For those who love anything and everything about mountains, visiting Gangtok could be a dream come true moment. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is situated at an altitude of 5500 feet above sea level and on the eastern Himalayan range. Mount Himalayas hold a magic so powerful that you cannot help but be mesmerized. The view of Khangchendzonga from Gangtok is awe-inspiring. The name Gangtok means ‘lofty hill’. It rose to prominence after the construction of Enchey Monastery in the year 1840, as it then became a popular pilgrimage for followers of Buddhism. Here are the top 10 places to visit in Gangtok.
Khangchendzonga National Park and Biosphere Reserve gets its name from its location at Mount Kanchendzonga, which is the 3rd highest peak in the world. The park covers an area of 849.5 sq kilometers and contains many glaciers. The reserve is a home to a multiple unique species of flora and fauna with around 550 species of native and migratory birds.
2. Tsomgo Lake
The glacial Tsomgo Lake is located at an altitude of 3,780 meters above sea level. It is also called as Changu Lake and is crossed by the Nathu la Pass on the north. The Chinese border is pretty close to this lake with a small distance of only 5 kilometers, but is however 18 kilometers by road. There is also a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva here and it is also a habitat to the brahminy ducks.
Saramsa Garden was established in 1922 and has served various purposes. Today, it serves the purpose of the gangtok tourism department to promote floriculture. It is a great picnic and recreation spot and can be enjoyed with family and friends. It is situated 14 kilometers from gangtok on the Pakyong Road.
Ganesh Tok is a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh; in fact it is so small that only one person can crawl into the temple at a time. However, the main thing to be notices here is its unique location which acts like a viewpoint. Located at an altitude of 6,500 meters above sea level and from here you can witness some of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the town below.
If you want to experience some of the most breathtaking and awe inspiring views of the Himalayas you must come to Tashi View Point in gangtok. It is simply a circular viewing point where a maximum of four people can stand at a time. Nevertheless, the spot provides a brilliant panoramic view of the Kanchendzonga Mountain on a clear day.
As the name implies, the Sikkim tourism department has founded a special sanctuary for Rhododendrons and it was amazing to see so many varieties of the flower at one spot. It is a picturesque landscape with the Yumthang River flowing through it. It has approximately 40 different species of Rhododendron and the best time to visit would be between April and May.
7. Hanuman Tok
Located on the upper reaches of Gangtok, Hanuman Tok is a temple complex dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the mighty Monkey god. This temple was built as the site is considered as the spot Lord hanuman rested while carrying the mountain with the “Sanjeevani” herb. It is notable as it is maintained and frequented by the soldiers of the Indian Army.
The Wildlife Sanctuary is located between Nathu la pass and the aforementioned Changu or Tsomgo Lake. The place is a brilliant location for wanderers who like to get engulfed by the natural beauty of the Himalayas. It contains a vast number of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna and covers an area of 31 sq kilometers.
9. Nathula Pass
The mighty mountain pass of Nathu La is located at an astonishing height of approximately 4,310 meters above sea level and is considered to be one of the highest motor able mountain passes in the world. The pass is open to the citizens of India and a special permit is needed for the foreign tourists.
The zoo with an average elevation of 2,134 meters above sea level is the highest of all high altitude zoos in India. It was opened in 1958 and specializes in captive breeding of the endangered animals found in the alpine region. Endangered species like the Red Panda and Snow Leopard are bred here in captivity.
This is just not all about Gangtok attractions as you all well know. The places to visit in Gangtok are more though these are in the top list of my favorite destinations here. I would be glad to have your comments on the spots and would welcome any other suggestions regarding places of interest in the capital city of Sikkim.