Gangtok is located on the ridge of a hill, at a height of 5,410 feet. The Ridge has Raj Bhavan at one end and the King’s Palace at the other end. Because of the hilly terrain, buildings in Gangtok are erected very close to the roads. Parking space is acutely scarce.
Busy Gangtok Street
Gangtok has a population of about one lakh. Density of four wheelers is high. Cars can be seen everywhere. Small Maruti cars are employed as taxis. Auto rickshaws are conspicuous by their absence. The population of buses is miniscule. I did not come across any city buses. Locals and tourists depend on shared jeeps and vans for travel outside Gangtok.
Sikkim Manipal University Campus
Sikkim Manipal University campus is located in picturesque surroundings on the bank of River Teesta. Sikkim has achieved tremendous growth in the field of education over the last decade. The medium of instruction in schools and colleges is English.
As Sikkim is close to the border with China, the Indian army maintains a significant presence in and around Gangtok. This ushers in a population of semi-constant residents who bring wealth into the local economy
Himalayan Peaks in the Distance
Gangtok is nestled among the Himalayan mountains. Mount Kanchenjunga (8,598 metres or 28,208 feet) can be seen to the west of the town. It is the world’s third tallest mountain.
Entrance to Raj Bhavan
Gangtok enjoys a mild, temperate climate all year round. Temperatures range from an average maximum of 22 °C (72 °F) in summer to an average minimum of 4 °C (39 °F) in winter. Snowfall is uncommon.
Tourism is the main income generator in Gangtok. Many residents find employment in restaurants and hotels. There is no dearth of private and shared taxi services in Gangtok.
Gangtok-Nathu La Road
Considered a centre of Buddhist learning and culture, Gangtok has noteworthy Buddhist institutions including Enchey monastery, Do-drul Chorten stupa complex and Rumtek Monastery.
Read more on Sikkim from my earlier posts:
- General Observations on Sikkim
- Changu Lake – Glacial Lake in Sikkim
- Namchi, Sikkim -Religion, Travel and Beyond
- Nathu La Pass
- A Memorial Temple Run by Indian Soldiers
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