Gangtok is a city located in the mountainous north-east Indian state of Sikkim. It is also the capital city of this state, and was originally established as an independent monarchy and a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the mid-19th century, and is part of India since 1975.
Gangtok is a Tibetan Buddhist centre and also a popular hiking and trekking destination due to its location close to the Himalayan Mountain ranges. It has many picturesque lakes, parks, viewpoints, waterfalls and peaks which are a feast to the eyes and the soul. Here are some of the attractions and places to see/explore in Gangtok:
- Nathula Pass – A pass connecting Tibet with Sikkim at a height of 4310 m; makes for a thrilling adventure
- Tsomgo Lake
- Kanchenjunga – The world’s third largest peak; a majestic mountain that lies close to the city
- Himalayan Zoological Park
- Reshi Hotsprings
- Banjhakri Waterfalls
- Tashi Viewpoint
If you are planning a trip to Gangtok, do not forget to pay a visit to these below listed places :
- Rumtek Monastery
- Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple
- Ganesh Tok
Some of the best museums to visit in the city are:
- Namgyal Institute of Tibetology Museum
- High Court of Sikkim Museum
Tibetan culture and Buddhism are prevalent in Gangtok, and many festivals associated with these are celebrated here such as:
- Lhabab Dunchen Festival
- Saga Dawa – People visit monasteries and light butter lamps during this festival, to worship Lord Buddha
- Bum-chu Festival – Where a pot filled with holy water is distributed to the devotees and then refilled and sealed until the next year
- Losoong Festival
- Hee Bermiok Tourism Festival – A carnival, for which people from different parts of the country and world gather in Hee Bermiok city near Gangtok
Gangtok offers various interesting things that people can shop for in its markets, such as Tibetan style lanterns, Buddha figurines and wall hangings, Sikkimese tea, Black Cardamom, Tibetan Alpine cheese, handlooms, carpets and local clothes. Some of the markets to check out in Gangtok for these are:
- Lal Bazaar
- Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms
- MG Road
- New Market
- Old Market
- Bhutani Market
- Organic Shopping Complex
People in Gangtok mostly eat foods from Sikkimese cuisine. Some delicious local foods to try in Gangtok are:
- Gya Thuk – A noodle soup made with local vegetables, chicken or pork.
- Kodo Ko Roti – A Sikkimese finger millet pancake.
- Gundruk – A fermented leafy green vegetable dish that originated in Nepal, and eaten across Sikkim too.
- Phagshapa – Strips of pork fat stewed with dry chillies and radishes – a spicy and tangy dish that is made without any oil.
- Sinki – A dish made of radish taproots and bamboo shoot.
- Sha Phaley – A bread dish stuffed with seasoned meat and cabbage.
- Kinema Curry – A traditional fermented soybean stew/curry, usually served with steamed rice as a side-dish.
Here are some popular restaurants in Gangtok to check out and dine at:
- Rolls House
- Osm Restro & Lounge
- Shuffle Momos
- Cafe Culture
- Khan Uncle’s Biryani House
- Agarwal Pure Veg Restaurant
- The Dragon Wok
- Snow Lion Restaurant
- Taste of Tibet
- Allen’s Kitchen
- The Square
- Hotel Sher-E-Punjab
Some good (and well-rated) hotels for a comfortable stay in Gangtok are:
- LemonTree Hotel Gangtok
- The Elgin Nor-Khill
- MAYFAIR Spa Resort & Casino Gangtok
- Udaan Woodberry Hotel & Spa
- The Royal Heritage
- Summit Namnang Courtyard & Spa
- Club Mahindra Gangtok
- Bamboo Grove Retreat
- Suhim Portico
- Sterling Gangtok – Orange Village
- Hotel Sonam Delek
- Hotel 100 Petals
Gangtok also has some good pubs and bars for people looking for a lively nightlife ambience or hangout spot during late hours, such as:
- X’cape – The Youngistan of Gangtok
- The Attic Lounge
- Cafe Live Loud (has live music, drinks and a nice nightlife ambience)
- Lounge 31a
- After Dark
- Gangtok STD Code – 03592 (to be used before dialling numbers from a device that is not locally registered)
- Police – 100
- Fire emergency – 101
- Ambulance – 102, 108
- Child Helpline – 1098
- Women Helpline – 1090
Nepali , English are the most spoken language in Gangtok.
- Good morning! - Suva Pravath
- Good evening! - Suva sandhya
- How are you? - Tapailai Kasto Cha?
- Thank you - Dharai Dhanyabad
- Have a nice day - Tapaik Ko Din Suva Rahosh
- Good night - Suva Ratri