Attractions in Gangtok
Monastery - Enchey monastery is a place you must
visit in Gangtok. Literally meaning 'the solitary temple', at the
time of its construction, it was the only building in the entire
area. This place especially attracts attention during the religious
dances or 'Chaam' performed in January. Located above Siniolchu
Lodge, about 3 km away from the town centre, the relatively small
monastery was built 200 years ago and the present building was
constructed in the year 1909. The site where the monastery is
built is supposed to be blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric
master known for his flying powers.
Palace of the Chogyal - This palace opens only once in
a year for the Pang Lhabsol festival in December. Below this is
the Tsuklakhang or Royal Chapel, standing on a high ridge. This
is the major place of worship and houses a large and impressive
collection of scriptures. It was the site for the royal marriages
and coronation ceremonies. The interior is lavishly decorated
with woodcarving and murals and houses a number of Buddha images.
Namgyal: A must visit in Gangtok,
the Namgyal Institute was built in the year 1958 to promote research
in Mahayan Buddhism and Tibetan language and traditions. Built
in a traditional style, this institute has the world's largest
collections of books and rare manuscripts on Mahayan Buddhism,
in addition to the works of art and silk embroidered Tankhas.
Moreover, it also houses relics of monks, samples of Lepcha scripts,
masks and sacred objects like Kapali, a bowl made from a human
skull, and the carku, a flute made from a thigh bone.
Do-drul Chorten -
Do Drul Chorten is one of the many important attractions of Gangtok.
Regarded as the most important 'stupa' of Sikkim, it was built
in 1945 by Trulshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan
Buddhism. This stupa also has a sacred gold-topped shikhara with
108 prayer wheels. This highly revered Chorten is also characterised
by complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba (Bajra Kilaya), a set
of Kan-gyur relics (Holy Books), complete 'Zung'( mantras) and
other religious objects. The Chorten also has two huge statues
of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) around it.
Research Institute of Tibetology - About a kilometre
downhill from the main market of Gangtok, amidst a small forest
of Oak, Magnolia and Birch trees stand the Institute of Tibetology.
The building accommodating the Institute is an example of Tibetan
architecture. It is world-renowned and is one of the few of its
kind. Its library is well stocked with rare books and documents
on Buddhism. There are about 30 thousand volumes, documents that
are printed using wooden slabs that have the matter imprinted
on them, translations of the original teachings of the Lord Buddha,
and treatises by distinguished Buddhist scholars from different
parts of the world. The museum at the Institute consists of a
rare collection of antiques like statues, coins and Thankas (Buddhist
paintings). This institute is a premier institute in the world
that conducts research in the language and culture of Tibet.
Deorali Orchid sanctuary - The Orchid Sanctuary is a must
visit in Gangtok. The sanctuary is famous for its rare and extensive
collection of orchids. The sanctuary's collection also varies
depending on the seasons. However, the wide spread orchid sanctuary
offers you almost 454 species of orchid found in Sikkim.
Tashi Ling & View point - The
Tashi Ling monastery is located at a distance of just 6 kilometres
from the main town. It is another important site to visit in Gangtok
for it provides an astounding view of the Kanchenjunga range.
It is also renowned for its 'Bumchu' (Sacred Pot), which contains
holy water, which has never run dry for last 300 years. The place
also provides a view of the Phodong and the Labrang monasteries
located on the opposite hill. Just a day's walk from Pemayangtse,
this is also a wonderful picnic spot.
Quick Getaways near Gangtok
Monastery Located at a distance of about 24 kilometres
from Gangtok, the Rumtek monastery, the largest in Sikkim,
is one of the must-visit excursion points around Gangtok.
The ancient monastery was built in 1717 but didn't survive
for long. It was rebuilt by Gyalwa Karmapa in the year 1960
and followed the architectural designs of the monastery
in Tibet, from where the Karmapa had come. The monastery
is also characterised by the structure covered with murals,
Tibetan paintings, Tankhas and frescoes.
Phodong Monastery -
Located at a distance of 28 kilometers North of Sikkim,
the Phodong Monastery is regarded as the most beautiful
monastery of Sikkim. It has around 260 monks and some old
Changu Lake - Situated 35 km
from Gangtok, a small temple of Lord Siva is constructed
on the lakeside. It is literally known as the "Source
of the Lake" in Bhutia language. Between May and August,
it is possible to see a variety of flowers in bloom - the
rhododendrons, primulas, poppies and irises. The lake has
an average depth of 50 ft. During the winter month the lake
becomes frozen and it remains so till mid-May. It is an
ideal habitat for the red panda and various species of birds.
Khecheopari lake - The Khecheopari
Lake is a sacred lake 29kms from Pelling. Undisturbed forests
and reeds surround the lake. The path leading to the lake
was good for tesias and wren-babblers, although both were
heard more often than seen. Some of the birds which can
be seen here are Mallard, Goosander, Bay Woodpecker, Golden-fronted
Leafbird, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Hodgson's Redstart, Chestnut-headed
Tesia, Little Bunting.
National Park - The Kanchenjunga National Park, spread
across an area of 850 sq. km., is particularly important
and here you will find various kinds of leopards, Himalayan
Black Bear, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Tahr, Goral, Musk Deer,
Yuksom - Yuksom, in the west of Gangtok,
is a historical town set amidst pristine hills and lakes,
where the first King of Sikkim was crowned in AD 1642. If
you are the adventurous sorts, you can trek to Dzongri and
Gochi-La. The reward for undertaking this strenuous excursion
is an unequalled first-hand experience of the high Himalaya
peaks, glaciers and icefalls.