Gangtok is the capital of north eastern state of Sikkim in India. Located on the surrounding hills and mountains of the Himalayan range, the place offers breathtaking views of several peaks including Kanchenjunga which is the third highest peak in the world. The place is known for its Tibetan cuisine and many monasteries which are colorful and each offer a majestic view of the surrounding mountain ranges. The best time to visit the place is in November before the onset of full-fledged winter. Do be sure to carry woolens as the temperature drops to single digit numbers even during the aforementioned period.
Upon reaching the place, the first thing to catch one’s eye is the grandly built mall road, which is actually a common feature in all hill stations in India. The mal road is the central market place of the town or city. What makes Gangtok different form the other mall roads in India is the look that it gives, especially during night hours. With dazzling lights and bright stores, one gets the feeling of being somewhere in Times Square and not in a remote north eastern state of India. The mall road itself shatters any image of a backward state that people usually associate the north east to be like.
There are plenty of options available for staying for both short as well as long durations. Hotel rooms are available across all budget ranges and most can be booked online through travel websites which offer huge discounts from time to time. Alternatively, one can give them a personal phone call to bargain for a better deal. The people there are always eager to please the tourists. The local mode of transport there are private taxis which ply the roads and can drop you anywhere you want to go.
The most important tourist spot that is a must visit in Gangtok is the Nathula Pass, which is the Indo – China Border at a height of 4310 metre above sea level. It is one of the two open trading border posts between the two nations and people can visit the other country with the necessary travel documents. Temperature there falls up to 3 degrees Celsius even during noon time and a strong breeze makes matters even worse. It is located around 56 kms away from the city center of Gangtok and special permit jeeps take tourists to the pass and back.
Enroute to Nathula pass, one can stop by at Chhangu Lake which gets completely frozen during winters. In the month of November the lake will have just begun to freeze and it offers breathtaking views and chance for great landscape photography. The terrain is also breathtakingly dangerous but the jeep drivers are experts and let no harm be caused to the tourists. Overall, Gangtok is a beautiful place to visit if you want to experience the grandeur of the north east.