Gangtok, the "Lofty Hill" or the "Hill made flat to build the Gangtok monastery in 1716". Gangtok is a city, which, till one sees it, one would believe exists only in picture-story books. In the mystery-laden mists prayer flags whip in the breeze; wheels spin in the hands of Lamas mumbling invocations to God, in the distance are the snows, on the streets amidst brightly painted pagoda roofed houses, lined with friendly smiling people are silver, silk and spice and jewellery to gladden an maiden's heart, from across the seven seas are gadget and goods to delight the collector of "imported goods', while directly overlooking the city is the hill Lukshyma, the 'Mother of Pearl' citadel of the magic mountain, Khang-Chen-Dzod-Nga.
is a municipality, the capital and the largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim
. It also is the headquarters of the East Sikkim district. Gangtok is located in the eastern Himalyas range, at an altitude of 1,650 m (5,410 ft). The town's one lakh (hundred thousand) population belongs to different ethnicities such as Nepalese, Lepchas and Bhutia
. Nestled within higher peaks of the Himalaya and enjoying a year-round mild temperate climate, Gangtok is at the centre of Sikkim's tourism industry. Gangtok has developed into a cosmopolitan flavour where old-world charm and hospitality exist along with the Internet Age.
Places to See
Deer Park :
Adjacent to the new secretariat and also called the Rustomji Park named after one of the Dewans of the Chogyal of Sikkim, the park has a big open enclosure in which animals native to Sikkim like the red panda and the Himalayan Bear are kept. A big statue of Lord Buddha commemorating his preachings of the noble truths in the Deer Park at Sarnath adorns the park premises
. A butter lamp perpetually burns in front of the statue, which is surrounded with flowers of exotic variety. The park commands a fantastic view of the hills, surrounding Gangtok.
Dul-Dul Chorten :
Duddul Chortenat Dotapu Chorten, Gangtok was built under the supervision of the late Most Venerable Trulshi Rinpoche after due preparations in 1945-46, in accordance with the prophecy made in 1944 by the Holiness the Dud-Zom Rinpoche.
Government Institute Of Cottage Industries :
This institute is located at about half a kilometre uphill from the main market of Gangtok. It was established with the purpose of promoting the manufacture and sale of local handicrafts. Thankas (also spelt as Thangkas), hand carved wooden tables - known as Choksees and exquisitely woven woolen carpets. More than hundred student workers turn out cottage crafts produced here, with textures, plush and exotic, the designs varying from sophisticated simplicity to a brilliant riot of varmillion pitted against intense blue, are durable and popular all over the world second to carpets in popularity is Sikkimese Tankhas, variegated appliqu� work Batiks and exquisite dolls, in wood-work are available intricately carved Sikkimese tables, hand-painted masks, lamp-stands, shades and bamboo-craft. Esoteric masks, flashing silks, opulent brocades and embroidered boots, clothe the Sikkimese dancers.
Kabi Longstok :
25-km from Gangtok, just before Phodong is Kabi Longstok. There is a spot amidst tall trees, where the treaty of brotherhood between, the Lepcha Chieftan - Tetong Tek and the Tibetan chief Khye Bhumsa was signed.
Kangchendzonga National Park :
Crossing a check gate where visitors entry permits was checked, one enters the Kangchendzonga National Park
. The climb is gradual but very interesting as soon one is greeted by snow, lying white and pristine over the green forest floor and covering a few treetops. The jagged, rocky slopes to our left glistened in the sunlight at places forming glaciers where the gradient was right. The mountains to our right were covered with dark green pines; the snow line being much higher.
Kechopari Lake :
On bifurcation road between Gyalsing and Yoksum, is clear water Kechopari Lake (means - wishing lake). All around are mountains with dense forests and wild life. It is so placid, crystal clear that not a leaf can be seen floating over it, because it is immediately lifted by birds.
Labrang Monastery :
A kilometre further from Phodong, the Labrang monastery was built about 100 years later. This monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism
, the same as that of Pemayangtse monastery in West Sikkim. Its name translates simply as the dwelling place of the Lamas (monks).
Pemayangtse Monastery :
Around 6-km from Gyalsing town, this monastery originally built as a small temple in the last of 17th century by Latsun Chempo, later rebuilt the temple structure into a monastery.