Tsomgo Lake, perched between the mountains at a breathtaking height of 12400 feet above sea level and located on the Gangtok – Nathu La highway, is one of India’s few high-altitude lakes. Changu Lake, also known as Changu Lake, is a must-see for any tourist, and for good reason: it is breathtakingly beautiful. The captivating grandeur of Tsogmo Lake, surrounded by tall snow-capped mountains and nestled amongst a bright green carpet of alpine woods, is sure to take your breath away. The mesmerizing scenic charm of the lake, combined with its legendary significance to the inhabitants, makes it a must-see Sikkim destination.
Tsomgo Lake is a glacier lake that gets its water from melting snow in the surrounding mountains. The color-changing waters of this glacial lake are well-known. During the monsoons, the lake seems bright blue, but during the winters, it freezes into a translucent layer of ice. The lake’s border is dotted with a thousand flowering flowers as summer approaches in mid-May, giving the waters a riot of bright colors.
The words ‘Tso’ and ‘Mgo’ in the Bhutia language mean ‘lake’ and ‘head,’ respectively, and effectively mean source of the water,’ and have enormous religious and cultural significance for the Bhutia people. Changu Lake is regarded as a sacred lake by the Sikkimese and is related to numerous stories and legends.
Tsomgo Lake is in a restricted region, thus all tourists must get permits to access it. A specific permit is necessary for foreign nationals. These permits are not available online and must be obtained from officially recognized travel agents and tour operators. Except for the agent’s charge, there is no cost or price connected with acquiring these permits. You will be needed to provide ID proof and two passport-size pictures. Permits usually arrive within a day or two.
The stories and myths surrounding Tsomgo Lake are many. Buddhist monks were thought to be able to foresee the future just by looking at the color of the lake in ancient times; a darker tinge in the water suggested a darker or more problematic future. During Guru Purnima and Raksha Bandhan, Sikkim’s faith healers, known as Jhakhris, come to this lake to pray and benefit from the healing capabilities of the pure lake’s waters.
The breathtaking visual splendor of Tsomgo Lake has captivated visitors from all over the world, and it keeps them coming back for more, especially throughout the winter and summer months. Rhododendrons, primulas, irises, and multicolored poppies surround the edges of this oval-shaped glacial lake as spring arrives. During the summer, a variety of exotic and medicinal plants blossom. A glimpse of Changu Lake at this time of year will undoubtedly make you fall in love with nature’s captivating and magnificent creations.
The entire lake freezes into a gigantic platter of ice during the winter. As the frost glistens beneath the mild sunlight, the beautiful surface of this lake gleams.
Apart from gazing into the majestic grandeur of Tsomgo Lake and becoming hypnotized by its hypnotic appeal, there are several attractions that tourists go to. In the heavy snow, one may stroll along the lake’s edges or ride colorfully painted yaks and mules around the lake’s periphery. A little market about 200 meters away offers travelers yak cheese, handicrafts, and local curios. A few shops offer to rent out coats, boots, and gloves to keep you warm when the weather becomes really cold.
Tsomgo Lake is located in Gangtok, which lacks its own train station. The Siliguri Railway Station in New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead, at a distance of 148 kilometers. You may either take a cab or a bus to Gangtok from the Siliguri Bus Station, which is located immediately adjacent to the train station. From here, it takes roughly 5-6 hours to reach to Gangtok.
Special automobiles with competent drivers qualified to drive at such high elevations are available for rent to go to Changu Lake, which is located on the Jawaharlal Nehru Road. A round-trip reservation for a 7-seater car would set you back INR 4000. You may pay INR 450 per person to share the car.
Nathula is a mountain pass in the Himalayan ranges that connects Sikkim with China. It is one of the highest motorable highways on the planet. Nathu La is one of the most significant Himalayan crossings in the nation, located 14450 feet above sea level on the Indo-Tibetan border. ‘Listening ears’ is Nathu, while ‘pass’ is La. Nathula is one of India’s three open commercial border checkpoints with China, and it’s known for its scenic attractiveness and natural beauty. During the summer, the temperature remains cool for the most of the year, making it a popular tourist destination.
Nathula Pass, on the Indo-China border, is one of India’s most popular tourist destinations. Every year, a large number of people come to appreciate the picturesque splendour of the valley while hiking across it. Along the road from Gangtok to Nathu La, there are a lot of waterfalls. It also provides a view of the stunning snow-capped peaks that surround the area. Tibetan gazelle, snow leopard, yaks, Tibetan wolves, and other Himalayan fauna may be found in the region. Apart from a stunning animal range, Nathu La Pass boasts a diverse vegetation.
Only Indian nationals are granted a valid permission to access the Nathu La Pass. The permission can be obtained by submitting an application to the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation. This is possible with the assistance of a licenced travel agent. For the same, you’ll need a valid ID and two photos.
Flora: The vegetation around Nathu La is steep, graduating from sub-tropical forest at its base to a temperate zone, a wet and dry alpine environment, and eventually a frigid tundra desert devoid of flora. With the exception of a few scattered plants, the landscape near Nathu La Pass in Tibet contains little to no vegetation. In the opposite part, however, certain plants are grown. Dwarf Rhodendrons and Junipers are two of the most common plant species in this region. Poa, Meconopsis, Peducularis, Primula, and Aconitum are some of the other species that can be found. There are also plenty of firs, sedges, and medicinal plants.
Fauna: Pashmina-type goats, Tibetan herd Yak, and Sheep are among the animals and birds that call Nathu La Pass home. Tibetan Gazelle, Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Tibetan Snowcock, Golden Eagle, and Raven are among the endangered species found there. Monals and Blood Pheasants are among the pheasants found here.
Nathu La Pass connects Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, and is located on the Old Silk Route. After the People’s Republic of China put down a Tibetan rebellion in 1959, it was shut for over four decades. However, when India’s former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, visited China in 2003, discussions to reopen the critical route resumed. Since 2006, the Nathu La Pass has operated as an official Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) Point.
Nathu La Pass has played an important role in Sino-Indian trade since it is one of three open trading border checkpoints between India and China. It has also helped to bolster the economy by shortening the distance between significant Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimage destinations.
The Nathu La Pass is 54 kilometres from Sikkim’s city, Gangtok, and 430 kilometres from Tibet’s capital, Lhasa. Heavy snowfall blocks the pass throughout the winter. On a steep slope with a gravelly loamy surface, considerable erosion, and moderate stoniness, Nathu La Pass features relatively shallow, excessively drained, course, and loamy soil. It is prone to landslides and has multiple sinking zones.
In Nathu La Pass, there is no meteorological centre, and systematic meteorological data measurement is not possible. Summer temperatures in that part of the Himalayas, however, do not surpass 15 degrees Celsius.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is an abode of centuries-old Tibetan-Buddhist culture and history, and it is one of the very few of its sort. The museum and library, which are the primary attractions here, are dedicated to preserving the country’s great past, religion, and valuable culture. With its serene beauty, it is also a paradise for travelers, especially for the occasional history-enthusiast, as vital as its function is for those interested in Asian culture and Buddhist studies. Inside, photography is prohibited, but you are free to disconnect from technology and take in anything you want via your eyes.
