Beautiful, serene, placid and absolutely awe – striking would be the best definition for a place, which is away from the hustle-bustle, chaotic and polluted life. It is a vicinity of tranquility, known as the Switzerland of India, it is none other than the amicable hill station Gangtok, which is the capital of Himalayan state Sikkim. The majestic beauty will please the entire senses of the body; such a rejuvenating effect it can have on us and the moment you will look at those snow covered mountains you will desperately want to take a nap under them. The dense clouds give a sense of inner peace and calm our soul.
It is also one of the cleanest cities in India. You will not even find a single rag of garbage over there. You will easily fall in love with the people; they are so simple and guileless. Vendors, shopkeepers won’t cheat you by making you pay extra money for any kind of commodity. One reason, which I believe, keeps the folk away from debauchery is because the land had been abode of many Buddhist saints who have sanctified the land, and vanquished the negativity. There are many Buddhist monasteries like Pemayangste, Tashiding, Enchey and the most famous and largest in Sikkim is Rumtek which truly reflect the best of Tibetan architecture. It is located on a hill facing Gangtok, and was damaged by an earthquake and has been rebuilt. Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology is the most famous institutes in the world that does research on tibeten language and culture. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, officially inaugurated it in 1958.
It has a vast collection of artifacts and was established to promote scholastic research. It displays Buddhist manuscripts, icons, thangkas (religious paintings) and Tantricritual objects, such as a thöpa (bowl made from a human skull) and kangling (human thighbone trumpet).
For those who have affinity for hand made products, do visit Directorate of Handicrafts & Handlooms. It was established in 1957 to promote sale and manufacturing of diverse handicrafts, furniture carpet. The variety of products is immense. There one will find Cane products such as fruit baskets, strainers etc, hand carved foldable tables known as Choktse, masks, thankas, dolls like yak dolls, red panda dolls etc, wooden lamp stand, handcrafted wood framed mirrors, Lepcha hats, intricately designed woolen carpets etc. Some of the handloom products here includes traditional dress materials of Neplai women and men like Dhaka Sarees, Dhaka Choli, Daula Surwal, Dhaka Topi etc. You will also get Lepcha bags, embroidery products and lot more. Everything is available at affordable price. It also has a museum which was opened in 2007 to showcase many artworks and items which are created in this center by local artisans.
Tourists who craves for spooky fun and adventure visit Baba Mandir or Baba Harbhajan Mandir which is 50 kms from Gangtok. Guards of the temple believe that Harbhajan’s spirit is still alive. They claim that many locals and keepers have seen him in the night. In fact there has been reports that Chinese soldiers across the border have seen a turbaned sentry doing his rounds at night. Many sentries here believe that Harbhajan comes here every night as every morning his camp bed sheet has wrinkled and his polished shoes turn muddy by the evening. Along the way visit Nathula pass, it at an altitude of 12000 feet and border of china and India will be seen from there. The view from the top is spectacular and simply amazing. You will feel like jumping from the apex into that clear shimmering water (jokes apart).
For shopping visit M.G road and Lal Bazaar. There you will actually get to see the the modern lifestyle of Gangtok. You will be stunned to see their excellent fashion sense. One can find all kind of merchandise that we usually find in any city. From cheap to expensive, there you will find variety of products with varied range.
The climate of Gangtok is moderately cold due to occasional rainfall so don’t forget your woolen clothes while packing your things. The ideal time for excursion over there is during the months from March to late May and from October to mid December. So folks this time drop those foreign trips and get set ready for an in-house alimental experience.