Gangtok"Take A Trip to The Tribal Beauty"

  • Sightseeing

     

    Tsomgo Lake - Tsomgo Lake is located 35 km away from the city on the Gangtok-Nathula highway. This highway is also a part of the old route that links India and China. Worshipped by Sikkimese, this holy lake is approximately 20 km away from the Nathula Pass, while located at a distance of around 400 km from Lhasa. The water in this lake has been accumulated from the melting snow on the mountains located nearby. The river Lungtze Chu originates from this lake, which meets Rangpo-chu down its course. According to the history, the colour of water of this lake was studied by Lamas so as to forecast about the future. They believed, if the water had a dark tinge, it indicated an year full of trouble and unrest in the state. Tsomgo Lake is located in the restricted area for which tourists require an Inner Line Permit. This permit can be obtained from the Police through the travel agent or Tourism Department. During the winter months, the entire lake gets fron.

     

    Nathula Pass - Nathula Pass, located at a distance of 56 km from Gangtok, is a pass on the Indo-Chinese border. Serving as a trade link between India and China, this park also once served as the main access for Sikkim-Tibet trade. Popularly known as the Silk Route, this pass is at an elevation of 14,450 feet and is rich in diverse alpine flora and fauna. The Nathula Pass is divided into terms 'Nathu' and 'La', which mean 'listening ears' and 'pass' respectively. The trade route was closed down in 1961, as a result of the war between India and China. However, in 2006, the trade between the two countries resumed again after conciliation. Passing the Tsomgo Lake on its way, this pass is one of the highest motorable roads in entire India. Covered with snow for most parts of the year, a special permit is required to visit this pass. At present, tourists are permitted to visit the pass on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition, the Nathula Pass also reduces the travelling distance to some of the major Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites such as Lhasa and Mansarovar Lake.

     

    Ganesh Tok - Ganesh Tok, a small temple, is located at a distance of 7 kilometre from Gangtok. Situated next to the television tower on the small hill nestled on Gangtok-Nathula road, the temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. This temple is so small in size that at a time, it can only accommodate one person. In addition, one needs to crawl to get inside this temple. Besides its size, the temple is also known for the bird's eye view of several places such as the Gangtok town, the mount Kanchenjunga and the Raj Bhawan Complex. In addition, there is small place located close to this temple, which is known as Smriti Van. In this place, the devotees on the behalf of their loved ones can plant saplings.

     

    Himalayan Zoological Park - Himalayan Zoological Park, located at a distance of 3 km from Gangtok, is one of the best places for wildlife lovers. Situated in Bulbuley, the park has been established with the aim to preserve wildlife in natural habitat. Sprawling over an area of 205 hectares, the Zoological Park is at an altitude of 1,780 metre from where beautiful view of Mount Kanchenjunga can also be enjoyed. It is the first park of its kind in the entire north-eastern part of India, which was established in 1991. The animals residing in this park are kept in replicated natural conditions. Most part of this park is covered with forests of Red Panda, Blue Sheep, Musk Deer, Barking Deer and Himalayan Black Bear. The best time to visit the park is in the months between mid- February to May and from mid- September to December.

     

    Rumtek Monastery - Rumtek Monastery, located at a distance of approximately 24 km from Gangtok in Rumtek, is one of the most important sites for almost every Buddhist. This monastery was originally built in the 16th century, under the supervision of Wangchuck Dorge and with the financial assistance of the fourth king of Sikkim. However, in the 20th century this monastery was devastated by fire. Later in 1960s, an entirely new ministry was rebuilt uphill the original Rumtek Monastery. The new monastery built was named as Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre. In addition, the monastery also houses the main shrine temple along with quarters of monks.

     

    Tashi Viewpoint - Tashi View Point constructed by the King of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal, is located at a distance of 4 km from Gangtok. Adorned with a park on its top, this view point is one of the best places in entire Sikkim to enjoy beautiful view of Mount Kanchenjunga. In addition, the Phodong Monastery and the Labrang Monastery located on the opposite hills can also be seen from the Tashi View Point. The place also has a perching shed along with cafeteria, which provides shelter and a perfect resting spot to tourists.

     

    Ban Jhakri Falls - Ban Jhakri Falls is a water fall located in Gangtok. This spectacular falls plunges from a height of 70 ft amidst lush green surroundings. Ban Jhakri Falls Energy Park, a well-maintained park has been built here. The ethnic tribes of Sikkim have a lot of faith in their local occults called Jhakris who have healing and magical powers and can influence the spirits to bring about good and evil. The park is filled with ethnic sculptures and figurines of the Jhakris who are seen healing the sick. A foot bridge built over the water stream and a dragon splash are other major attractions of this theme park. One can also make a quick visit to the Ranka Monastery as this place lies on the route to the falls. Ban Jhakri falls is one of the most popular and well visited spots located Gangtok. Located at a distance of 4 km from the city, this is the perfect place for morning walks, jogging, and also a good location from where one can spend quality time with the whole family.

     

    Hanuman Tok - Hanuman Tok, dedicated to God Hanuman, is one of the most renowned temples located in Sikkim. Managed and maintained by a division of Army department of India, this temple is located at a distance of 5 km from Gangtok. With a total height of 7,200 ft, from the top of this hillock, tourists can enjoy beautiful view of Gangtok town along with the nearby hills. From White Hall, located on the Gangtok-Nathula highway, this temple is situated at a distance of approximately 5 km. The 'royal cremation grounds of Lukshyama' is located in close proximity to this place. On this cremation ground, the mortal remains of family members of former Namgyal dynasty were brought to flame.

     

    Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple - About 60 km away from the beautiful city of Gangtok, as you travel along the Kupup Valley to Tukla, you will find the original Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple. The shrine is dedicated to a hard-working soldier in the Indian Army, Harbhajan Singh, who died in the Nathula Pass by slipping and falling into a flowing stream, while escorting a mule column. It is said that they didn’t find his body for days until the dead Harbhajan Singh himself came in the dreams of a fellow soldier and told him where to find his dead body. Even though the comrade disregarded the dream, Singh’s body was found in the exact location as mentioned in the dream. They then built a Samadhi/shrine in his name, posthumously honouring him. The old shrine was built at the bunker near Chhokya Chho at an altitude of 4000 metres, where the soldier was posted during the time of his death. To visit this shrine, you need to climb over fifty steps to reach the site. For ease of access to tourists who can’t climb the ascent, there is a new shrine built at the Kupup junction.

