In north-eastern India, the state Sikkim is a land of mist and mystery. And among all the places in Sikkim, the largest city and the capital of state, Gangtok, is one most popular tourists places in whole India. The colossal mountains, beautiful water bodies, green woods, temples and monasteries –all together creates an enormous attraction to the tourists. Basically located in the Himalayan region with an altitude of about 5400 ft Gangtok is a centre of the tourism industry of Sikkim. This is a place where you will witness diversity in everything –modernism meets spiritualism, green forest spread along whitish mountains, religious places advert for adventurous sites. If you gather even a little knowledge of the top places to visit in Gangtok, you will be in great hesitation about which place to select.
1. Pemayangtse monastery
Around 140 km away from Gangtok, Pemayangtse Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim. This is the only place where the monks are titled as ta-tshang, meaning monks of pure Tibetan lineage. Lama Lhatsun Chempo planned and built this monastery in the backdrop of snow-covered mountains and the architecture of the building is going to leave you gazing at the walls and statues. Pemayangtse Monastery practices the Tibetan Buddhism and the paintings in main temple reflect that vividly. image credit: journeymart.com
2. Kanchenjunga biosphere reserve
image credit: knpsikkim.in
The biosphere reserve in the lap of Mt Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak of the world, is a great centre for preservation of animals, birds, flowers, plants of the Himalayas. This is a home to red panda, panther, leopard cat, musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan tahr and many more endangered animals. You will get to see about 127 kinds of birds here like Himalayan golden eagle, black eagle, Himalayan bearded vulture, Tibetan snow cock etc. the forest area is generally divided based on different group of trees. The lakes, glaciers, caves, rocks inside and around the bio-sphere accompany the jungle area to enhance the level of your experience.
3. Nathula pass
image credit: travellersoul.com
Undoubtedly, the view of the surrounding area while standing on the second highest mountain pass is something that cannot be explained in words. Nathula is a road that works as a passage between India and Tibet. Around 54 km away from Gangtok town, this place is not only offers exquisite view but is dangerous too because of landslides. In the route of Nathula, you can go for a visit to Ban Jhakri Waterfall and Tsomgo Lake.
4. Gurudongmar Lake
image credit: tripoto.com
One of the 15 highest lakes in the world is situated almost 190 km away from Gangtok at about 17800 ft above the sea level, known as Gurudongmar Lake. Legend says Guru Padmasambhava visited this lake and enriched it with his blessing. Hence, this place is radically regarded as a sacred place and devotees gather here throughout the year, although the lake is almost completely frozen in the winter. Except the Indian tourists, the foreigners need special permission to visit this area as it is only 5 km away from China border.
5. Seven Sister’s Waterfall
image credit: extra-velganza.blogspot.in
This waterfall is at 32 km distance from Gangtok while heading to North Sikkim. It is called so because the mountain stream drops down in seven steps through the rock. Seven Sister’s Waterfall offers marvelous sightseeing of the surrounding too. The waterfall gets its full life during the monsoon.
6. Mt Katao
image credit: journeytonature.com
The gathering and disturbance of modern world still is partially unaware of the beauty of Mt Katao. As most of the places here is yet untouched by the tourists, you can have a moment of serenity and peace amongst the gigantic mountain peaks. Mt Katao is mostly visited the adventurous people for mountaineering or trekking as the area is not very comfortable for random tourists for its rough weather and risky ways. But once you are there, the overview will leave you awestruck.
7. Hanuman Tok
image credit: tourmet.com
Hanuman Tok is one of the most popular temples in Gangtok. This place in visited not only for its religious importance, but also because it offers a tremendously beautiful view of the valleys and hills. The lush green forest coming downwards with the hilly terrain looks much alluring to pleas your mind in the holy atmosphere with the hymn of mantras and the freshening smell of scented sticks.