Both Gangtok and Darjeeling are picturesque hill stations that draw the endless number of tourists from various places far and wide around the year. The hills of the eastern part of India present a pleasing climate to its visitors around the year. But you seek opinion on the best time of the year to visit Gangtok and Darjeeling with all its crystal-clear sky, clarified view of the great Himalayan peaks then summer is the best time.
Weather-wise condition in Gangtok
Just because summer means no snowfall or mist or fog, does not mean that you will not be able to cherish the mystique land of Gangtok in winter. Winter has its own charm in Sikkim; however, the temperature can go down below the freezing point between December and February. Most of the tourists and local tour operators and guides believe that visiting Gangtok during monsoon could be a little tricky and risky because of heavy rainfall and slippery road conditions and landslides.
Summer sojourn: Summer is the populist choice of visiting Gangtok. In this season, you will get a moderate climate that starts with the advent of spring in March, and it ends in June. The average temperature during this time remains around 22 degrees Celsius. So, you can understand that you can plan a nice family vacation during this period when the Gangtok weather remains pleasant.
Fun and frolics: Summer offers you the opportunity to visit all the tourist attractions without a headache. You can also opt for the ropeway services and copter rides without being worried about the weather conditions or foggy mornings. Your investments for these activities are totally worth this time as there is almost zero chance of the journeys being canceled.
Winter wonders: Winter in Gangtok begins from the month of October and ends in the month of March. If you plan your trip to Sikkim, you should know that this season opens up to the beautiful views of the blue valleys and mountains with the azure skies in the background. If you are a lover of adventure tourism and choose your visits and their timings as per the natural weather conditions of the destinations, then visit Gangtok anytime between December and February when the current temperature hovers around 4 degree Celsius to 7 degree Celsius.
Autumn adventure: Between October to November first week is the time when you feel the slight chill in the air but still a very pleasant atmosphere to schedule your visits to all the tourist attractions in Sikkim and Gangtok. The temperature starts falling further from November end. So, you can easily visit this northeastern hill state during autumn and avoid the extreme chill.
No-plan monsoon: Monsoon in Gangtok sets in July and ends in the month of September. In this time, the place, including several tourist spots, witnesses heavy rainfall triggering landslips in many places. As a result, roads remain blocked for days, causing a complete shutdown of transportation and tourism business. Sometimes, a complete area remains cut off for days because of such weather-related issues. Hence, it is advisable that you do not plan to visit Gangtok during monsoon. The general Gangtok weather remains misty and dull during this time.
Best places to visit in Gangtok
Serene lakes, snow-laden islands, appealing valleys, and stunning landscapes, these are what Gangtok offers to its visitors. The capital of Sikkim is a mesmerizing hill station that is nestled in the lap of the eastern Himalayas. With the huge natural beauty and resources, it becomes almost irresistible for tourists not to visit Gangtok.
Top 10 places, a must-see in Gangtok: Gangtok has such bounty of natural beauty that it is almost impossible to zero down on one or two places. Nevertheless, here are some top 10 tourist attractions in Gangtok that you must cover while visiting this enthralling Himalayan hill station.
Darjeeling weather and best time for visit
The emerald green hill station of Darjeeling is nestled in the far north-eastern corner of India. Sitting 2590 meters above the sea level, Darjeeling is a melting pot of varied cultures, including Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. Not just a steaming cup of world-famous Darjeeling tea, this place has a bounty to offer to its curious travelers.
Overall climate of Darjeeling
Before you make an ideal plan to visit this part of the world, you should know that for tourists, there are two best seasons to visit Darjeeling. The first season is between March and May that is between spring and summer. And the other one is between October and November which is the autumn season. These are the two perfect times of the year when the weather is pleasantly cool, and the sky remains clear and therefore gives you the best opportunity to view the majestic Kanchenjunga peak.
When not to visit: When the summer ends up in June middle, the overall weather here starts to gather moisture. Monsoon sets in the month of July. Sometimes it lingers till October first half. December to February is winter in Darjeeling. It is advisable that you don’t visit Darjeeling during monsoon as you will not be able to see and enjoy much and face a lot of transportation hassle because of risky road conditions.
Whimsical weather of the hills: But it is difficult to reply to Darjeeling weather. You can see a perfectly settled nice and clear weather, but soon fog and mist can make your vision grey. The fog rises from the deep, humid valleys here and puts a white blank across the district. Sometimes you can flakes of white clouds in the sky above you and sometimes below you in the valley.
Weather conditions in Darjeeling do not follow any specific pattern. Also, it varies widely in different places across the district. Kalimpong, Terai, Dooars, and even Gangtok all these neighboring areas have different weather.
Weather conditions and scenario on tourists’ visit
If you want to enjoy Darjeeling with its best resources, then these are phases you can select from as per your convenience and plan your visit accordingly.
Spring in Darjeeling: This is one of the best and finest periods to visit Darjeeling. Though it is one of those short and elusive periods, but this time various hilly flowers bloom in their prettiest colors, making the entire hill station look surreal. You will also find different garden flowers blooming. During springtime weather in Darjeeling remains absolutely lovable the sky remains mostly clear, but you may also have to face some sudden hailstorms or strong winds. But this is actually fine if you compare the overall atmosphere.
During this time, the temperature at night generally remains at 6 degrees Celsius, and it reaches up to 17 degree Celsius during the day. Overall, this is a great time to visit Darjeeling and view the mountains all around. But if you really want to visit the hill station during this time, you will have plan much in advance; Due to tourist rush at the peak season, all hotels remain full. Particularly in the month of April, people from all over the globe flock to Darjeeling to cherish its scenic beauty when they are at best.
Summer in Darjeeling: Here the warm season starts in the month of May and lasts till July. The average temperature generally varies anything between 11 degree Celsius and 19 degree Celsius. May is also another famous time to visit Darjeeling. But there are good chances of hailstorm and showers during this time. Barring the sudden spell of rain, this is a nice time to visit the hills.
Monsoon in Darjeeling: The monsoon in Darjeeling starts June. When the atmosphere starts getting misty quite frequently, you will know that monsoon is about to set in in the hills. The proper monsoon remains here from June to September; sometimes it also stretched to October first half. There can be frequent showers during this time. During monsoon, weather in Darjeeling is dull. The sky here can hardly be seen for more than 10 days. Sometimes it rains incessantly and cripples the daily life. Forget about taking a trip to Darjeeling, even the local trade and business run with a lot of difficulties because of risky roads that often remain closed because of landslides.
The scare of landslides: The average temperature during monsoon hovers around 13 degree Celsius to 19 degree Celsius. However, at night, the weather remains very cold. During this time, landslides occur in different areas of the district, causing much hassle to the local resident as well as tourists.
Autumn in Darjeeling: Darjeeling turns into a paradise again during this time. Unless the rains are stretched, the months of October and November remain mostly rain-free and delightful for tourists. With the fog and mist clearing, this is a great time to view all the mountain ranges here. The temperature ranges from 6 degree Celsius to 18 degree Celsius during this period. So, you can easily surmise why tourists pour in Darjeeling this time and all hotels, homestays remain almost full and thriving with business.
Winter in Darjeeling: The winter in the hills begins in December, and it stays for at least three months, if not more. During this time, the sky remains mostly clear unless there is any sudden change in the weather system that triggers occasional showers in the valleys. The view of almost all the hills here remains clear adding to the joys of visitors. The early mornings here is very cold, but it is utterly enjoyable. During the entire day, the temperature remains around 22 degrees Celsius, making ideal weather for tourists to roam around, involve themselves in various fun-filled activities, group trek long walks, etc.
The charm of Christmas: The flavor of Darjeeling is altogether different during Christmas. If you are willing to relish the feel of the old colonial-style festivities, then you must plan to come to Darjeeling during the period of Christmas and New Year. The entire town here along with its neighborhoods remain nicely lit and decorated during this time, while hotels offer several lucrative deals with stay and food and wine. The local pubs and hangout places thrive with the melody of beautiful festive music and laughter. This is altogether a different kind of ambiance that not only makes your brief stay in the hills exciting and fulfilling but also gives you a long-lasting memory of the land of the Kanchenjunga.
Best places to visit in Darjeeling
Now let’s find out the best summer gateways of Darjeeling.
Tiger hills: It is the complete package for the nature lovers. If you love the adventure of chilling cold and climb up the hills to witness the charismatic Kanchenjunga when the first rays of the sun come, then don’t skip Tiger hills and fix your cameras before the sunrise.
Batasia Loop: The elevated area around the Ghum station has a beautifully decorated garden. This is a pure treat to your eyes. You get a panoramic view of the entire town from the place. The wide expanse of greenery and the majestic view of the hills will make you feel like visiting Darjeeling time and again.
Padmaja zoo: If you are an animal lover, this place is for you. You can experience the local flora and fauna here. Located downward Jawahar Road, this zoo is the home of the largest number of snow leopards of India. The zoo opens at 8.30 in the morning and closes at 4 pm. You have to pay Rs 20 if you are a domestic tourist; the charge is Rs 50 for international visitors.
Peace pagoda: The pagoda represents different avatars of Lord Buddha. It attracts people from all religions. It is a beautiful serene place that makes you feel calm and composed.
Other places to visit: Besides, Ghum monastery, rock garden, Nightingale park are famous among tourists. You can also visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Park where you get the basic knowledge about trekking and mountaineering. Amateur and also professional mountaineers come here and get the lessons of various trekking courses. If you are one of these people, then you must visit the institute. St Andrews Church is also a very famous location here that draws hundreds of visitors during Christmas and New Year. The Happy Valley tea estate is the place for tea lovers. Acres of verdant tea gardens and the blue hills in the background make your visit to this place an unforgettable one. The tea lovers can collect their souvenirs from various small-town shops here that are mostly run by local people, though you can also opt for the branded varieties at the traditional shops. The price range differs and also quality. But in terms of local food and beverages, visit the small shacks, they look rickety but sell excellent momos and thukpas.
Conclusion: If you are planning to visit these two famous places of the eastern Indian territory, then plan accordingly. Now you have a decent idea about the weather conditions and overall scenario regarding activities and offers. Plan your schedule depending on the things you want to see and do during your visit. Consider some factors that suit your family members. The best of the natural beauty and food and scenic locales can be enjoyed only when you are fully planned in advance.
Spread in ribbons over a steep mountain range, encircled with emerald green tea estates and towered by the majestic Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling is the name of an emotion. It is not just a hill station for tourists of the eastern Indian states. It is a premier tourist destination for travellers from across the globe. Darjeeling is famous for several features, including the colonial era architecture, monasteries, toy trains, tea plantations, and of course the snow-capped mountain peaks that hail you almost from the sky.
Here, in this article, we will let you know about the overall climatic conditions of the hill station so that you get a bird’s eye view of the weather in Darjeeling before visiting the place. Bordering Bhutan, Sikkim and Tibet and Nepal across the mountain ranges, Darjeeling not only shares the cultural similarities of these countries, but weather-wise these regions are also identical.
