Gangtok gained importance as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the early 1980s. Today it is one of the most visited cities in northeastern India thanks to its extraordinary natural beauty and religious significance. If you are planning a holiday in Gangtok, you need to explore these top 10 places in and around the city. So, here goes the list of places to visit in Gangtok.
1. Tsomgo lake
If you have enough time to visit only one place in Gangtok, this is Tsomgo lake! Located at 12,400 feet above sea level, this high lake rises amid the mountains and draws water from its melting snow. The incomparable beauty of the site is fascinating. A striking feature of the lake is that it changes color every season. It remains frozen during the winters, but the snow that surrounds it is replaced by flowers in the summer. Legends reveal that Buddhist monks studied the color of the lake to predict the future in ancient times.
2. Col de Nathula
Part of the ancient silk road between India and Tibet, the Nathula Pass has natural beauty and breathtaking panoramic views. Driving through its steep and slippery slopes, up to an altitude of 14,140 feet, will be an adventure. Nathula Pass sees many tourists during the summer and autumn. Winters may not be the best time to visit, as temperatures are quite low and the route is often closed due to heavy snow. The route is closed to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays, so be sure to plan the route accordingly.
3. Hanuman Tok
Located at an altitude of 7,200 feet, this decades-long Hanuman temple is one of the most famous places to visit in Gangtok. Offering breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga range, this sanctuary is visited by tourists throughout the year for its serene atmosphere and breathtaking views. You can immerse yourself in the beauty of the lush vegetation, the picturesque hills, and valleys and a small part of the city by climbing the cobbled stairs that lead to this wonderfully peaceful divine place.
4. Himalaya Zoo
The first zoo in Sikkim, the Himalayan zoological park, offers the opportunity to explore the fauna of the region. Home to snow leopards, Himalayan palm civets, red pandas, and Himalayan black bears, the place is different from most zoos in the country. The animals are kept in open pens in reproduced natural habitats and are not caged, which makes the overall experience a little more pleasant. Located at 1,780 meters above sea level, the zoo also offers a splendid view of Mount Kanchenjunga. Book at least 3-4 hours for the zoo, especially if you travel with children.
5. Ranka monastery
The magnificent Ranka Monastery should be part of your itinerary for the breathtaking views it offers and of course the opportunity to interact with Buddhist monks. You can click on the images with the monks during the breaks, but you have to interact with their faith and their way of life when they interact with them. Wrapped in dense forests on all sides, the monastery is a sight to behold. The tranquility and serenity here offer a completely different view of city life. Ranka Monastery must be in the list of places to visit in Gangtok.
6. Namibian Institute of Tibetology
A glimpse into the past of a very intriguing culture, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is a must if you are passionate about history or interested in learning more about Buddhism. Presenting a large collection of works of art, objects, manuscripts, souvenirs, and one of the largest collections of Tibetan documents and literature in the world, this institute is responsible for all the important things for Tibetan culture. 14th Dalai Lama has laid the foundation stone of this institute.
7. Exhibition center for flowers
The flower exhibition center is located a short walk from MG Road and features a large variety of flowers from all over Sikkim. A paradise for nature lovers, the exhibition center is in full swing all year round, especially during the annual flower fair which takes place from April to May. Home to many different and unusual plant species, the exhibition center offers a refreshing break after endless hours of travel by car. You can simply relax in its pleasant atmosphere, admire the colorful flowers, and click on amazing photos.
8. MG Marg
MG Marg is the center of all Gangtok activities and is on your default route! However, if you have an extra day or a few free hours, spend some time in this vehicle-free area. To learn and explore the Gangtok lifestyle in its way. This lively market is home to numerous shops. Some of which have been around for decades, as well as numerous restaurants, cafés, and souvenir shops. Try the Hungry Heads for cold coffee and sandwiches.
9. Ganesh Tok
Breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga range, a serene atmosphere, and the blessings of Lord Ganesha – who defines Ganesh Tok. One of the most visited places in Gangtok, this sanctuary is quite small. Mostly people come here to enjoy the magnificent view of the city. The hills and the snow-capped mountains from its closed observation room. Located at an altitude of 6,500 feet, this Ganesh temple receives a large flow of visitors throughout the year. Ganesh Tok is one of the most popular places to visit in Gangtok.
10. Rumtek Monastery
Perched on a hill near Gangtok, Rumtek monastery is one of the largest monasteries in the state of Sikkim. This glorious monastery is built in traditional Tibetan style and it was formerly known as the Dharma Chakra Center. The three-story building includes a splendid prayer room with imposing tangka and statues and murals. The golden stupa of the 16th Karmapa and many other unique objects and religious scriptures. Belonging to the Kargyu Buddhist sect, this former monastery is known for one of the best architecture in the world. It stands beautifully against the backdrop of majestic hills and waterfalls.