Despite its origins as a center for Tibetan and Buddhist culture study and research, the Namgyal Institute has become a prominent tourist attraction in Gangtok. It encourages and supports the study, investigation, and preservation of Tibetan history, art, literature, architecture, religion, philosophy, and all other aspects of Tibetan culture. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology was one of the first to preserve and promote Tibetan art and literature, with a foundation stone put by His Holiness the Dalai Lama personally.
The façade rises magnificently with its towering golden towers, appealing and noteworthy paintings, and bright frescos, built in the Tibetan architectural style in the middle of lush green surroundings. The sculptures, manuscripts, artworks, rare literary works and encyclopedias, relics, and remnants in the museum and library tell of a culturally rich past and, due to NIT, an academically successful future.
A casket with relics of two Ashokan missionaries and sandalwood images depicting five great men from Buddhist history – Guru Rinpoche (the bringer of Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet), three founding lamas of Sikkim, and King Phuntsok Namgyal – are some of the major attraction pieces at the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology museum (the first monarch of Sikkim). The magnificent silver figure of Majushri, the enlightened Lord Buddha rendered in real Sikkimese workmanship, is the show-stopper of the whole exhibition.
The 135-volume Encyclopaedia Tibetica is among the numerous rare items in the collection. All visitors are welcome to use the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology Library, however because it is a reference library, no one is permitted to rent volumes to take home. This is mostly due to the need to keep all of the rare and ancient works of literature secure. If you’re here for academic or creative purposes, though, you can take notes and photocopy many of them in the reading rooms, but not all of them.
Tibetan history’s torchbearer has a hefty basis of its own. The late King (Chogyal in Sikkimese) Sir Tashi Namgyal, after whom the institute is named, donated the land on which the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is built. On February 10, 1957, the 14th Dalai Lama, the Buddhist religious hierarchy’s leader, laid the foundation stone for the institute; and just a year and a half later, on October 10, 1958, another illustrious figure, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first and then Prime Minister, inaugurated the institution.
The Namgyal Institute’s organisation has changed several times since then. It became open to international collaboration and received a research wing in 2002.
A visit to such a tranquil location, rich in history and wisdom, would be incomplete if you did not bring home a keepsake. There’s no need to be concerned since Asta Mangala Art, a charming curio/souvenir shop located directly across from the Namgyal Institute building, can help. Trinkets, gifts, traditional Sikkimese art and clothes, exquisite showpieces, and cutlery abound at this shop.
Before entering the museum, take your shoes off.
The institution is about 15-20 minutes’ drive away for any visitor staying in Gangtok. You may simply catch a cab there, as it is only 2 kilometres from the centre of downtown Gangtok. If you’re on a bundled tour of the city, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is included. Deorali Bazaar Ropeway Station and Deorali taxi station are both about six minutes’ walk away from the institute.
Tashi Viewpoint, located 8 kilometres from centre Gangtok, is a picturesque wonder from where visitors may see Mount Sinilochu and Mount Kanchenjunga. The area was named after Tashi Namgyal, the ruler of Sikkim from 1914 to 1963. Tashi Viewpoint, which was built by Sikkim’s tourist department and is located in an ideal location, offers a stunning view of the snow-capped Himalayas. Due to the existence of a cafeteria and shelters adjoining the viewing site, this position also serves as a fantastic picnic destination for both locals and visitors from across the world.
The magnificent Tashi Viewpoint is unrivalled because to its unpolluted atmosphere, which has been created in such a way that travellers may better grasp the Himalayan trance. The scenic atmosphere, in addition to its tranquillity, contributes significantly to the travellers’ ability to appreciate views of the Phodong Monastery and Labrang Monastery from this location. For all the locals and young people that gather here on weekends to enjoy and be a part of the spectacular sightseeing, Tashi Viewpoint is nothing short than a paradise.
It is recommended that foreign visitors visit the site early in the morning to see the enormous mountains juxtaposed against the golden colours of the landscape in a more explicit and clear manner.
The best time to visit Tashi View Point is between March and June, when the weather is lovely and mild.
Tashi View Point is 8 kilometres from Gangtok’s main centre. Taking a cab to this location is simple.
Seven Sisters Waterfalls is named for the fact that it consists of seven separate waterfalls that are pleasantly positioned side by side on a huge rough cliff that seems distinct when viewed from afar. On the Gangtok-Lachung Highway, this well-known waterfall is located 32 kilometres from Gangtok. When it comes to life and gives a mesmerising view after rains, it seems much more magnificent. The bubbling water cascades down the rocky cliffs, causing a roaring sound as it passes through the lush foliage. Visitors are enticed to participate in a long photographic session by the view of the setting sun.
The intriguing Seven Sisters waterfall acquired its name from the fact that it descends in seven levels, with just four steps visible to tourists from the bottom. The remainder of it falls much higher and is obscured by the rocks, preventing it from being seen. The sight of flowing water against green mountains in the backdrop is enough to captivate visitors, making it one of the most photographed and visited waterfalls in the area. Photographers, wildlife enthusiasts, and picnickers like this picture-perfect location. A tiny footbridge over the creek has been built here to provide a much better perspective and photography pause to its guests.
The best time to visit the fascinating location is during the monsoon season, which runs from May to July, when all seven portions may be properly appreciated. When the snow melts after the winter season, the waterfall appears even better.
Taxis from nearby cities as well as the Gangtok train station and airport are available. The cost of a shared cab in the main region is roughly INR 150 per seat and is calculated based on the distance travelled. From Gangtok, you may take a shared cab. The easiest method to go to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls is to hire a private cab if you want to travel in comfort.
The road system in Gangtok is excellent. Local buses run between Gangtok and Darjeeling, Siliguri, and other mountainous destinations. The Seven Sisters Waterfalls are easily accessible by local buses throughout the city. You can inquire about the buses departing from Gangtok Bus Stand.
Kanchenjunga, often spelled Kangchenjunga, is the world’s third tallest peak and one of the most beautiful mountains. Mt Kanchenjunga is a holy mountain in Nepal, Sikkim, and Tibet that was first ascended in 1955. ‘The Five Treasures of the High Snow,’ as Kanchenjunga is known in Tibetan, is a Tibetan name. Gold, silver, diamonds, grain, and religious literature are represented by the treasures. In and around Kanchenjunga, there are several hiking paths that will take you through wooded woods and tranquil landscapes.
With an elevation of 8,586 metres, Kangchenjunga Mountain, in Darjeeling, is the world’s third tallest peak. The mountain is considered sacred in Sikkim’s Kirat religion, and it is also known as Sewa Lungma in the native Limbu language. Four of Kanchenjunga’s five peaks may be seen from numerous locations in Darjeeling and Gangtok. Tiger Hill is one of the numerous places in Darjeeling from where you may get a beautiful view of the peak. The Goecha La trek in Sikkim is the typical base camp for trekking up the range if you’re in Gangtok.