Overall climactic atmosphere of Darjeeling
There are mainly two best times to visit the hills. March to May and October to November are the two seasons when you can enjoy the hills at its best. Between March to May, the temperature remains pleasant, slightly cold, and the sky remains mostly clear, giving you a perfect ambience to view the mountain peaks clear and unhindered. The summer is short here, just between May and June.
End of summer and beginning of monsoon: By June end, the summer starts to evade, and the skies gather clouds, heralding the onset of monsoon. Till September, Darjeeling receives on and off spells of showers. Sometimes it drizzles all day long, making all roads wet and thus risky. The monsoon sometimes lingers on and does not end before October beginning.
It is very difficult to predict the local weather of Darjeeling, especially if you are a tourist and not a native person. Here you see the clouds play hide and seek with the sun quite often, sometimes all day. The weather in Darjeeling does not follow the climactic situations of the plains. You will also see how the regional weather differs from places to places. For example, Kalimpong, and Terai, the two most important neighbouring areas of Darjeeling experience difference of weather, while Sikkim or its capital Gangtok, located not very far from Darjeeling also have slightly different weather.
Serene springtime: March to April – One of the best times to visit Darjeeling. If this is the finest time to watch the Kanchenjunga and indulge in other recreational activities in Darjeeling, remember that this is the shortest span of time as well. Spring lasts for a flickering time here, and if you want to conduct your Darjeeling trip during this time, you need to plan much in advance.
You shall see the hills in its bounty of colours at this time with all mountain trees covered with rich-coloured blossoms. Barring a few occasional hailstorms, the skies this time remain clear. The daytime temperature hovers around 15 to 17 degrees of Celsius while at night it becomes 6 degrees Celsius, giving you perfect overall weather to walk, trek, shop and eat and pursue other touristic activities.
It goes without saying that the hill station experiences a surge of tourists during this time. All the hotels go full, especially from April beginning. Ensure your bookings are done well in advance if you are planning to come to Darjeeling this time. Look for homestays that, unlike hotels and resorts, are easy to find and do not get instantly filled up.
Balmy summer retreat: Darjeeling can be your perfect summer getaway. Away from the unbearable humidity of cities and coupled with rising temperature, this is an ultimate respite from all these. Summer her starts in May, and it ends in July. The average temperature this time remains between 11 degree Celsius to 19 degree Celsius, which is very pleasant for tourists and visitors. Many tourists across the world wait for this time to pack their bags and head for Darjeeling. Sometimes tourists are surprised by the weather God with occasional one or two spells of showers. The skies start turning grey, and the atmosphere begins to become hazy from the end of June.
If you are planning to your trip in summer, you shall witness bright sunlight along with fresh winds filling up your lungs, giving you the perfect boost to enjoy your vacation here. With the sky remaining mostly clear, you will have the ultimate opportunity to watch the majestic Kanchenjunga and other famous peaks of the region to your heart’s content. This is the perfect weather for shutterbugs as well with bright natural light in abundance in every nook and corner of the hills.
Meddling monsoon: Proper monsoon remains in Darjeeling from June end to September. Though sometimes the spell of rains continues to lash the hills till mid-October, from then the weather starts improving. But if you ask any renowned tour planner or agency, nobody will advise you to visit Darjeeling during monsoon. The incessant rains in the hills are mostly irritable to many travellers. During this time, most of the day the weather remains foggy and misty and the roads wet and precarious. As a result, being a tourist, you cannot roam around and mostly remain confined in your hotel. Transportation services are also hit during this time with many private and government operators running only the required number of vehicles because of poor road condition and also to avoid anything untoward.
Landslips or slippery roads are a massive headache even for local residents here. Supply of groceries and other resources remain also crippled if faced with an emergency situation. The local temperature during daytime remains around 19 degree Celsius in monsoon whereas at night the weather gets quite cold with 13 or even 11 degrees Celsius. This time the humidity reaches its highest level. In case you are planning to visit Darjeeling in monsoon, beware of the weather conditions and keep your plan B ready for the detour and other arrangements. Often road communication gets cut off, and flights to the hills get cancelled. So, prepare for all these hazards if you must visit Darjeeling between June and September.
Auspicious autumn: Darjeeling turns into a paradise for tourists in the autumn. The time between October and November is lucrative for many tourists to visit the hills and spend a vacation in the lap of nature. Unless the rains are stretch till mid-October, the weather this time remains mostly perfect. Clear sky lets you watch the snow-capped mountain peaks unhindered. The daytime temperature remains around 18 degrees Celsius this time, while the night temperature remains around 6 degrees Celsius. Both domestic and international tourists start pouring into Darjeeling during this time if you are planning to come here with all your family members then no better time than the autumn.
Wonderful winter jaunt in Darjeeling: This is the time of the year when the hills wear its most gorgeous avatar. Winter in Darjeeling is something every traveller should experience at least once in his or her lifetime. It is altogether a different charm to witness the hills with the cheers of festivities like Christmas and New Year in the air.
The winter in Darjeeling stays for around three months, from November to January. Sometimes it lingers till mid-February as well. In the month of December, the sky remains mostly crystal clear, and thus mountain views become awesome. Early mornings can be really cold, but this is perfect for those who wouldn’t mind stepping out for a chilly morning walk followed by a hot cuppa at the roadside tea stalls. As the day progresses, the sun shines nice and bright, and it is quite pleasant. The daytime temperature remains anything near 10 degrees Celsius. The night temperature can be freezing and as low as 2 degrees Celsius. Tourists who enjoy chills with a bunch of clouds hover over the valley around the day would love their stay in Darjeeling during this time. But if you are planning to travel to the hills in December, you must pack all the essential woollen garments and other heavy-duty stuff to make the most of your much-desired vacation.
In January, the temperature gets even lower. While during the day the temperature remains around 9 degrees Celsius and at night it becomes 2 degrees Celsius or decreases even down further. But this is sheer a joyful experience if you happen to catch a glimpse of snowfall while staying in Darjeeling. Only a handful of lucky tourists get to witness this when the entire valleys and mountains and towering pine trees remain wrapped up in a blanket of fresh white snow. It is an ecstatic sight for local residents as well as visitors.
Hotel check: If you already have finalised your plan to come to Darjeeling in winter, then you should be aware of some basic information. Virtually, no hotel in Darjeeling is equipped with the central heating system. So, make sure that you already know about the facilities. If you have booked your stay in budget hotels, then you can opt for blowers and small coil heaters but remember that those may not be adequate if the weather gets really freezing. But if you enjoy chill and have enough warm clothes with you, then you don’t have to worry. A little of the chilling atmosphere will add more joy to your vacation.
Where to see and play with snow in Darjeeling: If you are a winter buff and love to visit a wintry place when it snows, then you must come to Darjeeling in December or January. The good news is all the high-altitude places here witness a good amount of snowfall during this time. But the bad news not all places of Darjeeling, located at around 6700 ft altitude, receives equal snowfall. Within the town limits it hardly ever snows. But there have been exceptions as well.
Tourists who are really lucky have seen the Chowrasta and Mall Road being covered with snow in the recent past.
It is most likely to snow in Darjeeling from December end till February middle. So, if you want to catch that experience, book your tickets accordingly. But having said that you should also remember that Darjeeling is not just a town, it is a district. There are places in Darjeeling which are at a much higher altitude, and this is where you will get several opportunities to watch the snowfall.
Sandakphu, which is known as the trekkers’ paradise, is one such region. It is located over 12000 ft altitude. This place will definitely reward you with snowfall if you come in the winter. From here you can also watch the stunning Kanchenjunga and other famous peaks of the mountain terrain.
Best places to cover in Darjeeling
Batasia Loop: Located around 5km from Darjeeling, Batasia Loop is a spiral railway track where the famous and heritage Darjeeling toy train takes a 360-degree turn. It is a large circular area that has been nicely decorated with garden and blossoming trees. Many tourists come to Batasia Loop to get a panoramic view of the entire Darjeeling town and click beautiful pictures. Tourists taking the toy train journey pleasure are bound to visit Batasia Loop as their journey completes here.
Toy train: A trip to Darjeeling will be incomplete without a ride in the famous Himalayan toy train. It is a heritage train service in Darjeeling for which tourists from across the globe flock here. The madness to take a ride amidst the verdant tea estates sitting on a train that passes through the meandering tracks is also no less. Famous film sequences have been shot in many areas of Darjeeling and the toy train is one of them. The train here moves at a snail’s pace and thus gives you the chance to witness all the beautiful mountains and other scenic beauties here.
Kanchenjunga: There are some devout tourists who won’t budge from Darjeeling without catching a clear glimpse of Kanchenjunga, the famous peak of the Himalayan mountain range here. If you are a first-time visitor to Darjeeling, then try to view the peak at dawn. It is the lifetime’s experience to view the Kanchenjunga peak when the first rays of the sun touch the top. When the golden array of lights falls on the peak, hundreds of tourists and photographers and plain viewers try to capture the moment in the best way they can.
Darjeeling ropeway service: Darjeeling ropeway is a cable car circuit through which you can experience various exquisite landscapes here. The glorious mountains to lush green tea estates all the scenic surprises of the hills can be viewed from this amazing cable car service. If you are in Darjeeling, keep half a day for this thrilling experience. It’s worth it.
Nightingale Park: It was earlier a private courtyard. But the place was opened as a park for public viewing since 2011. There is a giant structure of Lord Shiva in the middle of the park. It is nicely decorated with an artificial garden. A musical fountain is also located at the park. A visit to Nightingale Park is rejuvenating. If there are elderly members in your travel group, take them to this place. It is a perfect place for a family get together or a picnic.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: This institute was established in 1954 primarily to promote mountaineering or climbing as an adventure sport in India. Fulfilling its objective, the institute encourages young climbers to pursue the sport. It also teaches them the basic nuances of mountaineering. Both professional and amateur trekkers find a lot of assistance at this school. Expert trainers and climbers often visit the institute to impart lessons on climbing. If you a climbing enthusiast and love everything about the mountains, then visit this place and you will be thrilled.
Darjeeling Rock Garden: Located around 3km from the city centre, this garden has been designed with various rocks cut in different shapes and sizes. Beautifully planned and decorated trees and bushes adorn the garden, which is a perfect place for a morning or evening walk.
Singalila National Park: Singalila National Park is located along the Singalila Ridge at the height of 700 ft above the sea level. It is a national park of India in Darjeeling. The park is well known for trekking and various other adventure sports.
Other spots: Apart from these, there are places like Peace Pagoda, Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park, Tinchuley among others which are equally famous and worth visiting. Darjeeling has several famous monasteries, so visit at least one of them. River rafting in Teesta and shopping is also a must when in Darjeeling.
Conclusion: Darjeeling is a must-see place of the eastern Indian Himalayan terrain. No matter whether you like hills, or tea estates or monasteries or simple lazy walks around book shops or wildlife, Darjeeling has something for everyone. Figure out which time suits you and your family best and chalk out a plan to come to the hills that hail thousands of tourists every year.
Gangtok is one of the interesting hill stations in India that draws Buddhist explorers as well as travelers and honeymooners from far off places of the world. Other than its rich verdure and uncommon types of widely varied vegetation, Gangtok offers a portion of the world's high elevation serene lakes. On the way to this hill station, one can reach the compelling statures of Nathula Pass, which is named as the Silk Route among India and China.
