Gangtok is the capital state of Sikkim in the north eastern part of India. It was established as a Buddhist Pilgrimage site in in 1840s. Presently it still remains a Tibetan Center and a hub for hikers organizing permits and transport for treks through Sikkim’s Himalayan mountain ranges.
Well that was bit of a introductory part about Sikkim. Now lets talk about the main topic which is why you should visit Gangtok once.
Here are the 5 Beautiful Places that would make you want to visit Sikkim’s capital:
1. Enchey Monastery
Situated on a Hill Top above Gangtok's Ridge. The Monastery offers an breathtaking view of the town and Kanchenjunga. It was built in the 1900s, it follows the Nyingmapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Many believes that Lama Druptob Karpo - Tantrik Master flew here in south Sikkim and built a meditation hermitage for himself. If you ever visit Gangtok, you must definitely give it a shot.
It has a prayer hall which contains beautiful Buddhist murals and statues. Many monks can be seen chanting during prayers.Best time to Visit is in December and January.
2. Tsomgo Lake
Surrounded by rough mountains on all sides, the lake is located at an altitude of 12,000 feet around 35 kms away from Gangtok. The Sikkimese consider it as a sacred lake. Its around a kilometer long and 50 feet deep.The top altitudes is covered with snow during the early winters. However, between May and August, it is surrounded by blooming flowers and plants. Tourists can also have a view some beautiful birds and red pandas around the lake.
There are numerous vendors setting up their stalls selling tea, coffee and other food items. People can also take rides on colourful boats around the lake and enjoy the nature's beauty.
3. Rumtek Monastery
Rumtek is the largest monastery in Sikkim located on a hill facing Gangtok. The place has a school. a temple, several stupas and some retreat center for monks to chant and mediate. It was built in 16th Century. During an earthquake the monastery was nearly damaged, but was again rebuilt by the 16 Karmapa. The main temple comprises of four- storey building with a golden sculpture on the top decorated in Tibetan style.
4. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
The institute was established in 1958, and has the biggest collections of Tibetan artefacts outside Tibet. It has been built in a traditional style keeping in mind the cultures and traditions of Tibet. It promotes research in Tibetan style.and Mahayana Buddhism.
It also has a big museum where it contains treasure-trove of thangka paintings (painted, woven and embroidered silk scrolls); ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese and Lepcha; statues and other religious objects. The Library inside the institute contains a large number of books on Buddhism, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Sikkim.
5. Nathu La Pass
The Nathu La Pass was a very crucial border between India and Tibet before it was permanently closed in 1962. Located at an high altitude of 14,450 feet. It was a very important part of the historic silk route that was used for trade between China-India border.
Located 56 Kilometers far from Gangtok. The road to Nathu La passes through the Tsomgo Lake. It is among the highest transportable roads in the world and offers a beautiful scenic view of Chumbi Valley.
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