Gangtok - A bustling, friendly hill station

Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim located in the north-east of India. It is located in Northeast India at an altitude of 1,700 meters. Sikkim is famous for its historical monasteries and natural beauty. Gangtok is one of the most important hill stations of the country. The city is a mixture of tradition and modernity.





When the city of Gangtok served as a Capital?

Sikkim is situated on the border of Nepal and Bhutan. Gangtok was made its capital in the 19th century. It is located in the southern part of Sikkim. The city of Gangtok is situated on the banks of the Ranipul River. The entire Kangchenjunga range can be seen from this city. The people here worship Kanchenjunga as a goddess. The city receives rainfall throughout the year. Due to this the weather here remains very pleasant and mildly cold. Tourists can visit here throughout the year.





What is the History of Gangtok?

Before the end of the monarchy (1975), it was the administrative center of the state of Sikkim, which was incorporated into India and given statehood in 1975. In the state of Sikkim, most cities, including popular ones, lack proper historical information. And so is Gangtok. Not much is known about the history of the city. However, the date of the earlier record which talks about the existence of Gangtok is the year 1716.




Before the end of the monarchy (1975), it was the administrative center of the state of Sikkim, which was incorporated into India and given statehood in 1975. In the state of Sikkim, most cities, including popular ones, lack proper historical information. And so is Gangtok. Not much is known about the history of the city. However, the date of the earlier record which talks about the existence of Gangtok is the year 1716.


What are the Geographical Facts of Gangtok?

The Buddha statue here is found in Gangtok in the lower Himalayas, situated at an altitude of 1676 meters. The city is located at 27.33°N 88.62°E and on the edge of the hill lies the governor's residence at one end and a palace at the other. The Roro Chu and Rani Khola waterfalls flow towards the east and west of Gangtok respectively. These streams meet at Ranipul which flows further south. In Gangtok, the slopes are vulnerable to landslides, as well as precambrian rocks in other parts of Sikkim with fibrous phyllites and cysts. And water flows in natural rivers and man-made springs increase the risk of landslides.




Mount Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, can be seen from the western side of Gangtok. Climate in the city Tourists can choose Gangtok to visit anytime of the year, as the climate here remains pleasant throughout the year. The city has a monsoon-influenced sub-tropical climate and has summer, winter, monsoon, autumn and spring seasons, as in most other cities. It is very cold here in winters. In 1990, 2004, 2005, and 2011 this place also had snowfall. The weather is foggy during monsoon and winter.


Types of industry and trade in Gangtok

Gangtok is a marketing center for maize, rice, pulses and oranges. Before the border with Tibet was closed in 1962, it was an important point on the Indo-Tibetan trade route through Nathula, located 21 km northeast. Gangtok is situated on the slopes, where maize is widely cultivated in terraced fields. The important export products here are cardamom and the government garden of sub-tropical fruits. To the south lies the Experimental Agriculture Center at Tadong.




Culture of Gangtok

The culture prevalent in Gangtok is beautiful and unique. The city also celebrates various local festivals like the popular Hindu festivals Diwali, Dussehra, Holi and Christmas. The New Year celebrations for Tibetans in Gangtok take place around January and February. It is called Losar and is celebrated with the traditional 'Shaitan Dance'. The new year for the Lepchas and Bhutias in the city begins in January. Magh Sankranti and Ram Navami are also two important Nepali festivals in Gangtok, which are celebrated with great pomp. Some other festivals that people celebrate in Gangtok are Drupka Teshi, Chhotrul Duchenne, Buddha Jayanti, Loosong, Saga Dawa, Labab Duchen and Bhumchu, the birthday of the Dalai Lama.



What to eat when you are in Gangtok?

The most popular food here is momos. It is steamed beef, pork and cooked vegetables wrapped in flour and served with soup. Here is another popular food, which is made from noodles. Other popular noodle dishes available in Gangtok include thupka, chowmin, thanthuk, pakthu wonton and gyathuk. In addition, the Sikkim Tourism Department organizes an annual food and culture festival every year in Gangtok in the month of December. In this festival, stalls of multi-cultural cuisines of Sikkim are set up, where they are decorated in a traditional way. Music and folk-dance performances are performed on this occasion to entertain the audience. The ceremony is held at the Titanic Park on MG Marg in the city.


Traffic and Transportation

From Gangtok via Lahung and Lachen, the North Sikkim Highway (1962) runs to the border of Tibet and the National Highway runs southwest towards India. Gangtok can reach the destination via air, rail or road.


Tourism in Gangtok

If you are planning to visit Gangtok this summer or winters, then a question will come in your mind " what are places to visit in Gangtok?"


There is a site called Orchid Sanctuary in Gangtok, which has 454 species of orchids found in Sikkim. There is a do-drul chorten with a gold-domed stupa, which has 108 prayer wheels and the small scale industry institute 'Cottage Industries Institute' (1957) is also located here. Other tourist places include Chogyal ka Mahal Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Inche Math, Mrig Vihar Zoo and Tashi Viewpoint.

The famous Rumtek Buddhist Monastery is located 8 km south-west of here and the royal burial site is located in the nearby Lakshiyama.


  • Somgo lake

  • Rumtek Monastery

  • Inhenchi Monastery

  • Do Drul Chorten

  • Orchid Sanctuary

  • tashi ling

  • Tisuk La Khang

  • Pilling

  • Pemayanasti Monastery

  • MG Marg


 

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