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Gangtok travel guide

Published: 25/05/2012

Gangtok is situated in the lower Himalayas at an altitude of 5,500ft. It is the state capital of Sikkim. It is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site and is a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning. Several monasteries, religious educational institutions and centers for Tibetalogy are located here. The name ‘Gangtok’ is derived from the Tibetan world meaning ‘hill side’. Mostly dominated by the Buddhist culture, Gangtok is one of the safest and cleanest cities in the whole of North-East India. The city to a large extent resembles the Bhutanese capital. A fascinating city with beautiful landscapes, Buddhists chants reverberating in the air and cool and pleasant climate, Gangtok is one place where one can unwind and relax and get rejuvenated. Gangtok is well connected by roads. The nearest airport is at Siliguri and the nearest railway station is new Jalpaiguri. One can reach Gangtok by hired or shared Jeeps or cab which run frequently from the terminals.

For food one can find a mix of Nepalese, Tibetan and Indian cuisine in Gangtok. ‘Momos’ are available round the corner all over Gangtok. Ningro, shisme, phing and churpi are some other local delicacies.

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Popular Tourist Attractions in Gangtok

Rumtek Monostery

Located 24 Km from Gangtok, the Rumtek Monastery is the largest monastery in the Eastern Himalayas. Built in the 16th century by the Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje, the monastery fell into ruins until the sixteenth Karmapa reconstructed it, as a near replica of the main seat of Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet in 1966. The Rumtek Monastery known as Dharmachakra center consists of a beautiful temple, the famous Golden Stupa, the monastery and an institute for higher studies on Tibetan Buddhism. Within walking distance, there is also a nunnery and the old Monastery. As a tourist attraction, the monastery is on the world map of Buddhist Pilgrimage.

Tsongmo Lake

Situated around 40Km. Gangtok, the Tsongmo Lake is located at an altitude of 3780m. This lake is considered to be sacred by the locals. This lake is about 1Km. long, oval in shape and about 50ft. deep. The cool and placid water with snow around even in April is a reflection of nature at its best. There is a small temple of Lord Shiva on its bank.

Tashi View Point

Located 4Km. from Gangtok, the Tashi viewpoint, was constructed by the late king of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal. From this point one can get a beautiful view of the show range of Kanchanjunga. Visitors can also see the Phodong Monastery and Labrang monastery on the opposite hill.
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