Gangtok is a hilly town and spreads down the western side of a long ridge flanking the Ranipul River. Famous for its many important monasteries, and for the picturesque views of the Himalayas, Gangtok is one of the important hill stations of the country.
Ganesh Tok & Pinetum
Up in the top of the ridge, near Himalayan Zoological Park (Bulbulley) is Ganesh Tok which is 7 kms from Gangtok. A small temple of Lord Ganesh rests on this beautiful hilltop with a size that can hold only a person who has to crawl to get inside it. A sip of coffee on a chill hilltop available in a cafeteria nearby adds warmth to your visit on a cold winter day. Pinetum garden rests nearby giving one a memorable experience of a walk amidst the smell of pine trees.
Hanuman Tok, a name derived from a small temple of Ganesha situated here is at an altitude of about 6200 feet and is about 11 Kms from Gangtok town. Everyday lots of devotees come and offer prayer. Also frequented by young lovers the silence here is naturally romantic .Besides it also has a zoological park managed by the forest department which is now a home to the rare endangered species of the state.
Tashi View Point
Situated along the North Sikkim Highway, it is only 8 kms from Gangtok. From this point you get a breathtaking view of Mount Khangchendzonga and Mt. Sinolchu, one of the most graceful peaks in the world.
Himalayan Zoological Park
Himalayan Zoological Park also known as Bulbuley is about 8 Kms away from Gangtok. Established and maintained by the Department of Forest and spreading across an area of 205 hectares this park has a collection of rare rhododendrons. There is a paved cement path that passes by fenced open air enclosure housing the Red Pandas (state animal), barking Deer, spotted deer, bears in a semi natural habitat.
Flower Show Centre
Fifteen minutes walk from the town this centre has exhibits of flowers. Flower exhibitions are organized around the year at the Flower Show Venue near the White Memorial Hall Complex, Gangtok. Orchid Shows held during the spring tourist season is one of the most popular shows organized in the state.
The Sikkim Flower Show Complex is a showcase of the world famous Sikkim Orchids. Displayed here are the rare and exotic varieties, also available in a convenient retail outlet within the complex where visitors may take bulbs and saplings at nominal rates.
Do- Drul Chorten:
One of the most important Stupas of Sikkim built by Trulsi Rimponche, head of the Nyingma order containing rare Mandalas of Dorjee Phurpa(Bara Kilaya),holy books, mantras and encircled by 108 prayer wheels is at distance of a kilometer from the heart of the capital. For the adventure lovers there is a cable car that leads to the chorten thus giving one an opportunity of flying over the hills.
It literally means “Source of the Lake” in Bhutia language. Just about 40 kms away form Gangtok; the capital of the State, this serene lake is situated at an altitude of 3780 meters. The lake is about 1 km long, Oval in shape, 15 meters deep and is considered sacred by the local people. This placid lake remains frozen during the winter months up to mid-May during which visitors get an opportunity to experience snowfall. The lake is held sacred by the local inhabitants. On the lakeside is a small temple of Lord Shiva. Although the lake abounds in trout, nobody goes fishing here. In times gone by, lamas (Buddhist monks) are said to have foretold the future by observing the color of lake’s water. If the water had a dark tinge, it foreshadowed a year of trouble and unrest in the state. Tsomgo (3780 mts) abounds in alpine flowers like Poppies, Primulas and Rhododendron. This place has a breath-taking variety of flowers between May and August. Animals, though present are very difficult to spot during a casual visit; but one may expect to see signs of musk deer, serow, goral, common langur and the red panda here in the higher ranges of Tsomgo. There are records of leopard and black bear too.
