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EAST SIKKIM - A WELCOME SMILE

 

 


GANGTOK

An important transit point on the busy trade route with Tibet at one time, Gangtok - is the hub of all administrative activity of Sikkim & a charming peaceful laid back town (elevation, 1,780 m/ 5500 ft.) – the present capital of Sikkim- today has become the base from which tourists can plan their exploration of Sikkim. This district is the most commonly visited area in Sikkim.Sikkim has emerged into the mainstream of the Tourism Industry with more & more national as well as International tourists visiting this peaceful Himalayan state every year. All modern facilities in terms of accommodation / transport & communications are available here.
By staying at Gangtok for 3-4 nights one can visit Tsomgo Lake, Rumtek Monastery, the local points as well as undertake the 3-4 day tour to North Sikkim
 

 

 

Places to See:
 
 

 

TSOMGO LAKE
38 km from Gangtok at an elevation of 12,400 ft./ 3780 m is the beautiful Tsomgo Lake, which freezes over in winter up to mid-May. The drive from Gangtok takes about 3 hrs. The Lake derives its waters from melting snows of the surrounding mountains. The Lake is about 1 km long, oval in shape, 50 ft./15 mtrs deep & is considered sacred by the local people. It is also a home of Brahminy ducks besides stopover for various migratory birds. You can also experience a Yak ride around the Lake.

 
 


 

NATHULA PASS
Indo-China border (elevation 14,400 ft. / 4,320 m) on the old caravan trail to Tibet till 1962 is 14 km further from Tsomgo Lake. Recently opened for Indian tourists, the pass is poised to have become a favourite tourist spot. Visitors prone to heart problems & high altitude sickness are advised to avoid this trip. Nathula is open only on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday. The visitors need permit on the basis of individual any proof of identification to visit the place by applying to the Tourism Department 48 hrs in advance through a registered Sikkimese Travel Agency.
 

 

 

BABA HARBHAJAN SINGH MEMORIAL
Built in the memory of Harbhajan Singh, a sepoy in the 23rd Punjab Regiment, the mandir lies between the Nathula & the Jelepla Passes. Legend has it that he appeared in a dream a few days after he went missing & expressed the desire that a monument be built in his memory. His fellow soldiers then built a monument that has over the years acquired the status of pilgrimage. Believers leave a bottle of water, which they collect a few days later to take back home.

 
 
 

 

RUMTEK DHARMA CHAKRA CENTRE
24 km drive away from Gangtok through the scenic lush green terraced fields takes you to the headquarters of the Kagyupa sect, the Rumtek Monastery that was built in the year 1960.
It is also the seat of the Gyalwa Karmapa Lama. It is immensely decorated & is certainly the largest traditional architecture of Sikkim with unique art objects of the world. Traditional in design, it is almost at replica of the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet. It has over 300 centres overseas. A must for every visitor. Opposite the entrance to the Institute is a small hall featuring a beautiful jewel studded chorten the Golden Stupa, which contains the ashes & remains of his holiness, the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa. The main ceremonial dances of Rumtek called the Tse-Chu chaam are held around June. The Kagyed dance is also held here around December.

 
 
 
 

DO - DRUL CHORTEN
One of the most important stupas in Sikkim built by Trulsi Rimpochee, head of the Nyingmapa order containing rare mandalas of Dorjee Phurba (Bare Kilaya) Holy Mantra Books, & encircled by 108 prayer wheels. Chorten Lhakhang & Guru Lhakhang surrounds the chorten, where there are two huge statues of Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rimpochee, the patron saint of Sikkim.
 

