Siliguri junction (114 km from Gangtok) and New Jalpaiguri Junction (125 km from Gangtok )are the two closest railway stations to this Himalayan state of India. Bus service for Bangkok is available from Darjeeling and Kalimpong also. Calcutta is the starting point for travel by air. Indian Airlines operate a regular scheduled flight between Calcutta (Dum Dum airport) and Bagdogra. A Dakota service between Calcutta and Ambri is also available.
The entrance to the state of Sikkim is at the border town of Rongpo which is located in the Tista valley. Rongpo is a small town famous for the liquors and wines produced here. It is a great market for oranges.
Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim. Its name means the 'High Hill'. Situated at a height of over five thousand feet above sea level, the city looks to be tucked away in a cloud sprawling over a hill. Kanchanjunga, renders a spectacular view from Gangtok, with its magnificent snow and ice scenery.
Some of the important sites of the city of Gangtok, like the Palace, Palace Chapel Tsuklakhang, the Deer park, Institute of Tibetology and the Namgyal chorten are located on the spine of the ridge.
Tusklakhang Royal Chapel is situated on a level ground in the palace complex. On all corners of the chapel are located the formidable heads of snow lions - wood sculpture in relief. Inside the chapel is depicted the magnificent wood work, highlighted by the massive Buddhist murals that adorn the walls. An eternal butter lamp, lights the floor to ceiling altar, housing the deities and the scriptures. Tsuklakhang is the venue of all important festivals and festivities. The warrior dance to worship Kanchanjunga, the Black Hat dance to celebrate Sikkimese New year's day etc. are all celebrated in this chapel. Earlier the coronations of Chogyals, Oath taking by councilors and royal weddings were celebrated inside the chapel.
This institute is on the top of a hill. It was established to promote research on Tibet and Mahayana Buddhism.
Opens from Monday to Saturday - 1000 to 1600.
The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology has come to be known as the highest seat of learning among the Mahayana scholars. The institute was inaugurated by Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on October 1,1958.
The Institute is dedicated to the cause of advancement of Tibetan studies. Located in serene surroundings, the institute has its interiors lavishly decorated with great murals and ornate wood carvings and altars holding the images of the Buddhas ,the Bodhisattvas and the Tantric deities. The cabinets of the halls contain a vast library of Tibetan deities. It contains a greatest collection of books on Mahayana Buddhism. The museum of the institute contains another asset of Mahayana. More than two hundred icons, prized objects of traditional art, ritualistic chortens, brass bells, Dorj-is (thunder bolts ), Rosaries, thangkas (hand painted scrolls woven or appliqué )are the main collections of the museum which have won international acclaim for the institute.