According to Kunchenjunga’s history, Kanchenjunga was the world’s highest peak until 1852. After the Great Trigonometric Survey of India in 1849, Mt. Everest was declared the highest mountain based on several readings and measurements. Kanchenjunga was officially demoted to third place in 1856. The locals consider the mountain to be sacred, believing that a yeti (Himalayan monster) known as Nee-gued still roams its slopes. Climbers have been forbidden from reaching the summit since the year 2000.
This National Park and Biosphere Reserve, located in Sikkim and comprising the Kanchenjunga Peak and the Zemu Glacier, is India’s newest UNESCO world heritage site. It is home to a diverse range of flora and animals, including 550 bird species alone, and covers an area of 850 square kilometres. The snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Tibetan wild ass, wild dog, Himalayan blue sheep, civet, serow, sloth bear, goral, red panda, takin, and snakes such as the Russell’s viper are just a few of the noteworthy creatures discovered.
Kangchendzönga, Khangchendzonga, and Kanchenjunga are just a few of the different spellings. The official spelling of Kangchenjunga is Kangchenjunga. Kanchenjunga, which refers to the five summits, means “five riches of the high snow.” It is known as Senjelungma or Seseylungma in the Limbu language because it is thought to be the home of the deity Yuma Samman. Gangchhendzonga is the Tibetan name for it.
The ideal time to visit Kunchenjenga peak is from December to January.
The eastern Himalayan broad-leaved and coniferous forests, the Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows, and the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands make up the Kanchenjunga complex. Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal share the Kanchenjunga landscape border, which consists of 14 protected areas totaling 6032 km2. Many important plant species, including rhododendrons and orchids, as well as endangered animals like the snow leopard, Asian black bear, and red panda, are found here.
The mountain deity Dzo-Nga or Kangchenjunga Demon, a sort of yeti or rakshasa, is said to live in the area surrounding Kangchenjunga. When a British geological team saw a bipedal monster in 1925, they dubbed it the “Kangchenjunga Demon” after asking locals about it.
Kanchenjunga is the world’s third tallest mountain peak, located between Nepal and Sikkim, with three of the five major peaks right on the border and the other two in Nepal’s Taplejung region. Kangchenjunga Main, Kangchenjunga West, Kangchenjunga Central, Kangchenjunga South, and Kangbachen are the five peaks that makeup Kangchenjunga National Park. The highest point in the Brahmaputra River basin, which is one of the greatest in the world, is Kangchenjunga Main. Sixteen peaks are exceeding 7000 meters in the Kangchenjunga Himal portion of the Himalayas, which is shared by Nepal and India. There are 120 glaciers in this sector, with four major glaciers originating from the peak: Zemu, Talung, Yalung, and Kangchen, which flow into rivers such as the Teesta, Arun, and Kosi. Despite its topographic significance, the summit is rated 29th.
The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Journey is the most interesting trek since it passes across India, Tibet, and Nepal and is the world’s highest mountain at 8586 metres. It provides breathtaking vistas of valleys and landscapes when nature is at its most beautiful. The path begins in Darjeeling and leads to Chaurikhang and Rathong Glacier via Yukhsang, Bakkhim, Phedang, Dzongri, and Bikhbari. The walk is a true experience that will take you through lush deep woods, diverse flora and wildlife, tribal settlements, and grazing yaks while providing panoramic views of mountain ranges.
Rail: Yuksom is roughly 150 kilometres from New Jalpaiguri, which serves as the nearest train station.
Yuksom, the Goecha La base camp, is easily accessible by road from a number of large cities, including Siliguri. It’s 140 kilometres away and serves as the gateway to Sikkim’s capital, Gangtok.
Phodong Monastery, located in Phodong, Sikkim, near Gangtok, is one of the state’s six most prominent Buddhist monasteries. The monastery is a very important Buddhist pilgrimage site in addition to being a famous tourist destination. The monastery, which has a stunning architecture with brilliant coloured exteriors and delicate interiors covered with magnificent paintings, murals, and frescoes, is also regarded as one of the most beautiful in the country. At the moment, it is home to roughly 260 monks.
The Phodong Monastery is situated at a vantage position of 4500 metres, with a beautiful backdrop of lush green hills in the distance and a tranquil valley below. Tourists, nature lovers, and wanderers frequent the site in addition to regular believers. The immaculate setting reverberates with tranquilly, peace, and quiet, making it an ideal spot to relax and ponder and unwind.
In 1740 AD, Sikkim’s fourth king, Gyurmed Namgyal, established Phodong Monastery. It is one of Sikkim’s three main Kagyu sect monasteries and belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist Karma Kagyu sect. After an earthquake damaged the monastery, the Lamas rebuilt it in 1977.
The Monastery holds an annual celebration on the 28th and 29th days of the Tibetan calendar’s 10th month, which usually occurs in December and January. The Chaam dance, performed by the monks, is the highlight of the event, along with various other ceremonies.
The greatest time to visit the Phodong Monastery is during the Phodong Festival, which takes place in late December or early January. When the monastery is decked out in lights and streamers, you may join in the festivities. The area comes alive with celebrations, making for an unforgettable experience.
Bagdogra, West Bengal, has the nearest airport, which is 124 kilometres away. The nearest railway station is Siliguri, which is 114 kilometres away. Buses from neighbouring cities also run on a regular basis.
Do Drul Chorten, hidden in the gorgeous Gangtok valleys, is one of Sikkim’s most significant stupas. The Stupa, which was built in 1945 under the direction of late Truslshi and Rimpoche, features 108 Mani Lhakor or prayer wheels. Important mantras are etched on these wheels, which can be uttered by spinning them. Do Drul Chorten has long drawn visitors and worshippers due to its charming peace and tranquillity.
The Korten Stupa was long thought to be plagued by evil spirits until Lama Trulshig Rinpoche arrived to the area in 1946 and erected a stupa. Vajra Kilaya, who is believed to be one of Sikkim’s most important chortens, is the diety inscribed on the stupa’s summit. The monastery houses the whole Dorjee Phurba collection, as well as holy Buddhist books and other religious relics. Dodhrubchen Rinpoche created a dharma preaching centre on the premises of Do Drul Chorten. Chorten Lakhang, which houses two massive sculptures of Guru Padmasambhava, surrounds the stupa. This is a charming little hideaway for anyone seeking peace and quiet in the hill town.
Ganesh Tok, a popular viewpoint in Gangtok, is a modest temple. The tiny spot, perched on a hill, offers mind-blowing views: the Kanchenjunga peak can be viewed in all its grandeur from here, and is especially beautiful in the morning. At a distance of 6500 meters, the Ganesh Tok viewpoint provides breathtaking views of snow-covered mountains. However, the temple (dedicated to Lord Ganesh) is so tiny that only one person may visit at a time. With its bizarre surroundings and soothing ambiance, the magnificent location brings you closer to nature.