 
 
NAMGYAL INSTITUTE OF TIBETOLOGY
Just another one minute walking distance from the Chorten lies the “Namgyal Institute of Tibetology” built amidst a small forest of oak, magnolia & birch trees. This Institute treasures a rare collection of antiques, manuscripts, ritual objects, thanka paintings, rare statues, over 200 Buddhist icons & precious objects of arts. It is also a worldwide centre for study of Buddhist Philosophy & Religion. The foundation stone of this Institiute was laid in February 1957 by his holiness the Dalai Lama & was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in October 1958. The Institute also has a retail outlet where related books & commercially produced religious art & craft of Tibet can be bought.
Visiting hrs – 10:00 am to 03:00 pm. (closed on Sunday & government holidays)
 
 
 
 

DIRECTORATE OF HANDICRAFTS & HANDLOOMS
The Institute was established in 1957 with the purpose of promoting the manufacture & sale of local handicrafts, carpets & furniture’s. An sales emporium at the Institute sells handicrafts, Thankas - which are scrolls with paintings, hand carved foldable wooden tables known as chok – tse & exquisitively woven woollen carpets, masks & dolls. Visitors can also see the artisans at work here. Hand made paper is another unique novelty of the Institute & is made from the bark of a tree called Algeri. The paper is used extensively for invitation cards & letter pads.
Visiting hrs – 10:00 am to 04:00 pm. (closed on Sunday & government holidays)
 

 
  FLOWER EXHIBITION CENTRE
The Pride & joy of Sikkim where the world famous Orchids are on exhibition along with seasonal flowers & bonsai. Flower exhibitions are organized around the year at the Flower Show Venue near White Memorial Hall Complex, Gangtok. Orchid shows held during the spring season is one of the most popular shows organized in the state.
Visiting hrs – 10:00 am to 04:00 pm. (closed on Sunday & government holidays)
 
 
 

ENCHEY MONASTERY
Lama Druptob Karpo, a great tantric saint known for his power of flying is supposed to have built a small hermitage at this spot after he flew here from Maenam Hill more than two hundred years ago. This monastery was built here in 1901 in the form of a Chinese Pagoda during the reign of Sidkeong Tulku. The monastery follows the Nyingmapa order of Tibetan Buddhism & the main prayer & ritual dances are held here every year, which normally corresponds to the month of January.

 

ROPEWAY
Inaugurated on 7th Dec’ 2003, the ropeway operates between the main Secretariat Deer Park, Sikkim Legislative Assembly & the Tibetology at Deorali. The two cable cars have a capacity of accommodating 25 passengers each. The ride gives a breathtaking view of the Bhusuk river about 1000 mtrs below as well as the Deorali Bazaar.
 

 
 
  NAMNANG VIEW POINT
also known as hurhurray Dara & lovers point, one of the four notable view points of Gangtok offering an excellent view of the valley with the Bhushuk river snaking below. Next to it is the Sikkim Legislative Assembly Bhawan.
 
 
  TASHI VIEW POINT
is about 08 kms away from Gangtok, acclaimed to be amongst the most popular photography point in the Sikkim Himalayas. From this point you get a breath taking view of Mt. Khanchendzonga & Mt. Siniolchu, one of the most graceful peaks in the world. Above the viewpoint is a park that is a popular picnic spot. Tourists can avail of the facilities provided by a small but well stocked cafeteria located here. Ideal time to visit is early morning subject to clear weather conditions.
 
 
  GANESH TOK
It is situated on a ridge & is only 07 kms away from Gangtok. From this spot one can get a bird’s eye view of sprawling Gangtok town down below. Adjacent to it is a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Adjoining the temple is a beautiful Pine tree forest reserve.
 
 
  HANUMAN TOK
Scrupulously & appropriately maintained by resident units of the Indian Army this is a hindu temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman which is situated about 09 km uphill from Gangtok at an altitude of 7,200 ft. Popular belief has it that wishes made here are fulfilled.
 
 
  HIMALAYAN ZOOLOGICAL PARK
Recently set up at Bulbulay, this wildlife park comprises an area covering 205 hectares. Endangered animals of the Eastern Himalayas are maintained in open enclosures in a semi natural habitat. Wildlife enthusiasts & visitors can observe different species of Himalayan black bear, clouded snow leopard, Red Pandas, Barking deers, Tibetan wolves, Civet cat & other animals.
The ideal time to visit is during the feeding time when the animals come out for their feast. One needs a lot of patience & time to visit this park. – a day trip & Pack lunch recommended.