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Irreverent, cheerful and pleasantly boisterous, Sikkim’s modern capital is layered along a precipitous mountain ridge, descending the hillside in steep tiers. It’s a confusing spaghetti of winding lanes flanked by tall, mostly concrete-block buildings that might appear to be two storeys high from one side but often have several more floors descending behind. As well as a handful of minor sights, there are countless viewpoints with panoramas that encompass plunging green valleys and, if you’re lucky weather-wise, glimpses of Khangchendzonga on the distant skyline.
Alongside the deeply felt presence of stupas and monasteries, Gangtok also bustles like any other thriving town. Some of the key places to visit include Rumtek Monastery, Do-Drul Chorten, Enchey Monastery, Tashi View Point and the local bazaar, Lal Bazaar.
Sikkim was its own mountain kingdom till 1975 and still retains a very distinctive personality. The meditative, mural-filled traditional monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism coexist with Hindu shrines of the ever-growing Nepali community, both religions creating some astonishing latter-day mega-sculptures to adorn the skyline.
Hassle-free and warm-hearted, it’s a state that’s all too easy to fall in love with, explaining perhaps why permit regulations prevent foreigners staying too long or going too far. Clean, green and ‘all organic’ since 2016, Sikkim is mostly a maze of plunging, super-steep valleys thick with lush subtropical woodlands and rhododendron groves, rising in the north to the spectacular white-top peaks of the eastern Himalaya. When clouds clear, an ever-thrilling experience from many a ridgetop perch is spotting the world’s third-highest mountain, Khangchendzonga (8598m), on the northwestern dawn horizon.
Momos, who doesn?t love momos? Sikkim and Momos are complimentary to one another. Sikkim is the place that is going to serve you the best momos you?ll ever taste in your life. Believed to be of Tibetan origin and modulated by the Nepalese cuisine the momos are the lifeline of Sikkim. Momo is a small package of steamed bun with some fillings. Momo typically consists of two parts – the cover and the filling. The cover is made of dough made of white flour and water. Sometimes yeast or baking soda is also added to the dough to enhance the texture of the momos. Originally these momos were made with ground meat fillings, but over the years a lot of modifications have been made that have made dumplings even better. From Tofu (Paneer) to cheese everything can be included in the filling. The cheese filled momos are something no foodie would dare to miss. To get the best momos in Sikkim, one should visit The Roll House and The Taste of Tibet in Gangtok.
Thukpa is a kind of noodle soup of Tibetan origin that has found its way to being one of the most loved food in Sikkim. Thukpa is something that is very healthy and tasty at the same time – a rare combination to find, isn?t it? One can find both vegetables as well as chicken thukpa here and mind you both are worth trying. One can find almost every kind of locally grown vegetable in this soup, but the most common ones are carrots, bell peppers, spinach, cauliflower and celery. It is rich in spices too and has an enriching taste. One serving is enough for an individual, but no one can stop at one because why not. Thukpa is available in almost every cafe and restaurant, but it is better to try it from a local vendor as they provide you with the best and most authentic taste that you can find.
This wonderful dish of Tibetan origin is literally heaven on your taste buds. Everyone loves bread, everyone loves meat, everyone loves the deep fried stuff, and Sha Phaley has all three. Bread stuffed with ground beef and cabbage made into semi circles and then deep fried is everything that you need to know about this dish. Crispy on the outside and heavenly on the inside, this is what you get when you take the first bite into the golden semi circle. With different people having different demands a lot of variations have been done to the traditional dish, and people have readily accepted the addition of cheese and tofu to the stuffing. If you are a vegan even then, you can enjoy this delicacy with the tofu fillings. The Roll House in Gangtok is the best place to try one of these.
Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road.
Tsomgo Lake, also known as Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake, is a glacial lake in the East Sikkim district of the Indian state of Sikkim, some 40 kilometres from the capital Gangtok.
Hanuman Tok is a Hindu temple complex which is located in the upper reaches of Gangtok, the capital of the Indian state of Sikkim. The temple is dedicated to lord Hanuman, and maintained by the Indian army.