The Ganesh Tok Temple is tiny. Flags of various colors are tied over the stairwell to make it stand out. Before entering the temple, there is a location where shoes may be stored and hands can be cleansed. In front of the temple, which is the major feature of the area, there is also a lounge and a balcony. Ganesh Tok is surrounded by gorgeous mountains, hills, and scenery. It is so congested that worshippers are forced to worship Lord Ganesha on all fours.
Hanuman Tok, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, is located near Ganesh Tok at an elevation of 7200 feet, 11 kilometres from Gangtok, and provides a spectacular view of the Kanchenjunga range.
Ganesh Tok is a modest temple with a stairwell leading to the top floors, where the viewing area is located. You will be obliged to remove your shoes halfway up the steps. Because the temple’s inner sanctuary is so tiny, worshipers must crawl on all fours to reach Lord Ganpati. For greater views, there is a viewing area with glass panels and a balcony. The snow-capped mountains, including Kanchenjunga, and undulating hills may be seen from the balcony.
In the complex, there is a gift store where travellers may purchase a range of colourful and handcrafted things that are affordable. Just outside Ganesh Tok, there are a few additional gift stores where you may haggle. A tourist parking lot is also available. A café located a short distance from the gift store serves tea, coffee, vegetarian momos, noodles, paranthas, cold beverages, bottled water, and toast and omelet at reasonable pricing.
Though Ganesh Tok is open all year, the months of December to February are very cold. Due to huge landslides, the monsoon season should also be avoided. The best time to visit the area is during the spring season, which runs from March through June. The sky is clear, and the temperature is still nice. It’s also the greatest time to try out all of the adventurous activities.
Baba Mandir is a shrine established near the Samadhi of Harbhajan Singh, which is located on the route between Nathu La and Jelepla Pass, at a distance of 64 kilometers and a height of 4000 meters. Every visitor to the Nathang Valley who passes through this enchantingly gorgeous landscape is expected to pay their respects to Baba Harbhajan Singh, according to local belief. You would be incorrect if you thought it was just another temple! You’ll be rewarded with the most ineffable samadhi you’ve ever visited when you climb the steps to the concrete edifice surrounded on both sides by bells.
According to legend, Sepoy Harbhajan Singh went lost 35 years ago while escorting a team of mules from his Tukla district to Deng Dhukla in East Sikkim. His corpse was recovered by the soldiers three days after a search was initiated. He may also have guided the soldiers to his body. Following that, several troops in the regiment said that Baba appeared to them in their dreams, requesting that they construct a shrine in his honour. The ‘Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple’ was built in his honour. Many say Harbhajan Singh visits the temple every night after putting on his uniform and performing his rounds.
Inside the Baba Mandir, there is a big photograph of Harbhajan Singh that his worshippers venerate. Tourists that come here leave their water bottle for a few days and then retrieve it because it is said that drinking that water would grant all of their desires. Harbhajan Singh’s office, which includes an eating area and a room for him to remain in while wearing his uniform and shoes, has been created on one side of the temple. Despite its location on the side of a road, the temple is surrounded by stunning mountains, providing travellers with a breathtaking vista. The Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple is a must-see because of the legends surrounding it.
The Indian Army refers to Harbhajan Singh as “Baba” and treats him as a soldier who has never died. Despite the fact that he is no longer among them, the soldiers think his ghost protects and shields them. Soldiers have reported spotting a turbaned sentry performing rounds at night multiple times over the border in China. His bedsheet is wrinkled every morning, and his spotless shoes have become dirty, leading the sentinels to assume he visits his samadhi every night. Isn’t it a little creepy?
Every year on September 11th, a vehicle transports his personal things to the New Jalpaiguri station, where they are loaded and transported by rail to his homeland of Kuka, a tiny hamlet in the Kapurthala district of Punjab.
Because Baba Mandir is in a protected area, you must get a Protected Area Permit from a certified travel operator in Sikkim. The tour operator must apply for the permission a day before the trip, and you must present a picture Id proof and two passport-size photographs.
During the summer, the best time to visit Baba Mandir is from April through June. During this time, the weather is excellent, and the mix of bright sunshine and a slight wind is ideal for touring.
Taking a taxi will get you to the temple. A full-reserved automobile like the Scorpio will cost roughly INR 3,800 for a roundtrip from Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple. The journey from Gangtok to the temple takes around 3 hours, so get going early.
Rumtek Monastery, built on top of a hill 23 kilometres from Gangtok, is one of Sikkim’s largest and most important monasteries. It is part of the Kargyu Buddhist sect, which started in Tibet in the 12th century and is now known as the Dharma Chakra Centre. The monastery is surrounded by lush green mountains, which provide a scenic delight as well as a spiritual focal point. Climbing to the top of the Rumtek Monastery provides a spectacular view of Gangtok town, which is located directly across the hill. Apart from that, the magnificent monastery’s architecture is among the world’s best.
The magnificent Rumtek Monastery has a gorgeous shrine temple as well as a monastery for monks, both of which were built with the goal of disseminating Buddhist teachings across the world. The magnificent edifice is surrounded by a pathway where monks, pilgrims, and visitors practise Kora (a circuit round of the monastery). A golden stupa and several other sculptures belonging to the 16th Karmapa have been preserved in the magnificent Rumtek Monastery. Apart from keeping some of the world’s most distinctive religious books, it also functions as a storage facility for a variety of rare things. The vast prayer hall within the magnificent monastery is a sight to see, with magnificent paintings, sculptures, and thangkhas.
Architecture of Rumtek Monastery
The Rumtek Monastery is a three-story structure that houses some of the most valuable Buddhist holy art, including paintings and thangkas. The huge hand painted and ornate murals, sculptures, silk paintings, and thangkas are housed in the vast prayer hall on the ground level. A patio and a small stupa are on the monastery’s upper level. In the main structure, there is a shrine with holy literature that has been adorned traditionally.
Rumtek Monastery’s main building was built using traditional Tibetan monastic styles. There is a huge courtyard in front of the main monastery building with the monks’ living quarters. The sculptures of Virudaka, Virupaksha, Dhritarashtra, and Vaishravana, who were regarded protectors of the whole cosmos, are placed in the monastery. A stairway leading to the Nalanda Institute of Higher Buddhist Studies may be found outside the monastery. A structure just across the street from the institute holds the 16th Karmapa’s pure gold Golden Stupa. The bird aviary, which houses a variety of exotic species, is only a few metres away.
The Golden Stupa
A trail leads to the majestic Golden Stupa beyond the Rumtek Monastery’s wall. It is a lovely shrine that houses His Highness The Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje’s sacred bones and relics. The magnificent stupa, which stands thirteen feet tall, is a suitable memorial to the Kagyu Lineage’s Great Guru.
It is embellished with antique Turquoise and Coral, as well as excellent metalwork art. Filigree, a mixture of jewelry arranged in artistic themes, is blended with the metalwork to give it an appealing appearance. The Golden Stupa was also built to remove the hurdles to His Highness’ rebirth, according to legend. Rangjung, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa
Kora denotes revolution or circumambulation in Tibetan, which signifies walking around something. It is strongly linked with the pilgrimage’s rites, festivities, and rituals. Kora is practiced to gain merit for departed individuals and to give prayers to boost people’s wealth. As a result, tourists and inhabitants alike undertake Kora, the Rumtek Monastery’s circumambulation along the Stupa pathway.
