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Tsomgo(Changu) Lake : Tsomgo(Changu) lake is only 40 kms from Gangtok town and is situated at an altitude of 12,210 ft. The drive from Gangtok takes about 2½ hours by bus. The lake is bout 1 km. long and oval in shape, 50ft deep and is regarded extremely Holy. It is also a home of Brahmini ducks besides stopover for various migratory ducks .

Handloom and Handicrafts Centre : It is now known as the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handlooms as well as the Government Institute of Cottage Industries. Started during the time of the Chogyals of Sikkim, as a venture to protect and propagate the craft and skills of local and village artisans, it has become on t of the major attractions for people visiting Sikkim where traditional handcrafts, furniture, handlooms carpets and other products can be viewed and also purchased . A word of caution to the innocent guest. It is better to check whether there is a government holiday or not as the GICI. is closed on Sundays, all government declared holidays, second Saturdays and the odd unforeseen holidays ...more

Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre : The seat of the 17 th Gyalwa Karma, late His Holiness Rangjung Rigpae Dorjee, it is believed that the monastery, built in 1960 is a replica of the original Kagyurpa Monastery in Tsurphu, Tibet. ( 24 kms from Gangtok).

Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies : Initiated by the late 16th Karmapa, the institute in housed in the adjoining building of the Rumtek Monastery. The Jamyang Khang Primary School meant for 5 years of primary monastic studies is also located here. 

Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden : Located very close to Rumtek Monastery just half a kilometer before reaching Rumtek Monastery on the highway, it is  maintained by the parks and Gardens unit of the Forest Department of the Government of Sikkim, the Garden is an enchanting and soothing experience among the lush green vegetation, rare plants and trees and certain species of Himalayan flowers and Orchids.

This garden is a mixture of well tended tropical and temperate plants and trees can be found here. A huge greenhouse containing many species of orchids has been constructed within the garden. For children there is even a small playground with a merry-go-round, swings and a see-saw. A cemented footpath winds its way through the garden and is good for taking a relaxed stroll. The sprawling town of Gangtok can be seen on the hill opposite. The garden is indeed an ideal picnic spot. 

Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology (SRIT) : About a kilometer downhill from the main market of Gangtok, amidst a small forest of oak, magnolia and birch trees stands the Institute of Tibetology. The building accommodating the Institute is an example of Tibetan architecture. It is world renowned and is one of the few of its kind. It has one of the world's largest collection of books and rare manuscripts on the subject of Mahayana Buddhism plus many religious works of art and incredibly finely executed silk embroidered thangkas

Adjoining the institute is the Orchid Sanctuary where most of the 454 species of orchid found in Sikkim could be seen depending on the season. About a km beyond the institute stands a huge chorten whose gold apex is visible from many points in Gangtok.

Do-Drul Chorten ( Stupa)

The Do-Drul Chorten or Stupa was built by the venerable Trulshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism in 1945. Inside this stupa, there are complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba (Bajra Kilaya), a set of Kan-gyur relics ( Holy Books), complete 'Zung'( mantras) and other religious objects. Around this Chorten, which is one of the most important stupas in Sikkim, are 10 Mani-Lhakor( prayer wheels). These prayer wheels are turned by the devout Buddhist while chanting "Hail to the jewel in the Lotus", to invoke the Buddhisattva. The Chorten is surrounded by Chorten Lakhang, where there are two huge statues of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava).

Deer Park

This park, established in the late fifties, is located adjacent to the new Secretariat and is also called the Rustomji park so named after one of the Dewans of the Chogyal of Sikkim and the author of the book "Enchanted Frontiers". The park has a big open enclosure in which different types of deer can be seen. There are also a few cages in which some animals native to Sikkim have been kept. A big statue of Lord Buddha commemorating his preaching 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 by flowers of the most exotic  variety.

The park which commands a good view of the hills surrounding Gangtok is perched on top of a hillside that plunges almost vertically deep into the valley.

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 different types of deer can be seen. There are also cages in which animals native to Sikkim like the Red Panda and the Himalayan Bear are kept. A big statue of  Lord Buddha commemorating his preaching of the noble truths in the deer park at Sarnath adorn 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

Permanent Flower Show

White Hall, Close by the White Memorial Hall and just below the Palace Ridge park is the more recent Flower Show Hall. In recent years this show has become quite popular and famous as there are flower exhibitions throughout the year in accordance with the seasons and the flowers in bloom.

Enchey Monastery

An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery meaning the Solitary temple, was originally built with the solace that no other construction would be allowed near it is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his  flying powers. This 200-year-old Monastery has in its premises images of god, goddesses and other religious objects. Every year around January 'Chaam' or religious masked dance is performed with great fanfare for two days. it is situated adjoining the Sinolchu Tourist Lodge, 3 kms from Gangtok Town.

Hanuman Tok

It is approximately 5½ km. from Gangtok town.  A temple of God Hanuman, worshipped by the Hindus. Besides offering prayers, one can enjoy the scenic beauty of Gangtok town and have a satisfying glimpse of Mt Khangchendzonga, which is snow clad.

Tashi View Point

Built by the late King of Sikkim Sri. Tashi Namgyal, it is situated about six kilometres away from Gangtok on the North Sikkim Highway, this place offers an astounding view of the Khangchendzonga snowy range on a clear day.

