Pre-Summer Break And The Best Places To Visit In Gangtok
Gangtok is one of the most beautiful and curious places to visit in India.
Gangtok is one of the most beautiful and curious places to visit in India. The capital of the North Eastern State of Sikkim, Gangtok is known to house one of the largest Buddhist populations in India. But populations belonging to other ethnicities also reside here, such as the Indian Gorkhas, Lepchas and Bhutias. A class of ruling Tibetans held control of Gangtok till the 18th century. However, Gangtok and Sikkim are largely harmonious and completely safe to visit for all tourists.
Gangtok has many firsts to its name. For example, the Enchey Monastery, the area’s first Buddhist place of worship, was established in Gangtok in the year 1840. But far from being just a spiritual touchpoint, this spot is known for being an important centre of commerce and trade, especially in the early 20th century. This was because it was located right on the trade line connecting Tibet and Kolkata when the British Empire was still in India.
Interestingly, Sikkim was integrated into the Indian Union as late as the year 1975. The State had hitherto chosen to remain independent after India attained freedom in the year 1947. However, it had declared Gangtok as its capital even before being integrated. After amalgamation, the Indian Union recognised Gangtok as an official State capital.
Apart from its stunning beauty, Gangtok is an important stopping point for many mountain climbers and trekkers who love like to visit it for its high location in the Himalayan range. Its geographical location gives it a strategic advantage, in terms of cool climate, fresh air and gorgeous scenery all around. There is lots to see and do in Gangtok, and also eat and shop! Gangtok’s primary source of revenue is tourism. The people here are warm and welcoming of tourists, and there are few instances of fleecing or misguiding visitors to make a quick buck.
It’s all very well to plan a holiday to any place, but getting the timing right vis-à-vis your leave from work, children’s holidays, the number of days at your disposal and most importantly, the weather conditions, are important to make the most of your trip. The same applies to your planning for this trip – the things to do in Gangtok and the places to visit will all come to nought if the weather does not permit sightseeing.
* Visiting Gangtok in the summer: The summer season starts in April and lasts till end of June in these parts. This season is recognised as the tourist season for the area. The day time temperatures are quite pleasant without getting too cold or too warm. Expect anywhere from 18⁰C to 25⁰C temperature during the day, with slightly warmer days seen during the month of May. The night time temperatures can dip sharply, so bundle up and light up a campfire! Despite this being the summer season in these parts, it is a welcome respite from the blazing hot summer elsewhere in the country. Since most tourists visit during this time, you can enjoy shopping, eating out at some of the best restaurants in Gangtok, and also indulge in many adventure activities. There are also some cultural events taking place during this time, which a Gangtok tourism guide can tell you about.
* Visiting Gangtok in the monsoon: The monsoon season starts in earnest in the month of July, and often lasts till the end of September. The rainfall is quite intense and chilly in these parts, so this might not be the best time to visit if you don’t like walking about in the heavy rain, or if you and/or a family member suffer from rheumatism or Athlete’s Foot, for example. With the monsoon season, road blocks, landslides and foggy rainfall are all expected in Gangtok. But the city becomes lush and green during this time, and the valleys and hills are freshly bathed and pleasing to the eye. If you must visit during this time, then be sure to stay away from listed risky areas (ask your resort for more information on these) and wear rubber soled boots when walking outdoors. Also, do not stay out after dark if you don’t have transport to take you back to your Gangtok resort.
* Visiting Gangtok in the winter: The winter season lasts from the month of October to March here. It is one of chilly winds and frost in Gangtok – for our money, this is not the right time to visit this city if you have young or old people in the group. The cold weather is quite unfriendly, and the frost might make you ill. But the upside is that the peaks and mountains become snowy and beautiful during this time. You can also play in the snow with your family! There are a few cultural events celebrated in the monasteries here during this time, and the general public is allowed to visit these and celebrate as well. If you must visit during this season, make sure to carry a lot of warm under- and over-clothing, apart from rubber soled boots and a stout walking stick. Also have a lot of hot toddy or ginger tea to keep yourself hydrated and protected from the effects of the cold weather.
Now that you have an idea about when to visit Gangtok and a bit of the local history (look up Gangtok tourism guidebooks for more information), it is time to start making your itinerary for the trip. Don’t worry if you are a little confused about where to begin your sightseeing jaunt from: we’ve listed a few prominent places to visit in Gangtok to get you started:
* Kanchenjunga: It is the highest mountain in India and the third highest mountain in the world, and the good news is that you can visit this majestic peak right here in Gangtok. But do note that it is a bit of a trek till you reach the base camp. The starting point is at Gangtok, but do go with a reliable guide from a reputed tour operator (your resort can help you with this). Go up to the base camp and stop to explore the famous Kanchenjunga National Park. If you want to stay longer, book an overnight camping slot for yourself and your family. Also, going further than the base camp is a job left only for experienced mountaineers.
