An important transit point on the busy trade route with Tibet at one time, Gangtok - is the hub of all administrative activity of Sikkim & a charming peaceful laid back town (elevation, 1,780 m/ 5500 ft.) – the present capital of Sikkim- today has become the base from which tourists can plan their exploration of Sikkim. This district is the most commonly visited area in Sikkim.Sikkim has emerged into the mainstream of the Tourism Industry with more & more national as well as International tourists visiting this peaceful Himalayan state every year. All modern facilities in terms of accommodation / transport & communications are available here.
Tashi View Point
Tashi View Point is about 08 kms away from Gangtok, acclaimed to be amongst the most popular photography point in the Sikkim Himalayas. From this point you get a breath taking view of Mt. Khanchendzonga & Mt. Siniolchu, one of the most graceful peaks in the world. Above the viewpoint is a park that is a popular picnic spot. Tourists can avail of the facilities provided by a small but well stocked cafeteria located here. Ideal time to visit is early morning subject to clear weather conditions.
It is situated on a ridge & is only 07 kms away from Gangtok. From this spot one can get a bird’s eye view of sprawling Gangtok town down below. Adjacent to it is a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Adjoining the temple is a beautiful Pine tree forest reserve.
Scrupulously & appropriately maintained by resident units of the Indian Army this is a hindu temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman which is situated about 09 km uphill from Gangtok at an altitude of 7,200 ft. Popular belief has it that wishes made here are fulfilled.
Himalayan Zoological Park
Recently set up at Bulbulay, this wildlife park comprises an area covering 205 hectares. Endangered animals of the Eastern Himalayas are maintained in open enclosures in a semi natural habitat. Wildlife enthusiasts & visitors can observe different species of Himalayan black bear, clouded snow leopard, Red Pandas, Barking deers, Tibetan wolves, Civet cat & other animals.
The ideal time to visit is during the feeding time when the animals come out for their feast. One needs a lot of patience & time to visit this park. – a day trip & Pack lunch recommended
Inaugurated on 7th Dec’ 2003, the ropeway operates between the main Secretariat Deer Park, Sikkim Legislative Assembly & the Tibetology at Deorali. The two cable cars have a capacity of accommodating 25 passengers each. The ride gives a breathtaking view of the Bhusuk river about 1000 mtrs below as well as the Deorali Bazaar.
Lama Druptob Karpo, a great tantric saint known for his power of flying is supposed to have built a small hermitage at this spot after he flew here from Maenam Hill more than two hundred years ago. This monastery was built here in 1901 in the form of a Chinese Pagoda during the reign of Sidkeong Tulku. The monastery follows the Nyingmapa order of Tibetan Buddhism & the main prayer & ritual dances are held here every year, which normally corresponds to the month of January.
Flower Exhibition Centre
The Pride & joy of Sikkim where the world famous Orchids are on exhibition along with seasonal flowers & bonsai. Flower exhibitions are organized around the year at the Flower Show Venue near White Memorial Hall Complex, Gangtok. Orchid shows held during the spring season is one of the most popular shows organized in the state.
Directorate Of Handicrafts & Handlooms
The Institute was established in 1957 with the purpose of promoting the manufacture & sale of local handicrafts, carpets & furniture’s. An sales emporium at the Institute sells handicrafts, Thankas - which are scrolls with paintings, hand carved foldable wooden tables known as chok – tse & exquisitively woven woollen carpets, masks & dolls. Visitors can also see the artisans at work here. Hand made paper is another unique novelty of the Institute & is made from the bark of a tree called Algeri. The paper is used extensively for invitation cards & letter pads.
Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology
Just another one minute walking distance from the Chorten lies the “Namgyal Institute of Tibetology” built amidst a small forest of oak, magnolia & birch trees. This Institute treasures a rare collection of antiques, manuscripts, ritual objects, thanka paintings, rare statues, over 200 Buddhist icons & precious objects of arts. It is also a worldwide centre for study of Buddhist Philosophy & Religion. The foundation stone of this Institiute was laid in February 1957 by his holiness the Dalai Lama & was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in October 1958. The Institute also has a retail outlet where related books & commercially produced religious art & craft of Tibet can be bought.
