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Places of Interest in Sikkim
All red point denoted as tourist point in East Sikkim.
Gangtak(East-Sikkim headquarter), the capital of Sikkim with a population of approximately 50,000 has emerged into the mainstream of the Tourism Industry. Every year, many tourists come to visit this little Himalayan city from India and abroad. Many culture and religious community are lived here with friendly relations. It is a great model of “Unity in Diversity” of India. Gangtak is of he neat and clean city in India. It is also a less polluted city. All tourist spot around Gangtak are discuss below:
Ganesh Tok, Gangtak
Altitude - 6,500 meter.
A very small temple dedicated to Hindu God Lord Ganesh, situated on a ridge just next to the television tower. The temple is so small in size that it can hardly accommodate one person and one has to crawl to get inside it. From here you can get a panoramic view of Gangtok town. If sky is clear then you can get a breathe taking view of Mt. Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu loom over the horizon. During the tourist season, a small cafeteria is opened for the convenience of the visitors. There has a garden of pine tree, where you can walk on the footpath to take a fresh breathe.
The name 'Enchey Monastery' means 'the Solitary temple' is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his power of flying. Initially it was a small hermitage is built after he flew from Maenam Hill in South Sikkim to here. The present monastery in the shape of a Chinese Pagoda was built later during the reign of Sikyong Tulku (1909-1910). The monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa order of the Vajrayana school of Buddhism.
Enchey holds its annual celebration during the 18th to 19th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar (on January). The "Chaam" or religious masked dance is performed at that time. The monastery is also important in the observance of the festival of Pang Lhabsol, as this festival marks the swearing of blood-brotherhood between the Bhutias and Lepchas which had Khangchendzonga as a witness. The three Gods worshiped here are Buddha, Loki Sharia, and Guru Padmasambhava.
The White Hall is situated on the Ridge. It has historical value on Sikkim. It is a two storied typical British architecture was built on 1932, in the memory of the first Political Officer of Sikkim, Claude White. There has an Officer’s Club and a badminton court in the White Hall.
Tashi View Point
Tashi view point built by the King of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal, is set in the midst of beautiful scenic views, and is the perfect place to see the natural panoramic beauty of Mount Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu. You can also see the Labrang Monastery and Phodong Monastery on the opposite hill. A park above the View Point is a good place to enjoy a picnic. It is situated on the North Sikkim Highway.
Distance - 11 km from Gangtok
Altitude - 7,200 ft
Hanuman Tok, situated about 11 km uphill from White Hall on a bifurcation road of the Gangtok-Nathula Highway, is a temple devoted to Hanuman, a God worshipped by the Hindus, which is managed by the Indian Army. From the temple itself, the snowy peaks of Khangchendzonga present a panoramic picture.
Himalayan Zoological Park
The park is located exactly across the road opposite Ganesh Tok and covers an area of 205 hectares. This area is also known as Bulbuley and extends almost upto Hanuman Tok. Although a 3 kms long jeepable road runs right through the park, vehicles are not allowed in. There is a paved cement path that passes by fenced open air enclosures housing the red pandas, Barking Deer, bears and other animals of Sikkim in a semi natural habitat. As the enclosures encompass a huge area the animals are sometimes not easily visible and one has to be patient to get a sight of them. Making noise drives away the animals to take refuge behind bushes.
Distance - 5 km from Gangtok
Located on a beautiful hill top it is a Tibetan refugee monastic institution established in 1961 by his Eminence Luding Khen Rimpoche, Head of Ngorpa, sub-sect of the Sakya Order, with the blessing of His Holiness Sakya Trizin and the His Holiness Dalai Lama. This is the only monastery of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim.
Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center
Distance - 24 km from Gangtok
Drive Distance - 45 minutes from Gangtok
Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center, the seat of the Kagyu order, one of the 4 major Tibetan Buddhist sects. Since the late 1960's, after the arrival of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, the center houses some of the world's most unique religious scriptures and religious art objects. Traditional in design, it is almost a replica of the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet.
About 2 kms. away from Dharma Chakra Center is the rebuilt 300 year old Rumtek monastery which was originally built by the fourth Chogyal. His Holiness late Gyalwa Karmapa lived in this monastery till the completion of the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center. The annual dances are held here on the 28th & 29th day of the Tenth month of the lunar calendar.
For more information visit at www.rumtek.org
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology(SRIT)
Visiting Hours - 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Every Day)
Entry Fees - Rs. 2/-
SRIT is situated at Deorali, the SRIT is within a very walkable distance from the main town of Gangtok. The foundation stone of the Institute was laid in February 1957 by the 14th Dalai Lama and it was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in October 1958.
This institute was established to promote research on the language and traditions of Tibet as well as the Mahayana sect of Buddhism. There are about 30 thousand volumes, mostly xylographs, (xylographs are documents that are printed using wooden slabs that have the matter embossed on them in the reverse) 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 rare collection of antiques like statues, coins and thangkas which are scrolls with paintings on them. Today, it is the renowned worldwide center for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion.
Do-Drul Chorten (Stupa)
The Do-Drul Chorten or Stupa was built by Truslshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1945. Inside this stupa, there are complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba (Bajra Kilaya), a set of Kan-gyur relics (Holy Books), complete 'Zung' (mantras) and other religious objects. Around this stupa has 108 Mani-Lhakor (prayer wheels). These prayer wheels are turned by the devout Buddhist while chanting "hail to the jewel in the lotus", to invoke Buddhisattva. There are two huge statues of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava).