     

    Seven Sister Waterfalls - Seven Sister Waterfalls in Gangtok is located 32 km away from the city. It is a must see place in Gangtok. All the seven waterfalls aligned sideways one after the other is a wonderful sight to catch and during the Monsoon season these falls come to a fierce life. Since most of the tourists stop at this place to enjoy the flourished nature Tourism and Civil Aviation Department has set up a waiting shed and cafeteria for people to take a break and shoot pictures. Seven Sister Waterfalls is a favorite spot of tourists, photographers, nature lovers as well as the local people. It is the ideal place to spend some relaxing time with family. Some other places you can visit while in Gangtok include Tashi Viewpoint constructed by the late king of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal. Only 4 Km away from Gangtok, this place allows visitors to have a good view of the pristine hills beside mount Kanchenjunga. Kabi Lungchok is a popular historic site, which is located 17 km north of Gangtok on the way to the waterfalls. Another falls here is Ban Jhakri falls which cover a total area of around 2 acres.

     

    Enchey Monastery - Enchey Monastery meaning solitary temple, was built in 1909 and is a 200 year old monastery. Located at a distance of 3 km from the city, the monastery is built on the spot, which is believed to be blessed by Lama Druptab Karpo. He was a tantrik master who was known for his flying powers. The monastery is also an important seat of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. According to a legend, it is believed that Lama Druptab Karpo constructed a small hut on this site, where he landed after his return from Maenam Hill. However, the present structure of the monastery was constructed in the shape of Chinese Pagoda during the reign of Sikyong Tulku (1909-1910). The monastery is considered sacred as it is believed that the protecting deities, Khangchendzonga and Yabdean reside in this monastery. According to a legend, the spirits of the Khangchendzonga, Yabdean and Mahakala are subdued by Guru Padmasambhava inside this monastery. Due to this belief, the monastery gained religious significance, and devotees visiting the place believe that all their wishes will be fulfilled by powerful deities.

     

    Yumthang Valley - Located in the northern part of Sikkim, the beautiful Yumthang Valley sits at a height of 3500 metres above sea level, housing some gorgeous Himalayan flowers. A visit to this valley of flowers will soothe your senses as the view is extremely picturesque. Yumthang Valley is covered with tree-spread green slopes, a sparkling flowing river in the valley and numerous yaks grazing the flowering grassy plants across the valley. The ambience is tranquil and the air serene, making this valley one of the most peaceful destinations to relax and unwind in, leaving the visitor in an enchanted stupor for a couple of days. The Yumthang Valley is located at a high altitude where no trees usually grow. However, the valley is unique since it has over 24 types of Rhododendrons and trees growing in abundance. A visit to this valley in the spring is a must on your travel planner since the Yumthang Valley looks like a painted collage of different colours. During the monsoons, you will be faced with an even more enchanting scene since the tiny Himalayan flowers such as Louseworts, Primroses and Cobra-lilies start to flower, letting you appreciate nature for its true beauty.

     

    Do-Drul Chorten Stupa - Do Drul Chorten, the biggest stupa in Sikkim, is located on the hill hock, which is adjacent to the Tibetology Institute. Popularly known as Phurba, this stupa was built in 1945. This holy stupa was under the auspices of head of Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Trulshik Rinpoche. Built as desired by Dud-Zom Rinpoche in 1944, the stupa is girdled with 108 prayer wheels. These prayer wheels have a holy inscription engraved on it, Om Mani Padma Hum. It is said that while turning these prayer wheels, the person has to chant the mantras engraved on them. This holy stupa embraces 'Mandala' sects of 'Dorjee Phurba' and one set of 'Ka-gyur' principles along with relics and mantras. Themed out in white, the stupa is also the emblematic symbol of peace, which has a pointed golden spire erected on the top. Encircling the chorten are Chorten Lhakhang and Guru Lhakhang, which are the two behemoth statues of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). Inside the stupa, tourists can see large groups of eager and young learner monks along with old lamas studying and working. Tourists can reach this stupa by hiring taxis or boarding regular jeeps from Gangtok.

     

    Namgyal Institute of Tibetology - The foundation stone of the Institute of Tibetology was laid in 1957 by the 14th Dalai Lama. It houses the huge collection of rare Sanskrit, Lepcha and Tibetan manuscripts, sculptures and Thankas. There are many treasured artifacts and Buddhist icons. It is also the center of Buddhist religion and philosophy. The beautiful architecture and construction of this institute is well known .

     

    Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms - Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms, also known as the Government Institute of Cottage Industries, was established in 1957. Located at a distance of half km from the main market of city, the foundation of this institute was laid during the reign of the Chogyals of Sikkim. The institute was started with an aim to preserve and propagate the talent and skills of local artisans. Exceptional to Sikkim, the institute is an authentic home to traditional handlooms and handicrafts. In addition, tourists visiting the place can also see hand-woven carpets made using traditional motifs. Some of the other items available in this institute include shawls, thangka paintings, Choktse, dolls and hand-painted masks. Apart from this, items like dolls made from wood, lamp-stands, batiks, sporadic silks, brocade, dappled appliqué work and embroidered boots are also available. Sikkimese carpets and handmade paper made from bark of Algeri tree forms the speciality of this institute.

     

    Flower Show Museum - At White Hall in Gangtok is the admirable flower show that houses seasonal flowers that make the place a picture of pretty. Enter the place and you are welcomed by hundreds of pleasing colours and sweet fragrance of the beautiful Sikkimese flower species. Mainly taking place in April and May of every year when most flowers bloom their prettiest, the flower exhibition has now been recognised internationally as it well deserves to be. Besides the main April-May exhibition, seasonal exhibitions are also hosted in the flower museum when the remaining flowers are in bloom. Be there an exhibition or not, the ornamental plants, rare orchids, and the lovely seasonal flowers always make for a pleasant experience while in Gangtok.

     

    Deer Park - Deer Park, located in close proximity to the Secretariat of Sikkim, is also known as Rustamji Park. Home to several species of Deer, this park was named after Rustamji. He was amongst one of the Dewans of the Chogyal of Sikkim. Rustamji, acclaimed himself to be the author of book 'Enchanted Frontiers'. Established in the late 1950's, this park acts as a sanctuary for the different species of deer that are brought from the neighbouring states and other parts of Sikkim. In addition, there are few cages located inside this park that have animals like Himalayan Bear and Red Pandas.The Deer Park also houses a statue of Lord Buddha standing erect and preaching the noble truths to the followers. This entire scene depicts the reminiscent of first sermon of Lord Buddha at the Deer Park located at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh. It is also believed that this park was constructed to celebrate the reincarnation of Lord Buddha as a musk deer. In the front of this statue, there is a butter lamp, which continuously glows and is encircled by the most beautiful flowers.