Do - Drul Chorten
One of the most important stupas in Sikkim built by Trulsi Rimpochee, head of the Nyingmapa order containing rare mandalas of Dorjee Phurba (Bare Kilaya) Holy Mantra Books, & encircled by 108 prayer wheels. Chorten Lhakhang & Guru Lhakhang surrounds the chorten, where there are two huge statues of Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rimpochee, the patron saint of Sikkim.
Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre
24 km drive away from Gangtok through the scenic lush green terraced fields takes you to the headquarters of the Kagyupa sect, the Rumtek Monastery that was built in the year 1960. It is also the seat of the Gyalwa Karmapa Lama. It is immensely decorated & is certainly the largest traditional architecture of Sikkim with unique art objects of the world
Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial
Built in the memory of Harbhajan Singh, a sepoy in the 23rd Punjab Regiment, the mandir lies between the Nathula & the Jelepla Passes. Legend has it that he appeared in a dream a few days after he went missing & expressed the desire that a monument be built in his memory. His fellow soldiers then built a monument that has over the years acquired the status of pilgrimage. Believers leave a bottle of water, which they collect a few days later to take back home.
Indo-China border (elevation 14,400 ft. / 4,320 m) on the old caravan trail to Tibet till 1962 is 14 km further from Tsomgo Lake. Recently opened for Indian tourists, the pass is poised to have become a favourite tourist spot. Visitors prone to heart problems & high altitude sickness are advised to avoid this trip. Nathula is open only on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The visitors need permit on the basis of individual any proof of identification to visit the place by applying to the Tourism Department 48 hrs in advance through a registered Sikkimese
38 km from Gangtok at an elevation of 12,400 ft./ 3780 m is the beautiful Tsomgo Lake, which freezes over in winter up to mid-May. The drive from Gangtok takes about 3 hrs. The Lake derives its waters from melting snows of the surrounding mountains. The Lake is about 1 km long, oval in shape, 50 ft./15 mtrs deep & is considered sacred by the local people. It is also a home of Brahminy ducks besides stopover for various migratory birds. You can also experience a Yak ride around the Lake.
The West district of Sikkim is a rich cultural cauldron with exotic scenic views. Full of monasteries, streams, waterfalls and a rich kaleidoscope of flora and fauna it makes for a perfect holiday.
Situated at an altitude of 6050 ft. / 1700 mtrs and a 35 km driveway from Pelling, Yuksom is a beautiful village. It is also the base of the mystic peaks of the mighty Khanchendzonga & serves as a trailhead for those who want to trek up to Khanchendzonga National Park, Dzongri or Goechala Pass. Its importance lies in the fact that it was the first capital of Sikkim from where the early history of Sikkim began.
Situated at an altitude of about 2105 mtrs/ 6840 ft., Pelling was originally known as Pemalingpa. The name Pemalingpa is derived from Pemalingpa monastery. The place is famous for its magnificient view of the Khanchendzonga ranges
This monastery is nearby to Pelling situated at an altitude of about 6840 ft. / 2072 m. It is the most important monastery of the Nyingmapa order & was built in the late seventeenth century by Lama Lhatsum Chenpo one of the revered Lamas to have performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal (religious monarch) of Sikkim & has been considered as one of the premier monasteries in the State, having been entrusted with the task to perform all religious functions of the erstwhile monarch. The monastery houses numerous religious idols & other objects of worship, most of which are priceless because of their antiquity.
Rabdentse was the second capital of Sikkim & was established in the late seventeenth century by the second Chogyal of Sikkim. It was abandoned towards the end of the eighteenth century because of the threat posed by Nepal & the capital was shifted to Tumlong
This monastery built in 1697 AD, is the second oldest in the state constructed by Gyalwa Lhatsum Chenpo. It lies amidst a thick-forested hilltop opposite the Pemayangtse monastery towards the west. One has to walk for one hour to reach the monastery from Pelling.
Ngadak Sempa Chembo, one of the three lamas who had performed the consecration ceremony of the first Chogyal, built this monastery in 1717, during the reign of the third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal & lies on top of a symmetrical hillock above Tashiding Bazaar. Second half of the distance to the monastery you must make on foot, which takes about half an hour. The sacred ceremony of Bumchu is held at this monastery at midnight of the 14th & 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar that normally corresponds to the month of February.