Weather in Gangtok
Amid its pinnacle season that is from September to June Gangtok attracts numerous visitors. Still if you ask the best time to visit Gangtok, it is between September and October and from Spring to summers it is from March to June. Well, one who is arranging an insane and gutsy excursion to Gangtok amid the monsoon ought to know about avalanches, which are regularly decimating.
From mid-June to mid-September, Gangtok atmosphere is as spiritualist as it is perilous. Frequently, one will end up lost in the midst of the thick haze layering over the drenched district. Amid the storm, the temperature in Gangtok goes between 17 degree and 22 degree, and it offers overwhelming rain. Indeed, even one can anticipate infrequent rain consistently.
The Weather in Gangtok in September and October is genially gentle and satisfying. The temperature amid this time settles at a range from 15 degree to 20 degree and offers breathtaking foliage. The temperature somewhat drops to 12 degree amid the long stretches of November and the temperature in Gangtok in December and January goes between 2 degree and 8 degree, which is frigid. In the spring, from February to March, the Gangtok climate gets a mellow temperature that nestles at 15 degree to a limit of 22 degree. Amid the mid-year that is from April to June the temperature in Gangtok ranges from 20 degree to a limit of 27 degree and is the perfect time when one can discover and find a savoring occasion.
Winter Season in Gangtok
The Winter temperature in the district lies between 4 °C (39 °F) and 7 °C (45 °F). Snowfall is very uncommon in the locale, and freezing is likewise uncommon. In winters, temperature achieves least at 4°C. It is likewise considered as the best time to visit Gangtok.
Summer Season in Gangtok
Gangtok, for the most part, appreciates moderate sort of atmosphere all around the year. For the most part in summers, mercury levels go from an average of 22°C in summer. The district observes its period of summer from the month of March to June.
Monsoon Season in Gangtok
The monsoon season begins from the month of June to September. This season is portrayed by profoundly heavy rains that regularly causes avalanches too. Rain by and large begins to increment from pre-storm in the long stretch of May and reach at its maximum amid the definite monsoon.
Places to visit in Gangtok
It is advisable to book a Gangtok tour package to beat the rush. It is an all-season tourists place. You must check you tour packages contain the below mentioned places to visit in Gangtok tour.
1. Nathu La Pass
The Nathu La Pass marks the Indo China Border in Sikkim. This place has an altitude of 14,140 ft above the mean sea level. It is a snow fed pass and looks heavenly in all season. You can see the China area and the Bhutan Mountain from this pass. You have to get a permit to visit the place by 24-hours from Gangtok. This mountain pass will look more beautiful during the winter season. You must not stress pass on to the military areas of this place.
2. Lake Tsomgo
This is a high-altitude mountain lake (12,313 ft) near to Gangtok. The beauty of this lake is it changes its watercolor during all four seasons. Yet the lake water will be in frozen condition from November to February. This is a scenic lake surrounded with pine forest. This is an oval shaped lake and looks beautiful with the shadow of its surrounding mountain on the lake.
3. Banjhakri Water Falls
This is a cool waterfall, which arises out of a natural spring in Gangtok. It has two drops from a height of 98 ft. It is a beautiful place with lush greenery and recreational places for the kids. The beauty of this falls is it has a vertical fall and the second drop is on a horizontal rock. The water at the second drop once again forms a cascade. It is the best place to take a bath and relish yourself.
4. Mt. Katao
This is the best place to see the heavenly Himalayas in the Eastern region. The winter month is best to visit this place to see the snow-clad mountain ranges. You can play with snow and take beautiful photos with snow and clouds. You can see many small waterfalls and spring on the way to Mt. Katao. You must not stress pass on to the military areas of this place.
5. Tashi View Point
This is a surreal place to take photography once in Gangtok tour. You can have the splendid view of the faraway snow-capped mountain peaks. You can see the surrounding valley and the mountain with mist flowing over the mountain. It is the best place to relax with Mother Nature.
6. Gangtok Ropeway
You must not miss the ropeway once in Gangtok. This ropeway passes from two hills on the adjacent side of the Gangtok City. You can get a complete aerial view of the city. It takes a 20-minutes ride, and you can see the surrounding mountains too. The ropeway trip will look more mystic during the winter due to the flow of mountain mists.
7. Yumthang Valley
It is the valley of flowers in Gangtok. It has 24 varieties of rhododendron and in multi-colored flowers. The best season to see theses flower blossom is in-between February and June. This is the best place to take postcard photos with flowers as a backdrop.
8. Seven Sisters Waterfalls
This is a scenic waterfall with many drops. It is a stopover place between Gangtok to Lachung highway. You can see this as the main attraction by traveling through this highway. It is a scenic place to take photos of this waterfall as the backdrop.
9. Kanchenjunga National Park
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sikkim. You can see the Mt. Kanchenjunga from this park. It is the best place to take photos of snow-clad mountain ranges. It is a vast place to trek on the lap of Mother Nature.
10. Hanuman Tok
This is a hilltop temple with surreal lush greenery surrounding. This temple itself looks holly on this hill. You can view the surrounding mountains from this place. You can see the major Himalayan Mountain peak from this temple. The view of Gangtok city is visible from this hilltop.
11. Rumtek Monastery
It is a standout amongst the most treasured journey locales of Buddhists. It is found 24 km from Gangtok in the midst of elevated mountains and alleviating waterfalls. The Golden Stupa in the religious community envelops the relics of the sixteenth Karmapa. This cloister hosts different Tibetan celebrations consistently, and the mainstream one is Tse-Chu Chaam yearly move celebration hung on the tenth day in the month of June.
12. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology:
Otherwise called the Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology (SRIT), Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is one of the main foundations which has the world's biggest gathered works and uncommon original copies of Mahayana Buddhism.
13. National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
Gangtok wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks offers most extravagant organic natural surroundings in India and is home to numerous significant warm-blooded animal species including Asian elephants, Pig-face macaque, red pandas, and hoolock gibbon. They are also home to eight types of wild felines, seven types of primates, wild water bison, and red panda.
Things to do in Gangtok
Gangtok is viewed as a standout amongst the best exercises for a family outing. Sikkim is one of the best spots for enterprise goes in India. The most well-known fascination focuses incorporate Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mighty Kanchenjunga ice sheet, and Great Valleys. A few of the great things to do here include the following:
Explore the Unexplored Caves
Four great holy caves are a part of Gangtok. Like the cascade, the completely flawless province of Gangtok is additionally known for its various luring caverns, some of them being included on the planet caverns list. The trails of these caverns are very tricky and get smaller as you go in.
Lunch at Baker’s Cafe
Your trek to Gangtok is not over yet if you've not had lunch at the well-known Baker’s bistro café. In the midst of the excited MG Marg, there lays this bistro– a standout amongst the best places of visitor interest for Gangtok. If you love food to the core and love experimenting something authentic, you would clearly love to investigate the tasty nutrient-rich local food served at Gangtok.
A Landmark in Gangtok, Lal Bazar is the significant shopping territory in Gangtok. Regardless of whether you are not keen on shopping, you must visit Lal Bazar just to be a part of the hustle-bustle of this amazing and lively spot. There is additionally a Tibetan Market in Lal Bazar where you can purchase shoes, garments and a lot more.
Basically, the voyage begins from the Bagdogra air terminal. The best a portion of Mountain Biking is that it is adjustable. The normal places that you can cover are Pelling and Ravangla Region.
River Rafting is the experience don most delighted in Sikkim. Teesta and Rangit River are the perfect streams for safe River Rafting. The stream is secured by the thick woodland from both sides.
Yaks are ox-like warm-blooded creatures that make the enterprise sports visit all the more intriguing and exceptional. You can have a remarkable sort of experience while yak safari. You should have a ride on a yak and cover the diverse trekking focuses and Rivers. The most mainstream trials are Dzongri range and Tsomgo Lake.
It is the best visit that can make you investigate the excellence of Sikkim in the most noteworthy way. The Spiritual Beauty of nature, Flora and Fauna, shocking mountains, delightful valleys, clean Lakes, and rich evergreen woodland will make you feel like Heaven on the Earth.
Places near Gangtok worth a visit
Darjeeling is one of the popular hill stations of West Bengal. This modest summer destination is settled demurely in the lap of Eastern Himalayan and gloats murmuring streams, sprouting valleys and the sparkling crest of Kanchenjunga. Darjeeling is an immaculate door for the individuals who need to appreciate some sort of recreation in the lap of nature. This lovely hill station of Eastern India is spotted with various places of tourist importance.
Food of Gangtok
Very intriguing when contrasted with the other cuisines from India, Gangtok cooking is unmistakable and certainly deserves a lot of respect. Much the same as its geological magnificence, relatively few individuals know about the delicious food of this state. This is essentially why Gangtok food tastes refreshing only when prepared by individuals who remain here. Pork is a staple food in Gangtok, and for the most part, it is cooked with matured soya beans. Other than rice and pork, local people in this area are additionally fond of kwai which is a local type of betel nut.
Other than pork, other significant dishes that you can attempt here include:
Bamboo and herbs: Bamboo shoot is a well-known food in this state. Gangtok rendition of bamboo shoots additionally utilizes a few local herbs, including Jamyrdoh.
Dry fish: In Gangtok, dry and aged fish is utilized broadly to set up a ton of dishes. The residents have customary methods for making the dry fish.
Minil Songa: Another well-known dish among the Garo clan is essentially arrangement produced using sticky rice. Minil is sticky rice which has a rich nutty flavor and sensitive surface.
Festivals of Gangtok
The significant festival out of many festivals celebrated here, and the best one among the Garos is the Wangala Festival, which is the fête held in respect of the Sun God, otherwise called Salijong. The amazing celebration denotes the finish of an extensive stretch of work when great days at long last come. It is said that each cloud has a silver line and, in this way, the ranchers make the most of their splendid brilliant days with dance, music, and amusement.
Another celebration known as the Nongkrem is one of a kind one. It is commended among the Khasis, and it is a common jubilee set apart with artful dance and tunes. Behdienkhlam is a significant religious celebration which incorporates youngsters pounding drums everywhere throughout the town. The finish of the celebration is set apart by battling between uncovered men with swords and is trailed by a joking around.
It is ideal to procure a car or a bike rental administration for a problem free travel in Gangtok. You will find that the rates are very sensible. Besides this, the rental services are promptly accessible, and you can get them anytime. You have such a significant number of advantages of a car and bike rental to browse that you cannot pick a single great one. Hope you enjoy the hassle-free bliss in this beautiful heaven which is a must visit at least once in a lifetime.
Sikkim is one of the most beautiful and maintained states in India. It is full of greeneries and neat and clean surroundings. This green state in India gives the country a redefined look and appeal with its charisma and charm. The natural surrounding is not touched by the harsh modernization, especially when it comes to its traditional cuisines. The diverse and colored culture around with the heritage in the state calls a cry to visit the state for all around the world at least once in their lifetime and try the Sikkimese delicacies here.
