Gangtok Holidays

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HILL STATIONS - GANGTOK

Gangtok Holidays

Gangtok Hill Station

 

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Sikkim, land of the Yeti
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim, a garden state lying at the foot of Kanchenjunga mountains. Rich in thick green forests, Sikkim abounds in birds and butterflies, varieties of orchids, rhododendrons and wild flowers and magnificent views of the Himalayas. Gangtok is literally the "lofty hill" set amidst the clouds and mists of the splendorous Himalayas. The simple, ever-smiling hill people, colourful lamas, exotic monasteries and prayer flags fluttering in the world combine to provide a fascinating holiday. The culture of Sikkim is rich in mythology and legends. One is of the abominable snowman, the legendary Yeti. There are many legends of the sacred mountains, Kanchenjunga, all of which bring forth the divine nature of these mountains. Gangtok is particularly famous for its flowers and over 500 species of orchids. The best seasons of flowers are April to June and October to early December.

WHAT TO SEE
» Chorten, a stupa built in 1945, is a great religious centre with valuable relics and two huge statues of Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava).

» Deer Park with an image of the preaching Buddha.

» Orchid Sanctuary with over 200 species of orchids.

» Tsukla-Khang, the royal monastery of the former Chogyals or rulers of Sikkim. Has priceless Buddhist treasures.

» Enchey Monastery with its exhibits of images and religious objects.

» Research Institute of Tibetology which has a large collection of icons, tankhas (tapestries) and rare books.

EXCURSIONS
» Orchidarium (14 km.), of the Forest Department with a wide variety of orchids and exotic plants.

» Rumtek Monastery (24 km.), noted fro its carved and painted woodwork, magnificent murals, icons and rare manuscripts.

» Phodang (28 km.), the site of one of the most beautiful monasteries.

» Pemayangtse Monastery (137 km.) at the height of 2085 meters. It is the starting point for visits to the holy Tashiding Monastery, pine-forested Yaksum, Dhubdi (Sikkim's oldest monastery), and treks to Bakkhim and Dzongri (3962 meters).

FESTIVALS OF SPECIAL LOCAL INTEREST
waterfall in gangtok» Sikkim's festival, especially the masked dances performed by lamas in gompa courtyard, are spectacular.

» Religious masked dances are performed by Lamas for 2 days at Enchey (January), Rumtek (February to June), Phodang (November and December) and Pemayangtse (February).

» Losoong, Sikkim's New Year's Day (November-December) when the dances of the Black Hat (denoting a triumph of good over evil) is performed.

» Pong Lhabsol (August-September) celebrated in worship of the mountains, Kanchenjunga. Colourful masked dances are performed by Lamas in the courtyards of monasteries.

» Harvest Festival celebrated in December.

» Dances by the Lepchas, the original inhabitants of Sikkim (December).

SHOPPING
Hand-woven woolen carpets, blankets and shawls, Lepcha woven bags, choksies (tables) exquisitely carved and painted, hand-made dolls, painted masks, bamboo artifacts and hand-made paper. Sikkim also makes its local liqueur out of paan (betel leaf).

ENTERTAINMENT
All the year round and especially during the winter months, there are music and dance recitals and theatrical performances, including yoga demonstrations, Indian and Foreign films etc.There is a regular week-end theatre in winter and a play festival before summer. Music and dance programme are held regularly during the autumn and winter. The Ram Lila dance drama on the Ramayana is performed open-air during Dussehra.There are two Sound-and light shows, one at the Red Fort and the other at Teen Murti House.

TREKKING
Sikkim, with its exotic flora, is a paradise for trekkers. The most popular trek is from Gangtok to Pemayangtse via Rumtek. Then on to Yaksum, Bakkhim and Dzongri. A low-altitude trek is from Namchi to Pemayangtse and back. The Himalayan Training Institute holds demonstrations in the season of mountain-climbing etc.

There are many number of Himalayan Treks which can be undertaken from Darjeeling as the base. A popular one is to Sandakphu by different trekking routs. the best season for treks are April-May and October-November.

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