     

    Kanchenjunga Mountain - As is with most high mountain peaks, Kanchenjunga Mountain also has its share of legends attached to it. The most popular one being that there is hidden on its slopes a valley which renders mortals to immortality. Alongside this elixir of immortality are stories of Dzo-nga a demon yeti. The Lepchas and the Tibetans are the ancient inhabitants of the valley of Beyul Demoshong and follow old traditions while they nurture the old beliefs. Straddling borders of Nepal and Sikkim, Kanchenjunga is 28, 169 ft. high and is the 3rd highest mountain in the world. The Teesta River on the east, the Tamur on its west, and the Jongsang La and Lhonak Chu on the north of this majestic peak make the surrounding barriers. The landscapes on these slopes have three distinct types of forests: coniferous, meadows and alpine shrubs, and grasslands. When you visit this paradise, don’t miss spending time amidst the mountain flowers which are as ethereal as their surroundings Visiting Gangtok without a trip to the Rumtek Monastery would be unheard of. The monastery is a mere 24 km from the main city and is easily approachable. Hill and dale dot the drive and the sight of the Golden Stupa tells us we have arrived. Books, sculptures and artefacts fill the monastery. The place is filled with an aura of spirituality.

     

    Ranka Monastery - Ranka Monastery is a popular Buddhist monastery situated in Lingdum. Locally known as the Lingdum monastery, this monastery is run by the Sikkimese Gharwan Rimpoche. Known for its architecture and aesthetic value, this monastery has a collection of colorful Tibetan paintings called Thangkas that adorn the walls. Visitors can spin the long row of prayer wheels for good luck. A huge gold plated Buddha statue sits in the lotus position inside the sanctum. Open to all, regardless of their religion, tourists can happily explore the entire perimeter of the monastery. The perfect time to visit the monastery would be during the Tibetan New Year when the exotic Lama dance is performed by the Buddhist monks. One can also visit the monastery during the evening prayer time when Buddhist songs are sung rhythmically by the monks along with musical instruments. Visitors can take a ride on the famous rope way or visit Enchey Monastery or Rumtek Monastery, which are located nearby.

     

    Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden - Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, established in 1987, is home to different varieties of botanical species. Located near Rumtek Monastery, this garden houses rare flowers, plants and trees including Orchids of Himalayan region. Maintained and managed by the Forest Department of the Government of Sikkim, this garden also includes dense temperate forests of Oak. There are more than 50 different varieties of tree species located inside this garden. Owing to the variance in altitude ranging between 1,800 metre and 2,200 metre, a wide assortment of plants and animals is found here. In addition, a greenhouse is also constructed within the garden, where Orchids of different varieties are grown. In addition, especially for children, a small recreational centre has also been made inside the garden equipped with see-saw, swings and merry-go-round.

     

    Namgyal Institute - Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, opened officially on 1st October 1958, is a Tibet museum located in Gangtok. This museum was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. On 10th February, 1957, the foundation stone of this institute was laid by the 14th Dalai Lama. Known as the promoter of Tibetan culture, history, religion and art, this institute is home to largest collection of Tibetan works outside Tibet. In addition, this institute also has a museum, which is located on the ground floor. The museum houses a wide collection of thangkas and statues. Ancient manuscripts in different languages such as Sanskrit, Lepcha, Chinese and Tibetan are also included in the collection displayed in the museum. One of the most important items that is showcased in the museum includes the huge silver idol of Manjushri, who is the Bodhisattva of Knowledge. The treasures of this museum also include the sandalwood idols of Padmasambhava and the relics of two Ashokan missionaries, Madhyama and Kasyapagotra.

     

    Rabdentse Ruins - Rabdentse Ruins, destroyed by the invasions of Nepalese army, was the second capital of former kingdom of Sikkim till 1814. During the period from 1670 to 1814, the state was under the rule of king of Sikkim from this place. At present, the ruins of palaces and chortens can be seen, which are located in close proximity to Pemayangste Monastery. From the vintage point of this second capital of former Sikkim, beautiful view of Mount Kanchenjunga ranges can be enjoyed. In addition, this place has been declared as a site of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. Tourists can reach the destination by trek through a 2 km route that commences from Pelling and extends till Geyzing. While trekking, travellers can witness thick forest around them.

     

    Deorali Orchid Sanctuary - Deorali Orchid Sanctuary, located next to the Namgyal Institute, is known for its wide collection of orchids. Of 454 species of orchids, 200 species are found in this sanctuary.  The best time to visit this orchid sanctuary is during the blooming season extending from months of April to May, July to August and October to November.

     

    Saramsa Garden - Saramsa Garden, located at a distance of approximately 14 km from Gangtok, was established in 1922. The place was opened by the Forest Department, which was managed by the Forest Manager, Bhim Bahadur Pradhan from 1922 to 1954. Besides being the forester, owing to immense interest in botany, floriculture and horticulture, he was able to manage the garden well. Initially, the main purpose behind the establishment of this garden was to grow different fruits like pineapple, guava and varieties of oranges and litchie. This was done for the residence of the former British political officer and the Palace. During this time, a famous local variety of banana known as “Chini Champa” was also grown in this garden. In addition, every week, Dati, which is a decorated basket laden with fruits, was sent to British Residency and the Palace. In order to grow fruits in best possible manner and procedures, the gardener during those times, Brij Lal Subba was sent for training in fruit cultivation to Saharanpur. His descendants worked in this garden for three generations. This practice of growing fruits continued till the year 1940, until the Forest Department introduced Ipecac from Zohore (Malaysia).

     

    Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve - Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is spread over an area of 2620 sq km and occupies more than half of the total land area of Sikkim. Spread over the north, south and west districts of Sikkim, this reserve have a unique habitat and ecosystem. A treasure trove of flora and fauna, Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is also home to the Zemu glacier which is the largest glacier in the Eastern Himalaya. The reserve was established in 2000 to safeguard the diversity and integrity of the wild life and vegetation.  Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is also a trekkers' paradise. Most of the popular trekking routes and treks to Dzongri and Green Lake are through this reserve. Permission should be obtained to enter the reserve. Other than the trekkers and vacationers, this reserve is also visited by scientists and students for study tours as this is a complete ecosystem.

     

    White Hill - White Hill, located on a ridge in Gangtok, is a two storey architecture. The structure is named after the first British political mandarin in Sikkim, J. Claude White. Constructed in 1932, the White Hall is a permanent venue for the Flower Show held in Sikkim. During the time of flower show, several varieties of rhododendrons and orchids are displayed. In addition, inside the hall, a badminton court and an officer's club are also located.

     

    Phensong Monasery - Buddhism has been a mainstay in Sikkim and of the numerous monasteries built here, Phensong Monasery is one of the oldest. It was constructed in 1721 during the reign of Jigme Pawo and follows the Nyingmapa order of the Tibetan Buddhism. There are over 300 monks in the monastery and is one of the most visited religious places in the state. Apart from the intense religious fervor, the monastery is located amidst beautiful hills and pristine natural scenic views.

