Gangtok, the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim is a beautiful hill town situated at an altitude of about 1,800 metres, along the Ranipul river. The town offers excellant views of the world's thirds heighest mountain peak Kunchenjenga (8,585 metres). The town is an important center of Buddhist learning and it has a mystic feel with prayer flags fluttering all around and prayer wheels spinning with Lama's of God. The streets are lined up with brightly coloured pagoda roofed houses and the markets are bustling with friendly and smiling people.
Foreigners, who hold an Indian visa, must obtain an Inner Line Permit to visit the state of Sikkim. Indian missions abroad are empowered to issue a permit for 15 days and the same can also be obtained from the Tourism Office, Delhi, Sikkim Tourism Office, Kolkata and Sikkim Tourism Office, Siliguri on the strength of an Indian Visa. The applicants should provide two passport photographs and photocopies of Passport and Visa details. The permit can be extended for further 30 days of 15 days each. The extension of permits can be obtained from Foreigners Registration Office (FRO), Gangtok and Superintendent of Police of North, South and West Districts.
For those interested in trekking in the interior regions of the state, an additional permit known as Restricted Area Permit (RAP) or Protected Area Permit(PAP) is required. This can be obtained from the Police Check Post and Department of Tourism in Gangtok for groups consisting of 4 or more foreigners subject to the condition that the trekking program is arranged through a registered travel agency.
Today, Gangtok remains a Tibetan Buddhist center and a base for hikers organizing permits and transport for treks through Sikkim’s Himalayan mountain ranges.
Places To Visit in Gangtok
Rumtek Gompa is located 24 kilometres (15 mi) from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, at an altitude of about 1,500 metres (4,900 ft).The monastery is currently the largest in Sikkim. It is home to the community of monks and where they perform the rituals and practices of the Karma Kagyu lineage. A golden stupa contains the relics of the 16th Karmapa.
Tsomgo lake is 38 Kms from Gangtok and at an altitude of 12,400 ft the ethereally beautiful Tsomgo lake is a must on every visitors itinerary. A winding road through rugged mountain terrain and sharp cliffs takes you to Tsomgo, which means source of the water in Bhutia language. The lake derives its water from the melting snows of the mountains surrounding the lake.
Tashi View Point Gangtok. It's located in Tashi and about 8kms from the Gangtok town. It offers a breath taking view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks.
Near By places to see while in Sikkim
Lachung is a popular town in Sikkim. At an elevation of 9600 feet (3000m), Lachung is approximately 125 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Lachung is inhabited by Lepcha and Tibetan descendants. Apart from the snow-capped peaks, it also offers skiing and trekking path for those who seek adventure.
Namchi Situated about 78 km from Gangtok, Namchi is famous for its Buddhist monastery, scenic locales and as a bio-diversity hotspot. It is also renowned for housing the world’s largest statue of Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim.
Nathula is about 56 km east of Gangtok, it is located on the Indo-China border and is perched at an altitude of 14,000 ft. This hill top has earned the reputation of being one of the most exotic places and a must visit tourist destination in Sikkim. Nathu La Pass is the only place in India where you can see the Chinese soldiers across the International Border. Photography is strictly prohibited.
Lachen, meaning “big pass” is a town located in the North Sikkim district of Sikkim. It boasts of a panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains and is also rich in wildlife. It is the base starting point for many interesting treks including the Chopta valley and Gurudongmar lake. Thangu, an annual yak race held here in summer, is pretty famous and attracts many visitors.
Darjeeling is one of the most scenic and hugely popular hill resorts in India. Situated at a height of 2134 meters above mean sea level, Darjeeling lies 686 km from Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. Nestled among the backdrop of the mighty snow clad Himalayan peaks, Darjeeling has been a popular with tourists for its beauty and mistic climate. One can get a clear view of the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga, from the town on a sunny day.
Weather in Gangtok enjoys pleasant weather conditions throughout the year. The maximum temperature during the summers average around 22 degrees Celsius, while during the winters it averages around 14 degrees Celsius. The region also receives heavy rainfall, which usually starts by the end of May and continues till late September. The best time to visit the town is during March-May and again from October-December
How To Reach Gangtok
The nearest Indian airport is at Bagdogra, which is around 124 kilometres from Gangtok. Bagdogra is connected with Kolkata, Guwahati and Delhi by regular flight
The nearest railhead is at New Jalpaiguri, which is around 148 kilometres from Gangtok. New Jalpaiguri is in turn connected by train services with most of the major cities of India.
Gangtok is connected by good quality roads with nearby towns such as Darjeeling (4 hours), Siliguri (4 hours) and Kalimpong.
Central Hotel ,Hotel Sonam DeleK,Hotel Disha,Hotel Pomra,Hotel Yavachi,Greendale Residence( are few ranging from 1500 INR to 2500 INR)
MAYFAIR Spa Resort & Casino,Hotel Mount Siniolchu,The Royal Plaza,TheElginNorKhill (are few hotels ranging from 4500 INR to 8000 INR)
Apart from this you will find plenty of good hotels,guest houses for a very reasonable price.
Gangtok is again for people who love being in the lap of Himalayas,Nature,who love Buddhist culture,having a cozy romantic getaways, and yes for trekkers and hikkers.
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