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SIKKIM - East destinations

Top travel sites in Sikkim: Gangtok (East Sikkim), Tsomgo Lake (East Sikkim), Nathu La Pass (East Sikkim), Baba Mandir (East Sikkim), Khangchendzonga (West Sikkim)

Sikkim Govt Tourist Information Centres:- Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Gangtok: MG Road, Gangtok Ph: 03592-221634/227720; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, New Delhi: 14 Panchsheel Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi PIN 110021, Ph:011-26115346, 26115171; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Kolkata: 4/1, Middletown Street, Kolkata-16 Ph: 22817905; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Siliguri: SNT Colony, Pradhan Nagar, Siliguri, West Bengal Ph: 2512646; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Bagdogra: Bagdogra airport Ph: 2698030; 2698036

Capital Gangtok, Nathula Pass and Baba Mandir are in East Sikkim

SIKKIM has four districts: East Sikkim (headquarter - Gangtok), West Sikkim (headquarter - Gyalshing), North Sikkim (headquarter - Mangan ) and South Sikkim (headquarter - Namchi). The places of tourist Interest in East Sikkim are:-

Capital Gangtok city: Go to

Directorate of Handicraft & Handloom Institute: With the aim of promoting and keeping alive the State's traditional arts and craft, the Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom is a storehouse of handwoven woolen carpets with traditional motifs, blankets, shawls in Lepcha weaves and exquisitely carved choktse or table and many other gift items. Open: Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 12.30 and 1 pm to 3 pm.

Enchey monastery: An important seat of the Nyingma order, the Enchey Monastery is built on the site blessed by Lama Druptob Karpo, a tantric master known for this 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 dance is performed with great fanfare for two days. It is sitated adjoining the Siniolhu Tourist Lodge, 3 kms from Gangtok town.

Flower Festival: Flower exhibitions are organized round the year at the Flower Show Venue near the White Hall Complex, Gangtok. Orchid shows held during the spring trouist season is one of the most popular shows orgainsed in the State.

Nam-Nam View Point: Nam-Nam View Point is situated in the vicinity of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly. Visitors can have a breath-taking view of a dense forest of Tsomgo and a lush green valley. A serene area to relish.

Do-drul Chorten (Stupa): The Do-drul Chorten or Stupa was built by the venerable Trulshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1945. Inside this Stupa, there are complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba (Bajra Kilaya), a set of kan-gyur relice (Holy Books), complete 'Zung' (mantras) and other religious objects. Around this Chorten, which is one of the most important stupas in Sikkim, 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 Buddhisattva. The Chorten is surrounded by Chorten Lakhang and Guru Lhakhang, where there are two huge statues of Gure Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava).

Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology (NRIT): The most prestigious of its king in India, this Buddhist Institute is a treasure trove f vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts, statues and rare thankas (Tapestries used in Buddhist liturgy) and has over 200 Buddhist icons and other prized objects of art. Today, it is a renowned worldwide centre for study of Buddhist philosophy and religion. Open all days: from 10 am to 4 pm

Sikkim Time Corporation Ltd. (SITCO): Situated at a distance of 1.5 km from Gangtok town is one the first industrial units set up in Sikkim. Set up in 1977, it has 4 units which manufacture quality mechanical watches, semi-conductor devices, attractive digital and analog watches and top class watch crowns.

Saramsa Garden: About 14 km from Gangtok is the Saramsa Garden, the home of Sikkim's exotic orchids and other rare tropical and temperate plants. Established and maintained by the Department of Forest, it is an excellent recreation, picnic and leisure spot.

Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre: About 45 minutes drive from Gangtok, 24 km away, is the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre, the seat of the Kagyu order, one of the 4 major Tibten Buddhist sects, since the late 1960s, after the arrival of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa karmapa. The centre houses some of the world's most unique religious scriptures and religious art objects. Traditional in design, it is almost a replica of the original Kagyu headquarters in Tibet.

Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden: 24 km away from Gangtok is the JN Botanical Garden, Rumtek, situated at an altitude ranging between 1800 mtrs. to 2200 mtrs. Established in the year 1987, it comprises of virgin forest of oaks and as many as 50 different kinds of tree species. The Garden is situated at a place which is not only a scenic beauty for the tourists but also adjoins Rumtek monastery and Fambongla Wildlife Sanctuary. Open: from 10 am to 4 p.m.