Kora may be finished in twenty minutes, and it also covers the full complex that leads to the hallowed Stupa. The Rumtek Monastery’s road leading to the exquisite reliquary is a wonderful pleasure for everybody who comes to see it.
Food At Rumtek Monastery
Sample Itinerary For Rumtek Monastery
How to Reach Rumtek Monastery
Taking a private vehicle from Gangtok is the most convenient method to get to Rumtek Monastery. You can, however, use a shared vehicle for a more cost-effective choice. On NH31A, near the Hotel Hungry Jack, you may book a shared cab at the Gangtok Taxi Jeep Service Stand. From 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., it remains open. You may also take a bus from Gangtok to Rumtek, which runs regularly. The buses and taxis will drop you off below the monastery, where you will have to trek uphill to the Rumtek Monastery’s main entrance.
Prayers and Events
Rumtek Monastery hosts a number of activities and prayers throughout the year. Each event requires a separate strategy that is distinct in its own right.
Losar: The Tibetan New Year, also known as Losar, is a lavishly celebrated celebration in Sikkim. The lives and teachings of Lord Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava, and Gyalwa Karmapa are discussed throughout this three-day celebration in February, and it is also regarded as a leisure season for farmers who have completed the harvesting season.
Dungdrub Puja: This is one of Rumtek Monastery’s most significant pujas. It takes place in the fourth lunar month, April-May.
Summer Retreat: Every year, during the sixth lunar month, which is generally July or August, monks of the monastery go on retreat for forty-five days. They obey laws and regulations and swear not to violate the monastery’s demarcated boundaries. They also undertake numerous rituals such as Sojong, a confession of mistakes and renewal of vows that happens every two months. The retreat comes to an end at Gakye, where all constraints are lifted as well.
Gutor: At Rumtek Monastery, the Gutor Cham Dance is held two days before Losar begins, in February. The monks do a week-long Mahakala Puja before Losar every year at the conclusion of the year.
History and Significance of Rumtek Monastery
The Rumtek Monastery, also known as the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center, was created in 1959 in Sikkim by His Holiness Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, after it was built under the supervision of the 12th Karmapa, Changchub Dorje, in the mid-1700s. It was founded by the first Karmapa, Dusum Kheyenpa, and is today a world-renowned centre for Kagyu teachings. He meditated for four years and found inner serenity as a result. He was subsequently given complete transmission in the Kagyu tradition, which is referred to as “The Great Seal.”
The Lineage of Karmapa has handed down generations of profound knowledge and wisdom, as well as a sense of peace and harmony among the various incarnations of Karmapa.
How to reach Rumtek Monastery
Air: The nearest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal, which is 124 kilometres away from Gangtok. A daily helicopter service between Bagdogra and Gangtok is offered to handle civil flights. You may either take the bus or rent a cab from there to Gangtok.
Railway: The nearest railway stations to Gangtok are Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (NJP/125 km). Take a bus or a cab to Gangtok from there.
Regular bus service is accessible from Bagdogra, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Calcutta, and Sikkim is well connected to Guwahati by decent roads.
The town of Mangan, which serves as the capital of Sikkim’s northern region, is a popular tourist destination, and visitors often utilize it as a starting point for hikes and trips to other parts of the province. Mangan is one of Sikkim’s most significant and sparsely inhabited towns. It is not only the gateway to North Sikkim, but it is also becoming a tourist destination due to the beautiful views of the Kanchenjunga range. Mangan, surrounded by many snowy peaks, steep and sparkling streams, and blossoming bushes, has gradually emerged as a haven for nature lovers, visitors, and soul seekers.
Mangan is a charming town with excellent sightseeing opportunities and serves as a hub for other regional sites. Every year in December, a three-day music festival is held here, with musicians from the region as well as the rest of the Northeast performing in front of a large crowd. It’s a fantastic event because of the mountains, music, and freezing weather. Mangan also hosts an exhibition and sale of local handicrafts, as well as a performance of traditional cultural music and dances and a culinary festival.
Mangan has a mild climate since it is located at a lower elevation than other parts of Sikkim. April, May, June, and July are the summer months. The monsoon season begins in mid-July, and temperatures begin to drop about that time. It is preferable to visit the town outside of the rainy season. Winters, especially early winters, are ideal for visiting this location. When it comes to woollens, though, be kind.
A private taxi, vehicle, bus, or jeep may be hired to take you directly to Mangan from Gangtok. The journey from Gangtok takes less than two hours and is fairly pleasant.
Within Mangan, shared taxis are the most frequent mode of transportation. Within the town, there is also an efficient bus service.
Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal is the closest airport near Mangan ( 124 kms). A helicopter service operates between Gangtok – Bagdogra – Gangtok, connecting the Bagdogra and Gangtok airports. Mangan is accessible from Gangtok via bus, jeep, and cab.
Rail: The nearest railway stations are Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (125 km), both of which have connections to Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati, Lucknow, and other important Indian cities.
Road: Gangtok is connected by road to Siliguri, Kalimpong, and Gangtok, among other places. Mangan is easily accessible by bus from Gangtok. There are regular bus connections from there to Mangan. There are also private taxis, Jeeps, and Landrovers available.
The Banjhakri Falls, a new tourist attraction that spans two acres of land and is located 10-12 kilometres from Gangtok on the route to Ranka monastery, is a new tourist attraction that spans two acres of land. The major feature of the Energy Park located here is the waterfall, which rushes down with great power from a rocky height of roughly 40 feet. The waterfall is surrounded by beautifully planted gardens and lovely sculptures of Lyam Lymay, Mangpas, Lepcha, and Ban Jhakri ancestors. Several leisure activities and snack kiosks are located near the park’s entrance. There is a swimming pool available to tourists in addition to many resting areas.
Banjhakri is made up of two words: ‘Ban,’ which means forest or jungle, and ‘Jhakri,’ which means traditional healer. A Ban Jhakri, according to legendary legends, is a man with supernatural abilities who appears in Sikkim’s Nepali folklore. A Banjhakri, according to local mythology, lives in the jungle and worships spirits in rock caves. Because these mysteries are a part of their culture and heritage, all of the ethnic communities present believe in them even now.
Throughout the Banjhakri Energy Park, you’ll find a variety of ethnic sculptures and figures depicting Jhakri culture.
The best time to visit the Banjhakri falls is between October and February after the monsoon season has ended because the weather is warm and pleasurable.
The Himalayan Zoological Park, located near Bulbuley, 3 kilometers from Gangtok, is a must-see for all animal enthusiasts. From here, at a height of 1780 meters, one may obtain a spectacular view of Mount Kanchenjunga. Himalayan Zoological Park, which opened in 1991, was the first of its sort in India’s north-eastern region. The park satisfies all of the characteristics of a zoo, in that the animals are maintained in controlled environments, are protected, and are tamed without annoying them, allowing them to live in their natural habitat. The park, which spans 205 hectares of hilly terrain, is home to a diverse range of animals, including the snow leopard cat, goral, and Himalayan palm civet.