The level of peace and harmony in this state that one receives on their visit away from the daily chaotic lives in the city is worth experiencing. The flavors in the food in Sikkim is made to relish the tastes as it has a touch of variety in their flavorful cuisines that draws the richness of Tibet, China, Nepal, and India where the food is prepared uniquely with the mix of the recipes hailing from four different countries.
The mix in the food tastes derived through the cross cultures relishes the taste buds and leaves an individual to crave for it again and again and makes it stay memorable in their minds forever. In spite of the state being small, the richness in the food variety in Sikkim is huge and diverse due to the presence in the range of delicacies that are exotic in form. If one desires to try something new, they can rightly visit the state that serves the delicacies as stunning vistas and with authenticity.
The tourism in Sikkim has always been an ultimate form of delight for the tourists, and on the visit, the unique taste of the food through its blended flavors adds to the beauty and charm here without any form of compromise. Sikkim can be rightly called a delightful place for the travelers and the lovers of food, and if one is an ultimate craver of both, then no other place in the world can be better than Sikkim for them.
Famous delicacies in Sikkim
Sikkim has a great variety of food to offer all the visitors that range to a wide extent beyond the thukpas and the momos. The communities in this state have their ways and modes of preparing the food items available here according to the flavors and the richness in the taste that prevail region wise. This gives rise to the preparation of the same dishes in various ways and different tastes.
The community throughout Sikkim is mostly agrarian, and this makes the food items throughout the stateless spicy, fresh, and delicious. The main form of ingredients used in this state comprises of onions, garlic, chilies, cumin, and various subtle yet basic form of hilly flavors. The region is located at high altitude from the sea level, and the climate here is cold and chilly, this makes the fermented forms of food and drinks highly popular throughout.
Nepal, China, Bhutan, and Tibet highly influence the food of Sikkim as these countries are the state’s closest neighbors. However, the basic is rice and the Indian flavors throughout the entire region. The entire region loves meat and is widely available aside from the vegetarian dishes too.
Where can one get these delicious cuisines of Sikkim?
Sikkim has numerous small villages and towns; hence, street food vendors are quite less in number. One needs to visit a guesthouse, hotel, restaurant, or a local café to enjoy its delicacies.
The most delicious and authentic food items that one must never miss out on their visit to Sikkim are as follows:
1. Dumplings (Momos):
Almost everyone around the globe has a love for momos. Momos resemble a complement towards Sikkim as this is one of the most eaten and loved dishes across the entire state. The best taste of momos can be experienced in Sikkim as these are believed to be originated from Tibet and gradually modified according to the mix of Nepali and Indian cuisines, the taste of the dumplings here are worth to experience. The momos are steamed form of buns with filings either of vegetables or meat. The steamed dough made of flour and filling comes along with soup and pickles as main servings. The dumplings are tender due to the addition of baking soda or yeast to the flour dough that helps in the enriching of the momo’s texture.
The momos were mainly made of the meat filling that was grounded in form; however, the modifications introduced to it over the span of years have added on to the taste of the dumplings in a much better way and form. The modern-day fillings can be made of almost anything including cheese, veggies, meat, tofu, and several other edibles that add on to the taste. Cheese momos are something the foodies must never opt out from their cuisine list. The best places where the foodies can much on the lip-smacking delicacies are The Taste of Tibet and The Roll House located in Gangtok.
Thukpa is one of the dishes that is made with a combination of soup and noodles. This is mainly a dish from Tibet and is also one of the loved dishes being a specialty in Sikkim. The Thukpa is known for its rich taste along with the health benefits that it serves. Both form of vegetable Thukpa and chicken Thukpa is available where a variety of vegetables are the main ingredients in then noodle-soup combination.
In Sikkim, the vegetables used are mainly of the hilly and local origin, and the most common form of vegetable used are cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, spinach, celery, and bell peppers. The taste of the Thukpa is enriched with the combination of spices and herbs used for its preparation and serve a much-desired balance to the appetite and the health. The availability of this dish is never a question throughout the entire state as this is available almost anywhere and everywhere in Sikkim. Local vendors are the ones who serve the Thukpas with the best and authentic taste to relish for a lifetime.
Though the Phagshapa is not as renowned as momos and Thukpa in Sikkim but is one of the dishes to fall in love with once eaten, this is a loved cuisine in Sikkim, which creates a thrill to the stomach and the taste buds of the ones who possess a love for pork. The dish comprises of a tangy and spicy flavor that is sure to relish every consumer to the extreme with its richness and cultural taste. The main ingredients of the dish are radish and pork, which cannot stop anyone to start munching on it as soon as the platter is brought on their tables. This is also one of the healthy dishes that almost all can have without being concerned about their health.
It serves the right amount of protein to the diet with the vegetables contained in it and very less or no oil at all. This is a perfect treat for the taste buds along with the health all together at the same moment. There is no form of vegetarian substitute for the dish as the main component of this preparation is pork. The best place in Sikkim to enjoy this dish is in Gangtok at the Golden Dragon Hotel. This place serves the Phagshapa in the most delicious and authentic form throughout the entire state.
4. Sha Phaley
Sha Phaley is a dish of Tibetan origin. It enhances the taste buds of humans as soon as one starts having it. Sha Phaley has a wonderful combination that everyone loves. It has meat, bread, and deep-fried stuff, and the combination of all these three gives a person out of the world experience. The most important thing one needs to know about Sha Phaley is it has a ground beef and cabbage stuffed bread that is given the shape of semi-circles and then deep-fried as part of the preparation. The inside stuffing taste is heavenly, whereas the outside coating is crispy.
The first bite of the golden semi-circle tells one everything about the dish and its taste. Nowadays, one will find several variations in this dish, as numerous experiments were done to make it something new. These changes have been brought about to the traditional dish as people demands these types of variations. Some of the famous additions are using tofu or cheese in the stuffing. Individuals are loving these additions and accepting the changes readily. Vegans can enjoy the Sha Phaley dish with tofu fillings in place of meat. One can visit the Roll House situated in the capital city of Sikkim to taste some of the best Sha Phaley dishes with its variations and also the traditional form.
Gundruk is believed to have its origin from Nepal. It is a staple food of the Nepalese people. This dish is completely vegan as it is formed of leafy ingredients. It is very good for health; hence, many health-conscious people just love consuming it. Leafy vegetables like radish and cabbage are used to make this dish. The traditional form of this dish uses mustard leaves in its preparation. A properly and traditionally cooked Gundruk is mostly found in village households where people make it for daily consumption in their homes. The food contains a large amount of roughage that assists in maintaining the body’s metabolism.
Originally this dish is prepared in an earthen pot, but presently other ways have taken the place of the pots for making the Gundruk. This is the only food item which has not done through any alterations in all these years. It is still prepared in the same traditional way even after ages and shows little or no alterations in most cases. This dish is mainly served and consumed during the winter season when it is chilly cold outside. The cost of this dish is very low, and everyone can easily afford it.
Sinki is a traditional dish of Sikkim. Even after all these years, this dish has not gone through any major transformation in its cooking process as well as in the types of ingredients used. Sinki has many similarities to Gundruk. It is a fermented food of Sikkim. Fermented bamboo is used in its preparation in place of fermented vegetables. Radish tap roots are used to prepare this dish. The roots of radish are chopped and filled inside bamboo and then pressed over with a straw. The bamboo is then covered with mud and vegetation and left aside like this for a month.
A miracle is done by bacteria, which is an interesting way. Thus, is can be called a bacterium curing process. A month-long prepared Sinki which is fresh will last for a year without rotting. It is added in soups and stews. The soup made using Sinki is delicious and famous all over the state. When in Sikkim, this food is something one cannot afford to miss out. The Sinki is often used as a pickle and consumed along with other dishes like parathas.
7. Sael Roti
Sael roti is also known as Sel Roti. The process of preparing it is simple. A batter of fermented rice id made and deep-fried in the shape of soft pretzel rings. This dish is very popular and is consumed mainly during special occasions and festivals. It has the shape of a crusted donut.
8. Paneer Cheese
Sikkim is a huge producer of cheese and is an active international exporter. This fact is quite unknown to many people across the country. It produces some of the finest cheese which are of really high quality. One such cheese type is Sikkim Alpine Cheese Spread, which is very popular globally. It is known to have raised the standard of cheese produced in the state to a completely new level. Talking about cheese in general one must try some of the renowned cheese dishes, especially in West Sikkim.
9. Tibetan Bread
This bread is available in various style and shape as per the requirement of customers. People most often like a skillet flatbread which has a hard-outer crust but is soft inside. These types of bread are thick and have a basic flavor with a slight flavor of olive oil. These Tibetan breads are considered staple for people who go on trekking. One can also have this bread with different veg and non-veg side dishes as that would result in added flavor to the dish, and it becomes more filling. One can even have the bread with Yak cheese.
10. Yak Cheese
Yak Cheese is high on protein and tastes creamier. It is higher in nutrients and fat than the cheeses that are made of milk from the cow. Yaks are very common in the higher altitude places in the Himalayas. Sikkim also has cut cubes for locals who are hardened for preservation, yak cheese candies for Sherpas and mountaineers to suck on or chew. One can try a yak cheese meal at any popular restaurant in the town as it tastes fantastic. It has a slightly smoky and rubbery texture with tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and onions. It is a famous dish of the region.
This is a popular dish not only of Sikkim but other parts of the country as well. It is considered as a dessert drink which is formed of yogurt. Lassi is a sweet drink that is a mixture of mil and curd or dahi as known in India. Often sugar, spices, and fruits are mixed with it to form the drink. It is a good probiotic for the stomach and helps in getting a healthier gut.
The locally made alcohol of Sikkim is tasty as well as low in price. The Chaang is also a brewed alcohol that is made out of fermented rice, millets, and yeast. It is potent to a great extent. It is drunk using a bamboo pipe and is hence served in the same manner for sipping in.
13. Chhurpi-Ningro Curry
It is a dish of Sikkim that is a must try when one visits the place. People of Sikkim loves having ferns hence this is a dish formed of chhurpi and fiddle headed alpine ferns.
Sikkim is a wonderful place which has limited authentic food, but all of them are delicious to an extreme extent. Many of the food items have their roots in Tibet and Nepal. However, the place adds some local essence to these traditional foods which enhance their tastes and adds something extra, which is only found in Sikkim.
Sikkim’s delicious cuisine is not only about taste but also health. Most of the food is good for body metabolism and staying fit. The foods there are simple yet elegant. They have made vegetables taste wonderful by using their innovating cooking skills. The flavors of their cuisines touch the hearts of people and remain in their mind forever.
India has been a land of hidden qualities, which are absent in the rest of the world. Such qualities have earned the people of India recognition, as such qualities are so meritorious in nature. There is no denying that India is a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, and similarly, the vibes coming from the land are a mixture of many.
People from different sections of the society have carried through the name of the nation forward, and it is evident that many colonial empires fought to just have India under its control so that they could just enjoy the rich delight of the nation. Coming to the fact that the British Empire ruled over the country, their citizens enjoyed every single latent quality mentioned before, and appraised the nation for possessing such unique incredible characteristics.
Since the times immemorial, India has been selling spices to the world through several trade routes, and the British government just saw the opportunity to know: what is meant by the term spices? Effectively, they imported spices from the Indian mainland and allowed British citizens to fill up their coffers with highly valuable prices.