     

    Temi Tea Garden - Namchi’s Temi Tea Garden is the only tea estate in Sikkim. The tea garden was established in the year of 1969 and is spread over in an area of 435 acres on a hill slope, originating from the Tendong Hill. It produces around 100 million tonnes of tea, every year. There is an old British bungalow that lies below the tea garden, providing an option to stay close to nature.

     

    Tashiding Monastery - Tashiding Monastery, located at a distance of 19 km to the south-east of Yuksom and 40 km from Gyalshing, is a Buddhist monastery. Dating back to 1641, the monastery is perched on the top of the hill located between the Rangit River and Rathong River.  The monastery was founded by Ngadak Sempa Chempo Phunshok Rigzing, who belonged to Nyingma sect. However, in 1717, this monastery was renovated and extended during the reign by third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal. In addition, the monastery is constructed on the site, which is believed to be blessed by the great Guru Padmasambhava. According to a legend, it is said that Guru Padmasambhava shot an arrow in the air so as to select the place for his meditation. The site where the arrow stroked became the place of Tashiding Monastery.

     

    Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary - Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is located in the Lauchang Valley in North Sikkim. Surrounded by Chuga-Sagochen Mountains on the east and Chomzomei Tso Mountains on the west, one gets to encounter a vast variety of flora and fauna in their natural habitat at this sanctuary. The beautiful Yumthang Chhu River flows through this sanctuary, which is popular for its unique rhododendron trees and shrubs. There are 40 species of rhododendron trees found in Sikkim alone. Rhododendron nevium is the state tree of Sikkim and is found only in this sanctuary. Other than the rhododendrons there is a wide variety of vegetation. It is also home to many wild animals and birds.  Some of the other sightseeing options are the Tsomgo Lake, Saramsa Garden, Ranka Monastery, Yumthang Hot springs and Mt. Katao. Due to the numerous trekking routes, Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is preferred by trekking groups. As the sanctuary is tuck away from the busy towns, this place is also visited by a lot of honeymoon couples. Taxis are available to this place.

     

    Tsuk La Khang Monastery - Tsuk La Khang Monastery, located in the complex of Royal Palace, is the imperial gompa of the former Royal family of Sikkim. One of the major places for worship and assembly for the Buddhists, this monastery is a two storey edifice. The monastery also houses a wide collection of works of Buddhist scriptures. Earlier, this monastery was also used as a venue for several occasions such as weddings and coronations of the Sikkim Royalty. At every corner of this monastery, there are wooden sculptures which are crafted in the figure of Snow Lion's Head. On entering the building, one can witness the walls adorned with murals and altars. The altars located inside the monastery encompass the images of Bodhisattva and Buddha along with other Buddhists deities. The monastery is also a venue for several festivals that are held all throughout the year. Phang Lhabsol and Losoong are the two festivals that are celebrated in this monastery in full swing. During these festivals, mask dance also known as Chaam is performed by the monks of the monastery. In addition, during the New Year celebration, Black Hat Dance is also performed. This dance depicts the triumph of good forces over the evil forces.

     

    Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary - Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is located at a distance of 31 km from Gangtok. Situated on the way to the Tsomgo Lake, this sanctuary ranges from altitudes between 3,292 and 4,116 metre. Due to variance in altitude, the sanctuary boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna. This sanctuary comprises flora of rare and endangered species, which include tall juniper, ground orchid, rhododendron and silver fir. In addition, the sanctuary is also a home to different species of irises, wild strawberries, poppies, primulas, orchids, gentians, rare panax and rhododendron. Medicinal plants such as Nilo bikh' (Aconitun Ferox), 'Kutki' (Picrorhiza Scrophulariflora) and 'Jatamasi' (Nardostachs Graandiflora) can also be found in this sanctuary. Before the arrival of winter, the first snowfall in the region is anticipated by Polygonum, which is the last flower that blooms. Owing to the presence of dense bushes of bamboos, the place is a perfect home for Red Panda. Besides flora, fauna existing in this sanctuary is also in plenty, owing to variance in altitude. Some of the species of animals that are found in this sanctuary include Serow, Musk Deer, Goral, Himalayan Black Bear, Blood Pheasant, Leopard, Lesser Cats and Himalayan Marmot. In addition, the sanctuary is also home to Satyr Tragopan, Common Langur, Tibetan Fox, Martens Weasel and Impeyan Pheasant.

     

    Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary - Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places to observe the wild animals. It is located at a distance of around 20 km from Gangtok. Sprawling over an area of 51.76 sq km, this sanctuary is also a home to different species such as Red Panda, Himalayan Beer and Civet Cat Binturong. Dense forests of katus, bamboo, ferns, oak, champ and kimbu also occupy the sanctuary. In addition, the sanctuary also embraces plenty of rhododendrons and wild orchids. The place is also a home to different types of birds and butterflies, hence regarded as Avifauna. Due to the variance in altitude ranging from 1,280 metre to 2,652 metre, the sanctuary holds diverse flora and fauna. Tinjure is the highest point of this sanctuary that stands at an altitude of 7,000 feet. This highest point also has a wooden observation tower standing erect, which is managed by the Forest Department. Around this tower, basic accommodation facilities are also available for tourists.

     

    Tsuklakhang Palace - Tsuklakhang Palace, a Buddhist palatial monastery, is also known as Tsuklakhang Royal Chapel and Monastery. Located in Gangtok, this monastery is the main centre for prayers. In addition, the monastery also houses an assembly hall, which is located in the centre of the building. The Royal Chapel of Chogyals also has a wide collection of Buddhist literature and scriptures. Besides, the monastery also comprises altars which are orated with deities of Buddha, Tantric and Bodhisattvas. In addition, the monastery also serves as a venue for marriages, coronation and victory ceremonies among Sikkim royalty. Opened all throughout the year, this monastery is also a venue for annual Losar festival, during which traditional dances are performed.

     

    Mt. Katao - Mt. Katao is a one of the lesser-known destinations located in Gangtok. Situated near Lachung, this is a must-see destination for people who want to experience snow.  However, being a Military base, entry to Mt Katao is restricted. You cannot approach Mt. Katao as easily as other destinations nearby. A special pass need to be obtained from the Indian Army to visit the place. Even so, many tourists and adventure seekers, as well as families travel to Katao to enjoy their holidays. The greatest attraction here is the natural beauty of the place snow covered landscape of Katao will surely sweep you off your feet. The best time to visit the place is during the summer months as winters would be too harsh. Since the topography of the place is rather rough, it is not recommended for elders and kids. However, adventurous people and trekkers will enjoy the trip to Katao. Similarly, photographers and nature lovers would also find it a delightful place to visit.

