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 tiny temple will accommodate solely few persons at a time. The temple is a favorite traveler spot visited by travelers with a lot of enthusiasm. Devotees plant saplings on the ground close to the temple on behalf of those they love. Ganesh Tok is that the right place to possess a whole 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 begin for the temple above, you can dress up yourself with traditional dress of the land from the shops for rent. Many tourists enjoy carrying the standard dress with that they proceed to the temple and also the viewpoint. The shops here also sell many curio items.
Close to the Ganesh Tok is that the observatory tower, which has a small space at the center to be seated. The view of a covered mountain peak from here is gorgeous. It would be best to plan your visit in the morning as the weather could play spoilsport towards evening.
2) Tashi View Point
From Ganesh Tok, we drove towards Tashi Point. The viewpoint is named after Tashi Namgyal, the late king of Sikkim who constructed it. Tashi Viewpoint is situated along the North Sikkim Highway, about 8 km from Gangtok. Amazing perspectives of generous Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Siniolchu can be enjoyed from here. 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 simply must reach the point before 5 am. There is no entry ticket. However, you can pay Rs. 10/- to get a closer view of the peaks through a binocular and telescope mounted here. The forests within the opposite mountains look so close that I spent some smart 10 minutes trying to find some wild animals through the binocular. There is a resting shed here furthermore as a store giving tea, coffee, snacks furthermore as gift things. Prices are reasonable.
3) Rumtek Monastery
Our next stop was Rumtek monastery, one amongst the various in Sikkim. The rumtek monastery, also called the Dharmachakra Centre, is a gompa located in the Indian state of Sikkim near the capital Gangtok. Originally engineered 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 once Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa, arrived in Sikkim in 1959 after fleeing Tibet, the monastery was in ruins. Despite being offered alternative sites, the Karmapa decided to rebuild Rumtek. To him, the site possessed many auspicious qualities and was 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 was rebuilt by the 16th Karmapa as his main seat in exile.
After four years, construction of the monastery was completed. The sacred things and relics brought out from Tsurphu monastery, the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet, were installed.
The monastery is currently the largest in Sikkim. It is home to the community of monks and wherever they perform the rituals and practices of the fate Kagyu lineage. A golden stupa contains the relics of the sixteenth Karmapa. Opposite that building is a school, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies.
Rumtek is located 24 kilometers from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, at an altitude of about 4,900 ft.
4) Ranka Monastery
Also called Lingdum monastery, is located about 20 km from Gangtok. A relatively new monastery located in a vast area. This is the seat of Zurmang Kagyud lineage of Buddhism and follows the direction of the twelfth successor of the lineage Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche. This turned out to be 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 several young lamas undergoing coaching here. This monastery is full of wall paintings, murals, and scriptures which are placed orderly inside the main workroom. In all, these monasteries took me to an altogether completely 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. The main attraction of the park is that the waterfalls that cascade from a rocky height of just about forty feet and plunges down with intense force. Around the waterfalls, gardens are superbly improved and also the place is additionally adorned with many statues of Ban Jhakri, Lyam Lymay, Mangpas, and Lepcha ancestors. Other recreational activities and refreshment stalls are placed at the entrance of the park. Entrance fee is levied for all visitors.
Ban virtually means that forest or jungle, and Jhakri means traditional healer. A Ban Jhakri could be a mythical man, who exists only in folktales within the Nepali Community in Sikkim. Local individuals believe that Ban Jhakri dwells within the forest and live in rock caves worshiping spirits. The ethnic communities of Sikkim still believe such mysteries because it is an element 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 native food are excellent to take a chance on your journey to Rumtek and enjoy the dishes with the fabulous view. The view of the surrounding mountains that meet the open sky, making for a peaceful and serene viewpoint- true to its name ‘Shanti’. The view of the valley when dark is simply 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 close to Rumtek monastery, the botanical garden is conserved by the Department of Forest of the Sikkim Government. The Jawaharlal Nehru botanical garden at Sikkim is simply twenty-four kilometers far from Gangtok and is accessible simply 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 the garden is decorated with various species of flora as well as some rare species still because the ones who face the danger of getting extinct.
Jawaharlal Nehru botanical garden of Sikkim could be an excellent move far from the clamorous and thronged town life. Moreover, the serene 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
The Ropeway ride or cable car is one amongst the main traveler attractions of Gangtok town. This is an additional point at Gangtok as tourists will have a wide-ranging view of Gangtok city throughout this ride. Whether a young couple, children or any aged member of your family this is a memorable ride for everyone. The ropeway ride has 3 terminal stations and you’ll like better to begin your ride any of the convenient points in Tashiling, Namnang or Deorali. The ropeway ride is obtainable throughout the day between 8 Am to 4.30 Pm. Each cable car will accommodate a maximum of up to twenty-four individuals at a time. There is no sitting arrangement inside the ropeway. The fifteen to twenty Minutes ride provides spectacular bird read of Gangtok town and also the closed valley.
Per Head Rs. 60/-
Child below 6yrs Rs. 30/-
Video Camera Rs. 60/-
9)Institute of Tibetology
The most famous museum 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 visions of the forest that surrounds the campus of NIT.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is extensively observed 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 noticeable of all is the grand and royal 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 holy 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 captivating 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 monastery, will fulfill wishes of one and all. The monastery is very decoratively constructed and has many attractive images of the deities inside. The main God is worshiped here are Loki Sharia, Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava. The gompa additionally includes an array of masks used for the annual nonsecular dances and a library. Unfortunately, the monastery suffered severe damages during the 2006 earthquake in Sikkim. The monastery celebrates a number of vital festivals once a year. Some of them include the Detor Cham/Cham dance competition, Singhe Chaam, and Pang Lhabsol.
I may have lost the synchronization bit due to the few days gap in the visit and writing the article.
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UPDATED ON 26.11.19