This first-ever zoological park in Sikkim is maintained by the Government of Sikkim’s Forests, Environment, and Wildlife Management Department. A 2.5-kilometer road goes through the park and maybe driven or walked on. If you want to walk, keep in mind that it will take a long time to reach the habitats. As a result, it is recommended that you rent a car for around half a day and tour the zoo. The zoo has a café, souvenir store, drinking water stations, washrooms, and a lookout from which you can get a great view over the entire region.
From mid-February to May, and then from mid-September to December, are the best months to visit the Himalayan Zoological Park. You will have a wonderful experience because the weather in this area is quite lovely at this time of year.
Bulbulay, around 6 kilometres from Gangtok, is where the park is located. The Himalayan Zoological Park’s entrance is located across a little walkway from Ganesh Tok. You may easily get here by taking a cab, which is the most comfortable way to explore this steep region.
Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary is a vast mammalian and avian sanctuary that is recognised as an extension of Khangchendzonga in East Sikkim. The sanctuary, which covers 51 square kilometres and has an elevation range of 1524 to 2749 metres, also includes hamlets, one of which is Mangan, a renowned tourist destination. Fambong Lho is a great place to go birding since it is home to endangered rufous-headed hornbills and laughingthrushes. Animals such as the red panda, barking deer, yellow-throated marten, and Himalayan brown bear inhabit the sanctuary, as well as flora such as rhododendron and orchids.
How to reach
Because the Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary is 30 kilometres from Gangtok, taxis are accessible on a regular basis from the capital city to the sanctuary.
Things to do
Fambong is an excellent location for seeing Sikkim’s diverse fauna. The sanctuary’s finest activities include wildlife spotting and birding. Because it is so close to the capital city, Gangtok, one may take a sightseeing excursion there.
Best time to visit
Summer is the greatest season to visit Fambong Wildlife Sanctuary, which is between March and June. The weather is still beautiful during these months, and your chances of seeing an animal are increased.
MG Marg, Gangtok’s most popular tourist market, is a must-see for anybody visiting the city. It’s a lovely site that takes the finest of Gangtok and its tourism culture and puts it on display for tourists in vibrant ways. This pedestrian-only zone is a pleasant way to spend your nights in Gangtok, as it is free of garbage and smoking. Its streets are lined with restaurants and bars, and the mood is carnivalesque all year.
Some of the nicest things to do in MG Marg include strolling leisurely along the road, pausing at small stores offering local items and souvenirs, sipping warm beverages while the winter winds blow about you, and dining in the comfortable warmth of a Tibetan restaurant.
Location: MG Marg is located in Gangtok, Sikkim, India.
How to get there:
From the parking lot, go up to the main MG Marg.
Khecheopalri Lake, at an elevation of 1700 metres above sea level, is a sacred site for Buddhists and Hindus alike, and it is part of the well-known Buddhist pilgrimage circuit. It’s in the West Sikkim district’s Khecheopalri Village. The lake’s name, Khecheopalri, was derived from Lord Padmasambhava’s paradise, ‘Kha-Chot-Palri.’ Many people go from all over the world to see the lake, which is known as a “wish-fulfilling lake.”
The Khecheopalri Lake has grown in popularity as a result of the fact that leaves are not permitted to float on the lake since they are quickly picked up by birds when they spot one. As a result, a large crowd gathers around the lake to see the wonderful scene unfolding in front of their eyes. The celebration of numerous Buddhist festivals has also drawn a large number of Lord Buddha worshippers, who spend the majority of their time at the temples around the lake. Buddhist monasteries are built around the beautiful Khecheopalri Lake. It is very important in terms of eco-tourism and pilgrimage because of its great biodiversity. The lake’s holiness and purity have been preserved to this day.
Legend of Khecheopalri Lake
The tradition that the shape of Khecheopalri Lake is in the shape of a foot that depicts Lord Buddha’s foot, which can be seen from the surrounding hills, adds to the sacredness of the lake.
The lake is also connected to another mythology. Goddess Tara Jetsun Dolma was reportedly believed to be reclining in front of a monk when she ordered him to get water from a lake in a vessel. He was told where he may get water by the Goddess. From the Khecheopalri Hills, the monk followed the directions and arrived at a tiny lake. After praying, the monk poured water from the lake into the vessel.
Flora and Fauna
A broad-leaved mixed temperate forest surrounds the lake. It consists of a variety of plant species, including Macrophytes, Phytoplankton, and Zooplankton. They are made up of a range of plants from each of these families that are cultivated at various temperatures.
Cyprinus Carpio, Danio Aequipinnatus, Gaara, and Schistura are among the Aquafauna found in the lake. Other creatures may be spotted around the lake, and often congregate in the early morning when there are no humans around. Grebe, Common Teal, White-Breasted Waterhen, and Moorhen are among the creatures. Trans-Migratory Birds that visit the lake to drink water also use it as a resting spot.
Things to Do at Khecheopalri Lake
A jetty connects to the lake’s front, where prayers and incense are presented. Prayer wheels, prayer flags, and Tibetan inscriptions are placed along the jetty, adding to the beauty of the area. Annual Buddhist ceremonies are sung around the lake, based on readings from the Naysul Prayer Book, which chronicle Sikkim’s origins and various tantric mysteries.
Aside from that, one may travel through a lovely forest that leads to Khecheopalri Lake via the main gate. It’s a short walk of around 10-15 minutes, and you’ll pass by some lovely local businesses along the route.
Best Time to Visit
The months of February and March are the finest for visiting Khecheopalri Lake since the temperature is mild.
How to Reach Khecheopalri Lake
Pelling is 34 kilometres away, while Gangtok is 147 kilometres away. As a result, taking a cab to the Lake is highly recommended.
Festivals Celebrated at Khecheopalri Lake
Every year for two days at Maghe Purne or in the months of March/April, a religious fair, one of the major events at the lake, is held. A great number of pilgrims travel from all throughout Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, and India to attend. They provide food to the lake and transport the lake’s waters as prasad. Inside Khecheopalri Lake, Lord Shiva is said to be in sombre meditation. Pilgrims float butter lamps on the lake in bamboo boats wrapped with holy scarves, known as khadas, during the festival. This is done in the nights, when they chant prayers and other food supplies as a symbol of respect.
Topography and Geography
Khecheopalri Lake’s water depth ranges from 3.2-to 11.2 metres, with an average of 7.2 metres. The water spread of the lake is around 3.4-7 hectares. The lake receives its water from two perennial and five non-perennial streams, with just one exit. During the monsoon, two streams are temporarily redirected into the lake to help augment its storage capacity.
The scooping action of the glacier created the dip where the lake is located. The Lethang Valley’s southern bank is formed by it. The lake is surrounded by a thicket of temperate flora. The lake’s edge is home to 72 houses and around 440 people. The Khecheopalri Lake area has a monsoonal climate.
