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Weekend Getaways: Gangtok
Duration: 4 Days
Expenditure 12000

It’s 4:30 am and we are expectantly standing atop Tashi view point, a small hillock that is the window to one on the most spectacular sights in Gangtok-the breaking of the first rays of the sun on the might Kanchenjunga. They say the sighting depends on your luck. Right now all we see is the mighty peak swathed in a soft snowy cloud cover and the sun rays are finding it hard to spray golden colour on it. Dawn has already broken into earth’s realm and today does not seem to be our lucky day. But I don’t feel it that way. Ever since I have stepped into this beautiful city, I am feeling lucky to be surrounded by beauty and freshness at every step. Kanchenjunga too shall come around.

As we make our way to our cosy guest house, I can’t hep but marvel at how beautifully this city has been planned. I see swarms of morning walkers –youth, old people, women-tugging their little kids, who are still rubbing their eyes with their tiny apple tinted hands to ward off sleep- along the sidewalks and footpaths elegantly running along the roads-meant specially for the conscientious walkers. Benches placed at regular intervals dot the sidewalk-acting as a pit stop for those who want to stretch and a favourite haunt of those who want to rest. This city doesn’t look like a part of a laid back nation, looks like a piece out of a healthy quintessential European town.

My views are all the more affirmed when I take a walk along MG Road-the city’s hub, awash with the most swanky joints, quaint little shops, high end stores, and to my amazement-fountains, cobbled streets, and flowers!! No vehicles are allowed on this stretch making it a walker’s and shopper’s delight in the evening. Duck into quaint shops to buy porcelain trinkets, statues of Buddha, knick knacks made out of silver and satin. And when you are tired of your binge, tickle your taste buds by taking a quick bite in the many quaint coffee shops and indulging thoroughly in coffee and the amazing bakery stuff they have to offer. Rejuvenated, take a walk again till the far end of the road and treat yourself to a sumptuous dinner at The Taste Of Tibet, Or you could just close your eyes pick and choose from the many other restaurants dotting the road. Gangtok has many hidden delights to offer!

Four hours away from Gangtok, lies the kingdom of snow i.e. the Nathula Border-the famous gateway on the silk route on the Indo-China Border. After a slow and steep drive through the mountains-which change their colour from a sumptuous green to a barren black to a snowy white, one reaches the Nathula border-along with many tourists who regularly throng this major attraction in Gangtok. On the to Nathula, lies the Tsomgo Lake- an un-rippled glass sheet in which the snowy mountains silently admire their own reflections. To beat the cold, duck into the café run by the army and treat yourself to coffee and chocolate. At Tsomgo, treat yourself to hot noodles at many of the small eateries dotting its banks.
Photos of Nathula, North Sikkim, Sikkim, India 1/1 by Shweta Modgil
Located on MG Road, Baker’s café is one of the many cafes to duck into for a warm coffee and deliciously baked stuff. The ambiance is warm and cosy, and there’s no other place as inviting for coffee when a sudden drizzle catches you by surprise on MG Road. Or you are simply tired after shopping for numerous trinkets on the most fashionable stretch in Gangtok.
Photos of Baker's Cafe, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Gangtok, Sikkim, India 1/2 by Shweta Modgil
Photos of Baker's Cafe, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Gangtok, Sikkim, India 2/2 by Shweta Modgil
Rumtek Monastery located about 24 kms from Gangtok is a must visit for culture seekers. The monastery offers amazing views of the surrounding hillscapes.
Photos of Rumtek Monastery, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India 1/2 by Shweta Modgil
Photos of Rumtek Monastery, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India 2/2 by Shweta Modgil
For nature lovers and those looking for a short hiking experience around Gangtok, a must visit is the Fambong Lho Wildlife sanctuary. Situated around 20 km from Gangtok, the sanctuary is a green heaven which bursts into colours from April to July when the rhododendrons burst into bloom. The sanctuary is the home of Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Snow leopard, Civet Cat and numerous varieties of birds. The trail through the sanctuary is well laid out and of average difficulty. It houses a small restaurant which provides sumptuous snacks to recharge oneself after the hiking experience.
Photos of Fambong Lho Wildlife sanctuary, Sikkim 1/2 by Shweta Modgil
Photos of Fambong Lho Wildlife sanctuary, Sikkim 2/2 by Shweta Modgil

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