Enjoy Gangtok which literally means “hill top”.

Share Button

Enjoy Gangtok which literally means “hill top”.  

 

Soaked in clouds, Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim is located in the Eastern Himalayan Range at an elevation of 1650 m. Nestled within higher peaks of the Himalaya this headquarter town of the East Sikkim district provides an wonderful round the year temperate climate, Gangtok is at the centre of Sikkim’s tourism industry.

 

Gangtok boasts of providing the visitors the glorious view of Khangchendzong, the third highest mountain peak in the world. This municipal was once a significant transit point for business communities of Tibet and India; it is now a famous business centre and showcases its rich blend of cultures and ethnicities. The population of Gangtok which is nearly around 100,000 comprises of mainly Nepali, Lepchas, Bhutias.

 

From 1840 with the construction of Enchey Monastery Gangtok was brought to prominence as a popular Buddhist Piligrimage. However the in 1894, the rulers of Sikkim shifted the capital to Gangtok. In the early 20th century, Gangtok became a major stopover on the trade route between Lhasa in Tibet and cities such as Kolkata (then Calcutta) in British India. After India won its independence from Britain in 1947, Sikkim preferred to remain an independent monarchy, with Gangtok as its capital. Subsequently in 975, Sikkim became the 22nd state in India after its merger with the Indian union and Gangtok remained the capital of it.

 

While the exact meaning of the nomenclature Gangtok is still to be found out, the most adorable meaning is “hill top”. Gangtok over the years has transformed into a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning, with the presence of several monasteries, religious educational institutions, and centres for Tibetology.

 

For the tourists Gangtok offers all possible amenities and hospitality. MG Marg, the main street of Gangtok town is a fabulous destination to regale and rejuvenate. This thoroughfare is India’s first litter and spit free zone, no vehicular traffic is allowed into the marg. One can sit at the Titanic Park or at various side benches stretched across the mall and enjoy the carnival like environment, especially during the tourist season.

 

For a birds eye view of Gangtok one can take a ride on the bi-cable Zig-back ropeway, which is of international standard. On sunny days the ropeway ride offers the splendid view of the Kangchendzonga peak besides the overview of Gangtok town and the valley down the hills.

 

For a complete view of Gangtok and its surrounding, one can reach Ganest Tok located on a ridge at a distance of 7 kms from Gangtok. From here one can have the panoramic view of the sprawling Gangtok town and the peaks of Mt. Khang-chen-Dzonga and Mt. Siniolchu looming over the horizon.

 

Another tourist attraction the Hanuman Tok, a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, is situated at an altitude of 7200 feet at a distance of about nine kilometres uphill from Gangtok on a tranquil hilltop. Tourists can also gets a bird’s eye view of the Sleepy water works, which supplies drinking water to Gangtok.

 

Lukshyama, the cremation ground of the erstwhile Sikkim royal familiers, having stupas and chortens, is located adjacent to Hanuman Tok.

 

Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology is the most prestigious research institute of its kind in the world. NRIT is a treasure trove of extensive collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare Thankas (colourful tapestries used in Buddhist liturgy)

 

How to Reach:

By Air

The airport nearest to Gangtok is about 124 kilometres away in Bagdogra, West Bengal. From the airport, you can hire a shared taxi or a private vehicle that will get you to Gangtok in a matter of two hours. The drive from Bagdogra to Gangtok is absolutely stunning with gorgeous mountains and River Teesta as your backdrop.

From Bagdogra, you can also take a TSA helicopter to get to Gangtok in just 20 minutes. However, their services depend on the weather conditions. Chopper flights also get cancelled on the pretext of insufficient bookings.

 

By Train

The nearest railway station to Gangtok is about 148 kilometres away in New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri.

The station is well-connected to major cities like Kolkata and New Delhi. From New Jalpaiguri you can take a taxi to Gangtok or go to Siliguri Bus Station and catch a state-run bus to Gangtok, which will take you about 5-6 hours.

 

Road

Tourists rolling in from nearby places like Siliguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kolkata prefer to drive to Gangtok. The roads are well-maintained, except in a few places.