This monastery, located in Gangtok’s Upper Tathangchen neighbourhood, is one of the city’s most culturally significant attractions. It is a fascinating monastery to visit since it is the only monastery in Sikkim that belongs to the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism.
Inside the monastery, there are many things to see, including antique murals and thangkas. A massive and majestic statue of Buddha, as well as a stupa draped with fluttering flags, contribute to the beauty of the surroundings. The monastery is surrounded by a beautiful calm that is ideal for meditation contemplation.
Sa-Ngor-Chotshog Centre is located in Gangtok, Sikkim, India.
Take public transportation.
The Flower Exhibition Centre in Gangtok brings flowers from all around Sikkim together under one roof, making it a nature lover’s paradise. It is a short walk from the MG Marg since it is located just across from White Memorial Hall and below Ridge Park. Though the flowers are on display all year, the annual flower show, which takes place from April to May, is not to be missed since it is at this time that the management gathers and displays several species of orchids as well as other flowers from throughout the state. Participants from neighboring states are invited to participate in the Government’s annual flower competition, which is hosted on the premises.
The center of this medium-sized tropical greenhouse is brimming with rare plant species, featuring a variety of fresh orchids, including Anthurium and Lilium. The presence of so many various kinds of colorful flowers, as well as their lovely scent, fills the entire center, making it a highly relaxing destination for visitors. This gorgeous location is ideal for simply gazing at the flowers and taking photographs. Aside from that, there is a man-made water pond with a bridge built over it where travellers may take a stroll while taking in the nice surroundings. Among the colourful and vivid shrubs and flowers, one is likely to take wonderful images.
The best months to visit the Flower Exhibition Centre in Gangtok are March and June, when the orchids are in full bloom and on display for the public. It also becomes a pleasurable vacation due to the lovely weather.
The Indian Army maintains Hanuman Tok, a well-known shrine in Gangtok named after Lord Hanuman. The royal temple, which stands at a height of 7,200 feet, is set against the world’s third tallest mountain, Kanchenjunga. Hanuman Tok’s unique beauty draws you in and keeps you close to the natural world.
The vista of the massive hills around Gangtok’s main city is mesmerizing, and as you reach the summit, the snow-capped peaks of Kanchenjunga and the breathtaking Himalayan range will leave you speechless. You may see the dawn at Hanuman Tok if you arrive before 5:00 a.m.
According to legend, Lord Hanuman slept in Hanuman Tok while transporting Sanjeevni from the Himalayas to Lanka. People used to worship a stone that was located here in the open for a long time until Appaji Pant (an officer) constructed a statue of Lord Hanuman after having a dream about this sacred site in the 1950s. Hanuman Tok draws both locals and tourist pilgrims from all over the country since it is claimed that all desires are granted there. This region was entrusted to the Indian army in 1968, and the army has been responsible for maintaining and preserving it since then.
Hanuman Tok’s strategic placement provides a full 360-degree view of the surrounding valleys and hills. The temple is accessible through a set of steps and a pavement with bells strung along the walks. In certain locations, speakers with repeating bhajans and chants have been erected. The temple is a spherical edifice with a large hall painted yellow and red, as well as various paintings depicting Lord Hanuman’s life. Another chamber contains miniature Hindu gods and goddesses statues.
The Hanuman Tok viewpoint, which is round in shape, is well-appointed with a hardwood ceiling and tiles, as well as several chairs for tourists to lounge on. Shirdi Baba’s shrine can be seen here as well. Near Hanuman Tok lies the Lukshyama cremation place of Sikkim’s royal dynasty. The lifeless bones of Namgyal dynasty family members were transported to this cremation area and set ablaze.
Tsuk La Khang Monastery is a palace monastery of Sikkim’s previous royal dynasty. It is located inside the complex of the Tsuklakhang Royal Palace. Tsuk La Khang, which was built in 1898 AD under the reign of Thutob Namgyal, the 9th King, is the most important Buddhist temple in the area. This lovely two-story edifice has mural-covered interiors and is filled with altars, pictures of Lord Buddha, and tantric deities, as well as a vast collection of books. Marriages and coronations of the Sikkim monarchy were once held at this monastery. On every corner, there are wooden carvings in the shape of a Snow Lion’s head.
When you enter the monastery, you will be greeted with gorgeous paintings and altars carved with deity figures. Not only that but other festivals, such as Phang Lhabsol and Losoong, are held throughout the year. During these festivities, the monks of the monastery perform Chaam, which is a well-known mask dance. When the New Year is celebrated, the Black Hat Dance is also done, which depicts the triumph of good over evil powers. During Losar, a well-known dance event, the calm Tsuklakhang Monastery remains available to visitors. The tremendous natural beauty surrounding the Tsuk La Khang, when combined with the spiritual and tranquil ambiance, makes it a must-see destination.
Best Time To Visit Tsuk La Khang Monastery
The month of February is the best time to visit the royal monastery since it is when the dancing festival takes place. From October to March, the weather is also excellent and worth taking advantage of.
How To Reach Tsuk La Khang Monastery
The Gangtok SNT Bus Station is 3 kilometers from Tsuk La Khang Monastery. To go to the monastery, you’ll need to rent a cab. You might also inquire and board a bus bound towards Tsuk La Khang.
Kabi Longstok, a picturesque small tow 17 kilometers from the northern city of Gangtok, is deemed a historical site due to the beginning of Sikkimese history here in the early 13th century. Nearby, there is a beautiful Buddhist monastery where you can see children and Buddhist devotees learning the religion and its principles. There is also a library and a garden where you may learn more about the location and its history. To show tribute, life-size sculptures of Bhutia and Lepcha, who were blood brothers, have been constructed near the stone pillar.
This location has a history since it was here in the 14th century that a friendship pact of brotherhood was formed between Khey Bumsa, a Tibetan chieftain, and Tetong Tek, a Lepcha tribe leader. A massive stone pillar stands in the heart of the deep woodland where the agreement was signed to commemorate the occasion and the place.
The Thakurbari shrine, which was erected in remembrance of the tragedy, is located in Kabi Longstok, one of Gangtok’s most famous tourist destinations. Kabi, set in the heart of the woods, will send shivers down your spine, especially when someone explains the place’s history.
Even though Kabi Town receives a lot of rain throughout the year, the weather is moderate and pleasant. The ideal time to visit Kabi Town is between October and March, when the weather is pleasant.
Gangtok Ropeway offers a stunning bird’s eye perspective of the valley below, making it one of the most exhilarating things to do in Gangtok. The twin cable zig zag ropeway, which opened in 2003, can carry up to 24 passengers and travels a distance of 2 kilometres back and forth. The cable cars are usually packed, so you’ll have to wait in line, but the breathtaking vistas of the Kanchenjunga peaks are well worth the wait. Also, because there are no seats inside the cable car, you will have to attempt to get in first to have a good view standing seat (next to the glass pane).
