A bustling hill station, Gangtok the capital of the Himalayan state of Sikkim, provides a nice break away from typical city life. A highly organised and beautifully maintained tourist place Gangtok became a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site after the construction of the Enchey Monastery in 1840. Today, with the presence of several monasteries, religious educational institutions, and centres for Tibetology, Gangtok has slowly evolved nto a centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning.
Places to Stay
Being a tourist place, Gangtok has many hotels that offer affordable accommodation. Some of them are Hotel Sagorika Rs.700, Hotel Saikripa Rs.680, Hotel Nathula Rs.900 and Himalayan Retreat Rs.807.
The New Year is celebrated in January by Lepchas and Bhutias, while the Tibetans celebrate it with the ‘Devil Dance’ in Jan–Feb. The flower show during the flowering season is held from mid March to end of May in spring and October to mid December in autumn and the annual Cymbidium Orchid Show, which commences from mid March to mid April is believed to be the best and the finest in the entire south Asian region.
The main languages spoken in Gangtok are Hindi, Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang and Sunwar.
Places to Visit
The places to see are Enchey Monastery and Ganesh Tok, Do-drul Chorten, Dodrupchen Monastery, the Flower show at Ridge Park, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and the Banjhakri Falls.
How to Get There
The airport closest to Gangtok is the Bagdogra Airport (16kms from Siliguri). Daily helicopter service takes passengers from Gangtok to Bagdogra airport. Pakyong Airport, a Greenfield airport in Gangtok is expected to be operational by 2013.
The station at New Jalpaiguri (124kms), a suburb of Siliguri is the closest railhead to Gangtok.
There is SNT Bus Station and Local Bus Stop at Gangtok. The State bus is operated by the Sikkim National Transport. There are great bus operators like Neat Holidays and Apsara Services that offers travellers regular bus services to and from Gangtok. Travel websites provide several bus booking offer that will help you save money.