Tsomgo Lake is a two-hour ride from Gangtok on the Gangtok-Nathu La highway. About a kilometre-long and 50 metres deep, Tsomgo Lake is popular as a tourist attraction and a holy site as well. It’s encircled by lush green landscapes on all sides. A small Shiva temple, some food stays and several appealing plants and flowers can be seen at the Tsomgo Lake. Visitors can also enjoy a yak ride around the lake. On days without sunshine, you'll often see the Changu Lake hidden in a veil of cloud.
Do Drul Chorten:
Imaginably the most famous stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) in Sikkim, Do Drul Chorten was made in 1945 by a Tibetan Buddhist named Trulshik Rinpoche. ringed by 108 prayer wheels on which Buddhist mantras have been decorated, monks and guests swirl the wheels, which is identical to determining 108 beads of concert. The gold plated spire atop the Chorten is what Do Drul is popular for. Do-Drul Chorten is a stupa placed on a hillock in Gangtok, just a short walking area from the Research Institute of Tibetology. The Chorten Stupa is decided by a golden top dome. This golden top can be seen from different places in Gangtok.
Around 25 kilometres east of Gangtok and at an elevation of 5,800 feet is Sikkim’s colossal monastery, the Rumtek Monastery. Made in 1740 and rebuilt in 1979, the monastery features a golden stupa containing the antiques of the 16th Karmapa, with several other sacred Buddhist artefacts. Rumtek Monastery or Dharma Chakra Centre is placed in the Indian state of Sikkim, 23kms away from Gangtok. It is the largest Gompa in Sikkim which is a visual display of devout and developmental heritage of India and Buddhism. Rumtek monastery is considered as alter for Tibetan Buddhist.
Flower Exhibition Centre:
A beautiful tropical greenhouse, the Flower Exhibition Centre in Gangtok is a paradise for plant lovers. The location is a beautiful stretch of green and is an absolute treat to the eyes. This is also the locale of the leading Sikkim Flower Show, commonly held around March, when the orchids around the sector are in full bloom. People from around the country specially travel to Sikkim around this time to attend this colorful event.
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary:
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is a nature park, which houses some 40 different species of rhododendron trees. Surrounded by scenic mountain ranges and the charming Yumthang Chu (river) flowing through the valley, the sanctuary has a breathtaking landscape. The sanctuary is at a distance of about 7 hours from Gangtok. The place is very rich in natural vegetation cover and comprises of various species of plants & trees. The chief attraction of the place is the Rhododendron shrubs & trees that are found here in abundance. There are around 40 different species of Rhododendrons that lends the park a colorful look during the spring season. In addition to this, there are various other trees like Potentillas, Saxifrages, Primulas, Aconites, Poppies, Gentians and many more.
Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve:
Named after the third highest peak in the world, Mount Khangchendzonga, the biosphere reserve is surrounded by many mountains and glaciers. On its west, is Mount Khangchenjunga, towards the north are Nepal, Talung, tent peaks and the Zemu and Simyo glaciers, and other sides are covered by peaks including Pandim, Narshing and Siniolchu. One of the highest biosphere reserves in the country, this national park is home to the musk deer, snow leopard and the Himalayan tahr. The flora here includes temperate broadleaf, oaks, fir birch, maple and willow. The inventory also has the facility to go hiking from Yuksom, which is about 145 kilometres from Gangtok.
Himalayan Zoological Park:
The Himalayan Zoological Park is a stunning lush forest reserve that overlooks the majestic Khangchendzonga range and is spread across a total area of 230 hectares. The objective of the park is the conservation of rare and endangered species by providing them a safe and natural habitat. Two of the highlights of the Red Panda which is also the state animal of Sikkim, and the Snow Leopard, the apex predator of the Himalayas, figure prominently. The landscape of the park varies from rocky surfaces to gentle green slopes with beautiful flora and fauna all around. Apart from the opportunity to see rare animals of the region, the zoological park also offers an incredibly peaceful environment.
Tsuk La Khang Monastery:
Tsuk La Khang Monastery is placed in Gangtok. To visit Tsuk La Khang Monastery and get the most from your holiday in Gangtok. The imperial chapel of the palace is located in the palace grounds and is the centre for prayers and also has an impressive collection of Buddhist scriptures and literature. The walls and altars of the monastery are lavishly decorated with murals and images of Buddha, Bodhisattva and other tantrik deities of Buddhism. The Tsukhalang Palace has served as the venue for coronation of kings, royal marriages and victory ceremonies. The monastery also hosts several Buddhist festivals through the year such as Phang Lhabsol and the Tibetan New Year. If you happen to visit during any of the festivals you must go to see the famous mask dances that are performed by the monks here.
The Tashi Viewpoint is one of the best places to go to with a pair of binoculars, water and some sandwiches. From the Tashi Viewpoint, you get the perfect view of the snow covered peaks of Kanchenjunga. The Phodong Monastery and the Labrang Monastery are also easily visible from here. The Tashi Viewpoint was instructed to be made by the late king of Sikkim - Tashi Namgyal.