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    Tsomgo Lake - Tsomgo Lake is located 35 km away from the city on the Gangtok-Nathula highway. This highway is also a part of the old route that links India and China. Worshipped by Sikkimese, this holy lake is approximately 20 km away from the Nathula Pass, while located at a distance of around 400 km from Lhasa. The water in this lake has been accumulated from the melting snow on the mountains located nearby. The river Lungtze Chu originates from this lake, which meets Rangpo-chu down its course. According to the history, the colour of water of this lake was studied by Lamas so as to forecast about the future. They believed, if the water had a dark tinge, it indicated an year full of trouble and unrest in the state. Tsomgo Lake is located in the restricted area for which tourists require an Inner Line Permit. This permit can be obtained from the Police through the travel agent or Tourism Department. During the winter months, the entire lake gets fron.

     

    Nathula Pass - Nathula Pass, located at a distance of 56 km from Gangtok, is a pass on the Indo-Chinese border. Serving as a trade link between India and China, this park also once served as the main access for Sikkim-Tibet trade. Popularly known as the Silk Route, this pass is at an elevation of 14,450 feet and is rich in diverse alpine flora and fauna. The Nathula Pass is divided into terms 'Nathu' and 'La', which mean 'listening ears' and 'pass' respectively. The trade route was closed down in 1961, as a result of the war between India and China. However, in 2006, the trade between the two countries resumed again after conciliation. Passing the Tsomgo Lake on its way, this pass is one of the highest motorable roads in entire India. Covered with snow for most parts of the year, a special permit is required to visit this pass. At present, tourists are permitted to visit the pass on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition, the Nathula Pass also reduces the travelling distance to some of the major Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites such as Lhasa and Mansarovar Lake.

     

    Ganesh Tok - Ganesh Tok, a small temple, is located at a distance of 7 kilometre from Gangtok. Situated next to the television tower on the small hill nestled on Gangtok-Nathula road, the temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. This temple is so small in size that at a time, it can only accommodate one person. In addition, one needs to crawl to get inside this temple. Besides its size, the temple is also known for the bird's eye view of several places such as the Gangtok town, the mount Kanchenjunga and the Raj Bhawan Complex. In addition, there is small place located close to this temple, which is known as Smriti Van. In this place, the devotees on the behalf of their loved ones can plant saplings.

     

    Himalayan Zoological Park - Himalayan Zoological Park, located at a distance of 3 km from Gangtok, is one of the best places for wildlife lovers. Situated in Bulbuley, the park has been established with the aim to preserve wildlife in natural habitat. Sprawling over an area of 205 hectares, the Zoological Park is at an altitude of 1,780 metre from where beautiful view of Mount Kanchenjunga can also be enjoyed. It is the first park of its kind in the entire north-eastern part of India, which was established in 1991. The animals residing in this park are kept in replicated natural conditions. Most part of this park is covered with forests of Red Panda, Blue Sheep, Musk Deer, Barking Deer and Himalayan Black Bear. The best time to visit the park is in the months between mid- February to May and from mid- September to December.

     

    Rumtek Monastery - Rumtek Monastery, located at a distance of approximately 24 km from Gangtok in Rumtek, is one of the most important sites for almost every Buddhist. This monastery was originally built in the 16th century, under the supervision of Wangchuck Dorge and with the financial assistance of the fourth king of Sikkim. However, in the 20th century this monastery was devastated by fire. Later in 1960s, an entirely new ministry was rebuilt uphill the original Rumtek Monastery. The new monastery built was named as Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre. In addition, the monastery also houses the main shrine temple along with quarters of monks.

     

    Tashi Viewpoint - Tashi View Point constructed by the King of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal, is located at a distance of 4 km from Gangtok. Adorned with a park on its top, this view point is one of the best places in entire Sikkim to enjoy beautiful view of Mount Kanchenjunga. In addition, the Phodong Monastery and the Labrang Monastery located on the opposite hills can also be seen from the Tashi View Point. The place also has a perching shed along with cafeteria, which provides shelter and a perfect resting spot to tourists.

     

    Ban Jhakri Falls - Ban Jhakri Falls is a water fall located in Gangtok. This spectacular falls plunges from a height of 70 ft amidst lush green surroundings. Ban Jhakri Falls Energy Park, a well-maintained park has been built here. The ethnic tribes of Sikkim have a lot of faith in their local occults called Jhakris who have healing and magical powers and can influence the spirits to bring about good and evil. The park is filled with ethnic sculptures and figurines of the Jhakris who are seen healing the sick. A foot bridge built over the water stream and a dragon splash are other major attractions of this theme park. One can also make a quick visit to the Ranka Monastery as this place lies on the route to the falls. Ban Jhakri falls is one of the most popular and well visited spots located Gangtok. Located at a distance of 4 km from the city, this is the perfect place for morning walks, jogging, and also a good location from where one can spend quality time with the whole family.

     

    Hanuman Tok - Hanuman Tok, dedicated to God Hanuman, is one of the most renowned temples located in Sikkim. Managed and maintained by a division of Army department of India, this temple is located at a distance of 5 km from Gangtok. With a total height of 7,200 ft, from the top of this hillock, tourists can enjoy beautiful view of Gangtok town along with the nearby hills. From White Hall, located on the Gangtok-Nathula highway, this temple is situated at a distance of approximately 5 km. The 'royal cremation grounds of Lukshyama' is located in close proximity to this place. On this cremation ground, the mortal remains of family members of former Namgyal dynasty were brought to flame.

     

    Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple - About 60 km away from the beautiful city of Gangtok, as you travel along the Kupup Valley to Tukla, you will find the original Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple. The shrine is dedicated to a hard-working soldier in the Indian Army, Harbhajan Singh, who died in the Nathula Pass by slipping and falling into a flowing stream, while escorting a mule column. It is said that they didn’t find his body for days until the dead Harbhajan Singh himself came in the dreams of a fellow soldier and told him where to find his dead body. Even though the comrade disregarded the dream, Singh’s body was found in the exact location as mentioned in the dream. They then built a Samadhi/shrine in his name, posthumously honouring him. The old shrine was built at the bunker near Chhokya Chho at an altitude of 4000 metres, where the soldier was posted during the time of his death. To visit this shrine, you need to climb over fifty steps to reach the site. For ease of access to tourists who can’t climb the ascent, there is a new shrine built at the Kupup junction.