The Indo-China border at Jawahar Lal Nehru Road at 54 kms from Gangtok lies Nathula whereby Indian troops and the Red army stand face to face. At an altitude of 14790 ft, it's the closest an Indian Tourist can travel and pose a photo or two with the Red Army. Nathula means the whistling pass. Tourist visit is restricted and one needs to be applied at least 24 hrs in advance for permit. The days permitted to visit Nathula are Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sundays and permissible for Indian Tourists only.Human population consists of a small number of nomadic Tibetan graziers or ‘Dokpas’ (who herd yak, sheep and pasmina-type goats) and large number of Defence personnel as the area forms the international border with Tibet (China).
It is a beautiful lake located 20 Kms. ahead of Changu Lake. It lies cradled between the mountains below the Jelepla Pass and is source of river Rangpo-chu. It derives its water from melting snows around. The lake is famous for its trout and a farm to cultivate
Nearby, is the “Baba Mandir” which also attracts a large number of followers from all over .Mystery surrounds the mandir where it is believed that a sepoy who died a long time ago still gets the army privileges where he is said to visit his home accompanied by a guard and all reservations made for his travel. An offering in the form of a pair of slippers for the Holy Spirit is made and it is believed that if worn it heals the aching foot. ‘Langar’ a free meal is served here once in every week.
At an altitude of around 1400 mts. Martam Village is located 5 kms ahead of Rumtek (Well known for famous Rumtek Monastery). The charming simplicity and beauty of this place enchants each and everyone who flock this place.
About a 45-minute drive away on the hill frm Gangtok is the Rumtek Monastery , the headquarter of the Dharma Chakra Centre, and the seat of His Holiness,the Gyalwa Karmapa,Head of the Kagyurpa order of Tibetan Buddhism sect.Said to be the replica of the monastery of Tsurpu,Tibet with its traditional architecture ,exquisite paintings and intricate woodwork and housing treasures of manuscript and icons- this is a splendid example of Tibetan monastic art.Behind the main monastery is the lavishly decorated Karma Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies,which attracts students from the world over.Opposite the entrance to the Institute is a small hall featuring a beautiful jewel studded chorten the Golden Stupa,which contains the ashes and remains of His Holiness,the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa.
A spectacular monastery on the Gangtok-Ranka route is the seat of Zurmang Charwang Rinpoche.The present Gharwang Rinpoche is the XII successive incarnation in this lineage.
Situated at an altitude 891 mts, Aritar is an ideal location for those interested in spending a night or two in the peaceful environment. The Aritar Lake also known as “Lam Pokhari” is about 4 hours from Gangtok and about 30 min from Rhenock located at East District of Sikkim which is worth visiting. Boating has been started here to give a boost to the tourism in the area and is maintained by the department of Tourism, Government of Sikkim. An old British-built bungalow of 1895 located half km below the lake could be an enthralling experience for the people coming here to spend a night. A few trekkers’ hut, few lodges and a private resort is available at Aritar. This place is an ideal location for a picnic.
Khedi, situated at an altitude of around 2786 mts is one of virgin paradise of Sikkim. This place dotted with huge collection of flora and fauna is around seven to eight hours trek from Pakyong via Assam Lingzey. The places around here has a moderately shallow, some what excessively drained, coarse –loamy over fragmental soils on steep slops (30-50%) with loamy surface, slight surface stoniness and moderate erosion. Enroute Khedi, Pastanga at an altitude of 1425 mts is an enchanting village that provides magnificent view of the mountain ranges. One can wander along the lush green mountain trails where one comes across beautiful waterfalls along the path. There are rare species of bamboos in dense rhododendron and magnolia forest.
Quite popular with local tourists especially during Ramnavami, Jhandi dara at a three hour walk from Pakyong is famous for its share of Rhododendrons and particularly Orchids that grow in the wild. Nowhere can one find such varieties of orchids as here. Come April and Jhandi dara is bedded with orchids of every colour thereby satisfying the thirst of a nature enthusiast. A small lake by the name Budang pokhari exists at a short distance from here which is significant as it is the only source of water in the whole area. This place can be an ideal spot for short treks or perhaps develop into a picnic spot.