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<< Indian Himalayas << About Himalayas >> << Hill Stations >> << Gangtok >>

Gangtok, Sikkim

The Capital and principal town of Sikkim is a growing resort full of taxis, tourists and hotels.  Spread on a ridge at 1870m, it has four to five roads running almost parallel to each other.  It used to be a typical beautiful Himalayan town a few years ago. Now it is being spoiled by traders and builders.  Box-Like hotels, houses and shopping centres are coming up without any consideration towards aesthetics or hill architecture. The hill resort of Gangtok is a popular travel destination in India. A tour of the hill resort of Gangtok reveals that the Himalayas in the backdrop of the town. The entire Kangchenjunga Range is worshipped as a local deity. The unspoilt natural beauty of Gangtok and its peaceful Chortens / Stupas offer a truly unique traveling experience in India.

Tourist Places

One of the tour sites of Gangtok is the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. It was built in 1958 and is a research center for Mahayana Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Besides being a museum of traditional and old artifacts, tourists can also buy Buddhist religious books and other objects of craft. Gangtok also offers the Orchid Sanctuary, which is the home of some 500 varieties of orchids to the travelers.

Shopping - Gangtok is indeed a treasure trove for its tourists. Besides curios you may pick up bronze and silver jewelry, turquoise, coral jewelry and beads easily from Gangtok. For the food freaks Gangtok offers the dried fish, yak's cheese (churpi), and yeast for making the local beer (tomba).

Gangtok also offers several options for gift items and souvenirs. You may take your pick from carpets, handloom fabrics, thangka paintings and wooden objects.

Adventure Sport - For the adventure tourist Gangtok is the place to be at. While at the hill resort of Gangtok you may indulge in adventure activities like trekking, white-water rafting, hang gliding, yak safari, and mountain biking. Gangtok offers interesting treks to the Pemayangtse, Khechopalri, Yuksam, Tsokha, Dzongri, Thangshing, Zemathang, Chaurigang, Tashiding, Varsey, Yangang, Rabongla, Sang and Sikip. The state tourism department of Sikkim has been promoting the adventure tourism potential of Gangtok.

Festivals - Gangtok culture and their festivals are truly enjoyable and memorable. There Fairs and festivals celebrated in Gangtok add to the charm of the hill resort. The Tashiding Gompa hosts the annual Buddhist festival of Bumchu in January. During January-February the dancing festival of Chaam is held in Enchey Gompa. The monthly mask dance of Kagyat is another attraction in the hill resort. Saga Dawa is held in Gangtok during May, and Drukpa Teshi is celebrated throughout Sikkim during July mark Buddha's first teaching.

Information About Travel - All foreigners intending to visit Gangtok can obtain 14 days Restricted Area Permit (RAP), endorsed in their India visa from the Indian mission abroad. Tourists may also obtain the permit from the Deputy Director, Sikkim Tourist Information Center in Delhi or from the Assistant Director, Sikkim tourist Information Center in Siliguri.

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