Moreover, it was the magic of Indian tea that attracted the Britishers, and they ended up having the same imported to their land. Therefore, it has to be concluded that India offers a rich variety of spices, food items, and food products, that are highly indigenous, and are supremely loaded with taste. India, continuing from the times immemorial to the current time of modern world has been the best producer and best exporter of best spices and other food items in the international trade market, dominating the trade with its brilliance.
The Food State of India
If the entire land is known and reputed as a reservoir of tastes, there must be a central place where the best attributes reside. As it seems to be, every state in the Indian mainland has its own famous food items that lure foreigners into the nation; there is no central place where all tastes can be tried with ease. However, it is quite indigenous at the state level as well, where one can copy another’s taste, but cannot produce the charm itself.
But a relief report has been published helping the cause of food rangers. The recent report has suggested that West Bengal is the highest rated state in the country in terms of food that it offers to the locals. Not only to the locals, but the food is catered to everyone coming to their end looking for something that activates their taste buds to a good measure. Hence, one can safely consider the state to be the food state of India and can come visiting the place trying to appreciate the cultural heritage of the place, besides checking out the supremely unostentatious delicacies of the place.
The universal set might contain a favorite place, and the favorite place might produce a magnificent land piece where love can be defined in terms of food. That magnificent place is spotted on the globe as a mountainous city, known by the name of Darjeeling.
The Magnificence of Darjeeling in terms of Food it caters
The Queen of Hills, the city of Darjeeling, presents before the world an internationally recognized and highly demanded hybrid of Black Tea, and thus, in its very first introductory phase is related with the tea production. The hill city of the nation rules over preferences of the tourists and serve to their desires without any second thought. Going by the tourists’ inflow, it is one of the most favored sites for making tourism, and to honor the presence of tourists, passes on a mixture of cuisines to them.
Nevertheless, as noted before, the delight can be copied, but not exactly presented, the food cuisines are diversified, but the local food is what makes it the informal queen of tastes as well. It might lend treats from other states and offer them to the guests it receives.
Being so grateful, the city of hills has got something of its own, apart from the renowned quality of black tea it produces. The temperature being low and chilling the locals, the food options are, majority of the times and more often than not, steamed and stored to a good extent. The steamed food is healthy to eat, rich to taste and attractive to all. And what is hidden inside such small packs of steamed foods is the food heritage of India.
The food options range from what it gets from other states and add something of its very own and unique to loaned items and offer an incredible taste created out of spices and mixtures. These experiments are successful in giving more reasons for the touring parties to choose the spot as their very favorite. The steam cooked options are so close to the land that these cannot be even copied and reproduced by other states, and thus, one has to visit the place in order to check what it tastes like.
Besides spicy hot food items, several sweet food dishes are also ready to welcome the guest or bid adieu to them. In addition to that, the all favorite black tea reads spells over the one who consumes it and forces his mind to rethink of revisiting the place over time again and again. Apart from the tea, there shall be discovered other drinking options too, which are well liked by those who pour these down their throat.
To honor the guest, there are several hotels, motels, guest houses, resorts, and banquets that prepare their food, and being locals of the city, always hold up the name of the city. Moreover, it is the craftiness of the cook, that he might think of adding another component into the food item he is preparing. Therefore, the variety of food is diversified with respect to local cooks who are intellectual people, trying to give a memorable eating experience to those who visit them.
Food items to check out while visiting Darjeeling
As discussed above, there are a plethora of alternatives to choose from, but the highly delicious and greatly supreme taste can be afforded in only some of the dishes prepared in the city, a short account of which is presented below:
A vegetarian or non-vegetarian steam cooked pouch of items belonging to the heaven is served hot before those who order it, and when eaten with local chilly chutney can be quite relaxing. The pouch is prepared with whole wheat flour, and inside is stored a combination or mixture of several food items chopped nicely and marinated with spices. There might be other fillings as well, that are known to enrich the taste of that pouch in particular. At times, the pouch is oiled in scented liquid, again unique in taste, so that when steam cooked and served wins the hearts of the people. Since the first impression is the last impression, nicely decorated balls of dough stuffed with fillings of cabbage, cottage cheese, cheese, meat, chicken chunks, eggs or even a mixture of vegetable, marinated and roasted in spices, are placed on the table pretty much decently, along with mint chutney, pickles, red chilly chutney, tamarind chutney or even a paste of every single chutney.
Moreover, it happens to be highly easy and simple food to cook and serve. Majority of people might just want to have a plate of momos, like quick food. Thus, momos are quick bites that can be eaten in several restaurants in the city.
As known by commoners, that the city is a local place to live for people from neighboring cities and even nations, the food items are highly reflective of choices of food from these different lands. One such example is the choice of the platter of food items from the land of mountains, Nepal. As the name of the dish suggests, the taste of Nepal is served in a single platter, with items ranging from hot soups to utterly buttered bread of the local land. A traditional platter always contains some vegetables, few curries, one or two soups, assorted bread, and a sweet item, adding flavors to which are pickles and chutney of diversified kinds, and papad to aid the digestion process of the consumer. Served in the cutlery of locals, bronze one or aluminum one, meat curries with vegetarian dishes, lentils cooked in a soup, soups and other bread are served to the guest.
Potato is the king of all the vegetables and dum is what means strength in Indian language. Therefore, the dish of Aloo Dum is what gives strength to the potato to rock the show and come up as the true commander of all the dishes. Aloo dum is a potato curry, or sometimes a curry less dish prepared in a pot or semi-hemispherical cooking equipment. Big pieces of potato are put along with gravy, sauté in essentially good spices like cloves, cardamom, red chili, white chili, coriander powder, and black pepper. Adding more of the flavor are the tomatoes and onions bulbs that keep the dish alive, more than ever. Thus, aloo dum is what makes the cravings for food so real, that it cannot be resisted by people.
Pickles are the brothers of chutneys and are highly spicy to eat. Whenever added to the dish of food, tastes get developed and diversified. Pickles are pieces of mango, lemon, carrot, radish and chilly that are immersed in oils of mustard or olives. The oil is not only the common oil but in addition to the oil, there are spices which are highly active, making the pickles so attractive and tasteful whenever eaten. The cooking procedure for these food items does not comprise of any regular steams, or frying habits, but what prepares a classy pickle is sunlight. These pickles are covered and placed in open sunlight to get prepared on themselves, and this forces the tastes to go natural.
Noodles are the heritage of northeastern states, and therefore, Darjeeling offers noodles soup along with meat and chicken chunks, or egg crumbs, cooked in supremely spicy flavored water. Oils and scented liquids are added to enrich whatever thupka has to offer. Sattu also belongs to the class where some natural leaves are cooked in water and are served to the guests to have a hot soup to drink in the times when the weather is too cold and chilled.
The hybrid produced during the colonial rule still rules the world in its name. The tea market might comprise of international flavors produced by different countries and regions of the world, but the perfect conditions for the black tea are found in this city which makes it superior to any other in terms of what it has to offer. Therefore, this black tea dominates the rest of the world, giving a taste of itself to those who do crave for it. The exports made to other countries is so high in figures, and it is done only after the domestic needs are satisfied and served. Therefore, the production of black tea takes place on a very large scale, making it charming.
The conclusion of what food items mean in Darjeeling
This is not all that Darjeeling has to offer to its tourists upon their arrival in the city. There are several countless food items that allow tourists to fare better. Tourists hang on their boots, thinking of this place to be the one where their all dreams come true. The magnificence of hills and their beauty makes them feel chilly with the cold vibes generating from their foothills, and the mornings in the city, which is known as the queen of hills are so charming. At this point, if someone has got home cooked food with natural materials, making it healthier at the very first instance, the tourist can think of replacing and substituting the value of money with the comforts the city has to offer on its own.
India is a beautiful country and a rare blend of unique cultures that have nurtured this country for centuries. Every state, whether big or small, in this country, has its uniqueness. This is one of the reasons for visiting thousands of international tourists to India and their craze to see different states and enjoy the richness of their special culture. Amazingly, India shares its border with seven countries - Afghanistan and Pakistan to the north-west, China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north, Myanmar to the far East and Bangladesh to the east. Sri Lanka (from the south-east) and Maldives (from the south-west) are two countries with water borders.
Brief geographical facts about Sikkim
Sikkim is a tiny mountain state with an area of 7,096 sq. Km. And population of 6,10,577 based on 2011 census data. It shares its border with a single state West Bengal on the south in India. The international boundary of Sikkim is also shared with China in the north, Bhutan in east and Nepal in the West. The density of population in this state is 86 per square kilometer, and the sex ratio is 890 males per 1000 males. The literacy rate of this state is 81.42% (82.2% as per 2011 census). Politically, Sikkim has a small constitution of 32 legislative assemblies distributed in four districts. The State is represented by the symbols Rhododendron, Noble Dendrobium, Red Panda and Blood Pheasant as State Tree, State Flower, State Animal, and State Bird.
Brief economic facts about Sikkim
Sikkim’s economy chiefly depends on agriculture and tourism. Though the rationale of both factors is good, yet the GDP of the State is very poor and is ranked on second last position among all Indian states. The agriculture production is done mainly of maize, millet, barley, wheat, and paddy. Besides, apples, orange, potatoes, and cardamom are also produced. Sikkim is the largest producer of black cardamom in India. Food processing, distillery, breweries, flour mills, tanning, watch assembly, etc. contribute to the state’s economy to a certain extent. Besides, gold, silver, copper, and zinc are the natural resources of this state.
Brief cultural and social facts about Sikkim
Sikkim is the only Indian state and after the Ladakh region of J&K where the glimpses of Buddhist culture are reflected, though 61% of Sikkim’s population consists of Hindus against 28% that follow Buddhism. The Buddhist culture is highly echoed in the presence of Buddhist monasteries, Presence of all four schools of Buddhism, and Gumpa dance performed by Buddhists during the New Year festival (called Losar). The Tibetan culture is also reflected in Sikkim as Drenjong, the language of Bhutan, is also spoken in this state. Most popular cuisine of the State are Momos, wonton and Thukpa. Sikkim has the third highest per capita liquor consumption rate among all Indian states, which is just behind Punjab and Haryana. People are mostly religious and visit monasteries and temples. They practice dances, especially such as mask dances of Bhutias, Lepchas and Nepalis are quite popular in this state.
Brief historical facts about Sikkim
Sikkim held monarchy status for a long period as Phuntsog Namgyal (called Chogyal, means priest-king) founded the Namgyal dynasty and established himself as the Sikkim’s monarch ruler in 1642. The throne was ascended by his son Tensung Namgyal in 1670. The Bhutanese invaded and defeated Sikkim in 1700 but were later successful in restoring the crown to Chogyals. The raids from Bhutanese and Nepalese on Sikkim for quite a long period and further repercussion of assign of Nepalese was seen in the Gurkha war of 1814. This could be the reason that most population in Sikkim is still Nepalese. However, peace treaties were signed between Sikkim and Nepal. Sikkim was later annexed by British, but the bursting of huge riots in 1973 resulted in a mass consensus to get protection from India. The objective was to abolish the monarchy, and a referendum was sought that allowed the Indian Army to take over control in Gangtok. This was the step forward towards independence of Sikkim from the rule of priest-king.
