Gangtok its captivating architectural beauty radiates with pagoda-like wooden houses, painted turquoise roofs and bazaars.
Undoubtedly modern times have wound their way into this picturesque town, but the gently swaying and elegant costumes of the Sikkimese people, their smiling faces, the unhurried pace of their life-style and the towering beauty of Kanchenjunga ….. all cast a magic spell on this delightful location in the foothills of the grand Himalayas.
Perched atop a ridge at a height of 1520 mts. Lies Gangtok, a tantalizing town touched by a panorama of colours. Gangtok the capital of Sikkim, is today a busy town bustling with hectic activity.
Gangtok serves as a perfect base for exploring Sikkim. Endowed with a wealth of exquisite beauty and magical mystery, with a host of walkways and delightful sights which make it all the more irresistible.
Gangtok offers the tourist all modern amenities for comfort and pleasure. There are a number of luxury as well as moderately priced hotels.
Tourist Places in Gangtok
Cradled by pristine alpine forests, the Changu Lake is bordered with primula, poppies and other wildflowers and grasses, and a little temple of Shiva (Destroyer of the Universe according to Hindu mythology) dots one side of the placid waterbody. The lake formed by the melting snow of mountains, stands at an altitude of 12,400ft, and has an average depth of 50ft. There is a footpath that runs from the lake to a peaceful resting shed. It’s a great place to just lie down for a lazy while and take in the smells and sounds of Mother Nature.
The lake freezes during the winter months, and it is believed that in ancient times monks could predict the future by looking at the hues of the lake water! You could try fishing here, as the lake has some rainbow trout. Foreigners are now allowed to visit the lake as well. The Changu Lake is at a distance of 35km from Gangtok.
It is best to visit the lake from March to May, and from September to December. This might mean though that during the peak season, the lake tends to get a trifle overcrowded with tourists.
Perched between the mountains below the Jelepla Pass, the Menmecho Lake lies 20km ahead of the Changu Lake. The lake is formed by the melting snow of mountains and is the source of the Rangpochu River. Well, if you haven’t had much luck with your hook ’n’ line at Changu, try again at Menmecho Lake as it is known for its trout and also has a fish-farm close by. But you might have to check with a local travel agent if the lake is open to tourists.
Have you ever dreamt of a heavenly lake in the middle of green tranquil woods from which you look up to see prayer flags swishing in the wind, and there in the distance a little monastery perched on top of a remote hill? Look down, and you see not a leaf disturbing the peaceful waters, but a reflection of a wild untouched garden.
Very slowly a leaf glides and settles on the tarn’s still waters, sending a few corrugated shivers into the reflection, and the forest gets into a little topsy-turvy.
Just then, a little bright bird hovers over the pool and in one manoeuvered swoop, the pretty creature scoops up the leaf off the surface of the loch, as if it has done so a thousand times before.
How to Reach Gangtok
By Air: The nearest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal and is 124 kms (about 4 hrs drive) from Gangtok, which is connected, with all the major cities in India. You can also avail the helicopter service operated by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation daily from Bagdogra to Gangtok, which takes about 20 mins.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is at New Jalpaiguri, which is about 125 kms from Gangtok(about 4 hrs). New Jalpaiguri is well connected with all the cities in India.
By Road: Gangtok is connected by road with Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong by the National Highway 31 A. There are regular Sikkim state transport buses between Gangtok and Siliguri.Private buses, jeeps and taxis can also be hired from Siliguri and Bagdogra.