The ‘gateway to Sikkim’, capital of Sikkim, city of Gangtok brims with awe-inspiring places. From pouring waterfalls to solitary monasteries, Gangtok offers a range of places. Its name meaning hill-top, Gangtok tops the list of the most beautiful hill stations in the country.
The city is nestled amid North-Eastern Himalayas of India. The vivid authentic culture infused in every nook and cranny helps anyone find that ‘inner peace’ we all desire. So, trudge through the paths of this enriching lost kingdom of Sikkim. Unwind along the banks of pristine lakes and River Teesta or discover the peaceful monasteries, every place here will leave you with an experience that is cherished forever.
Without further ado, I present to you seven places to visit in Gangtok.
1. Nathu La Pass
One of the highest motorable roads in the world, Nathu literally means ‘listening ears’ and La means ‘pass’. Nathu La Pass connects Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. In the ancient days, this pass formed an integral part of the Silk Route, one of the most important trading routes in the world.
Situated 14450 ft. above sea level, the magnificent mountain view from the height is simply breathtaking. The wonderful pass can essentially be enjoyed by driving or trekking. The temperature here remains low for most parts of the year but from May to mid-November, the days remain clear and the weather is hot.
2. Seven Sisters Waterfall
Just as its name suggests, Seven Sisters Waterfalls comprises of seven different waterfalls amicably arranged side by side on a wide rough cliff which seems distinct when looked at from far away. This famous waterfall situated at a distance of 32 kilometres from Gangtok will definitely boggle your mind with nature’s wonderment.
The Seven Sisters waterfalls reflect the unique creativity of nature- seven separate waterfalls, originating from different sources and flowing side by side. They merge into one powerful waterfall mid-way through. The combined force of these seven streams results in a thunderous waterfall. It never fails to capture the undivided attention of all its admirers.
The rainy season is the best time to visit the Seven Sisters Waterfalls. When the snow melts as it is during this time that the waterfall comes back to life and is an absolute delight to watch. After a little rain, the area seems to freshen up; you can even spot a cheery rainbow then.
3. Tashi View Point
Famed for its sunrises and sunsets as well as its startling views of the entire grand Himalayan mountain range, Tashi Viewpoint is a place that will leave you with some great pictures and countless memories. Travellers can get a view of the magnificent Mount Sinilochu and Mount Kanchenjunga. This spot also serves as a fabulous picnic place for local, as well as foreign tourists, due to the presence of a cafeteria and sheds bordering the site of the viewpoint.
Breathe some clean air, take in the picturesque ambience, and explore the monasteries around. An incredible weekend getaway for incredible sightseeing, Tashi Viewpoint is one of the best places to visit in Gangtok.
4. Ganesh Tok
Close to Tashi Viewpoint and the Bakthang falls is Ganesh Tok, a temple of Lord Ganesha. The viewpoint at the height of 6500 ft offers some of the best panoramic views of snow-dusted mountains and the lush greenery of the whole city. The magnificent range of mountains including Kanchenjunga continues to serve as the main highlight of the area. Sunsets from this spot are enchanting too.
A circular balcony and lounge near the temple are perfect places to look at the view. Colourful prayer flags decorate the stairs to the entry of this temple. The temple is, however, so small that it can only fit one person at a time.
5. Tsomgo Lake
One of the most important and magnificent places to visit in Gangtok, the Tsomgo Changu Lake is a glacial lake situated 40 kilometres from Gangtok at a height of 12,310 feet. In the Bhutia language, ‘Tso’ means lake and ‘Mgo’ mean head and essentially means ‘source of the water’, holding immense religious and cultural significance to the Bhutia people. The crystal clear blue waters of the lake reflecting the majestic peaks of the Himalayas make for a spectacular sight.
Tsomgo Lake is a glacial lake that derives its water from the melting snows of the surrounding mountains. This glacial lake is famous for its colour changing waters. Monsoons season brings a bright aquamarine hue whereas, in the cold season, it freezes into a translucent cover of ice. As the summer approaches in mid-May, the boundary of this lake is dotted with a thousand blossoming flowers that give the waters a riot of vibrant colours.
Considered as a sacred lake by the Sikkimese, Changu Lake is associated with many myths and legends. They say the Buddhist monks used to analyse the colour of the lake to forecast the future!
6. Phodong Monastery
One of the best solitude rich places to visit in Gangtok. This monastery was built in the early 18th century on the remains of an older monastery and plays an important part in the cultural landscape of the place. Situated as it is in the midst of grand natural beauty, a visit to this monastery is a meditation in itself. Phodong Monastery is one amongst the six most important Buddhist monasteries in the state. It provides a lovely backdrop of the lush green hills in the distance and the calm valley down below.
Boasting of a striking architecture with vibrant coloured exteriors and delicate interiors that are embellished with gorgeous paintings, murals and frescoes, the monastery is also considered one of the most beautiful in all the country. It houses a total of around 260 monks at present. The annual Cham dance festival is celebrated here in February.
The monastery is among the most revered monasteries in Sikkim and offers visitors a chance to enjoy the spiritual depth of Sikkim at its best.
Also read: Most Breathtaking villages of Himalayas.