     

    Seven Sister Waterfalls - Seven Sister Waterfalls in Gangtok is located 32 km away from the city. It is a must see place in Gangtok. All the seven waterfalls aligned sideways one after the other is a wonderful sight to catch and during the Monsoon season these falls come to a fierce life. Since most of the tourists stop at this place to enjoy the flourished nature Tourism and Civil Aviation Department has set up a waiting shed and cafeteria for people to take a break and shoot pictures. Seven Sister Waterfalls is a favorite spot of tourists, photographers, nature lovers as well as the local people. It is the ideal place to spend some relaxing time with family. Some other places you can visit while in Gangtok include Tashi Viewpoint constructed by the late king of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal. Only 4 Km away from Gangtok, this place allows visitors to have a good view of the pristine hills beside mount Kanchenjunga. Kabi Lungchok is a popular historic site, which is located 17 km north of Gangtok on the way to the waterfalls. Another falls here is Ban Jhakri falls which cover a total area of around 2 acres.

     

    Enchey Monastery - Enchey Monastery meaning solitary temple, was built in 1909 and is a 200 year old monastery. Located at a distance of 3 km from the city, the monastery is built on the spot, which is believed to be blessed by Lama Druptab Karpo. He was a tantrik master who was known for his flying powers. The monastery is also an important seat of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. According to a legend, it is believed that Lama Druptab Karpo constructed a small hut on this site, where he landed after his return from Maenam Hill. However, the present structure of the monastery was constructed in the shape of Chinese Pagoda during the reign of Sikyong Tulku (1909-1910). The monastery is considered sacred as it is believed that the protecting deities, Khangchendzonga and Yabdean reside in this monastery. According to a legend, the spirits of the Khangchendzonga, Yabdean and Mahakala are subdued by Guru Padmasambhava inside this monastery. Due to this belief, the monastery gained religious significance, and devotees visiting the place believe that all their wishes will be fulfilled by powerful deities.

     

    Yumthang Valley - Located in the northern part of Sikkim, the beautiful Yumthang Valley sits at a height of 3500 metres above sea level, housing some gorgeous Himalayan flowers. A visit to this valley of flowers will soothe your senses as the view is extremely picturesque. Yumthang Valley is covered with tree-spread green slopes, a sparkling flowing river in the valley and numerous yaks grazing the flowering grassy plants across the valley. The ambience is tranquil and the air serene, making this valley one of the most peaceful destinations to relax and unwind in, leaving the visitor in an enchanted stupor for a couple of days. The Yumthang Valley is located at a high altitude where no trees usually grow. However, the valley is unique since it has over 24 types of Rhododendrons and trees growing in abundance. A visit to this valley in the spring is a must on your travel planner since the Yumthang Valley looks like a painted collage of different colours. During the monsoons, you will be faced with an even more enchanting scene since the tiny Himalayan flowers such as Louseworts, Primroses and Cobra-lilies start to flower, letting you appreciate nature for its true beauty.

     

    Do-Drul Chorten Stupa - Do Drul Chorten, the biggest stupa in Sikkim, is located on the hill hock, which is adjacent to the Tibetology Institute. Popularly known as Phurba, this stupa was built in 1945. This holy stupa was under the auspices of head of Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Trulshik Rinpoche. Built as desired by Dud-Zom Rinpoche in 1944, the stupa is girdled with 108 prayer wheels. These prayer wheels have a holy inscription engraved on it, Om Mani Padma Hum. It is said that while turning these prayer wheels, the person has to chant the mantras engraved on them. This holy stupa embraces 'Mandala' sects of 'Dorjee Phurba' and one set of 'Ka-gyur' principles along with relics and mantras. Themed out in white, the stupa is also the emblematic symbol of peace, which has a pointed golden spire erected on the top. Encircling the chorten are Chorten Lhakhang and Guru Lhakhang, which are the two behemoth statues of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). Inside the stupa, tourists can see large groups of eager and young learner monks along with old lamas studying and working. Tourists can reach this stupa by hiring taxis or boarding regular jeeps from Gangtok.

     

    Namgyal Institute of Tibetology - The foundation stone of the Institute of Tibetology was laid in 1957 by the 14th Dalai Lama. It houses the huge collection of rare Sanskrit, Lepcha and Tibetan manuscripts, sculptures and Thankas. There are many treasured artifacts and Buddhist icons. It is also the center of Buddhist religion and philosophy. The beautiful architecture and construction of this institute is well known .

     

    Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms - Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms, also known as the Government Institute of Cottage Industries, was established in 1957. Located at a distance of half km from the main market of city, the foundation of this institute was laid during the reign of the Chogyals of Sikkim. The institute was started with an aim to preserve and propagate the talent and skills of local artisans. Exceptional to Sikkim, the institute is an authentic home to traditional handlooms and handicrafts. In addition, tourists visiting the place can also see hand-woven carpets made using traditional motifs. Some of the other items available in this institute include shawls, thangka paintings, Choktse, dolls and hand-painted masks. Apart from this, items like dolls made from wood, lamp-stands, batiks, sporadic silks, brocade, dappled appliqué work and embroidered boots are also available. Sikkimese carpets and handmade paper made from bark of Algeri tree forms the speciality of this institute.

     

    Flower Show Museum - At White Hall in Gangtok is the admirable flower show that houses seasonal flowers that make the place a picture of pretty. Enter the place and you are welcomed by hundreds of pleasing colours and sweet fragrance of the beautiful Sikkimese flower species. Mainly taking place in April and May of every year when most flowers bloom their prettiest, the flower exhibition has now been recognised internationally as it well deserves to be. Besides the main April-May exhibition, seasonal exhibitions are also hosted in the flower museum when the remaining flowers are in bloom. Be there an exhibition or not, the ornamental plants, rare orchids, and the lovely seasonal flowers always make for a pleasant experience while in Gangtok.

     

    Deer Park - Deer Park, located in close proximity to the Secretariat of Sikkim, is also known as Rustamji Park. Home to several species of Deer, this park was named after Rustamji. He was amongst one of the Dewans of the Chogyal of Sikkim. Rustamji, acclaimed himself to be the author of book 'Enchanted Frontiers'. Established in the late 1950's, this park acts as a sanctuary for the different species of deer that are brought from the neighbouring states and other parts of Sikkim. In addition, there are few cages located inside this park that have animals like Himalayan Bear and Red Pandas.The Deer Park also houses a statue of Lord Buddha standing erect and preaching the noble truths to the followers. This entire scene depicts the reminiscent of first sermon of Lord Buddha at the Deer Park located at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh. It is also believed that this park was constructed to celebrate the reincarnation of Lord Buddha as a musk deer. In the front of this statue, there is a butter lamp, which continuously glows and is encircled by the most beautiful flowers.