Situated at an altitude of 1951 meters (6400 ft) this sacred lake is well hidden & surrounded by dense forest. The Lake is also famous for fulfillment of wishes. Irrespective of the season worshipers always visit the Lake.
Barsey / Hilley
Barsey is situated at an altitude of about 10000 ft. & is 70 kms from Pelling, is known as the garden of Rhododendrons. This place is accessible from Hilley through a 4 km bridle footpath, which takes one up to the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary (1600 m – 3600 m).
Yumthang, which is at an altitude of 3782 m/ 11,800 ft. is, situated about 149 kms from Gangtok in North Sikkim. But going there is like travelling 149 years back in time – it is so remote & almost untouched by the vagaries of civilization. Termed as the valley of flowers & Sikkim’s Switzerland, Yumthang tour takes you to the heart of North Sikkim. The route to Yumthang from Lachung - adjoining the Singba Forest Reserve- has a very picturesque landscape
Lachung (2,684 m/ 8,610 ft.) is a beautiful remote Bhutia Village with a unique self - governing body called the Dzumsa, which substitutes the modern Gram Panchayat. Lachung has emerged as a tourist destination with the soaring popularity of Yumthang Valley, which is just 24 kms away from Lachung.
Gurudongmar Lake is a high altitude sacred Lake with an exotic view surrounded by snow peaked mountains. Gurudongmar Lake – the desert mountains – is another 40 km / 2 hrs drive ahead of Thangu Valley/Chopta Valley.
Lachung’s sister village, Lachen is a high altitude beautiful valley situated at an altitude of 2,728 m/ 9000 ft. Lachen village also serves as an overnight stay place before proceeding towards Thangu / Chopta Valley & Gurudongmar Lake.
Another one km uphill from Phodong Monastery on the same jeepable road is the Labrang Monastery, which was built about one hundred years later & belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Labrang means the "dwelling place of Lamas"
Temi Tea Garden
The one and only tea estate existing in the State produces one of the top quality teas in the international market. The tea garden is spread out on a gentle hill slope originating from the Tendong Hill and provides a magnificent view for the surrounding villages. The visit to the fact" could be an eye opener for those wanting to know more about the tea processing methods.
A night spent in a old British built bungalow located just below the tea garden could be an enthralling experience of linking the past to the present. A visit to the garden, enroute to the Tendong Hill, could be a rewarding experience for those who want to cornbine nature and culture as they keep trekking.
(6,800 ft.), saddles the ridge between Maenam Hill (10,600 ft) & Tendong Hill (8,530 ft.). It is the sub-divisional headquarter of South district & is famous for the panoramic view of the snow peaks especially of Mt. Narsing (19,170 ft. high). Just above the town is the Tibetan Refugee Settlement Camp, which houses the Kheunpheling Carpet Centre where one can buy fine Tibetan style woolen carpets.
13 kms from Ravangla are the two monasteries at Ralang, which follow the Kagyupa sect of Buddhism. The old monastery was built in 1768 AD & legend has it that the 9th Karmapa, head of the Kagyupa sect, blessed the site of the monastery with grains of rice thrown from Tibet. “Pang Lhabsol” the worship of Mt. Khanchendzonga & “Kagyed Chaam”(masked dances) are held every year.
Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the bhutia language. Situated near Namchi in south Sikkim it is at a distance of 75 kms from Gangtok. A unique, awe inspiring gigantic 135 ft. tall statue of Guru Padmasambhava is one of the tallest statue of its kind in the world. This statue designed & constructed under the supervision of Kyabje Dodrupchen Rimpochee, conceptualized by Shri Pawan Chamling, the Chief Minister of Sikkim is a glowing tribute to the patron saint who blessed Sikkim in the 8th Century & whose teachings permeate the very ethos of the State.
The place is regarded highly sacred by the Hindus & a gigantic statue of Lord Shiva as equally big as Guru Padmasambhava’ s statue is coming up. This place is soon going to be one of the most ideal points which is a must visit tourist destination as well as a famous pilgrimage place for the hindu.