Nature & Exhibition
Flower exhibition are organized round the year at the Flower Show venue near the White Memorial Hall complex, Gangtok. Orchid show held during the spring season is one of the most popular shows organized in the State.
The Secretariat and along
Moving south along the road you pass the Secretariat complex on your left. Beyond this is the Deer Park, loosely modeled on the famous one at Sarnath, with a statue of Buddha. From here a recently built Ropeway; 0930-1700, Rs.50 one way, descends the hill to Deorali Bazar, near which is the unique Research Institute of Tibetology; Mon-Sat 1000-1600, established in 1958 to promote research into Tibet and Mahayana Buddhism. The library maintains a large and important Buddhist collection with many fine thangkas, icons and art treasures on display. To the south, surrounded by 108 prayer wheels, the gold-topped Do-drul Chorten contains relics and a complete set of holy texts. Nearby is a monastery for young lamas with large statutes of the Buddha and Guru Padmasambhava.
There are some lovely walks around the capital. Tashi Viewpoint via Enchey Monastery is 9km away. Go early to watch the sun rise over the Khangchendzonga range. Hanuman Tok, a hill with a small temple, 8km away, is another viewpoint. (Recommended)
It takes the passenger to the highest point of the city of Gangtok covering the distance of about 1km in only seven minutes. Each cabin accommodates 24 passengers. The lower terminal station is located at Deorali Market, the intermediate terminal at Nam Nang and the upper terminal station is below Secretariat (Tashiling). One can truly enjoy the panoramic view and thrilling rise as the Ropeway goes over the City.
Handicrafts & Local
Government Institute of Cottage Industries
Mon-Sat 0900-1230 and 1330-1530, closed 2nd Sat of month
At the north end of town the Government Institute of Cottage Industries; produces a wide range of local handicrafts, including wool carpets, jackets, dolls, handmade paper, carved and painted wooden tables. Good quality and prices but no parcel service.
Handicrafts & Local
Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms
You can spend a leisurely time at the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms. Instituted with the aim of promoting and keeping alive the State's traditional art & craft, the DHH is a store house of hand-woven woolen carpets, with traditional motifs, blankets, shawls and exquisitely carved "Choktse" or table and many other gift items. You can see craftsmen in the process of weaving, woodcarving and painting typical Sikkimese designs. Handsome souvenirs to take home are hand-woven carpets, blankets, shawls and carved magnolia-wood tables.
One of the most important monasteries of Sikkim and the Nyingma order of Buddhism, the Enchey Monastery is constructed on a site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a revered tantric master reputed for his power to fly. Over 200 years old, Enchey has within its precincts many icons and religious artifacts of great veneration and antiquity. The monastery is 3km northeast of the main bazaar, a pleasant walk that takes you past the small flower garden at Whitehall (orchids on show March-April). Built by the eight Chogyal in the 1840s, the present building dates from 1909. Religious dances are held in August and December.
View of Khangchendzonga from Ganesh Tok
Trek or Drive
Ganesh & Hanuman Tok (6100 ft.)
It is situated on a ridge at a distance of 7 kms from Gangtok. From this post one can get bird's eye view of sprawling Gangtok town, while across the hills Khang-chen-Dzonga and Mt. Siniolchu loom over the horizon. A cafeteria serves hot tea, coffee and snacks.
Gonjang Monastery near Tashi View Point was established in the year 1981. Thee founder is H.E. Tingkye Gonjang Rimpoche. He was recognised as an incarnation of Yolmo Terton Ngalchang Shakya Zangpo, a 15th century Nyingmapa Terton. The monastery follows tradition of Nyingmapa school of Tibetian Buddhism
The Palace of Chogyal
The Palace of the Chogyal is only open once a year in the last week of December for the Pang Lhabsol Festival. Below this is the Tsuklakhang or Royal Chapel, standing on a high ridge where royal marriages and coronations took place. This is the major place of worship and has a large and impressive collection of scriptures. The interior houses Buddha images and is lavishly decorated with woodcarving and murals. Visitors are welcome during Tibetan New Year but may not be permitted at other times; photography is prohibited.
Located en-route to Ranka and 4kms from Gangtok, Ban Jhakri Falls Energy Park lies amidst a lush green valley spread over 2 acres. It is surrounded by trees and gushing mountain stream. The park has a Shamanistic theme. Hence, while the location of the park penetrating the forest spreads and seeks to enhance the essence of the occult and the unknown. The place itself is littered with ethnic sculptures and figurines of the Jhakri culture.
20 minutes drive from Gangtok is Bakthang Water Falls along the 31A National Highway leading to North Sikkim. It originates from Ratey Chu, the main water source of Gangtok area. Suggested to visit with a view to relax and to take photographs.
Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary
25kms from Gangtok
It is located a distance of 25 kms from Gangtok having an area of 51.76 sq. km. The main vegetation found are oak, katus, kimbu, champa, thick bamboos and ferns. The sanctuary is also home to a large number of wild orchids, rhododendrons, etc. The richly forested area is known to be the home for various species of wild animals and birds. This area, located close to Gangtok, is also a short trekking trail.
Saramsa Flower Pavilion
14kms from Gangtok
About 14kms from Gangtok is the Saramsa flower pavilion. The State Government has recently set up a convention centre which is used for MICE center for holding National and International seminars, exhibitions etc.