     

    Kanchenjunga Mountain - As is with most high mountain peaks, Kanchenjunga Mountain also has its share of legends attached to it. The most popular one being that there is hidden on its slopes a valley which renders mortals to immortality. Alongside this elixir of immortality are stories of Dzo-nga a demon yeti. The Lepchas and the Tibetans are the ancient inhabitants of the valley of Beyul Demoshong and follow old traditions while they nurture the old beliefs. Straddling borders of Nepal and Sikkim, Kanchenjunga is 28, 169 ft. high and is the 3rd highest mountain in the world. The Teesta River on the east, the Tamur on its west, and the Jongsang La and Lhonak Chu on the north of this majestic peak make the surrounding barriers. The landscapes on these slopes have three distinct types of forests: coniferous, meadows and alpine shrubs, and grasslands. When you visit this paradise, don’t miss spending time amidst the mountain flowers which are as ethereal as their surroundings Visiting Gangtok without a trip to the Rumtek Monastery would be unheard of. The monastery is a mere 24 km from the main city and is easily approachable. Hill and dale dot the drive and the sight of the Golden Stupa tells us we have arrived. Books, sculptures and artefacts fill the monastery. The place is filled with an aura of spirituality.

     

    Ranka Monastery - Ranka Monastery is a popular Buddhist monastery situated in Lingdum. Locally known as the Lingdum monastery, this monastery is run by the Sikkimese Gharwan Rimpoche. Known for its architecture and aesthetic value, this monastery has a collection of colorful Tibetan paintings called Thangkas that adorn the walls. Visitors can spin the long row of prayer wheels for good luck. A huge gold plated Buddha statue sits in the lotus position inside the sanctum. Open to all, regardless of their religion, tourists can happily explore the entire perimeter of the monastery. The perfect time to visit the monastery would be during the Tibetan New Year when the exotic Lama dance is performed by the Buddhist monks. One can also visit the monastery during the evening prayer time when Buddhist songs are sung rhythmically by the monks along with musical instruments. Visitors can take a ride on the famous rope way or visit Enchey Monastery or Rumtek Monastery, which are located nearby.

     

    Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden - Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, established in 1987, is home to different varieties of botanical species. Located near Rumtek Monastery, this garden houses rare flowers, plants and trees including Orchids of Himalayan region. Maintained and managed by the Forest Department of the Government of Sikkim, this garden also includes dense temperate forests of Oak. There are more than 50 different varieties of tree species located inside this garden. Owing to the variance in altitude ranging between 1,800 metre and 2,200 metre, a wide assortment of plants and animals is found here. In addition, a greenhouse is also constructed within the garden, where Orchids of different varieties are grown. In addition, especially for children, a small recreational centre has also been made inside the garden equipped with see-saw, swings and merry-go-round.

     

    Namgyal Institute - Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, opened officially on 1st October 1958, is a Tibet museum located in Gangtok. This museum was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. On 10th February, 1957, the foundation stone of this institute was laid by the 14th Dalai Lama. Known as the promoter of Tibetan culture, history, religion and art, this institute is home to largest collection of Tibetan works outside Tibet. In addition, this institute also has a museum, which is located on the ground floor. The museum houses a wide collection of thangkas and statues. Ancient manuscripts in different languages such as Sanskrit, Lepcha, Chinese and Tibetan are also included in the collection displayed in the museum. One of the most important items that is showcased in the museum includes the huge silver idol of Manjushri, who is the Bodhisattva of Knowledge. The treasures of this museum also include the sandalwood idols of Padmasambhava and the relics of two Ashokan missionaries, Madhyama and Kasyapagotra.

     

    Rabdentse Ruins - Rabdentse Ruins, destroyed by the invasions of Nepalese army, was the second capital of former kingdom of Sikkim till 1814. During the period from 1670 to 1814, the state was under the rule of king of Sikkim from this place. At present, the ruins of palaces and chortens can be seen, which are located in close proximity to Pemayangste Monastery. From the vintage point of this second capital of former Sikkim, beautiful view of Mount Kanchenjunga ranges can be enjoyed. In addition, this place has been declared as a site of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. Tourists can reach the destination by trek through a 2 km route that commences from Pelling and extends till Geyzing. While trekking, travellers can witness thick forest around them.

     

    Deorali Orchid Sanctuary - Deorali Orchid Sanctuary, located next to the Namgyal Institute, is known for its wide collection of orchids. Of 454 species of orchids, 200 species are found in this sanctuary.  The best time to visit this orchid sanctuary is during the blooming season extending from months of April to May, July to August and October to November.

     

    Saramsa Garden - Saramsa Garden, located at a distance of approximately 14 km from Gangtok, was established in 1922. The place was opened by the Forest Department, which was managed by the Forest Manager, Bhim Bahadur Pradhan from 1922 to 1954. Besides being the forester, owing to immense interest in botany, floriculture and horticulture, he was able to manage the garden well. Initially, the main purpose behind the establishment of this garden was to grow different fruits like pineapple, guava and varieties of oranges and litchie. This was done for the residence of the former British political officer and the Palace. During this time, a famous local variety of banana known as “Chini Champa” was also grown in this garden. In addition, every week, Dati, which is a decorated basket laden with fruits, was sent to British Residency and the Palace. In order to grow fruits in best possible manner and procedures, the gardener during those times, Brij Lal Subba was sent for training in fruit cultivation to Saharanpur. His descendants worked in this garden for three generations. This practice of growing fruits continued till the year 1940, until the Forest Department introduced Ipecac from Zohore (Malaysia).

     

    Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve - Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is spread over an area of 2620 sq km and occupies more than half of the total land area of Sikkim. Spread over the north, south and west districts of Sikkim, this reserve have a unique habitat and ecosystem. A treasure trove of flora and fauna, Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is also home to the Zemu glacier which is the largest glacier in the Eastern Himalaya. The reserve was established in 2000 to safeguard the diversity and integrity of the wild life and vegetation.  Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is also a trekkers' paradise. Most of the popular trekking routes and treks to Dzongri and Green Lake are through this reserve. Permission should be obtained to enter the reserve. Other than the trekkers and vacationers, this reserve is also visited by scientists and students for study tours as this is a complete ecosystem.

     

    White Hill - White Hill, located on a ridge in Gangtok, is a two storey architecture. The structure is named after the first British political mandarin in Sikkim, J. Claude White. Constructed in 1932, the White Hall is a permanent venue for the Flower Show held in Sikkim. During the time of flower show, several varieties of rhododendrons and orchids are displayed. In addition, inside the hall, a badminton court and an officer's club are also located.

     

    Phensong Monasery - Buddhism has been a mainstay in Sikkim and of the numerous monasteries built here, Phensong Monasery is one of the oldest. It was constructed in 1721 during the reign of Jigme Pawo and follows the Nyingmapa order of the Tibetan Buddhism. There are over 300 monks in the monastery and is one of the most visited religious places in the state. Apart from the intense religious fervor, the monastery is located amidst beautiful hills and pristine natural scenic views.

