Are you sure you want to go for this trip??
Even before check-ins Amit was apprehensive and asking this question. Though this time, I was not interested to answer him. What if I am three months pregnant, flights are getting delayed, we got tickets canceled and booked again, its Holi (the festival of color in India), tomato (my daughter) is only 2 years but still I want to go. I want to go as for the first time, I was going to travel by plane and canceling tickets means to wait until eternity or another chance.
Finally, our flight took off, so do my trip to Gangtok.
Located on the Northern side of the Famous Himalayas, the easternmost capital of Sikkim state is Gangtok. Gangtok is one of the best gifts of nature. It is a land of colorful Monasteries and a mixture of north-east culture/traditions. Through this blog post, Let me take you to the tour of “Gangtok- the beautiful gift of Nature”
About Gangtok: : Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim. In years 1975, Sikkim has become the 22nd state of India. Before it, Sikkim was ruled by Kings. The most interesting fact is that before, 1840 no one was aware of Gangtok as a city. With the construction of Enchey Monastery, Gangtok came into existence.
Why visit Sikkim:
Sikkim is India’s first state where the major focus has been given to Cleanliness. Here spitting on the road can cost Rs. 200 while there is the huge fine if anyone finds smoking on road, it has special smoking zones too.
2. Sikkim is India’s first slum/ hut-free state. Here even in villages, people have proper houses.
3. This is the only state which has a large number of Non- Indian population. Here most of the people are from Nepal.
4. In Sikkim, you can also find, the vulture with 10feet long wings. Also, endangered spices of red panda can be found here. It is also State Animal of Gangtok.
Places to visit in Gangtok:
Gangtok is full of places to visit. If you love nature, peace, serene beauty and ready to spend few extra money than this place is surely meant for you. Though due to pregnancy and since everything was the bit far off, was not able to cover every place but still trying to sum it up in a proper way.
Tsuklakhang Monastery: This monastery is located 3KMs away from Gangtok city. It was private Chapel of the royal family of Gangtok. But today, students from all over the world came to learn about Buddhism. This monastery is also famous for the celebration of many Budh festivals, in which Buddhist dances wearing colorful masks. This monastery is an ultimate example of the culture, scriptures, and literature.
Enchey Monastery: This monastery is also located in north-west area of Gangtok, and is 3KMs from Gangtok. Enchey Monastery is about 200 years old. Today also, more than 90 Buddhist monks live here. The monastery was built at the exact location where Lama Druptub Karbo had his hermitage. It is believed that Lama Druptub ho had magical powers, came here flying.
Ranka Monastery: Ranka Monastery is also popularly known as Lingdum Monastery. It is located 20KMs away from Gangtok city. Outside this huge and beautiful monastery, there is a small market run by local people. Here you can purchase woolen clothes as well as souvenirs. During the evening, you can also be a part of the prayers done by Buddhist monks.
Hanuman Tonk: This is one of the beautiful temples of God Hanuman. It is located 20KM away from Gangtok City. It is a point from where peaks of Kanchenjunga are very clearly visible. It is a must visit place if going to Gangtok.
Changu Lake: Changu Lake (also known as Tsomgo Lake) is a glacial lake in the East Sikkim district of the Indian state of Sikkim, some 40 kilometers from the capital Gangtok. Though we could not enjoy the view of this lake as Tomato(my daughter) became cracky and also, you have to walk a long distance to enjoy the beauty of this lake which was again not possible with a small kid.
This lake is egg-shaped and is surrounded by high mountains. The view of this lake cannot be described in words. you can also enjoy Yak ride here.
Nathula Border: Nathula is the border with divides India and China. It is mostly used for commercial purposes by both the countries. It is the only border between Indian and China which can be reached by Indians. You can even meet Chinese soldiers and handshake with them. It requires a special permission to visit this border, also mostly closed during Winter seasons.
Shrine of Baba Harbhajan Singh: This Shrine is located in the mid of Nathula and Changu Lake. It is 25KMs from Gangtok city. You just need to Google it. Baba Harbhajan Singh was an Indian Army soldier during Punjab regiment of 1965.
He was appointed at Indo-China border and died during patroling- have come to believe his spirit protects every soldier in the inhospitable high-altitude terrain of the Eastern Himalayas. As with most saints, the Baba is believed to grant favors to those who revere and worship him.
Things must try/ to do in Gangtok
Flower Exhibition: With very reasonable fees, you get to see more than 600 kinds of Orcades, 240 kinds of vegetation, 46 kinds of Rhododendron named flowers. Here you will find some very unique species of flowers. Since Gangtok is situated near to the Himalayas, the weather is pleasing all year round. This exhibition is open all year.
Mahatma Gandhi Road: It is kind of Mall road where you can find big brands to local souvenir. Cars and other vehicles are strictly prohibited on this road. The best thing is you can sit on benches at the roadside and can enjoy the view. Also throwing garbage or anything on this road can attract the good fine.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology: As per Darjeeling tourism, It is one of the most important and famous institutes in the world that does research in the areas of Tibetan language and culture. It also has in its premises a museum, a Tibetan library with rich collections and also a reference center about Tibet and Himalayas in general.
Located in Deorali and less than 2 kilometers from the main town of Gangtok, the institute is perched in a small forest of birch trees, oak, and magnolia … a wonderful serene ambiance.
Paragliding: Though due to my pregnancy I could not avail the fun of paragliding but flying in the sky like a bird is always one of my dreams. Nearly 20KMs away from Gangtok, you can enjoy the rides of paragliding. They offer two types of rides- medium and high. For this sports, you should not weigh more than 90KGs.
How to visit Gangtok:
Bagdogra is the nearest airport to Gangtok. You can easily get cabs from the airport only which may charge you from 2500-3000 for each ride. If you love to travel like locals than can try local buses which are reasonable, just take some extra time.
My take on Gangtok: for /strong>
Except for few places, most of them are located at very far off locations. Though a very systematic city but people here are less helpful. Even the cab ad hotels cost you higher and people here are hardly ready for negotiations. Also, a cab will drop you at their desired location, no matter how far you have to walk from there.
Localities are not willing to help you or direct you towards the perfect trip.
Getting good vegetarian food and that too in the budget is also a problem here.
70% of the tourist is bengali or Northeast, even being a part of India, they treat them seperate.