Interesting journey of Sikkim from monarchy to statehood
Sikkim holds a very important place in the map of India since 1947, though Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India was not in favor of Sikkim being assimilated in India. He claimed Bhutan and Sikkim as Himalayan state and not Indian state. Thus, Sikkim maintained its monarchy with Thondup Namgyal as the monarch. It is the least populous state of India which was not considered a part of India until it officially got the status of an Indian state on May 16, 1975. This is the main reason that this day is celebrated as Sikkim Day. The existence of Sikkim, which has mainly Buddhist population, is centuries old. The fact is known by the existence of Pemayangtse Buddhist monastery, which dates to the early 1700s. The presence of other Buddhist monasteries can also be traced in Sikkim.
The journey of Sikkim’s status from an independent land to become the state of India is very interesting. In 1642, Sikkim came under the rule of the Chogyal Dynasty. This Dynasty ruled Sikkim for about two and a half century before British rule was enforced that made it a protectorate or territory state. Nepal and Bhutan were also a part of a buffer state between China and British India which was known as Sikkim. In 1947, Sikkim became a part of India, as a result of which Sikkim’s foreign policy, security, and communication came under India’s realm, but Sikkim retained its independence. The governance of Sikkim was taken over by Hope Cook, an American woman whom Palden Thondup Namgyal, the last monarch of Sikkim, was married. This was a misfortune for Sikkim because this woman was also accused of being a CIA agent. The Sikkim people rebelled against the monarch in 1975 that led to the change of status of Sikkim from a ruled land to an independent official state of India. Though many believe the involvement of Indian agencies in inciting violence in the state, yet it’s not certain what exactly caused this transformation.
Anyways, Sikkim was made a part of India after the 35th Constitutional Amendment and was made a co-state. China, the neighboring rival of India, was displeased with this transformation until 2003 when China acknowledged Sikkim as part of India during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee as Prime Minister of India. Now, Sikkim is a full-fledged flourishing state of India and saw the leap into India’s democracy.
About Sikkim’s uniqueness
There is too much to describe about this splendid state and its breathtaking beauty. Sikkim, a northeastern Indian state having Gangtok as its official capital, is bordered by Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet. Being a part of the Himalayas, Sikkim is awesome and is known for its serene beauty and theatrical landscape. Sikkim holds the pride of the presence of India’s highest mountain Kangchenjunga, which is 8,586m high. Sikkim is also home to alpine meadows, glaciers and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Its steep paths leading to monasteries are special attractions of this state.
Stunning trip to Sikkim
Being a Himalayan state, its splendid beauty has ever been maintained. The climate, culture, and everything in this state is marvelous. The passenger, especially those from international locations, enjoy an experience of breathtaking landing at the new Sikkim airport in the Himalayan region that became functional on October 04, 2018. The airport, at roughly 4,500 feet above sea level, is leveled off by a giant 230-feet-tall retaining wall to ensure landing and take-off safety. The airport has some unique features that offer a stunning treat to everyone who visits here. Everyone wishes to catch a glimpse of an outside stunning view of Himalayan mountains while taking an airplane trip to and from this new Sikkim airport. Skeptically, the travelers want to return again and again to visit this awesome land. The beauty of Sikkim is mind-blowing, no matter whether someone arrives here by air or using the land route.
Truth about Sikkim
According to Helen Keller, a renowned deaf-blind American author, political activist, and lecturer, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.” This statement is a truth about Sikkim because the stunning beauty of this land cannot be described by any mean. The unique essence of Sikkim can be sensed in the roars of Teesta river, the chants from the monasteries, and the magnetic attractions of the Himalaya that absorbs every visitor in the pristine and mystic beauty of Sikkim that is the window to the Himalaya.
Some interesting facts about Sikkim
Much has been explored about this state, and there is more to explore as yet. Let’s have a look at a few interesting facts that might be familiar to many people but unfamiliar to a few others. Here are a few interesting facts about Sikkim for those who want to know more about this state.
Some general facts about Sikkim
This tiny mountain state has got name and fame because of its stunning aesthetic, culture and heritage, and people. Some of the prominent personalities that polished image of this state are Danny Denzongpa (famous Bollywood actor), Omi Gurung (famous fashion designer), Bhaichung Bhutia (famous football player), and Pawan Kumar Chamling (former Chief Minister who was a charismatic leader and served as CM for five successive tenures).
Sikkim’s hidden destinations
Sikkim is most pretty of the Indian states for its grandeur, and abundance of natural beauty and resources. Sikkim offers options of tranquility, scenic beauty, wonderful travel destination to spend holidays in a paradise destination on the earth. Sikkim is truly an ultimate destination for those who have wanderlust cravings to explore the beauty of nature. Dzuluk, Kaluk, Gyalshing, and Sumbuk are the places in Sikkim that might not have been visited and explored by many people, but these places can satiate every traveler’s craving to explore.
There is nothing better than Dzuluk on this earth to fill the lungs with the cleanest air, which is a pretty isolated place far from the tourist crowd. The roads leading to an elevation of 3048 m are zig-zag and no less than a dream but sometimes give an ethereal feel.
Kaluk, although remain unexplored and well hidden, has eye-catching mountainous views. Kaluk village is nested amidst the mighty Himalayas, and that’s why visitors generally overlook this place.
Gyalshing, a pretty town, is home to some gorgeous snow-clad mountains, wild green jungles and a handful of beautiful tourist spots. This place is a paradise for trekkers and offers several options to them.
Sumbuk is probably one of the most unexplored parts of the South Sikkim swamping with amazing natural beauty. Nature breathes in every corner here, and it is birder’s paradise as well. Sumbuk’s green valleys and flowing streams to pretty mountains and glossy green gardens are definitely going to fill everyone’s heart with contentment.
Sikkim has very interesting facts that instigate anyone to know more about this stunning location. Don’t just think that Sikkim is a tiny mountain state of India because its glory is too big! Sikkim is an inspiration for travelers who don’t find gratification with their frequent trips; it’s an ultimate destination for them, and it allows several options to enjoy and explore. Sikkim may be an unvisited place for most travelers, but the facts of this state are so convincing that create craving to pay a visit someday here in future.
Darjeeling, the name itself reminds all the travel maniacs of a perfect collage that includes beautiful serene local, green valleys, snow-capped mountains and of course mysterious surroundings with lots of clouds hovering here and there. The meandering hilly roads that run along the world heritage toy train tracks will definitely make you feel romantic if you are a first-time visitor to this northeast Indian terrain. Local delicacies that carry the flavors of almost all the neighboring countries of the north-eastern part of India will make you visit Darjeeling time and again.
Now let’s talk about the places in Darjeeling that draw the maximum number of tourists round the year. These are the destinations that you can’t afford to miss in order to have a perfect getaway in the Himalayan hill state. Visit to each of these places will give a lifetime memory to cherish.
Similarly, this is a perfect place to spend your afternoon and watch the sunset. Fix your cameras and phones from your favorite spot in the Tiger Hills to watch the sun reflecting a bunch of brilliant hues before calling it a day.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see red pandas, Himalayan bears, clouded leopards, and Tibetan wolves. The snow leopard breeding center is also an important zone. The park opens around 8.30 in the morning and closes at 4 in the afternoon. If you are a domestic tourist, you will have to pay Rs 20 to enter the park. It is Rs 50 for an international tourist.
There is a large prayer room here. You can also visit the library and the study hall. This place is also regarded as a center of Buddhist knowledge. The monastery opens around noon and remains open till midnight. There is no entry fee for this monastery. If you plan to visit anytime during the morning or in the afternoon, do not forget to taste the local food such as momos and thukpas that are available at the small food joints right outside the monastery. Darjeeling is a place for foodies. Various colonial style and local dishes are available here.
Toy train joy ride: From Darjeeling to Ghum station
The duration of the journey in the toy train from Darjeeling to Ghum is of about 2 hours. Darjeeling to Ghum and back covers a total distance of about 14km. There are several rides of this toy train service in the morning. Though the number of rides varies in different season and based on the rush of tourists. The train stops at Batasia Loop for around 10 minutes for passengers to enjoy the panoramic view of Darjeeling.
Here at the Batasia Loop, the train takes a turn to give passengers the scenic view of the garden. Generally, there are 18 rides of this toy train service in a day, so if you are planning to come to Darjeeling, you must keep a day free just for this unforgettable toy train ride. The Darjeeling toy train services are very famous among international tourists. People from across the world eagerly look forward to taking this ride once they step in Darjeeling.
Top activities to do in Darjeeling
Darjeeling Ropeway: If you want to enjoy the best view of Darjeeling, then ropeway is the best route. Darjeeling ropeway service, also known as the Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car, starts from Singmari, which is just 3kn away from Darjeeling Chowk Bazar. The ropeway journey is of about 45 minutes. You will travel at an altitude of 7000 ft. The Darjeeling ropeway is one of the first cable car services in India. Here, almost 16 cable cars are there, each of which can carry around five to six passengers. So, if you are visiting Darjeeling with your family, then take a halt at Rangeet valley ropeway and take the maximum fun out of it.
Sandakphu trek: Many people consider Darjeeling as the Trekkers’ Wonderland. Various different kinds of treks are available here for both professional and amateur mountaineers. This is altogether a different and exciting experience that you can have here. Sandakphu trek is considered as the holy grail of Indian trekking, and this has been named so for all the right reasons. This pretty trek lets you view Mt Everest at a certain distance, and the feel itself is inexplicable. So, if you are sporty enough, take a trek to Sandakphu. Darjeeling mountaineering institute makes all the arrangements.
River rafting in Teesta: If you are visiting the eastern states of Darjeeling or Sikkim, then there is no point missing the adventure of wild river rafting. This is pure fun to raft in the rivers of Teesta or Rangeet that gush down the Himalayas. The place where Teesta and Rangeet meet is called Triveni. This is the place where hundreds of tourists’ camp. The rafting activities remain mostly closed during the monsoon. So, in case you want to give this river rafting a try, then make sure you get all the details about the timings and charges. You can also contact the Darjeeling tourism department for their assistance.
The friendly neighbour Sikkim: It is judicious to cover the neighboring state of Sikkim if you are already visiting Darjeeling. There are several customized tour packages for the combined trip of Darjeeling and Sikkim. The common tours can be completed within a period of 8 days to 10 days. Sikkim tour places share a lot of geographic, cultural and traditional similarities with the Darjeeling travel destinations.
Tour plans: If you start with Darjeeling, then after covering all the important destinations here, you can head for Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. If you start in the morning after breakfast, you will reach Sikkim during lunch time which is very convenient for any tour party. If you spend an overnight stay in Gangtok, there are plenty of Sikkim tour places to cover.
You can take a guided tour to Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir on a single day. You can have lunch outside. There are so many food shacks and joints by local residents here. Both these places are located at a distance of just 40km from the central Gangtok city. So, you can easily come back to the hotel by the evening and spend a night in Gangtok.
