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India Travel Guide

Sikkim Nearby Places

Famous hill stations are at a driving distance from Gangtok.

Rumtek Monastery - Also known as the Dharma Chakra Centre, this sacred place is at a driving distance of 20 kms from Gangtok. The Rumtek Monastery became the seat of the Kagyu sect of Buddhism, after the arrival of is Holiness, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa in the late 1960. An exact replica of the Kagyurpa Monastery in Tsurphu, Tibet, the monastery houses a rare collection of religious scriptures and other icons belonging to this school of Buddhism.

Pal Zurmang Kagyud Monastery - Known for its exquisite architecture, this monastery is located at a distance of 20 kms from Gangtok. This monastery is the seat of the 12th Gharwang Rimpoche.

Nathula Pass - This is one of the highest motorable passes in India located at an altitude of 14,200 ft. above sea level. Nathula Pass borders India and China on the Tibetan plateau and lies at a distance of 56 kms from Gangtok. Alpine vegetation covers this area.

Nathula is open only to Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. A special permit is required to visit the place. The permit can be obtained from the Department of Tourism through a registered travel agent.

Tsomgo Lake - This serene, pristine lake also known as the Changu Lake is located at an altitude of 12,210 ft. is at a distance of 40 kms from Gangtok on the Gangtok - Nathula highway. The drive from Gangtok takes about 2.5 hours by bus. The Tsomgo Lake is considered to be extremely holy. A Shiva Temple is built on the lakeside. The lake is home to the Brahmini ducks. Various migratory birds also call it their home during season. The lake is completely frozen in the winter months. The lake and its surrounding areas are in full bloom between May and August. Various species of rhododendrons, primulas, irises, blue and yellow poppies can be seen in this area. The Red Panda and various other species of birds can also be seen on this lake.

A round trip on a bus from Gangtok to Tsomgo Lake costs Rs.150. Taxis that can accommodate upto 3 people can be engaged from Gangtok to Tsomgo and back for Rs.550. If travelling in a big group then a jeep maybe an ideal vehicle for travel to Tsomgo Lake. The jeep can seat upto 7 passengers and costs Rs.900. Yak and Mule Rides are offered at the lake site.

Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary - Nature lovers paradise, the Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary is just 25 kms from Gangtok town. The ideal season to visit the wildlife sanctuary is in October and April. Wild Orchids, Rhododendrons can be seen in plenty at this forest. The vegetation cover includes Oak, Chestnut, Mulberry and thick bamboo trees. The sanctuary is also home to several wild animals.

Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary - This sprawling sanctuary occupies 3100 hectare of land in the region. The alpine sanctuary is located at a distance of 26 kms from Gangtok town on the way to Tsomgo Lake. The best period to visit this area is from July-September. The alpine flora comprising of poppies, rhododendrons, primulas, endangered ground orchids, many medicinal plants are at their blooming best during this time. The bright flowers are interspersed with tall junipers and silver firs, which inhabit this region. The area abounds in many animals native to the Himalayan belt including Musk Deer, Red Pandas, Serow, Himalayan Black Deer, Blood Peasant etc. The area is often covered with snow upto May. Treks in the region start from the Kyongnosla Village.

Tashiding Monastery - This monastery belonging to the Nyingma order is situated at a distance of 40 kms from the western district capital of Gyalshing. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have blessed the land of Sikkim from this place. The sacred place is set atop a heart shaped hill with Mt. Khangchendzonga in the backdrop. Ngadak Sempa Chempo, one of the three lamas who had consecrated the first chogyal of Sikkim, built the monastery in the 18th century.

Tashiding is very famous for its holy chorten known as Thong-Wa-Rong-Dol meaning saviours by mere sight. It is believed that merely seeing this chorten washes away all the sins of the devotees. Sacred Buddhist chants are skilfully carved on the flagstones surrounding the monastery.

Soreng - This peaceful village is at a driving distance of about 3 hours from Pelling. Tourists to the area often undertake the Jhandi Danra trek from Soreng to catch a glimpse of the various species of flora and fauna.

Reshi Hot Springs - Known for its medicinal value, the Reshi Hot Springs is located on the River Rangeet. To reach the springs, tourists have to walk for 10 minutes from the highway and then across a bridge to finally reach the area. The water from this spring is said to have immense medicinal value and is also considered to be sacred. Trekkers Huts have been built for the convenience of tourists visiting the area.

Siliguri - The distance between Gangtok and Siliguri is 110 kms. It serves as an important base to travel to the other tourist destinations of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Gangtok. Set at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, Siliguri is an important commercial, trading and education centre.

Darjeeling - Situated at a driving distance of about 105 kms from Gangtok, Darjeeling is located just south of Sikkim in the state of West Bengal. Darjeeling is a perfect holiday destination with its old - world colonial charm and its mild weather. Its hills and valleys and the endless stretch of tea gardens provide the perfect getaway from the fast paced city life.

Kalimpong - At a driving distance of 80 kms from Sikkim, Kalimpong lies very close to Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal. The drive from Gangtok to Kalimpong is one of the most scenic drives in this side of the country. The Teesta River runs alongside the main road connecting the two places. Kalimpong is fast emerging as a tourist destination of choice, promising exciting scenic locales, an unmatched view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and other peaks in the Himalayan range.


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