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SIKKIM- Places of Tourist Interest - Gangtok -
What to see in Gangtok


What to see in Gangtok


Rumtek Monastery : The 24 km drive from the capital to Rumtek Monastery is, in itself, worth the effort. Changing vistas of mountains unfold at every bend and there are delightful vignettes of the hamlets and fields of the people of rural Sikkim. The original monastery was built by one of the rulers of Sikkim. When, however, His Holiness the late 16th Gyalwa Karampa left Tibet he built a new monastery, the Dharma Chakra Centre, reputedly replicating his former one. Thus, though the monastery is new, it enshrines all that is best in traditional Tibet monastic architecture. When seen in the clear light of Sikkim, this magnificent building with its red pillars, brilliantly painted fretwork and superbly glowing murals glitters like a jewel set in the green hills.

Government Institute of Cottage Industries : It produces crafts in authentic Sikkimese designs from the whole state. Hand woven Tibetan carpets sprout dragon in natural dyes, Sikkimese-style tables called Choktse are expertly carved and richly coloured in red and gold. Hand-made rice paper is also produced here. Talented children are taught the art of knitting, weaving, leather work, basket making, mask making and painting of religious and secular themes.

Institute of Tibetology : This organization is dedicated to furthering Tibetan studies, Buddhist philosophy and religion. The institute attracts the 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 thangkha and 200 icons, all prized objects of art for the Buddhist world.

Do-Drul Chorten : One of the most important stupa of Sikkim, it was built by Trulshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingmapa order of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1945. Inside the stupa, there are complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba (Bajra Kilaya), a set of Kan-gyur relics (holy books), Zung (mantras) and other religious objects. Around the chorten, there are 108 Mani Lhakor (prayer wheels). These prayer wheels are turned by the devout Buddhist while chanting '‘Hail to the jewel in the Lotus’, to invoke the Boddhisattava. The chorten is surrounded by Chorten Lhakhang and Guru Lhakhang, where there are two huge statues of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padsambhava).

Enchey Monastery : An important seat of the Nyingmapa order, the Enchey Monastery is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for his power of flying. This 200 year old monastery has in its premises images of gods, goddesses and other religious objects. Every year around January ‘Chaam’ or religious masked dances is performed here with great fanfare for two days.

Tashi View Point : About 8 km from Gangtok, this view point offers fascinating view of the majestic Mount. Kanchenjunga and Mount. Siniolchu.

Lal Bazaar : On Sunday, Gangtok’s Lal Bazaar is a melody of colour. Various ethnic groups from different villages gather to haggle, bargain, barter, gossip or just sell their wares.

Deer Park : A small Deer Park near the Secretariat building enshrines an icon of the Buddha and provides an excellent view of the green hills and valleys.

Orchid Sanctuary : Just below the Institute of Tibetology, it is a very specialized garden. According to Government Department, there are over 200 species of temperate and intermediate type orchids. Such orchids are best seen during the blooming season of April-May, July-August and October-November.

Tsuklakhang (The Palace Monastery) : Located in the grounds of the palace of the former rulers, the Chogyals of Sikkim. Built in traditionally Sikkimese style, it is capital’s most accessible monastery and has interesting murals and images of the Buddhist pantheon.

Orchidarium : In spite of its name, this is essentially a botanical garden in a green and landscaped fold in the hills. Paths wind down past streams, tree ferns and flower beds. At the bottom are enormous conservatories where masses of orchid plants thrive in their preferred environment.

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