     

    Temi Tea Garden - Namchi’s Temi Tea Garden is the only tea estate in Sikkim. The tea garden was established in the year of 1969 and is spread over in an area of 435 acres on a hill slope, originating from the Tendong Hill. It produces around 100 million tonnes of tea, every year. There is an old British bungalow that lies below the tea garden, providing an option to stay close to nature.

     

    Tashiding Monastery - Tashiding Monastery, located at a distance of 19 km to the south-east of Yuksom and 40 km from Gyalshing, is a Buddhist monastery. Dating back to 1641, the monastery is perched on the top of the hill located between the Rangit River and Rathong River.  The monastery was founded by Ngadak Sempa Chempo Phunshok Rigzing, who belonged to Nyingma sect. However, in 1717, this monastery was renovated and extended during the reign by third Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal. In addition, the monastery is constructed on the site, which is believed to be blessed by the great Guru Padmasambhava. According to a legend, it is said that Guru Padmasambhava shot an arrow in the air so as to select the place for his meditation. The site where the arrow stroked became the place of Tashiding Monastery.

     

    Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary - Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is located in the Lauchang Valley in North Sikkim. Surrounded by Chuga-Sagochen Mountains on the east and Chomzomei Tso Mountains on the west, one gets to encounter a vast variety of flora and fauna in their natural habitat at this sanctuary. The beautiful Yumthang Chhu River flows through this sanctuary, which is popular for its unique rhododendron trees and shrubs. There are 40 species of rhododendron trees found in Sikkim alone. Rhododendron nevium is the state tree of Sikkim and is found only in this sanctuary. Other than the rhododendrons there is a wide variety of vegetation. It is also home to many wild animals and birds.  Some of the other sightseeing options are the Tsomgo Lake, Saramsa Garden, Ranka Monastery, Yumthang Hot springs and Mt. Katao. Due to the numerous trekking routes, Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is preferred by trekking groups. As the sanctuary is tuck away from the busy towns, this place is also visited by a lot of honeymoon couples. Taxis are available to this place.

     

    Tsuk La Khang Monastery - Tsuk La Khang Monastery, located in the complex of Royal Palace, is the imperial gompa of the former Royal family of Sikkim. One of the major places for worship and assembly for the Buddhists, this monastery is a two storey edifice. The monastery also houses a wide collection of works of Buddhist scriptures. Earlier, this monastery was also used as a venue for several occasions such as weddings and coronations of the Sikkim Royalty. At every corner of this monastery, there are wooden sculptures which are crafted in the figure of Snow Lion's Head. On entering the building, one can witness the walls adorned with murals and altars. The altars located inside the monastery encompass the images of Bodhisattva and Buddha along with other Buddhists deities. The monastery is also a venue for several festivals that are held all throughout the year. Phang Lhabsol and Losoong are the two festivals that are celebrated in this monastery in full swing. During these festivals, mask dance also known as Chaam is performed by the monks of the monastery. In addition, during the New Year celebration, Black Hat Dance is also performed. This dance depicts the triumph of good forces over the evil forces.

     

    Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary - Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is located at a distance of 31 km from Gangtok. Situated on the way to the Tsomgo Lake, this sanctuary ranges from altitudes between 3,292 and 4,116 metre. Due to variance in altitude, the sanctuary boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna. This sanctuary comprises flora of rare and endangered species, which include tall juniper, ground orchid, rhododendron and silver fir. In addition, the sanctuary is also a home to different species of irises, wild strawberries, poppies, primulas, orchids, gentians, rare panax and rhododendron. Medicinal plants such as Nilo bikh' (Aconitun Ferox), 'Kutki' (Picrorhiza Scrophulariflora) and 'Jatamasi' (Nardostachs Graandiflora) can also be found in this sanctuary. Before the arrival of winter, the first snowfall in the region is anticipated by Polygonum, which is the last flower that blooms. Owing to the presence of dense bushes of bamboos, the place is a perfect home for Red Panda. Besides flora, fauna existing in this sanctuary is also in plenty, owing to variance in altitude. Some of the species of animals that are found in this sanctuary include Serow, Musk Deer, Goral, Himalayan Black Bear, Blood Pheasant, Leopard, Lesser Cats and Himalayan Marmot. In addition, the sanctuary is also home to Satyr Tragopan, Common Langur, Tibetan Fox, Martens Weasel and Impeyan Pheasant.

     

    Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary - Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places to observe the wild animals. It is located at a distance of around 20 km from Gangtok. Sprawling over an area of 51.76 sq km, this sanctuary is also a home to different species such as Red Panda, Himalayan Beer and Civet Cat Binturong. Dense forests of katus, bamboo, ferns, oak, champ and kimbu also occupy the sanctuary. In addition, the sanctuary also embraces plenty of rhododendrons and wild orchids. The place is also a home to different types of birds and butterflies, hence regarded as Avifauna. Due to the variance in altitude ranging from 1,280 metre to 2,652 metre, the sanctuary holds diverse flora and fauna. Tinjure is the highest point of this sanctuary that stands at an altitude of 7,000 feet. This highest point also has a wooden observation tower standing erect, which is managed by the Forest Department. Around this tower, basic accommodation facilities are also available for tourists.

     

    Tsuklakhang Palace - Tsuklakhang Palace, a Buddhist palatial monastery, is also known as Tsuklakhang Royal Chapel and Monastery. Located in Gangtok, this monastery is the main centre for prayers. In addition, the monastery also houses an assembly hall, which is located in the centre of the building. The Royal Chapel of Chogyals also has a wide collection of Buddhist literature and scriptures. Besides, the monastery also comprises altars which are orated with deities of Buddha, Tantric and Bodhisattvas. In addition, the monastery also serves as a venue for marriages, coronation and victory ceremonies among Sikkim royalty. Opened all throughout the year, this monastery is also a venue for annual Losar festival, during which traditional dances are performed.

     

    Mt. Katao - Mt. Katao is a one of the lesser-known destinations located in Gangtok. Situated near Lachung, this is a must-see destination for people who want to experience snow.  However, being a Military base, entry to Mt Katao is restricted. You cannot approach Mt. Katao as easily as other destinations nearby. A special pass need to be obtained from the Indian Army to visit the place. Even so, many tourists and adventure seekers, as well as families travel to Katao to enjoy their holidays. The greatest attraction here is the natural beauty of the place snow covered landscape of Katao will surely sweep you off your feet. The best time to visit the place is during the summer months as winters would be too harsh. Since the topography of the place is rather rough, it is not recommended for elders and kids. However, adventurous people and trekkers will enjoy the trip to Katao. Similarly, photographers and nature lovers would also find it a delightful place to visit.

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