In early February, I was visiting Gangtok after a hiatus of 15 years! This small hill city, nestled among green forests in the higher peaks of the Himalayas is abundant in natural beauty and if the skies are clear, offers spectacular views of the Kanchenjunga .
On my last visit, I would have probably called it a big town but over the past 15 years it has expanded and grown into a small city. Though, what sets it apart from other hill towns in India is the cleanliness factor.They for sure have found some kind of a balance between maintaining a clean environment and urbanization.
Almost every city in India has a M.G Road and Gangtok is not to be left out! The Mahatma Gandhi Marg is the main shopping area with a number of café’s, souvenir shops and restaurants. In the evening this street can get quite busy with a fair mix of tourists and the local crowd. Winter in Gangtok seems to be quite a happening season!
People from different cultures have settled in Sikkim and for the foodies there are different cuisines to be tasted.We stepped into the ‘Gangtok Food and Culture Festival’ to taste some authentic cuisines of Sikkim.
Exploring the streets of Gangtok we noticed that the landscape all around was dotted with seasonal flowers. Climbing up the hill from the city centre we unknowingly made our way to the Winter Flower Show. The garden, beautifully landscaped was a riot of colours showcasing an array of flowers ranging from local varieties to exotic orchids!
In search of the Red Panda ( incidentally, these animals bare no resemblance to the Panda Bear), the state animal of Sikkim we made our way to the Himalayan Zoological Park. The Red Panda belongs to the racoon family and are said to be excellent tree climbers but otherwise spend most of their time eating and sleeping.
Every traveler visiting Gangtok comes with the hope of getting a glimpse of the world’s third tallest peak, the Kanchenjunga. The past couple of days being foggy, sighting the opposite mountain itself was a challenge. So on the drive up to Hanuman Tok (a hill top temple with a great view) a pleasant surprise awaited ahead. At first glance, it could be mistaken for a cloud formation merging into the skies…we had finally got a glimpse of the Kanchenjunga!