Water Garden: Water Garden at Martam Khola is on 31-A National Highway, 16 km south of Gangtok. It is an ideal spot for picnic with a small swimming pool for children.

Tsomgo Lake: It is literally known as the 'Source of the Lake' in Bhutia language. Just about 40 km away from Gangtok, the capital of the State, this serene lake is situated at an altitude of 3780 metre. The lake is about 1 km long, oval in shape, 15 metres deep and is considered sacred by the local people. This placid lake remains frozen during the winter months upto mid-May. Between May and August it is possible to see a variety of flowers in blooms, including the rhododendrons, various species of primulas, blue and yellow poppies, irises etc. It is also an ideal habitat for the Red Panda and various species of birds.

Nathula Pass: 56 km away from Gangtok is Nathula Pass at an altitude of 14200 ft. bordering on India, China border in the Tibetan Plateau. It is one of the highest motorable roads and richly covered by many varieties of alpine flora and fauna. A tranquill place to visit.

Tashi View Point: Situated along the North Sikkim Highway, it is only 8 km from Gangtok. From this point one gets a breathtaking view of Mount Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu, one of the most graceful peaks in the world.

Himalayan Zoological Park: 8 km from Gangtok is the Himalayan Zoological Park which covers an area of 205 hectares. This area is also known as Bulbuley. There is a paved cement path that passes by fanced open air enclosure housing the Red Pandas, Barking Deer, spoted deer, bears in a semi natural habitat.

Ganesh Tok: It is situated on a ridge and is only 7 km from Gangtok. From this spot one gets a bird's eyeview of the sprawling Gangtok town down below while across the hills Mt. Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu loom over the horizon. A cafetaria serves hot tea/coffee and snacks.

Hanuman Tok: It is 11 km away from Gangtok town, above Ganesh Tok, with a Hindu temple where the devotees come and offer prayers. Because of its locational advantage, the view of the mountains along the horizon is just magnificent, especially on a clear sunny morning.

Sa-Ngor-chotshog Centre: It is a Tibetan refugee monastic institution established in 1961 by His Eminence Luding Khen Rimpoche, Head of Ngorpa, sub-sect of the Sakya Oder, with the blessings of HH Sakya Trizin and HH the Dalai Lama. This is the only monastery of the Sakya Order of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim. It is located on a beautiful hill-top just 5 km away from Gangtok town.

Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary: Fambong la Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of 25 km from Gangtok and has an area of 51.76 sq km. The main vegetation is oak, katus, kimbu, champa with thick bamboo forests and ferms. The sanctuary is also home to a large number of wild orchids, rhododendrons etc. The richly forested area is known to be home to various species of wild animals and birds. This area, located close to Gangtok, is being developed as a short duration trekking trial. The best time is October and April. A Log House with two rooms is available at Golitar and Tumin. Charges are Rs 50 per person per right and entry fee to the sanctuary is Rs 5 per head.

Apart from this sanctuary there are others like Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Shingbha Rhododendrons Sanctuary, Menam Wildlife Sanctuary and Khangchendzonga national park.

Aritar: For trekking and boating

Angling: Teesta and Rangeet have scope for angling. Sikkim Anglers Association helps.

Baba Mandir: Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial temple was built in memory of Harbhajan Singh, a sepoy in the 23rd Punjab Regiment. It is located between Nathu La Pass and Jelep La Pass. It is said he appeared in his colleagues' dream after he went missing during patrolling on the border, desiring a monument in his memory. The memorial has now beome a pilgrimage centre. There are stories of healing powers attached to the place.

Gangtok ropeway: It is one km long, in the city, from Deorali market to Tashiling. One cabin accommodates 24 passengers. Fee Rs 50.

Memencho Lake (60 km from Gangtok): This is another beautiful lake located twenty kilometres ahead of the Changu lake. Quite big in size, it lies cradled between the mountains below the Jelepla pass and is also the source of the river Rangpo-chu which meets the Teesta at Rangpo. Like the Changu lake, it also derives its water from the melting snow around, especially from the stream that originates just below the Jelepla pass. The lake is famous for its trout and a farm to cultivate these fish also exists nearby. Accommodation for the visitors coming here is available at the dak bungalow and tourist lodge near the lake. There is restriction on visit.

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