At a Glance
1 lakh
Capital of
19.2 km²
Geo Location
Average Climate
18°C - 22°C.
Best time to visit
Sept - Nov

Tourism in Gangtok centers around beautiful landscape, enchanting natural beauty, overlooking Himalayan peaks, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and lively culture. River Teesta, beautiful mountains, lush green forests and gorgeous blue sky make Gangtok an enchanting hill station. Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim, is a perfect balance between traditional monasteries and cafes hip culture.

The loving warmth of the locals transforms it into a pleasant tourist destination of India, particularly Sikkim. Being a hub of great food, beautiful monasteries, and enticing nature - the city has something for everyone here. This little town, tucked in pleasant valley of the Himalayas, was unknown to the mankind, till the 1840s. Only after the Enchey monastery came about, it became a popular hub of Buddhist teachings. During the time of the British rule, Gangtok became prominent and popular as a major halting point for the military. Soon, a trade route came about between Gangtok and Tibet and slowly, the infrastructure started picking up. After India got its independence, Sikkim remained an independent monarchy. It was in the year 1975, that the monarchy was withdrawn and Sikkim became a state, with Gangtok as its capital. Over the years, much has happened in the state and this city. Tourism has picked up but its beautiful nature and kindness of its people remained intact, drawing a large cache of visitors. Gangtok is also seen advancing with sustainable practices. It is India’s first fully organic state, as it has banned pesticides and moved into organic farming which helps keep the crop healthy and the environment protected for a longer run. With its sustainable practices, beautiful monasteries, yummy food, enticing nature and the warm people - the city calls out tourists from across the globe and has something for everyone.

Buddhist monasteries, cultural and religious centers of Gangtok, are prime attractions too. Among scores of monasteries, Rumatek Monastery is spiritually most significant. Perched on a hill overlooking Gangtok, the monastery complex is a colorful prayer hall for the village folks. It was founded by Wangchuk Dorje, the 9th Lama in the 16th century. It is said that the monastery gained importance and recognition after China annexed Tibet, as many Buddhist followers and teachers relocated from Tibet to Sikkim. All monasteries in the city have a very soulful and calm vibe. The religious & spiritual practices of the Buddhist monks create a very strong positive energy field which is peaceful and welcoming. In the evening, the monks congregate in monasteries, chant religious hymns, read the texts from their holy book and play musical instruments in a rhythm. The prayers ceremony is open to all. Visitors and tourists sit around to indulge in this vibration of melody and music. The monks are also very open to conversations.

Nestled in Himalayan hills, Gangtok is home to several beautiful lakes. These lakes are popular places to visit while in Sikkim. Tsongmo Lake, 28 kms from Gangtok, is at an altitude of 12,400ft. It is a gorgeous lake that everyone must see. Its serene & enticing beauty is a visual delight for ones soul. Charming Tsongmo Lake amidst mist in the air, gorgeous mountains and bright carpet of the alpine trees is a divine scene. It’s one of the few high altitude lakes in India. The lake becomes even more beautiful to see the reflections of the surrounding mountains in the water. In the local Bhutia language, ‘tso’ means lake and ‘nmgo’ means head and together it connotes ‘source of the water’.

Locally called Change Lake, it is considered to be very sacred amongst the Sikkimese people. It is a glacial lake formed by melting of snow on the mountains around. Said to be having medicinal qualities, the surface of the lake reflects different colors in different seasons. In every weather, the lake offers different pleasant views – in monsoon as a bright aquamarine lake, in winters as a frozen ice plate and in summers remains surrounded by thousand of blossoming flowers.

In absence of the clouds, the Tashi View Point, a roadside knoll at the junction of routes to Mangan & Nathu La, merely 4 kilometers from the city center, offers the best glimpses of Kanchenjunga. It was built by the Sikkimese king Tashi Namgyal during his rule (1914 to 1963). It is built in a way that any one standing there gets a 360 degree perspective of the region. Now looked after by the tourism department, it is said to offer the best sunrise and sunset views. From Tashi Point, viewing Mt Siniolchu is a mesmerizing experience. Right opposite the view point, on another hill, are two monasteries – Lanrang monastery and Phodong monastery. It’s normally during morning that view point presents dramatic play of sunlight on the mountains - the dance of light & shadow - and the air singing from behind. In all aspects, Tashi View Point is beautiful.

Another way to witness the beauty of the city is from the highest point around Gangtok, at 6500 feet, called Ganesh Tok. Ganesh Tok is actually a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, although really small and can accommodate only one person at a time. The devotees of the Lord come here to pay a visit, and some also plant saplings right outside this sacred space for their loved ones. It happens to be a different fun experience for the tourists who wear rented out traditional attire during the sightseeing and reach spectacular view point in the attire, as the mountains make for a gorgeous photo backdrop.

The best way to reach someone’s heart is through the food. The food one gets to taste in the city, will for sure reach ones heart. Its flavours & scents don’t just leave one licking fingers but also remain etched as something that will remain in memory for days to come. Known for its great cuisine, a walk through the M.G Road is a must. With its beautifully decorated cafes and great pubs for some happening end to the day is what the streets all about.

While the Sikkimese cuisine at Nine Native is to die for, there’s the yummy coffee at gorgeous views at the Baker’s cafe waiting for you. It would be a great way to spend time in the city after having gone around, to sit by these cafes, soak in the madness of the streets and let your tummy have a moment of bliss. And while you’re at it, do try the local beer that’s called ‘Hit’, easy to find at any restaurant or local liquor shop.

While the city has its beauty, calmness and peace that wrap you in, it’s the people that truly make the place what it is. The warmth behind those happy faces seen there, can be felt right through and is something you’d carry as memories wherever you go.

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