This is a series of posts covering my trip to Darjeeling and North Sikkim. You can read about my
Day 4 –
Today, we woke up in the guesthouse at Gangtok to a wonderful view of Gangtok city from our balcony. One can just sit in the sofa of the balcony and read a book or sip a cup of tea.
View from our balcony 🙂
Our budget constraint didn’t allow us the luxury of sitting idle for a long time. So, it was time to begin our day trip around Gangtok. We covered the below places
- Enchey Monastery
- Ganesh Tok
- Sikkim Himalayan National Park
- Tashi viewpoint
- Bakthang Falls
- Rumtek Monastery
Below Google maps will give an overall view of the places and location
First stop was at the Enchey monastery. It was the first time we ever saw a monastery and it was quite captivating. The bells that people rotate while walking to and from the monastery, the prayer bells, prayer flags and chanting of the monks – it was very different to us. This is relatively small in size when compared to Rumtek. Still, I would suggest visiting it.
Ganesh Tok – further up the hill is this temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. More than diety itself (forgive me), I found the views from this temple amazing and worth definitely a visit. If there are no mists, we can get a bird’s eye view of major part of the city.
View from Ganesh Tok
Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park – We stumbled upon this place while leaving Ganesh tok. We saw a signboard for the park and we got curious since it didn’t look like a zoo or national park. It was like a forest. This is the second best place among the places we see today.
This is basically a zoo. But animals are kept in natural environments. No cages, just deep trenches are created and animals are kept there. It requires long walks and climbs in a few places to see certain animals. We saw red panda, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan black bear, leopards, civets, yak and deer.
The atmosphere was so cool, the previous day’s rain had wet the entire floor, trees were lush green and the air was so crisp, clean and pristine. We spent close to two hours at this place walking inside the national park. I would definitely recommend it. (Maybe in summers, this might become a little hot to walk)
Note – Closed on Thursdays. Visiting hours – 9 am to 4 pm. Entry fee 25 INR (adult), 10 INR (child). Camera is free.
Misty walk in the forest 😛
Tashi viewpoint – is a few km after the zoological park. It gives marvelous views of the city, provided the sky is clear and there is no mist. On a clear day, Kanchenjunga is said to be visible from here. There is a souvenir shop and a canteen.
Bakthang Waterfalls – on the way to viewpoint, this waterfall is on the road. As I mentioned before, there are many such waterfalls throughout Sikkim from the mountains trickling and eroding the roads. It is a welcome break from the car journey and not more than that.
Rumtek Monastery – The highlight of today’s trip is this monastery and we proceeded towards Rumtek around 2 pm. It takes a while to reach there. Around 1 – 1.5 hours and takes us through the hills. As we got higher and higher, the views got prettier and prettier.
Rumtek is a very beautiful monastery set on a wide expanse of space. A few photos from the outer and inner side of the monastery.
Rumtek – Outer
Rumtek – Inner
The views from the monastery are “killer views”. There is also a stupa in the center of monastery were people throw coin.
View from the monastery
Young monks were reading, older monks were chanting, the whole atmosphere was electric with good vibrations. The paintings on the walls of this monastery are very beautiful. But the interiors are too dark and without flash in camera, practically nothing can be captured in a camera
We had a light snack at the monastery’s canteen and proceeded towards Gangtok. As usual, we had our dinner from Agarwals in M.G. Road (I terribly regret this now for not having tried the local food). We had a big day ahead – Nathula Pass. The indo-chinese border at an altitude of 13000+ feet along with a possibility of seeing snow. 😀 😀 (Yeah, we had never seen snow before in our life). Inspite of the excitement for the next day, we slept peacefully with lots of expectations for the days that come.
You can read the story of our Day 5 trip here.