* Ganesh Tok: This is a popular thing to do in Gangtok – visit Ganesh Tok, one of the best places to visit in Gangtok for a spiritual cleanse. You can pack a picnic hamper and spend an entire day in this location. It is gorgeous and serene, and you can walk to the nearby Bakthang Falls and Tashi Viewing Point. The spot is so named after the ancient Ganesh Temple located in the vicinity. You can walk up the slopes towards the temple and get breathtaking photographs of the views, or even shoot your pre-wedding portfolio here!
* Phodong Monastery: Phodong Monastery is the cultural and spiritual epicentre of Gangtok, and it dates back to the 18th century. This alone makes it one of the most interesting places to visit in Gangtok. But there are other good reasons to visit as well: you can see a lot of ancient and historically important sculptures, wall paintings and frescoes furnished in the typical Tibetan style. The exact date of these art works is not yet known. Apart from these, you will like to see the serene monks here going about their daily duties, or taking instruction in the classroom, or even humming in prayer. Take in the majestic mountain side views from the monastery, but be sure to maintain peace and decorum when inside the premises.
* Nathula Pass: This pass is geographically and strategically important, because it connected Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, a disputed area between India and China, in the last century. The Nathula Pass formed part of the famous yesteryear Silk Route between the two countries. Today, people visit it for the stunning views. But do keep your original photo ID proof with you to show if asked. Foreign nationals are not allowed to enter this site. The area is open only to Indian nationals on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and a few Sundays. If you are looking to check out Gangtok from up high, then is the best place to visit in Gangtok.
* Magnan: You cannot visit Gangtok and not take a tour to Mangan, the small village outside the city limits that also offers many adventure activities for adults. It is an important heritage place to visit in Gangtok. You will have a thrilling time enjoying mountain biking or paragliding. But the adventure sports are not for everyone., so find one that suits your temperament and skills. If you want to just enjoy the peace and quiet, you can walk up and down the narrow alleys, admiring the views and stopping for coffee at a little café or restaurant in Gangtok. There are several small monasteries you can visit in this village as well, but maintain the silence and don’t take videos and photographs where not permitted.
* Ban Jakhri Falls: If you still want to drink in more of Gangtok’s natural beauty, you should head to Ban Jakhri Falls. This stunning waterfall is located inside the famous Energy Park, another important place to visit in Gangtok. The foamy white water crashes to the ground from a staggering 100 feet above, and is said to have healing powers. There is also a curious superstition or legend associated with the waterfalls: the local residents believe that the spirits that guard this place must never be disturbed, or they will unleash the water on all of the land and wreak havoc instead of healing! Needless to say, flooding in these parts would be a major disaster. Do note that the fall area is closed during most days of winter, but it is open during the summer season.
* Tsomgo Lake: This pretty lake creates a heavenly backdrop for a daylong picnic with your family. It is a cold lake at an altitude of 12,310 feet above sea level, and its surface is normally icy. The deep blue waters add to the area’s allure, and with the Himalayas in the backdrop, the panorama will surely take your breath away. Leave early in the morning to visit this lake, because it is almost 40 km away from Gangtok. Carry photo ID proofs and a copy of your residential proof because this is a restricted area that allows civilians with documentation. Ask your Gangtok resort for directions and what to do there once you reach.
Staying at the right accommodation is key to enjoying your vacation in Gangtok. We recommend the Club Mahindra Gangtok Resort. The property overlooks the Chola Mountain range, and offers luxurious rooms in an idyllic setting. You will love the food served at the resort’s restaurant, as well as the spa and every modern comfort that you desire. When you wish to explore the property, do so at will and also step out to take a walk around, or enjoy a trek close by. If you just want to relax at the resort, stay put at the library or go for a swim.
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL), India’s leading player in the leisure hospitality industry, offers quality family holidays as also stated by Club Mahindra Resort Reviews, primarily through vacation ownership memberships. While Club Mahindra is the flagship brand offering Club Mahindra Membership the other brands offered by the company are – Club Mahindra Resorts Fundays and Svaastha Spa. As on Mar 31, 2019, MHRIL has 61+ resorts across India and abroad and its subsidiary, Holiday Club Resorts Oy, Finland, a leading vacation ownership company in Europe has 33 resorts across Finland, Sweden and Spain. Visit us at www.clubmahindra.com