Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is tucked within the Himalayan foothills at an altitude on 5,800 feet facing Mt. Kanchenjungha. Gangtok is mostly chosen as a central point from where tourists travel to other spots of Sikkim and our trip to the Silk Route would commence from here. However, Gangtok itself offers plenty of sightseeing options to the tourists like Tashi viewpoint, Enchey Monastery, zoo, Hanuman Tok, Institute of Tibetology and numerous parks and gardens like Ipecac Garden, Sarmsa Garden and Nehru Botanical Garden. Day trips to nearby Rumtek Monastery (one of the largest monasteries in India), Changu Lake (Tsomgo Lake) and Nathula Pass would be rewarding too.
What to see in Gangtok:
From most of Gangtok, you would get a good view of Mt. Kanchenjungha but the most panoramic view of the whole of Mt. Kanchenjungha range and the peaks of North Sikkim can be got from Tashi Viewpoint, just 5 kms away. Other great viewpoints located around Gangtok are located in Hanuman Tok – a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Ganesh Tok – a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh and Enchey Monastery beside the TV Tower. It would be quite rewarding, if you spare a day or two in Gangtok for local sightseeing and visit Rumtek Monastery, The Institute of Tibetology, Bakhthang Waterfalls, Ban Jakhri Waterfalls, Lingdum Monastery, Nehru Botanical Garden, the zoo, MG Marg, Ropeway and few other interesting areas. Rumtek Monastery, established in 1922 is located 22 kms from Gangtok. This spectacular three storey monastery has a large praying hall and every corner of this monastery is laced with big or small statues, Thangkas and superb wall paintings. If you are fond of monasteries, then drop at Enchey Monastery and Lingdum Monastery too. For shopaholics, a trip to MG Marg and Lal Market could be on cards and if you are planning to buy some authentic traditional wood works then the emporium at The Institute of Tibetology. The Institute also has a huge collection of 30,000 books and documents related to Tibet and Buddhism.
Our trip to Silk Route would start from Gangtok and reach the famous Changu Lake (Tsomgo Lake) and then to New Baba Mandir, Nathula Pass and then trace along the rest of the route through Tukla, Nathang and Zuluk.
Accommodation in Gangtok:
Our hotel located about 10 minutes from M G Marg facing Mt. Kanchenjungha has 24 deluxe rooms, each one having wall-to-wall windows, LCD TV, Wi-Fi connectivity, tea maker, wardrobes and a king-sized bed. A striking lobby leads to deluxe rooms, super deluxe rooms or suites of the hotel. The hotel flaunts its terrace that offer a view of Mt. Kanchenjungha and the valleys around. Bathrooms are western in style, having showers, geysers and all other facilities. Its parking space is an advantage for people travelling by car. A widespread dinning hall serves all kinds of food from Bengali and South Indian dishes to authentic Sikkimese dishes. The hotel’s reception is open 24 hours to help out their guests at any time. The whole hotel is Wi-Fi and offers a travel desk and transport arrangements to anywhere in Sikkim.
Best time to visit Gangtok:
If you are fond of watching beautiful wild flowers blooming in Gangtok then, visit during the Spring time, from the mid of February to April. However, winter is also very enjoyable from October to mid of December. You can experience the cool temperature of Gangtok and witness the frozen lakes.