On the opposite hill, the Phodong and the Labrang monasteries can be seen. A resting shed and a small cafeteria situated at Tashi View Point provides shelter and other amenities to the tourists. A park above the View Point is a good place to enjoy a picnic. 

Ganesh Tok

It is a very small temple of Ganesh, a God worshipped by Hindus. It is on a hillock on Gangtok-Nathula Road. A Sikkim Government nursery is just nearby.

M.G. Marg Main Market

Every major town in India has a Mahatma Gandhi Road and Gangtok is no exception. Slightly less than a kilometre in length, the road is flat and is lined with shops which constitute the Main Market and downtown of Gangtok. Overlooking the M.G. Marg is the Statue of Unity which depicts the meeting of the Bhutia Chieftain Khye Bumsa with the Lepcha leader Thetong Tek and his wife Ngo-kong-ngol. Almost midway, is the bust statue of Mahatma Gandhi. The market has hotels, restaurants and shops selling all types of consumer goods. There are many liquor shops and bars too. The shops are open by 8 am and close by 7 pm. This market is closed on Tuesdays. 

Lal Market

Located just below the Main Market a few minutes walk away, was an open space market encircled with shops. This market was built in 1956 and named thus in honor of J. Lal, a Dewan of the Chogyal. If you were interested in seeing how different cultures - old and new as well as diverse - blend together here in Sikkim, then a visit to the Lal Bazar on Hat Day that is Sunday was a must.

Villagers in bakhus(Bhutia dress), daura-saurals (Nepali dress) and Bihari businessmen in dhotis brush shoulders with urbanites sporting jeans and chic fashions communicating with each other in Bhutia, Lepcha, Nepali and Hindi over the blare of both Indian and Western songs - a seemingly Tower of Babel! The wares on sale were equally diverse - from local cottage -cheese, incense sticks to the latest electronic gadgets. The smell of fish, spices, cheese and vegetables permeates the air.  Now this market is shifted to children park while new construction is coming up where it used to be.  

Himalayan Zoological Park

The park is located exactly across the road opposite Ganesh Tok and covers an area of 205 hectares. This area is also known as Bulbuley and extends almost upto Hanuman Tok. Although a 3 kms long jeepable road runs right through the park, vehicles are not allowed in. There is a paved cement path that passes by fenced open air enclosures housing the red pandas, Barking Deer, bears and other animals of Sikkim in a semi natural habitat. As the enclosures encompass a huge area the animals are sometimes not easily visible and one has to be patient to get a sight of them. Making noise drives away the animals to take refuge behind bushes.

Saramsa Garden

Also know as  lpecac Garden is about 14 kms from Gangtok, the home of Sikkim's most exotic orchids and other rare tropical and temperate plants. The garden is know as Ipecac garden because of the plant Ipecac that is grown here. Established and maintained by the Department of Forest, it is an excellent recreation and picnic spot.  Besides this plant, this garden also contains a wide variety of other flora including numerous types of orchids and medicinal plants. A large green house also accommodates many other species of plants. One has to take a taxi to reach this place.

Water Garden

Water Garden at Martam Khola is on the 31-A National Highway some 16 kms. south of Gangtok. It is an ideal spot for picnic with a small swimming pool for children.

White Hall

The White Hall only has historical value and is situated on the Ridge. It is a two storied structure and has typical British architecture and was built in 1932. It is so called not because it is, painted white but because it was built in memory of the first Political Officer of Sikkim, Claude White to whom a reference has been made elsewhere in this book. There is an Officers' Club and a badminton court in the White Hall.

The Ridge

The Ridge is a small stretch of plain and flat road above the town of Gangtok. It is just about fifteen minutes walk from the main market. The Ridge has the White Hall and the Chief Minister's official residence, known as the Mintokgang, meaning "blossomed crowned hilltop" on one end and the beautifully designed Palace Gate with a pagoda rooftop on the other end. A statue of Nehru, the late Prime Minister of India, adorns the roundabout above White Hall.

Situated on the Ridge is also a resting shed using Tibetan architecture. The ridge is lined with plants and trees which when in bloom are a riot of colours. Flower shows which attract tourists from all over the world are held just below the Ridge. From the ridge, the, road winding its way up along the Chola range towards Nathula( border between India and China) can be clearly seen.

During 1967 (not 1962, when this border was quiet), a confrontation broke out between India and China at Nathula. Long ago, a small market called the Sudder Bazaar consisting of a few shops lined the Ridge. In the early twenties this market was shifted to the present M.G. Marg.

Sa-Ngor-Chotshog Centre

It is a Tibetan refugee monastic institution established in 1961 by his Eminence Luding Khen Rimpoche, Head of Ngorpa, sub-sect of the Sakya Order, with the blessing of H.H. Sakya Trizin and H.H. the Dalai Lama. This is the only monastery of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim. It is located on a beautiful hill-top just 5 kms away from Gangtok.


Located in the extreme west is noted for rhododendrons. It's a huge Rhododendron forest, is a must visit experience trip during the flowering season from mid march to April end. The whole forest is aflame with riot of Rhododendron Flowers with hues raging from blood red to pure white and against the back drop of the mountains its truly an unforgettable experience.

Places of Interest