For Lachen, you have to dedicate one entire day. It is located around 118km away. On the way to Lachen, you can view the majestic seven sister falls, one of the famous waterfalls of India. Along with Lachen, Gurudongmar lake can also be visited as per your convenience. If you are a nature lover, then proceed to the valley of flowers, popularly known as Yumthang Valley among travelers to this part of the land.
There are places like Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Tashi viewpoint among others. You can pick and choose from the places as per your choice or can cover everything if you have time and other important resources. The infrastructure here is amazing. All transportation and accommodation facilities are of global standard. Even if you are a complete stranger to this part of the globe, nothing is going to hamper your travel plans.
Conclusion: Darjeeling has something for everyone. Be it young or old, nature lover or religious tourist, food fanatics or adventure sport enthusiast, everyone can enjoy this place to their heart’s content. Also, if you are simply tired of the mundane city life and feel like sitting idle in a quiet peaceful place, then this is your refuge. The place has been drawing thousands of tourists from across the globe for its own charm, heritage, tradition and lots of warmth of local people. It is very difficult to ignore the calling of the blue hills and vast greens once you visit Darjeeling.
The stunning landscapes surrounding the most famous places to visit in Gangtok includes snow-laden highlands, crystal clear sparkling lakes, serene temples and monasteries, and lush greenery. The magical aura of Gangtok can be felt once you step into the land of the Himalayas. Even beyond the city borders, you will be mesmerized to watch the natural beauty of the entire state of Sikkim.
In this article, we will provide a list of must-see Sikkim tour places that ought to be in your bucket list once you visit this north-eastern Indian state. It doesn’t matter if you are a history buff or simply a nature lover. Sikkim and its capital city Gangtok have something for everyone.
Located on the Indo-Chinese border, several tourists flock here for trekking and enjoy the site’s untouched natural beauty. The snow-capped mountain peaks, gushing natural waterfalls and exciting cold weather are some attractions that draw hundreds of tourists to Nathula. If you are lucky, you can enjoy a glimpse of the Himalayan wildlife as well. Tibetan snow leopards, yaks, and wolves reside in the nearby jungles and tourists often enjoy their sightings from a distant valley.
You should spend at least half-an-hour at the massive prayer hall of the monastery. The walls of it have been decorated with traditional Tibetan murals, wall art, and statues.
Overwhelming scenic beauty, steep snow-covered mountains, serene lake, and clear azure sky over it, the bright green series of alpine forests alongside are some of the features of this place that will definitely leave you in awe of Tsomgo Lake. If you visit this place in summer, you might be lucky to witness how the nearby glaciers melt and fall into the lake water, changing its very color.
Colorful flags perched on the side of the staircase welcome you here. You have to take off your shoes and wash your hands before entering the temple. You can also visit Hanuman Tok, which is located nearby. The place is known for fulfilling the wishes of its devotees. These two places are a must-visit destination for nature lovers and photographers.
Sikkim is a place that has a bounty of natural beauty and the calmest atmosphere. The valleys and hills and tea estates here make fall in love with this place as you visit for the first time. Take a break from the mundane urban life and spend a week in Sikkim. It doesn’t matter if you cannot cover all the tourist destinations. Choose the ones that catch your fancy or make you feel interested about the state. If you want to visit certain popular places, plan much in advance as there could be issues related to the entry fee, tickets and rush because of peak seasons. Try to avoid visiting the locations of the steep hills during monsoon. Be it train or air, Sikkim is connected with every transport means.
Sikkim, enveloped by the Himalayas, is a destination for all kinds of people. Nature lovers, adventure buffs and spiritualists have come here to satisfy their longing to be with the most promising aesthetics of life and nature. The heaving touching mountain range, serene lakes, crystal clear azure sky, pure hilly weather, ethnic population and some of the best monasteries are what keep travelers drawn to Sikkim.
Also, this is the destination for shopaholics. Right from local gastronomic delicacies to indigenous clothing to some of the finest souvenirs are available across Sikkim. We all know that shopping covers a major part of any travel or tour plan. But when it comes to shopping in Sikkim, then you are spoiled for choice. The region will not disappoint you if you are a street shopper who has an eye for cheap yet unique products and loves collecting knick-knacks.
Why shopping in Sikkim is fun: Sikkim is like a small happy paradise with only a small population. Therefore, here the market places are not so elaborate like we see in other metropolitan cities. Here there are regular markets that cater to local people and travelers every day, except weekends. Besides, there are some special weekly or weekend shopping hubs that especially meet the tourists’ needs with their broad range of local products and produces.
Gangtok, the ultimate shopping hub: Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim. Not only it is the administrative headquarters of the Himalayan state, but it is the zone for all the primary civic activities, including shopping. It is a major reservoir of marketing for travelers. The place has witnessed thriving of various new shopping joints alongside the old ones. Right from the famous religious scroll paintings, locally known as Thangkas, by the Buddhists from Tibet to Sikkimese cups, figurines of Lord Buddha, high-quality tea, praying flags, local ethnic clothes, various souvenirs bearing the local culture and art and crafts are available in this Sikkim capital.
Eating paradise: You name an item, and Gangtok has them all. According to locals, more than 50 big and small shopping hubs are spread across Sikkim. If you are a fine eater, then this is the place to be and also collect some incredible food items back to your hometown. You can collect the chhurpi, which is basically fine cheese made of yak’s milk, a trademark item in Sikkim. Besides, local beer, dried fish and handmade noodles are some most relishing items to go for here in this hill state.
Now let’s talk about the best shopping hubs in Sikkim that can keep you coming back again and again.
Mahatma Gandhi Marg: MG Marg is the main market area in Sikkim. The entire stretch of the road is lined with big, small and medium shops on both its sides. A part of this MG Marg shopping center is also known as New Market. The shops at the MG Marg area open usually around 8 am and close by 7 in the evening. The entire hub is closed on Tuesdays. Here you can find a large number of stalls that sell local fabric and dress material for both men and women. Also, you can find shops selling shoes, gifts, trinkets, and unique souvenirs.
Sikkimese cups: There is a huge craze to buy these ethnic art pieces of Sikkim. Travelers from across the globe collect them as souvenirs. These cups, made of porcelain, carry the traditional designs of Sikkim and are available in different colors and sizes. These are something you can gift anybody and everybody.
Books and jewellery: If you are a bibliophile, then MG Marg can be your own favorite corner. Here shops like Kandoika sells books on Buddhist ideas about life and living, Buddhist ideologies and literature. A lot of books Sikkim culture and tourism are also available here. Jewelry items such as earrings, dragon pendants, finger rings, and metal crafts are sold at almost all the shops at the MG Marg markets.
When it comes exclusively to books, the development area in Gangtok is the best place. If you are wondering which way to go, then it is just a few minutes walking from the MG Marg market. You can also board a taxi to reach the destination. Several bookstalls are located in this area. Besides, this is a thriving place for cultural exchange among tourists. Old and young people flock here to have a good time in the evening. You can witness a live jazz band performing or be an audience at a film screening in this place. Also, poetry recitation and art and craft and photography exhibitions also take place in the development area. This is a very famous tourist hotspot. The book stores here sell books on Sikkimese history, philosophy, travel, culture, heritage, literature, art and music, and last but not the least children’s books.
Lal Bazar or Kanchenjunga shopping complex: If you happen to shop at the MG Marg, then there is no reason you miss the chance of visiting the Lal Bazar. This market is located just below the MG Marg market line. This is a buzzing shopping center and located just a few minutes from the MG Marg stop. This is one of the oldest markets of Sikkim too. The place is the heritage and tradition of the state. The Lal Bazar was established in 1956. You will get a cosmopolitan atmosphere across the market as people with their varied backgrounds come here to shop and sell.
What to buy at Lal Bazar: You will get all sorts of diverse items here including electronic gadgets to incense sticks. The time to visit this market is on a Sunday. It is the haat day at the market. So, you get more shops and more vendors to buy your favorite items. If you want to know more about the ethnic culture of Sikkim, then come visit this market. You will see villagers in traditional Bhutia or Nepali attire managing their shops. Just soak in the atmosphere here. Buy organic vegetables, dried fish and cheese. Sikkim dairy products are extremely popular among the local people.
A melting pot of shoppers: Also, you can get a variety of other items such as prayer flags. Traditional curved Nepali knives, known as khukri, are also available here. Handicraft items made of cane or bamboo is another favorite among tourists. Lal market is also famous for selling pottery items. But remember, this market remains closed on Thursdays. So, when you plan to cover both MG Marg and Lal bazaar markets, try to make it on a Sunday.
A hub of furniture and woollens: Sikkim is the place to buy the beautiful and delicately carved choktse furniture. These choktse are the very traditional type of furniture that are available in Sikkim. They are heritage pieces that can be collected as a lifetime signature item of the state which bears rich culture.
A lot of woolen garments are also available here at a very economical rate. You can purchase the fine quality and locally produced woven dress materials, shawls, blankets and also knitted garments. Woven carpets are also very popular in Sikkim. There is a local tribe that has the expertise of making these carpets.
Don’t forget to bargain: Sikkim markets are famous for their diverse products and sellers. It is an amalgamation of varied kinds of shoppers as well. So, if you are a domestic or international tourist buying your favorite items at the market, always make sure that you know the tricks to find your way to the best deal. All the shopkeepers at the Sikkim markets generally quote a higher price for their products. Therefore, it is always advisable that you buy the authentic items at their right price from the government registered shops and emporiums. Also, don’t forget to bargain if you happen to buy random items from the roadside stalls.
Lachen market: Lachen is the sister village in Lachung. This is one of the beautiful and scenic places in Sikkim. Situated at the altitude of 8838ft, this place is around an eight-hour drive from Gangtok. Lachen market located in the heart of the village provides an interesting shopping experience to its visitors. A fabulous range of handicraft and handloom products are available here. All the items are locally manufactured in small scale industrials hubs. So, they carry the very essence of the Sikkimese culture and tradition. If you want to buy anything from this market, it should be either shawls, handbags, blankets made of sheep and yak wool. In many of these articles, you will find designs on Buddhist culture and figures. But again, don’t forget to bargain with the shopkeeper as they usually overcharge from tourists.
Geyzing market: Geyzing located in the western part of Sikkim is a breathtakingly beautiful place surrounded by a lush green valley and snow-capped peaks. The market place of Geyzing was set up by a monk body for the benefit of the local villagers. The geyzing market has all kinds of shops. Since this is a commercial region, a number of shopping delights are awaiting for you in here, right from local handicrafts, handwoven woolens, carpets. Besides, you can find a lot of handmade products that are native to the region in the shops of Geyzing. There is also a farmers’ market here that offers visitors to buy organic fresh vegetables and herbs.
Ravangla market: Ravangla is a small town in Sikkim that lies at the elevation of 7000 ft in the southern part of the region. The town is well connected with the other parts of the state with highways. Ravangla is situated between Gangtok and Pelling. Ravangla has a famous market that sells various types of items starting from stationeries, tailoring items, groceries, food items, and other things. The market is famous for various other utilities such as photocopy services, medicine shops. A lot of popular Chinese restaurants are also located here. The Kheunphelling carpet weaving center is also located in Ravangla. Several Tibetan migrants once came here are set up this carpet weaving hub. You can purchase good quality traditional Sikkim carpets at a very low rate at Ravangla.
