Top 10 Places To Visit In Gangtok, Sikkim In 2023
Gangtok has gained prominence as a significant Buddhist pilgrimage site since the early 1980s. Today, it stands as one of the most popular cities to visit in northeastern India, renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and religious significance. If you're planning a holiday in Gangtok, here is a list of the top 10 places to explore in and around the city:
1. Tsomgo Lake:
Situated at an elevation of 12,400 feet above sea level, Tsomgo Lake is a must-visit destination in Gangtok. Surrounded by mountains, this high-altitude lake is fed by melting snow, and its beauty is simply mesmerizing. The lake changes its colors with each passing season, freezing over during winters and blooming with flowers in the summer. Legends even suggest that ancient Buddhist monks studied the lake's color to predict the future.
2. Nathula Pass:
A part of the ancient Silk Road connecting India and Tibet, Nathula Pass offers awe-inspiring natural beauty and panoramic vistas. Embarking on a thrilling adventure, driving through its steep and slippery slopes up to 14,140 feet above sea level is an experience to cherish. It is recommended to visit during the summer and autumn seasons, as heavy snowfall often leads to the closure of the pass in winter. Note that the route is closed to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays.
3. Hanuman Tok:
Situated at an altitude of 7,200 feet, Hanuman Tok is a revered temple that has been a cherished spot for tourists in Gangtok. It provides breathtaking views of the majestic Kanchenjunga range. You can climb the cobbled stairs leading to this tranquil sanctuary, surrounded by lush greenery, picturesque hills, valleys, and a glimpse of the city. It offers a serene atmosphere and stunning vistas.
4. Himalayan Zoological Park:
The first zoo in Sikkim, the Himalayan Zoological Park offers a chance to explore the region's diverse fauna. Home to snow leopards, Himalayan palm civets, red pandas, and Himalayan black bears, this zoo distinguishes itself by providing open enclosures that resemble natural habitats for the animals. This unique experience sets it apart from traditional zoos. Situated at an elevation of 1,780 meters, the zoo provides visitors with breathtaking vistas of Mount Kanchenjunga. Allocate at least 3-4 hours for an immersive experience, especially if you're traveling with children.
5. Ranka Monastery:
With its breathtaking views and the opportunity to interact with Buddhist monks, Ranka Monastery is a must-visit destination in Gangtok. Surrounded by dense forests, this monastery is a sight to behold. Immerse yourself in the tranquility and serenity of this place, which offers a refreshing escape from city life. Interacting with the monks and experiencing their faith and way of life can be a profound experience.
6. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology:
For those fascinated by history and eager to delve into the intriguing culture of Tibet, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is a must-visit. It houses an extensive collection of art, artifacts, manuscripts, and literature related to Tibetan culture. This institute is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the richness of Tibetan heritage. The 14th Dalai Lama laid the foundation stone of the institute.
7. Flower Exhibition Center:
Located a short distance from MG Road, the Flower Exhibition Center showcases a diverse range of flowers from across Sikkim. Nature lovers will find it to be a paradise, especially during the annual flower fair held from April to May. The center is home to various exotic plant species, offering a refreshing break for weary travelers. You can relax in the pleasant ambiance, admire the vibrant colors of the flowers, and capture some amazing photographs.
8. MG Marg:
MG Marg is the heart of all activities in Gangtok and a must-visit destination. Take some time to explore this vehicle-free zone, which offers insights into the vibrant lifestyle of Gangtok. The lively market houses numerous shops, some of which have been around for decades, along with a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops. Don't miss trying the famous cold coffee and sandwiches at Hungry Heads.
9. Ganesh Tok:
Known for its breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga range and a serene atmosphere, Ganesh Tok is one of the most popular places to visit in Gangtok. Though relatively small, this Ganesh temple attracts a large number of visitors throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the hills, snow-capped mountains, and the city from the enclosed observation room. Located at an altitude of 6,500 feet, it offers a spiritually enriching experience.
10. Rumtek Monastery:
Perched on a hill near Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery is one of the largest monasteries in Sikkim. Built in traditional Tibetan style, it was previously known as the Dharma Chakra Center. The three-story monastery features a splendid prayer room adorned with tangka paintings, statues, murals, and the golden stupa of the 16th Karmapa. Its architectural grandeur, set against the backdrop of majestic hills and waterfalls, is truly captivating.
Plan your visit to Gangtok by exploring these remarkable attractions, and immerse yourself in the city's natural beauty, religious heritage, and cultural richness.