The aerial ropeway is 935 metres long from beginning to finish, and it takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete the tour. Tashiling, Namnang, and Deorali are the three terminus stations. At any of the three stops, you can board or disembark. The Deorali station, which is located near the Institute of Tibetology and gives spectacular views of the Gangtok market and city below, is the lowest base point. The principal station is Namnang, while the highest is Tashiling, near the Secretariat. There is a stairway leading up from the road to the ticket desk. After you’ve purchased your tickets, you may wait for your turn in the same-level waiting area.
Saramsa Garden, also known as Ipecac Garden, is a 14-kilometer drive from Gangtok and is truly a sensory delight. The stunning array of different coloured flowers, as well as the surrounding lush vegetation, will captivate you. There is also a big greenhouse in the garden that houses a variety of orchids. The captivating garden is also well-developed, with leisure activities like as volleyball and football available. Apart from these amenities, the nursery also has a conference centre adjacent to it where all gatherings and meetings are held.
The Forest Department of the government of Sikkim established this garden in 1922 with the primary goal of providing for the requirements of British officials as well as the Namgyal royal family. After the Forest Department introduced a medicinal plant known as ‘Cephaelis Ipecacuanha’ in 1940, the garden was given the name ‘Ipecac.’ Previously, the garden included a variety of fruit trees, including orange, pineapple, guava, and banana. In the area, a variety of orchids were also planted, and the garden eventually became a picnic place.
For the convenience of travel, the Saramsa Garden is separated into many blocks. In the block, there is a little footbridge built over a small pool with a variety of plant shapes. A seat has been placed beneath the shade of the trees for guests to relax on another block. This location is much more pleasurable because it takes you closer to nature. So, if you’re planning a vacation to Gangtok, don’t forget to stop by and see this amazing natural masterpiece that was made possible with a little aid from humans!
The best time to visit the Saramsa Garden in Gangtok is from November to May when the weather is beautiful and the atmosphere is lively.
In actuality, Gangtok has a wide variety of hot springs, but the Reshi Hot Spring is without a doubt the greatest. Apart from its strategic location, this lovely spot also exudes lovely religious importance, prompting many to see it as one of the top Gangtok tourist attractions.
The place is easily accessible and has several temporary huts that provide tourists with a comfortable overnight stay. However, you will not have access to cooking utensils or beds, so you may have to take care of these matters on your own.
Pemayangtse Monastery is a prominent Buddhist monastery located in Pemayangtse, Sikkim’s Pelling district. It sits tall on a mountaintop above the ancient Rabdentse ruins, the former capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim, and is one of the state’s oldest monasteries. Pemayangtse means ‘perfect, magnificent lotus,’ and is thought to represent one of the human body’s four nerve networks (vessels). The sculptures of Padmasambhava (the Guru Rinpoche who resurrected Buddhism in Tibet) and his consorts are the most outstanding feature of this monastery.
Since its completion in 1705, the Pemayangtse Monastery, one of the state’s oldest monasteries, has been a component of the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit in Sikkim for centuries. The monastery is affiliated with Tibetan Buddhism’s Nyingma Order (the oldest of the four schools). The monks here are distinguished by their red headgear and are picked from among Sikkim’s Bhutias! The old monastery is located at an elevation of 2085 meters (6840 feet) above sea level, providing a distinctive and eye-pleasing location. Pemayangtse Monastery is also the starting point for the well-known Dzongri hike. The monastery offers beautiful views of the Kangchenjunga massif, which contains five eight-thousander peaks known as the “Five Treasures of Snow.”
The architecture of Pemayangtse Monastery
At an elevation of 6840 feet, the Pemayangtse Monastery offers unrivaled tranquil vistas of snowcapped mountains, including the majestic Kanchenjunga peak. The sumptuous monastery’s architectural and technical marvels are astonishing since it has weathered the harsh test of time, braving natural disasters such as earthquakes. The main prayer hall is roughly 140m2 (1500 square feet) in size and contains various sculptures, windows, and doors decorated with brilliant colors. Padmasambhava’s major statue depicts him in his wrathful form, with several limbs and heads.
History and Significance
Designed and built as a Lhakhang (primary temple hall with shrine) by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in the 17th century, the structure was later expanded and added to during the reign of Sikkim’s third monarch, Chakdor Namgyal (1700-1717). He commanded that every three sons of a Bhutia household ordain as monks at the Pemayangtse Monastery to safeguard the Buddhist faith in Sikkim. Since then, the regal monastery has been home to 108 monks who are typically selected from a society of Tibetan ancestors known as Bhutias. Several earthquakes struck the area between 1913 and 1960, destroying its foundations in the process. Since then, it has been refurbished and rebuilt several times.
Cham Festival at Pemayangtse Monastery
The Pemayangtse monastery’s lamas conduct a Cham dance festival (a masked ancient Tibetan dance form regarded to be meditation and a manner of giving to the gods). It takes place every year on the 28th and 29th of Gyal, the Tibetan calendar’s 12th month (which coincides with February). The day is commemorated with a giant beautifully embroidered scroll and pyrotechnics, representing the driving away of bad spirits, to celebrate the conclusion of Losar, the Tibetan new calendar year.
Best Time to Visit
The Pemayangtse Monastery may be visited at any time of year, however, the monsoon months should be avoided because they can get rather wet. Summers are excellent for taking in the natural beauty that the area has to offer, however, winters may be rather frigid from October to February. The splendor with which Tibetan festivities are performed here is a great sight to behold. So, if you want to learn more about Tibetan culture, be sure to organize your vacation properly!
How to reach Pemayangtse Monastery
Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri is the closest airport to Pelling, which is a four-hour drive away. From here, you may take a cab or a bus to Pelling. To visit the Pemayangtse monastery, taxis are available in Pelling.
Railway: The nearest railway station to Pelling is Jalpaiguri Railway Station, which is 170 kilometers away. Guwahati Express, Ndls Bgp Express, Mas Njp Express, and Dbrt Rajdhani link it to important cities like Chennai, New Delhi, Howrah, Alipur, and Darjeeling. To visit the Pemayangtse monastery, taxis are available in Pelling.
Road: The Sikkim State Road Transport Corporation (SSRTC) and certain private travel services connect Pelling to the rest of Sikkim’s cities.
The Lal Bazaar, which first opened in 1956, is Gangtok’s largest retail center, with a vast choice of things to choose from. For starters, there are several shops here that provide high-quality North Indian apparel at a reasonable price.
You can also get fresh and flavorful veggies here, which is very useful if you enjoy cooking. Lal Bazaar also has several stores selling prayer flags, eye-catching ceramics, and traditional Nepalese knives that may be purchased as souvenirs.
The eloquent Gonjang Monastery, located at a height of roughly 6,000 meters, is regarded the peak of culture in Gangtok. It follows the Buddhist Jangter Tradition and hence provides Tibetan Buddhism instruction to the younger monks.
The monastery’s outer façade is stunning; yet, the interior of the monastery may also entangle your senses with its splendour. It’s also one of the few Gangtok tourist attractions that can be seen while riding a bicycle!
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