Gangtok, the "Lofty Hill" or the "Hill made flat to
build the Gangtok monastery in 1716". Gangtok is a city, which,
till one sees it, one would believe exists only in picture-story books.
In the mystery-laden mists prayer flags whip in the breeze; wheels spin
in the hands of Lamas mumbling invocations to God, in the distance are
the snows, on the streets amidst brightly painted pagoda roofed houses,
lined with friendly smiling people are silver, silk and spice and
jewellery to gladden an maiden's heart, from across the seven seas are
gadget and goods to delight the collector of "imported goods',
while directly overlooking the city is the hill Lukshyma, the 'Mother of
Pearl' citadel of the magic mountain, Khang-Chen-Dzod-Nga.
An air of enchantment hangs over the city, indeed the whole valley; the
mysticism, the stupas, the monasteries reach out as soon as one has
crossed the border. While across the hills and valleys comes the
sounding of the long trumpets by robed lamas.
Adventure sports in
Great tracts of virgin forests and deep river valleys, offering views
of ancient monasteries such as Pemayangtse and Tashiding and the
attractive but rapidly developing hamlet of Pelling, characterize the
beautiful region of Western Sikkim. The old capital, Yoksum, lies at the
start of the trail towards Dzongri and Kanchenjunga.
On the far west, along the border with Nepal, the watershed of the
Singalila range rises along a single ridge, with giants such as Rathong
and Kabru culminating in Kanchenjunga itself. Although only one high
altitude trek is currently available, several low altitude treks, free
from trekking restrictions, provide tremendous opportunities for
trekkers to enjoy the terraced landscapes, waterfalls and forests.
Dzongri is situated at an altitude of about 13,000-ft., in west Sikkim.
It offers the trekker a most fascinating close-up view of
Khangchendzonga and Mt. Pandim. To the west rises the long outline of
the Kyangla ridge. Dzongri is trekker's paradise.
Situated at an altitude of about 16,000 ft. Geochala offers a mind
catching sight of the mountains like Pandim, Khangchendzonga and the
others. The trek to Geochala really is getting out & getting
Places of interest
Institute of Tibetology
About 1.5 km (nearly a mile) from downtown Gangtok is the Institute of
Tibetology, an organisation dedicated to furthering Tibetan studies,
Buddhist philosophy and region. It attracts scholars from all over the
world. It houses a rare collection of 30,000 books, Tantric documents,
rare manuscripts written in gold on the bark of a poisonous tree,
antique thanks and 200 icons, all prized objects of art for the Buddhist
world. The Institute has won both national and international acclaim.
This monastery is located in the palace premises near the ridge in
Gangtok. It is two storied and was used during royal functions like
weddings and coronations. The Phang Labsol and the Lossang festivals are
celebrated in the ground adjacent to the monastery once-every year with
the performance of the 'Chhams' or the masked dances.
Dul-Dul Chorten & Jhang Club Chortan
Sikkim has commemorated, with stupas, both the Buddha and one of his
followers of today. Near the Deorali bazaar, are two exquisite stupas,
the "Dul-dul-Chorten", was built to commemorate the victory of
good over evil; the "Jhang Club Chorten" was built to
perpetuate the memory of a great spiritualist of today. Thrul-Shik
Rinpoche an ardent devotee of Buddha and one of his best interpreters
died in 1962, the stupa immortalises rimpoche in the land of his birth.
Government Institute of Cottage Industries
Just outside Gangtok is the Government Institute of Cottage Industries
which produces crafts in authentic Sikkimese designs from the whole
state. Hand woven Tibetan carpets sprout dragons in natural dyes,
Sikkinese-style tables called "Choktse" are expertly carved
and richly coloured in red and gold. Hand-made rice paper is also
produced. Talented children are taught the basics of knitting, weaving,
leather work, basket making, mask making and painting of religious and