Gangtok is a popular friendly Himalayan hill station. Gangtok is also the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim and is situated on the lower slopes of the Himalayan range (Altitude: 1600 meters). Gangtok Travel is highly enjoyable.
Gangtok cannot be accessed by train routes. The nearest train station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in Siliguri. Siliguri can be reached by train from Kolkata. It is an overnight journey and trains are frequent. From NJP the traveler is required to take an auto rickshaw to Siliguri state bus depot. From the state bus depot, buses depart for Gangtok. Private shuttle taxis are also available. The journey takes approximately six hours.
The prime attraction of Gangtok travel is the dazzling Himalayan scenery – dominated by the majestic stunning Kanchenjunga, the planet earth’s third highest mountain.
The Ranipool river flows by the west side of Gangtok.
Gangtok Tourism thrives in its spectacular setting and offers stunning views of the Kanchenjunga from various points in its neighboring areas.
Gangtok city can be accessed only by road from Siliguri. The nearest airport is Bagdogra (124 kilometers). The nearest railway station is New Jaipalguri (NJP). Buses and share taxis ply regularly from Siliguri to Gangtok.
Places to See in Gangtok
- Enchey Gompa
Enchey Gompa should be ideally visited during the months of August and January. Dances and festivals are held during that period. The central attraction is a Chinese Pagoda styled edifice built in 1901. The Gompa (monastery) offers a stunning view of the Kanchenjunga.
- Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology
Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology is a famous institute. The institute promotes research on Mahayana Buddhism.
- Government Institute of Cottage Industries
The institute was established in 1957. It is a great place to purchase local handicrafts like Tangkhas, woolen carpets, dolls and masks among other handicrafts.
- Palace of the Chogyal
If you visit Gangtok in December then the place to visit is the Palace of the Chogyal (Monarch). The palace is open to the public during Pang Lhabsol festival.
- Tourist Destinations Near Gangtok
Excursions can be made from Gangtok to Changu Lake, 35 kms away famous for its cool and placid waters and the picturesque locale. Chungthang is also worth a visit because of its religious significance, which is interesting. The Sikkimese and the Hindu soldiers in the Indian Army believe that guru Padmasabhava had rested in this place and left three footprints for his devotees on a solid piece of rock. The Sikh members of the Indian army believe that the footprints are those of Guru Nanak.
Food & Cuisine
Rice is a staple cereal and eaten all over. Additionally, wheat, buckwheat, finger millet and barley grown at various altitudes find their way into local diets. Meat is an important part of traditional diet. Other common items grown and consumed locally are potato, soybean and some vegetables.
When eating out in Sikkim you will find Tibetan momos, steamed wheat flour dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables, are popular as snacks or starters. Eaten with sweet and spicy sauces or dunked into bowls of soup, momos are sold by street vendors everywhere.
Try a plate of Pakku, Nepali mutton curry served with rice. Local breads include kodo ki roti, a pancake made from finger millet and phapar ki roti, made from buckwheat. Interesting vegetarian preparations include til ko alu, Nepali-style potato curry with sesame seeds and sishnu, a nettle leaf soup.
How to Reach Gangtok
Gangtok is the capital city of the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim. The city is located at an elevation of 5,800 feet and has a total population of 208,658 as per the 2011 census. Belonging to different ethnicities, Gangtok is famous as a hill station and the centre of tourism industry in Sikkim.
The nearest airport to Gangtok is in Bagdogra, West Bengal. The distance between the two is around 124 km. The airport is connected with major cities in India. One can also avail helicopter services operated by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation daily from Bagdogra to Gangtok, which takes about 20 minutes.
The nearest railway station to Gangtok is at New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal which is about 117 km from Gangtok. The New Jalpaiguri railway station is well connected with major cities and towns in India.
Gangtok is well connected by road with Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong by the National Highway 31A. There are regular Sikkim state transport buses between Gangtok and Siliguri. Private buses, jeeps and taxis can also be hired from Siliguri and Bagdogra. Gangtok is well linked with cities and towns in Sikkim and other neighboring states.
Distance to Gangtok
- From Kalimpong – 74 km
- From Darjeeling – 98 km
- From Siliguri – 115 km
- From Kurseong – 115 km
- From Bagdogra – 124 km
Gangtok is best visited during the months from March to late May and from October to mid December.
Gangtok, the beautiful Himalayan hill resort is nestled against the elegant Himalayan ranges. Apart from the serenity and peace that you can carry home, this town offers beautiful shopping items, which you can pick up while shopping through the main markets of Gangtok.
The main shopping areas in Gangtok are the Old market, New market and Lal market from where you can buy curios and gifts bearing a typical Sikkim touch. Handicrafts are popular gift items, which you can buy at reasonable rates from the Government institute of Cottage Industry. Canvas wall hangings depicting paintings on Sikkim like religious processions, face profiles of tribals make beautiful souvenirs. Traditional items like thangkas or religious scrolls and choktsees or collapsible wooden tables with intricate local Tibetan designs are popular. Tibetan woolen carpets with beautiful patterns and designs are also available. Exquisite jewelry carved and inlaid with precious stones and brilliant gold and silver work are fascinating. These ornaments come in the forms of earrings, pendants and finger rings. The big cardamom or bari klachi will be a nice spicy remembrance. Sikkim Tea with its exotic taste and flavor are ideal gifts to carry home from Gangtok.
- Hinal Shah