I`m sure you must have been a great travel fanatic and really busy exploring a lot more of alluring places. But, during all your course of traveling to new places and visiting its top sights, have the idea ever crossed your mind of trying something new, something unique? Like taking a break from the popular destinations and visiting some lesser known places? If you are an intrepid traveler ready for a new experience, here I am presenting a few secret destinations of a wonderful hill town which most of you have surely heard of and i.e., the Gangtok town.
Gangtok, the famous capital town of Sikkim is well-known for its amazing blend of the traditional and modern culture, scenic beauty and of course, its hospitable and humble citizens. Well, let us now check out some of the lesser known sightseeing places of Gangtok.
Off-Beat places of Gangtok
1. Kabi Lungchok:
The number one place in the list of Gangtok`s offbeat destinations is Kabi Lungchok. It is a tiny settlement located in the Lesser Himalayas having great historical significance. Besides, it is also a sacred grove rich with many medicinal herbs.
- Significance: Place where the “Blood Brotherhood Treaty” was signed between the Lepcha Chief and Bhutia King in the 13th century.
- Sightseeing places: Phodong Monastery, Phensang Monastery, Seven Sister`s Waterfalls, Tingchim Lake.
- How to reach: You may hire a cab from Gangtok to reach Kabi Lunghok. It is a distance of only 24 minutes.
2. Banjhakri Falls Energy Park:
Situated close to Gangtok, the Banjhakri Falls is a lush green energy park that houses the idols and sculptures of Jhakris. The garden is decorated with beautiful exotic flowers and a splash pool. The gently gushing waterfalls is an added charm to the park.
- Significance: The Park reflects the Jhakri mythology.
- Sightseeing places: MG Marg, Hanuman Tok, Ranka Monastery.
- Key attractions: Flower gardens, small river streams and the idols of Jhakri tribe.
- How to reach: Take larger vehicles like Scorpio, Bolero from Gangtok to reach the Energy Park. It takes only 10 minutes.
3. Nathula Pass:
Don`t miss out the wonderful sight of the Himalayas whilst a stay in Sikkim. Nathu La Pass is your place to embrace the heavenly views of the surrounding mountains ranges and the winding routes down the valley.
- Significance: It is a mountainous pass which connects the Indian state of Sikkim with Tibet`s Autonomous region.
- Sightseeing places: Tsomgo Lake, Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, Menmecho Lake, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary.
- Key attractions: Walking along the snowy paths of the International borders, yak safari, and biking.
- How to reach: You may hire a vehicle or even share a cab from Gangtok till Nathula with other tourists. It is a journey of about 1 hour and 14 minutes.
4. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology:
Located on a hilltop amidst the wonderful serenity of nature, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (NIT) gives us an insight to the norms and traditions of the Mahayana Buddhism and Tibetan architecture through the rare collection of Buddhist books, cloth paintings, coins, and amulets.
- Significance: Established to promote the Mahayana Sect of Buddhism and the Tibetan culture.
- Key attractions: Impressive Tibetan architecture, forest-glade setting, Buddhist iconography, murals, thangkas, and manuscripts.
- How to reach: Located in Deorali, it takes about 19 minutes to reach the institute from Gangtok main town.
5. Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms:
Fifth off-beat sightseeing place in Gangtok includes an authentic warehouse of traditional handicrafts and handlooms called the Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms. It was established in the year 1957 with a view to preserve and propagate the art and skills of local artisans.
- Significance: Founded during the reign of the Chogyals of Sikkim, it is also known as the Government Institute of Cottage Industries (GICI).
- Key attractions: Hand-woven carpets, blankets, shawls and carved furniture.
- How to reach: One can easily reach the centre by walking a few uphill distances from Gangtok main town.
6. Do-Drul Chorten:
If you are much into going deep with the Tibetan/Buddhist values, then visit Do-Drul Chorten. It is perhaps the most significant and biggest Stupa located close to Gangtok. This revered Stupa is famous for its brilliant golden top dome which can be viewed from many other places in Gangtok.
- Significance: The most significant Stupa in Sikkim.
- Key attractions: 108 Mani-Lhakor (prayer wheels)
- How to reach: One can hire taxis or take shared jeeps from Gangtok to reach Do-Drul Chorten.
7. Hanuman Tok:
Located on a hilltop, and beautifully adorned by the serene ambience of encircling mountains and valleys, Hanuman Tok is a tranquil place which delivers excellent perspectives of the surrounding uneven hilly landscapes along with the profound view of Gangtok city.
- Significance: Dedicated to Hindu Lord Hanuman.
- Key attractions: Serenity of the place, Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve and the splendid views of neighboring hills.
- How to reach: One can avail local taxis from the main town to reach the temple.
The destinations mentioned above are well worth the efforts you make through.