This park which commands a good view of the hills surrounding Gangtak is perched on top of a hillside that plunges almost vertically deep into the valley. It was established in the late fifties. The park has a big open enclosure in which different types of deer can be seen. There are also a few cages in which some animal’s native to Sikkim like the Red Panda and the Himalayan Bear have been kept.
Permanent Flower Show
Flower exhibitions are organized throughout the year at the flower show venue near the white hall and just below the Palace Ridge park. Orchid shows held during the spring tourist season is one of the most popular shows organized in the state.
The Ridge is a small stretch of plain and flat road above the town of Gangtok. It is just about fifteen minutes walk from the main market. The Ridge has the White Hall and the Chief Minister's official residence, known as the Mintokgang, meaning "blossomed crowned hilltop" on one end and the beautifully designed Palace Gate with a pagoda rooftop on the other end. A statue of Nehru, the late Prime Minister of India, adorns the roundabout above White Hall. Situated on the Ridge is also a resting shed using Tibetan architecture.
The ridge is lined with plants and trees which when in bloom are a riot of colours. Flower shows which attract tourists from all over the world are held just below the Ridge. From the ridge, the, road winding its way up along the Chola range towards Nathula( border between India and China) can be clearly seen. During 1967 (not 1962, when this border was quiet), a confrontation broke out between India and China at Nathula. Long ago, a small market called the Sudder Bazaar consisting of a few shops lined the Ridge. In the early twenties this market was shifted to the present M.G. Marg.
Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies
Initiated by the late 16th Karmapa, the institute in housed in the adjoining building of the Rumtek Monastery. The Jamyang Khang Primary School meant for 5 years of primary monastic studies is also located here.
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden
Located very close to Rumtek Monastery just half a kilometer before reaching Rumtek Monastery on the highway, it is maintained by the parks and Gardens unit of the Forest Department of the Government of Sikkim, the Garden is an enchanting and soothing experience among the lush green vegetation, rare plants and trees and certain species of Himalayan flowers and Orchids.
This garden is a mixture of well tended tropical and temperate plants and trees can be found here. A huge greenhouse containing many species of orchids has been constructed within the garden. For children there is even a small playground with a merry-go-round, swings and a see-saw. A cemented footpath winds its way through the garden and is good for taking a relaxed stroll. The sprawling town of Gangtok can be seen on the hill opposite. The garden is indeed an ideal picnic spot.
Distance - 38 km from Gangtok
Altitude - 12,210 feet
Tsomgo (Changu) lake is situated on the Gangtok - Nathula highway which forms a part of the old trade route from India to China (before 1962). The stretch of the route just below Karponang, 15 km from Gangtok was particularly dangerous. Its steepness resulted in many mules slipping to their death into the ravine below.
Tsomgo (Changu) lake, which is hardly 20 km away from the famous, falls in the restricted area and hence an Inner Line Permit, which can be obtained from the Police through the Tourism Department or travel agent is required by visitors to visit this place. Foreign nationals are also permitted to visit this lake. Photography is now allowed and in fact parts of few Hindi films have been shot here. It is cool, placid water a harmony with the scenic beauty around which is doubled by its reflection in the lake. A small temple of Lord Shiva is constructed on the lakeside. Primula flowers and other alpine vegetation grow around the lake, which has an average depth of 50 ft, lend a pristine beauty to this place. A footpath along the lake takes one to a resting shed - a walk of about half a kilometer. During the winter months the lake becomes frozen. The lake itself derives its water from the melting snow on the mountains around, The river Lungtze Chu originates from this lake and meets the Rangpo-chu further down its course.
The travel agents and Department of Tourism conducts package tours by bus to this lake at selected months of the year. You can get taxi from Gangtak to go Changu Lake, with a cost of Rs. 200/- to Rs. 300/- a person. Private vehicles are not permitted to the lake. Rides on yaks and mules are also offered at the lake site. Tea and snacks are available at the dozen of temporary stalls during the tourist season only. Some of the stalls even keep film rolls and offer jackets, snow boots and water boots on hire. Because of the high altitude, heavy woolens are required to be worn here throughout the year. There is no facility of accommodation for the tourist. It is advisable to visit the lake before noon as usually during the afternoons the weather becomes inclement. Those with breathing problems should avoid exerting themselves too much because of the scarcity of air at this altitude.
Distance - 54 km from Gangtok
Altitude - 14,790 feet
Nathula Pass is the Indo-China border at Jawahar Lal Nehru Road whereby Indian troops and the Red army stand face to face. It is one of the highest altitude roads where motor can reached and richly covered by various species of Alpine Flora and Fauna.
N.B. - The days for tourist visit is restricted and needs to be applied at least 24 hrs in advance and limited days of operation. The days permitted to visit Nathula Pass are Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sundays only. Photography is strictly prohibited in and around Nathula Pass.
Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary
Distance - 25 km from Gangtok
Altitude - 7,000 feet
Entry Fee - Rs.5/- a person
Best Season - October and April
It has an area of 51.76 sq. km. The main vegetation is Oak, Katus, Kimbu, Champ with thick bamboo forests and ferns. The Sanctuary is also home to a large number of wild orchids, rhododendrons etc. The richly forested area is known to be home for various species of wild animals like Red panda, civet cat, bear cat , Black Bear and various birds. This area is being developed as a short duration trekking trail. There is a wooden tower to have a beautiful view of the valley at Tinjure.
N.B. - A Guest House with two rooms is available at Golitar and Tumin. Charges are Rs. 50/- a person per night