Fun & Family
Smile Land : Fun & Feast in Water
12kms from Gangtok; NH-31 A
Smile land is just below NH-31 A, nearing Ranipool Town, is 12kms away from Gangtok, covering an area of 7 acres. Smile land is surrounded by river Rani / Jali / Seti Khola in the East. Regional Science Centre in the North, Floriculture in the West and Rock Garden and Picnic spot in the South. Smile Land provides Fun and Feast in water, Beach Volleyball, Water Disco / Angling / Mountain Biking and all occasion events.
16kms from Gangtok; NH-31A
Water Garden at Martam Khola is on 31 A National Highway, 16 kms south of Gangtok. It is an ideal spot for picnic with a small swimming pool for children. A tourist cafeteria and way side amenity have been also provided.
Himalayan Zoological Park
8kms from Gangtok
Covering an area of 205 hectares, the Himalayan Zoological Park (8 km) is the semi-natural habitat of the endangered red panda, barking deer, spotted deer and bear.
The Do-drul Chorten or Stupa was built by the Venerable Trullshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1945. Inside the stupa, there are mandala set of Dorjee phurba (Vajra Kilaya), a set of Kang Gyur relic (Holy Book), complete "Zung" (mantras) and other religious objects. Around the Chorten, there are 108 Mani Lhakor (Prayer Wheels). These are turned by devout Buddhista while chanting "Om Mane Padme Hum" (O Jewel in the Lotus) to invoke the Bodhisattva. It is surrounded by Chorten Lakhang and Guru Lakhang, where there are two huge statues of Guru Padmasambhava.
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden
En route to Rumtek, this expanse of verdure comprises of virgin temperature forest of oaks and as many as 50 different species of trees.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
Open 1000- 1600.
This world-renowned centre for Buddhist philosophy and religion, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is the world's largest treasury of invaluable old Tibetan books and manuscripts on science, medicine, astrology, etc. It attracts Buddhist scholars from around the world.
The centre also has a wide range of Lepcha and Sanskrit manuscripts and scrolls of ancient vintage. The museum attached to it contains over 200 icons, old tankhas and some ritual vessels amongst the various objects d art on display. Upstairs you can observe the cataloguing and restoration of these treasures.
Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal Memorial Park
It is dedicated to the memory of Miwang Chogyal Chenpo Palden Thondup Namgyal, 17th in the line and the 12th consecrated Denzong Chogyal King of Sikkim. He was gracious, valiant and very enlightened. He acended directly from Namgyal Dynasty, which began in the year 1642 A.D. with the installation of Phuntsog Namgyal as the first consecrated ruler of Sikkim, at Yuksam, in West Sikkim. Born in 1923 he succeeded as Chogyal in 1963 and died in 1982. Deeply inspired by his cherished dream of welfare state for his country, even from his young years as heir apparent, the Chogyal dedicated his entire efforts for a clear, effective and timely fruition of precious plans.
During his illustrious era, firm foundations were laid for basic amenities and social aids. Having initiated elector reforms and transfer of power to peoples representatives in stages, this humane democrat with the highest sense of justice made the judiciary completely independent, soon after his coronation. He was devout Buddhist and highly attained in religious scholarship. He was the founder president of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetan studies at Dotapu (Gangtok) and President of the Maha Bodhi Society of India. Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal was undoubtedly a pioneer among his peers, in advocating the modern system of governance.
Tsomgo Lake and Nathu La Pass
40kms from Gangtok
Just 40 km away from Gangtok lies one of the most sensational drives out of Gangtok. En route to the hallowed, oval-shaped glacial Tsomgo Lake (3780 m) you will encounter mystical environs of these lofty heights and the splash of thousands of blooms in summer. Take time to stop over at Kyongnosla (26 km) for a splendiferous treat of a harvest of summer blooms of rhododendrons, poppies, clematis iris and primulas amongst others. This region is also great for spotting the exclusive and endangered red panda in its natural habitat. If you're an orchid hunter you might find some in bloom in the wild. Don't pluck them though. They're prettier up on those branches. Located at height of 12,000 feet on the Gangtok-Nathu La highway, Tsomgo is half frozen till mid-April. Home to the Brahminy duck and countless migratory birds, it's a magical place. Make sure you have a good camera to catch that evanescent beauty.
The yaks, embellished with their 'Welcome to Sikkim' headbands, are popular for a short ride near the lake. Take a moment off to pause and soak in the beauty at the tiny pagoda like rest house. The spiritual minded sometimes walk over the frozen lake to feed the fish. Fishing is prohibited on this holy lake. In winter, these snowfields are breathtaking.
Remember you have to leave at the crack of dawn - and get permits in advance (from the Sikkim Police Department in Gangtok). This holds true for the historic Nathu La Pass (14,200 feet) too, as by the late afternoon it generally get enveloped in mist.Open : Wed / Thur / Sat / Sun only.
Cost : Tsomgo Lake and Nathu La Pass - 370 per head and Tsomgo Lake - 145 per head.
It is advisable to leave around nine and be back in time for a late lunch before fogs descend. There are gumboots and coats on hire.
Best time to visit March - late May and September - Mid December
Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple
Built in the memory of Harbhajan Singh, a sepoy in the 23rd Punjab Regiment, the temple lies between the Nathu-La and the Jelep-La Passes. Legend has it that he appeared in a dream a few days after he went missing while patrolling the border, and expressed a desire that a monument he built his memory. His fellow soldiers then built a monument be built in his memory. His fellow soldiers then built a monument that has over the years acquired the status of a pilgrimage centre. Believers leave a bottle to be collected a week later to be used for its healing powers.