Local Itinerary ( Place Of Interest )

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M.G MARG Gangtok is a cosmopolitan town which offers the tourist all possible amenities. Hotels are available in a range of prices along with a variety of eateries serving cuisine for all tastes. Shopping complexes, cyber cafes, night clubs and pool parlours abound for those so inclined. MG Marg, the main street of Gangtok town is a great place to chill out. The countrys first litter and spit free zone, no vehicular traffic is allowed into the marg. You can sit at the Titanic Park or at the various benches stretched across the mall and take in the carnival like atmosphere, especially during the tourist season. The Mall is lined with shops on both sides of the road so shopping becomes an added pleasure. MG Marg is also the venue for the annual Gangtok Food and Culture festival held in December each year when Sikkim’s multi-cultural cuisine, along with music and dance performances are showcased. This event attracts a large number of locals and tourists each year.

RUMTEK MONASTRY –  Situated around 23 kms from Gangtok in the hill facing Gangtok is Rumtek, a quiet getaway and home to the Rumtek Monastery, seat of His Holiness, The Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kargyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The drive to Rumtek snakes through typical Sikkimese villages and many paddy fields. The paddy fields resemble a green carpet from July to September and later in October-November, the entire place is a sight to behold with golden paddy swaying in the breeze. The main attraction, however, is the Rumtek Monastery, seat of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kargyu sect of Buddhism. Just ahead of the Rumtek Monastery is the Nehru Botanical Garden which has a mix of tropical and temperate plants and trees as well as a big greenhouse of exotic orchids. It’s a good place to stop for a while. For children there is a small playground with swings and a see-saw and a winding footpath is ideal for a stroll.

CHANGU LAKE 38 km from Gangtok and at an altitude of 12,400 ft, the ethereally beautiful Tsomgo lake is a must on every visitors itinerary. A winding road through rugged mountain terrain and sharp cliffs takes you to Tsomgo, which means source of the water in Bhutia language. The lake derives its water from the melting snows of the mountains surrounding the lake. Tsomgo (Changu) Lake The lake is associated with many myths and legends and is revered by the Sikkimese as sacred. It is believed that in olden times, Buddhist monks would study the colour of the water of the lake to forecast the future.

The lake is also of special significance for the Jhakris [faith healers] of Sikkim who congregate here annually on Guru Purnima, which coincides with the festival of Raksha Bandhan, from all over the state to offer prayers.

NATHULA – Nathula Pass was a major corridor of passage between India and Tibet before it was closed in 1962. Located around 56 kms from Gangtok at an altitude of 14450 ft, the road to Nathula passes through the Tsomgo lake. It is one of the highest motorable roads in the world and is richly surrounded by alpine flora. On a clear day you can even see the road winding down the Chumbi valley. Tourists are allowed to go close to the international border from where you can see Chinese soldiers on the other side of the barbed wire.Nathula Nathula is open for Indian nationals on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays. The visitors have to get the permit to visit the place by applying to the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department through a registered and recognised Travel Agency. Foreign nationals are not allowed to visit Nathula. Photography is strictly prohibited. One can find ATM facility here which is the worlds highest Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

BANJHAKRI FALLS – Banjhakri Falls stands out as being exclusive. The place has a nature in all its majesty, greenery and vibrancy with diversity and richness of the Sikkim Himalayan flora and avi-fauna. Its beauty and serenity are some of the unique attributes the park offers to the visitors. To have a holistic approach towards the project during the course of implementation, ideas and inputs from all quarters were invited so that innovative features could be included making the best use of the available opportunity. With an area of two acres the natural features were first worked on through landscaping. Ornamental plants, tress and flowers were planted all over the foot trails, foot bridges and gazebos constructed. Lush lawns were created and small water body existing inside the park area further developed into a large pool adorned by a dragon at the center. There is a splash pool for small children at one end. Besides the natural surroundings, the parked is themed around ancient human traditions of appeasing spirits by Shamans or better locally as jhakris, Bongthings, Bijuas, Phedangbas, etc. These Shamans perform rituals to enhance and enrich their occult powers so that they can better ward off evils and epidemics of disease. To have a holistic approach towards the project during the course of implementation, ideas and inputs from all quarters were invited so that innovative features could be included making the best use of the available opportunity. With an area of two acres the natural features were first worked on through landscaping. Ornamental plants, tress and flowers were planted all over the foot trails, foot bridges and gazebos constructed. Lush lawns were created and small water body existing inside the park area further developed into a large pool adorned by a dragon at the center. There is a splash pool for small children at one end. Besides the natural surroundings, the parked is themed around ancient human traditions of appeasing spirits by Shamans or better locally as jhakris, Bongthings, Bijuas, Phedangbas, etc.

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