The place also has a lot of foreign liquor and local liquor shops. In terms of transportation, Ravangla is a very useful location as you can get a taxi and private vehicles from this point up to anywhere across Sikkim. If you want to straight to the airport or get a customized tour of your favorite place, everything can be managed from Ravangla.
Tea shopping: Sikkim is the place from where you can purchase the finest quality tea for yourself and your near and dear ones. Golden Tips is the famous tea shop in Sikkim where you can find a large array of teas to select from. You can seek discounts for bulk purchase as well. Unusual CTC and orthodox tea everything is available here. You can be sure about their quality.
Conclusion: Sikkim is not just a tourist destination. This is a region where as a visitor and also as a local resident you can lead a content stay with all the basic and primary amenities at your doorstep. The place is the ultimate example of enjoying a blissful life in serenity. It is away from the regular chaos of the city but has all the elements that you need to lead a city life. The Bengal government and also the Indian government are putting a lot of efforts to boost business and trade in this region.
Assistance and support are being provided to the small scale and medium scale business houses. A lot of investors from the plains are also visiting this part of the country with their capital. As a result, Sikkim is developing like never before. The amount of inbound tourists has also increased in this region, making the local residents more able and self-sufficient in terms of their economic and social growth. So, if you plan to visit Sikkim, make it happen because there is no such thing that is not available in this Himalayan terrain for your safe and peaceful stay.
Good things come in small packages.’ No other place in India, but Sikkim, can prove this. This place, enveloped by the Himalayas, is an ideal dream destination for all kinds of people. Nature lovers, religious buffs, adventure enthusiasts or simple family tour lovers, everyone can relish this mesmerizing valley hill station where mountains touch the heavens.
How to reach Sikkim: The northeast Indian state has a fair amount of transportation facilities. Many travelers, especially the youngsters prefer to reach there by road. Various road trips and bike rallies are that is why becoming famous in this region.
The helicopter way: If you are planning to make your Sikkim your dream destination this year, then add some thrill to it. Explore visiting the state through a helicopter ride. You can actually avoid the long and tiring tour and the road journey along the meandering and uphill road from Bagdogra to Gangtok or the other way.
The copter comes to your rescue. If you are thinking that the helicopter will only ferry you to the mesmerizing hill city, then you are totally wrong. Sikkim is the place for blue hills and verdant forest, rich heritage and flock of unknown birds. If you want to enjoy the panoramic beauty of all these at a glance, then the chopper is the ultimate one. The helicopter service is the best for aerial sightseeing tours. There thrill of watching the mind-blowing Himalayan terrain along with the majestic snow-capped mountain range from the sky at a close distance is simply unmatchable. It is a unique and rare experience that travel freaks often arrange for themselves or gift to their special ones. Now one might wonder that all of these adventures might cost a hefty amount of bucks. But it is not. Let’s get into the service and pricing details of chopper facilities in Sikkim.
Pawan Hans service and its features: The helicopter service is known as Pawan Hans. It is provided by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation. The tourism corporation wing is a part of the Sikkim government. The capacity of each helicopter under this service is five persons. If a child requires a seat during the journey, then he or she will be considered as a person.
The services are extremely popular because of its safety and reliability. But as a traveler, you should consider the weather conditions as the schedule and frequency of the chopper service is subject to change based on climate situations. Sikkim is a hill state, and sudden weather change or cloud formation resulting in heavy rain affect the chopper service’s timing.
The timing: Generally, it takes around 35 to 40 minutes to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra and vice versa. The service is daily, and you can arrange the booking from your home city much ahead of your journey. The helicopter that starts from Bagdogra and takes you to Gangtok sets out at 2.30pm. So, it is advisable that to opt for this service, one should book a morning flight to reach Bagdogra comfortably and avail the chopper facility for the next half of the journey. Likewise, another chopper leaves Gangtok at 11 am to land you to Bagdogra from where you get direct or connecting flights to your home. Both the up and down journey chopper facilities are available on a daily basis.
VIP criteria: If you or any of your co-traveler belongs to the VIP category, then service timings can be altered in consultation with the authorities concerned. Also, timings change as per weather and other situational factors such as pick up season among others.
Rate: According to the revised rate of February 2019, the present rate of the chopper service stands at Rs 3500 per person. But before making your final estimate or budget for the Sikkim trip, you should check the latest price details to stay updated.
Luggage limit: Here comes one of the most important and tricky aspects of the helicopter service in Sikkim. The simple thing to remember is you must travel light to avail of the chopper facility. Here only ten kg of luggage is allowed per traveler. But if you think that additional luggage can be accommodated with some added cash like you do in terms of regular flight journey, then you are wrong because here, there no such option. In case you are having extra luggage, you can send them to your hotel through dedicated taxi or other porter services while you and your family reach there by helicopter.
Many travelers plan their journey this way. Therefore, from the taxi and luggage bearing services are also contacted by the helicopter providers.
How to book: Booking in advance is the best option. To avoid the rush, last minute tension and other complexities book the seats in much ahead of your date of journey. Calling the Sikkim tourism corporation’s office or ticket booking counter to check the availability of seats should be your first step. Ask for the timing etc. and decide whether they suit your criteria. Then make the complete plan. Here are a couple of important phone numbers to book the helicopter service.
Contact – 03592-203960. 9475011220. You can call any of these numbers and look for seat availability. Once the authorities confirm you about the availability, then you can make the payment through account transfer.
After landing at Bagdogra airport also you can book the chopper seats. But again that is subject to availability. There is a booking counter out the departure hall from where you can book the entire chopper or required number of seats, though this is not the best option during the high season.
In case, the service is canceled for any unavoidable circumstances; you will get the refund.
Sightseeing through copter: Now let’s see what major tourist attractions you can cover while enjoying a joyride on the chopper. There are set tours for which they have specific costs. Also, special mountain flights are there, and for these, there are no set costs. If there are other passengers on the chopper with you and your family, then the cost or fare get divided. But usually one gets enough fellow travelers during the peak season, and the package costs are quite reasonable.
Regular tour of Sikkim: Within 10 minutes after flying from Bagdogra over Gangtok, you will see a mesmerizing combination of azure sky and beautiful landscape. The winding roads, alleyways, houses will all seem like a dream from the top. Among the popular places, you will see Rumtek Monastery, Gangtok ridge among others. If it is a regular flight, then per person charge would be around Rs 2500. You can book a charter flight for Rs 10,000.
Kanchenjunga tour: Another famous chopper tour would of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak. For this tour, if you start from Gangtok, you will ride over the places like Mangan, Chungthang, Lachen, Zemu, Green Lake and then get back to Gangtok from where you started. As you fly, you will be awestruck with the view of the beautiful and thrilling Kanchenjunga. You will get a panoramic view of the entire mountain range. The serene Teesta valley is also located here. Places like Mangan, Lachen, and Zemu if you cover, then the entire journey will be of around complete one hour. Sixty minutes of pure thrill and excitement. The tour can be conducted on request. This is not a regular tourist tour. Rather it is conducted by special arrangements and taken mostly by a handful of industrial and VIP families and those from the foreign countries. A charter flight of this tour will cost around Rs 96,000.
Tsomgo Lake tour: Now if you are in Sikkim and have not visited the Tsomgo Lake, then it is totally incomplete. You can take the copter tour or regular small airbus tour to the beautiful lake here. This is the best option for a group of four or five friends or families where you can book an entire flight for just Rs 19000. This is an affordable trip to a beautiful lakeside.
Mount Siniolchu and Namchi tour: If you like watching the best peaks of the Himalayas, then this is the tour you must book. There is no better experience in Sikkim than watching Mount Siniolchu and similar other peaks from the sky. Best time to see them is in the morning when the sunshine flashes on to their snowcapped crowns.
Namchi tour is for those who want to witness a religious place in Sikkim. This is a pilgrimage tour. It covers places like Sai temple, Tathagata sal among other important religious destinations. This tour is popularly called as the char dham tour of Sikkim.
Pakyong airport and its features: Sikkim’s one and only airport, Pakyong was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. The airport is located just around 33km from Gangtok. It is the pure engineering marvel that has been constructed at the height of around 4500 above the sea level.
The airport has been built by the Airports Authority of India. The distance of Pakyong airport from Bagdogra, which is located in Bengal, is just 124 km. So, travelers coming from the east and northeast India can easily reach Sikkim via this route. Also, people from the rest of the country and abroad can land at Pakyong via Delhi or Calcutta. Pakyong airport is just 60 km from the international India China border.
Features: The airport has been given a look and infrastructure of an international standard facility. It has been built at Rs 605 crore, and it is equipped with all the modern facilities. The reinforcement wall here is almost 80-metre-high, one of the highest in the world. It has got a 1.75km runway and reflects the famous Buddhist culture of Sikkim through these interiors.
The airport has it dedicated 116metre long taxiway. Its terminal is around 1300 square km where with a capacity of handling 50 in bound passengers.
A budget carrier like SpiceJet operates in Pakyong, and since the airport has just been operational in last year October, you can easily get the flights touching in and out of Pakyong. This means the usual rush that you witness in other regular airports in metro cities are yet to catch Pakyong.
Transport from Pakyong: Several government and private transportation facilities are available from the airport. You don’t need to panic that as it is a new facility, you will not get any proper taxi or private vehicle to reach your hotel in Sikkim. Sikkim government has initiated various plans and issued licenses to many private transport provider agencies to streamline the movement of tourists across the state if they visit this part of the country through Pakyong airport.
The essence of Sikkim: Sikkim is the least populous state in the country. It is serene and peaceful. This is the place you would want to visit after having months of a hectic life and work pressure. This is where you get solitude in its abundance. Scenic beauty, fresh food, warm and friendly people with all the amenities extended to a traveler, Sikkim is increasingly becoming popular for world voyagers.
Gone are the days when you had to book your train ticket and dial several times your private booking agent for a car ride to the hotel from the airport. Things have been eased out in Sikkim. With the launch of the new airport and streamlined connectivity through the Bengal, the channel has made things easier like never before. Now you can plan a trip to Sikkim through any route of the country at any time.
Bagdogra airport: Bagdogra airport is another way through which you can easily land in Sikkim. It is an international facility that is located 45km west of Siliguri. Bagdogra is a major air transport hub in the northeast region as it connects all the flights from various metro cities across the country such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Guwahati. Also, if you are an international tourist, from Bagdogra, you can board flights to Bhutan and Bangkok. The distance to Sikkim from Bagdogra is around 80km. Plenty of private car and taxis are available from the airport premises to reach you to the Sikkim capital in just 5 and a half hours. You can pre-book your journey from Bagdogra to Bangkok or hire the running transportation.
Both expensive and economy packages are there for the flight services in Sikkim. For special mountain flights journey, you will have to spend some extra bucks, but the investment is worth because you get to see the enthralling place from the lap of luxury. This is a lifetime experience.
On the other hand, if you want to go for a regular ride and share your journey with other travelers then also it is fine as long as you cover various beautiful locations of the Himalayan range.