All You Need To Know About Mangan, the Gateway to North Sikkim


A quaint little town nestled in the lap of the mighty Himalayas, Mangan is popularly known as the Gateway to North Sikkim. It is the administrative capital of North Sikkim, the least populated of all Sikkim districts. Mangan beckons to the discerning traveler to admire the clear and breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga, get immersed in the chants of the Buddhist monasteries, live like a local in a homestay run by the Lepchas and learn about their culture and lifestyle, or just sit by the Teesta River, soaking in the tranquility of the surroundings.

Mangan (c)

Photo of All You Need To Know About Mangan, the Gateway to North Sikkim by Aparajita

About Mangan

Mangan is situated at an altitude of 3126 m, located around 65 km from the capital city Gangtok. It is the gateway to the north of the state of Sikkim, specifically Lacheen and Lachung. However, Mangan is a beautiful destination in its own right, with breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga, scenic hikes and beautiful waterfalls, tranquil monasteries, and a unique culture. Mangan is also famous as the Cardamom capital of India.

Day 1

Places to Visit in and around Mangan

1. Singhik

Located at a distance of 4 km from Mangan, Singhik is a beautiful hamlet, widely considered to be the most popular viewpoint in North Sikkim. It offers an unobstructed view of Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Siniolchu, and a panoramic view of the converging points of River Teesta and River Kanaka at the foothills. At Singhik, bird watching, and hiking are quite popular. One can also explore the tribal villages and culture, and stay the night in a heritage bungalow at Singhik to experience the graceful hospitality of the Sikkimese people.

Singhik (c)

Photo of All You Need To Know About Mangan, the Gateway to North Sikkim by Aparajita

2. Phodong Monastery

The Phodong Monastery is one of the most beautiful monasteries of Sikkim, and one amongst the six important monasteries of Sikkim. Located around 28 km from Mangan, the monastery is located at an altitude of 4500 ft, and provides a perfect vantage point overlooking the surrounding valleys and undulating hills. The monastery was built in the 18th century, and the beautiful murals, paintings, and frescos adorning its walls never fail to impress its visitors. The monastery is currently the house of 260 monks who practice and preach the teachings of Buddhism. An annual festival is hosted by the Phodong Monastery, which is observed on the 28th and 29th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar. During this festival, the colorful Chaam Dance is performed by the monks along with religious rituals.

Phodong Monastery (c)

Photo of All You Need To Know About Mangan, the Gateway to North Sikkim by Aparajita

3. Labrang Monastery

Labrang Monastery is located only 2 km away from the Phodong Monastery, and around 30 km away from Mangan. Construction of this monastery was completed in 1843 AD, after capital of Sikkim was shifted from Rabdentse to Tumlong, North Sikkim. The monastery is located on the flat ground on the hilltop at an altitude of 7000 ft in the middle of a jungle, with spectacular landscape all around the place. It is also a paradise for bird watchers. The unique structure of this monastery attracts visitors from all around the country. The gompa still holds its original structure with its white walls and gilded roofs done in the mixed Tibet and India style of architecture. Beautiful murals and paintings adorn the monastery, and it houses a huge Buddha Sakya Muni statue, Karma Guru statue and Mahakal Statue along with many others.

Labrang Monastery, Sikkim (c)

Photo of All You Need To Know About Mangan, the Gateway to North Sikkim by Aparajita

4. Naga Falls, Lachung

Located just 17 km from Mangan, Naga Falls is situated on the Gangtok-Chungthang road. It can be viewed even from the road itself, and is one of the most beautiful falls in Sikkim.

Naga Falls (c)

Photo of All You Need To Know About Mangan, the Gateway to North Sikkim by Aparajita

Things To Do In Mangan

1. Visit Cardamom Fields

Mangan is the Cardamom capital of India, and hiking through green cardamom fields is one of the best things to do here.

2. Experience Mangan Music Festival

The Mangan Music Festival is held for 3 days in the month of December every year. It is a cultural extravaganza organized by the Sikkim State Tourism Department and is one of the best ways to explore the folk arts, handicrafts and local cuisine, alongside musical performances by local bands and bands invited from other parts of North -East India.

3. Trek to Tosar Lake

Tosar Lake is a beautiful lake located at an altitude of 13120 ft in between the Mangan Ridge and the Chola range. There is a huge cliff towards the south-east side of the lake, which the locals consider to be sacred. The Tosar Lake trek starts from Tom Naga or Naksuk near Mangan. This 8-day trek passes through temperate forests and bamboo groves and changes to alpine vegetation at higher altitude. The stunning views of the surrounding valleys and mountains make the Tosar Lake Trek a memorable one.

4. Village Walks and Bird Watching

The best way to explore Mangan is on foot. Many homestay owners here, conduct a village cum jungle walk, which takes you to the Rikzing Choling Monastery and the villages of Ringhim, Malling and Kalaw. Mangan is also a paradise for bird watchers and butterfly lovers, and the native Lepchas are the perfect guide for this activity.

Best Time to Visit

Summer(April-June): This season promises a comfortable temperature ranging between 10°C to 28°C, and is best of hiking, sightseeing and other outdoor activities

Monsoon(July-September): Sikkim witnesses heavy rainfall in monsoon, and Mangan is no different. This is not the peak season to rush to Mangan. However, it holds a freshness and beauty which may appeal to offbeat travelers.

Winter(October-February): This is the best time to witness mighty snow clad Himalayan peaks. In December, you can also be a part of the Mangan music festival, and enjoy an experience of the unique culture and traditions of Mangan. However, due to heavy snowfall, many of the roads may be closed so some extra days need to be factored into the itinerary as buffer.

How To Reach

Mangan is just 66 km from Gangtok by road.

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra(145 km)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri(140 km)

Getting Around Mangan

For sightseeing and getting around Mangan, it is best to pre-book a taxi and ask them to procure any necessary permits to visit some restricted places.

If you are looking to go off the beaten track, and explore beautiful places untouched by tourism, experience local culture and soak in some peace at one of the many Buddhist monasteries scattered around Mangan, look no further because the Cardamom Capital of India is ready to welcome you in its fold.

For more stories, follow me on Tripoto and Instagram