GANGTOK TOURISM | TOURIST PLACES TO VISIT & TRAVEL GUIDE TO GANGTOK
#1 of 6 Places to visit in Sikkim | #49 of 100 Places to visit in India
Ideal Trip Duration: 2 Full Days
Nearest City to Gangtok: Gangtok, Guwahati (543 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Gangtok: February to May & September to November
Peak Season: March to May
At a distance of 78 km from Kalimpong, 96 km from Darjeeling, 115 km from Pelling, 117 km from Siliguri, 403 km from Darbhanga, 496 km from Muzzafarpur, 543 km from Guwahati, and 670 km from Kolkata, Gangtok is a fascinating hill town and the capital of north-eastern state of Sikkim, India. Known for its cleanliness and breathtaking beauty, it is one of the popular places to visit in Sikkim and is one of the popular attraction not to miss in your honeymoon trip.
Situated at an altitude of 5410 feet, Gangtok is the largest city and the main business and tourist hub of Sikkim. The name meaning hill-top, Gangtok is known for its scenic beauty and striking views of Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. It is also known as the land of monasteries, as it has maximum number of monasteries in the world. Located right in the middle of the Himalayan range and having mild temperate climate year-round, Gangtok is the most important center for Sikkim Tourism.
According to history, Gangtok rose to prominence as a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840 CE. In 1894, the ruling Sikkimese Chogyal, Thutob Namgyal, transferred the capital from Tumlong to Gangtok, increasing the city's importance. In the early 20th century, Gangtok became a major stopover on the trade route between Tibet and India. After India's independence in 1947, Sikkim chose to remain an independent monarchy, with Gangtok as its capital. After the integration with the union of India in 1975, Gangtok was made India's 22nd state capital.
A Himalayan wonderland, Gangtok is bestowed with unparalleled natural beauty, variety of vegetation, undisturbed valleys, peaceful environment and rich cultural heritage. Enchey Monastery, Ganesh Tok, Do Drul Chorten Stupa, Rumtek Monastery, Tsomgo Lake, Ban Jhakri falls, Nathula Pass, Pemayangtse Monastery, Deorali Orchid Sanctuary, Yumthang Valley, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Gardens, Gonjang Monastery, and Ranka Monastery are the top places to visit in Gangtok. MG Road, the main street of Gangtok is a great place to chill out throughout the day and is the main shopping area of Gangtok. This place is also the venue for the annual Gangtok Food and Culture festival held in December every year.
Festivals are an integral part of Gangtok being the capital of Sikkim has kept the culture and tradition intact. The vibrancy of these festivals is so beautiful that it will leave a lifetime impression on your mind. Saga Dawa, Phang Lhabsol, Dashain, Flower Festival, Gangtok Food and Culture Festival, Diwali, Losar and Makar Sankranti are the popular festivals celebrated in Gangtok with great pomp and fervor.
The nearest airport to Gangtok is Bagdogra International Airport, which is about 125 km from Gangtok. It has direct flights from Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi. Also, there are daily helicopter services from Bagdogra operated by Sikkim Tourism development Corporation and it will take only 35 minutes to reach Gangtok. New Jalpaiguri is the nearest rail head and has trains from Patna, New Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati, Howrah, Bangalore, Dibrugarh, Puri, Gaya, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Amritsar, Chennai, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar, Cochin and Agartala. Gangtok SNT Bus Station is well connected by bus with Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Siliguri. From these places, one can take shared jeeps and taxis to reach Gangtok.
The best time to visit Gangtok is from March to May and September to November with cool weather and can enjoy the sightseeing. Better to avoid visiting Gangtok in monsoon season when there could be heavy landslides.
Foreign nationals (except Bhutanese) require an Inner-Line Permit to visit Gangtok.