annual religious dances and a library. Unfortunately, the monastery suffered severe damages during the 2006 earthquake in Sikkim. The monastery celebrates a few important festivals every year.
I may have lost the synchronization bit due to the few days gap in the visit and writing the article.
For more about Sikkim /Lachen and Gurudongmer please click below mentioned a link
For more about Sikkim visit Sikkim Government official website