It covers an area of 50,000 square feet and is dotted with several flowering plants. It also maintains an eco garden, Gorkha War Memorial, and many restaurants and eateries. A paradise for nature lovers, the Batasia Loop is specifically known for its spiral of a narrow gauge railway track on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway where the Toy Train makes a complete loop around a wonderful circular garden. The Batasia Loop is approximately 5 kilometers away from Darjeeling town and is close to Ghoom. If you are lucky enough then on a clear sunny day, you will get a jaw breaking view of the Kanchedzonga range.
Darjeeling Mall and Chowrasta:
One side of the mall is thickly layered with pine forest under the shadow of the towering mountain peaks, the other side lies shops of traditional garments, handicrafts, carpets, rugs, paintings, semi-precious jewelleries and metalwares. It is a rendezvous of people from all over the world and is notable as a popular tourist hangout in Darjeeling. Placed in the heart of Darjeeling town, the Darjeeling Chowrasta and Mall is one of the best places in Darjeeling that one cannot afford to miss on his or her trip to Darjeeling. Besides hosting several boutique shops, restaurants and eateries… this place is just your own pick where you would love to get hold of the nature at its best. Some of the noted shops, restaurants and eateries in the area are Habeeb Mullick & Son, Curio Corner, Nathmulls Tea & Sunset Lounge, Golden Tips, Life & Leaf, Jolly arts and Bhutan Tibet Art Shop. The Bhutia Market, which is close to Chowrasta is another attraction for shopaholics. The Hawa Ghar and the huge golden color statue of the Nepali poet Bhanubhakta Acharya are the two major attractions in Chowrasta.
Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park:
The Chunnu Summer Falls is another additional feature that makes the park more scenic.Both these places around Darjeeling town are haven for botanists. The Rock Garden, which is approximately 10 kilometers from Darjeeling town, is set with picturesque and colourful terraced gardens dotted with highly diversified flowering plants… blazing the rocks and cliffs at different levels. The park also hosts gardens dotted with varied species of colourful flowers and a lake. Tourists can also enjoy Gorkha folk dance at Ganga Maya Park. On the other hand, 3 km (kilometers) ahead is the Ganga Maya Park, which is another nature park with a narrow gushing stream flowing through it.
Withal the natural element in just one view, which is also famous as the Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car, the Darjeeling Ropeway, offers a refreshing getaway. From the ropeway you can enjoy the spectacular view of the valley below that is bedded with lush green tea gardens and dense forest and cut by several small gushing streams. It is one of the best tourist spots in Darjeeling where one can spend some ideal hours in the tea estate and enjoy a nature walk.
Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda:
The Japanese Temple is one of the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Darjeeling that was inaugurated in the year 1972, a fine example of traditional Japanese style architectural. It is a two storied white building that maintains a large prayer room where the chief priest offers the prayers, beating a huge drum (also known as Ho-ko) that reverberates to build up a solemn atmosphere in the entire temple premises. The temple further hosts a picture of the founder Fujii Guruji and a model of Lord Buddha. Close to the Japanese Temple is the Peace Pagoda, which is a monument to inspire peace, designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. From the top of the Pagoda, you get a panoramic view of the landscape of Darjeeling including the Kanchenjunga range. The Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda are the two most sought tourist spots in Darjeeling that you can’t miss on your Darjeeling trip. It was inaugurated in the year 1992 and houses four avatars of Lord Buddha.
Bengal Natural History Museum:
Originally formed, in 1915, to display only the specimens of butterflies and birds of the area… the Bengal Natural History Museum comprises two major sections today housing a huge collection of different specimens like birds with nests and eggs, reptiles and fishes, mammals, insects and more. The taxidermy unit that was built at the time of inception serves to mount the skins of animals so that they have a lifelike appearance at the display. There are some other less important sections in the museum that display specimens of reptiles and insects. While one of the sections exhibit specimens like Himalayan Brown Wood Owls, Northern Brown Fish Owl, Northern spotted owlet, pheasants, fly catchers, the other is stocked with animal species like Tibetan fox,woodpeckers and 800 more bird species, Tibetan Lynx, elephant, Toddy cat, heads of wild buffaloes hanging from the walls, panthers, leopards and many more.
Observatory Hill and Mahakal Temple:
Close to Chowrasta OR The Mall, the Observatory Hill is another prominent place in Darjeeling from where you can capture magnificent views of the snow-clad peaks, including Kanchendzonga and its sister peaks. It is approximately 10-15 minutes of uphill walk from the Mall. Atop the hill is the Mahakal Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and also holds three gold plated icons of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar. It is one of the main Hindu pilgrimage sites
in Darjeeling that was built after the invasion by the Gorkhas in the 19th century. Originally this place was the home to the Dorjeling Monastery that was relocated in 1861 to its present location, which is some 2 kilometers down from the Mall. Around the Observatory Hill you fill come across the Sai Baba Temple and Hanuman Temple and several Hindu priests and Buddhist monks.
Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center:
It is a must visit place in Darjeeling for visitors having keen interest in Indo-Tibetan culture and their lifestyle. Home to the Tibetan refugees, sick, elderly and needy destitute… the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center today houses 130 Tibetan family who mostly earn their bread and butter by producing traditional handicrafts like Buddha idols, various Tibetan sculptures, musical instruments, masks, thangka painting and many more. It is sited at hillside Lebong in Darjeeling that has a historical significance where the thirteenth Dalai Lama had spent his exile in India from 1910 to 1912.