Places to see
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In the Library of Tibetan Manuscripts is the largest collection of manuscripts brought from Tibet and other places. More than 30,000 manuscripts, systematized, protected are available for inspection to the public.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is the Tibetan Museum and Center of Tibetology in Gangtok, Sikkim, India. It has the largest collection outside of Tibet: Tibetan statues, altars, tanks, masks and other objects of Tibetan art.
The Institute was founded in 1958 with goal to pay attention to the study of religion, history, language, art and culture of Tibetan cultural area that includes Sikkim.
The cornerstone of the Institute laid Dalai Lama XIV, in February 10, 1957. The Institute was formally opened by the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, in October 1, 1958.
A number of projects of the Institute is dedicated to “visual anthropology”, including social history of 60 monasteries of Sikkim and digitization of related documents, as well as digitization and promotion of old photographic archives related to Sikkim.
Museum of the Institute is open to the public from 10.00 to 16.00, from Monday till Saturday, entrance – 10 rupees.
Royal Palace Tsuklakang is the principal temple of Sikkim – one of the key attractions of Gangtok. It is the main place of worship and assembly, and store of a huge collection of Buddhist scriptures. Magnificent portal is decorated with a snow lion head.
Palace opens its doors to the public once a year – on the Tibetan New Year. At this time you can see the famous dance that symbolizes the victory of good over evil orirgin. At other times, you can just walk through the main temple, after presenting a permit to enter Sikkim and passport. The main temple is located on top of the mountain, which offers a beautiful view of the particular sunset Himalayas.
Rumtek Monastery, also called the Dharmachakra Centre, is located in the Indian state of Sikkim, 24 km away from the capital Gangtok. Originally built by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje in 1740, Rumtek served as the main residence of the Karma Kagyu in Sikkim for some time. But when the 16th Karmapa fled Tibet before the Chinese conquest arrived in Sikkim in 1959, the monastery was already destroyed. Despite the fact that he was offered other places for the construction, the Karmapa decided to rebuild Rumtek, as in his opinion this place has many beneficial qualities, and good location; for example: the mountain behind the monastery, flowing river, opposite the snowy mountain range, downwards – the river.
Thanks to the generosity and support of the royal family of Sikkim and the Government of India the monastery was rebuilt and became the main residence of the Karmapa in exile. Construction has been lasted for four years and as a result the monastery was built, which was almost an exact copy of the Karmapa in Tsurphu monastery in Tibet. Sacred objects and relics brought from Tsurphu were installed. In 1966 the Tibetan New Year (Losar) Karmapa held the official opening ceremony of the new monastery, and gave it the name “Dharmachakra Center – a place of study and spiritual attainment, the residence of the Glorious Karmapa.”
The monastery stores important relic – “Black Crown”, in which is believed to be concentrated strong energy and perfect knowledge. In the monastery are other hidden treasures brought from the Tibetan monasteries, now occupied by the Chinese. Particularly striking Tibetan stupa (chorten) with the ark Karmapa XVI, made of gold and silver, studded with amber, large coral and turquoise. Treasures of the Monastery secure the armed guards.
Nowadays, Rumtek is the largest monastery in Sikkim. Monks live there, doing the practice and rituals of Karma Kagyu school. Golden Stupa contains the relics of the Karmapa XVI. Nearby is the Karma Shri Nalanda Institute.
Currently Rumtek is located in the center of perennial disputes between the two parties, acting for two different Karmapa. One of them is the Karmapa Charitable Trust, which supports Thaye Dorje, another Tsurphu Labrang supporting Urgyen Trinley Dorje. At the moment, none of the Karmapa is living in Rumtek.
Enchey Monastery is located in 3 kilometers north-east from the central market Gangtok. It was founded in honor of the Lama Druptob Capo (famous tantric master, known by his ability to levitate) 200 years ago, it kept his greatness. Here are stored the images of gods and goddesses and many religious icons. In the main temple the special interest represent many colorful murals dedicated to the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon. Now the monastery is home to about 100 monks.
In January / February the monastery held colorful lama dances and other festivals. It offers one of the best views of the Kanchenjunga.
Do Drul Chorten Stupa – one of the most significant in Sikkim. Stupa is on top of the mountain, surrounded by monastic buildings, and five other smaller stupas and 108 spinning prayer wheels. In the central stupa stores Buddhist relics, sacred books and scrolls with mantras.
The cable car connects the lower Gangtok with Legislative Assembly of Sikkim and has a three-stop on the way – Deorali Market – Nam-Nang – Tashiling. From the booth opens spectacular views of the city and surrounding area. The cost of the trip is Rs 60, while working from 09.30 till 16.30.
Viewing platforms of Gangtok:
– Ganesh current viewing platform overlooking the city is in close proximity to the Himalayan Zoo. There is a Hindu temple and a opens memorable panoramic view of the city;
– The site of Hanuman Tok, which is located on top of the hill, also offers an impressive panorama. At the site there is the Hindu temple complex dedicated to Hanuman – the mythical king of monkeys;
– The best view of the eight-Kanchenjunga opens from the observation platform Tashi. It is located in 4 km north-east of the city.
Himalayan Zoo is located across the road from the lookout Ganesh Tok. Zoo is a giant park area of 205 hectares, where the animals are in their natural habitat among of forests and natural flora. In the park are animals like spotted deer, leopards, panthers, Tibetan wolf, langurs, bears, etc. A special place in the park devoted to the Red Panda – Sikkim’s national symbol, and the center for the breeding of these animals. You may walk in the reserve for hours, surrounded by Himalayan fauna that allow large areas and long distances between the cages. The zoo is open to the public from 09.00 to 16.00, entrance – 50 rupees.
Gangtok is a city in northern India, the administrative center of the State of Sikkim; the population is 30,900 people (2004), including Nepalese, Tibetan, Lepcha. Gangtok is located in the mountain valley near the pass to Nate spurs Himalayas at an altitude of 1,900 meters above sea level.
Gangtok is a transport hub, an agricultural center. In the city is developed the traditional crafts (carpentry, tanning, paper, embroidery, carpet); are printing and publishing houses, power station, Institute of Tibetan Studies (founded in 1958), museum (old books, manuscripts, objects of worship and Tibetan painting of the tank) , Orchid Park (about 450 species).
Gangtok was the capital of an independent principality of Sikkim since the mid 19th century until 1975. The city was an important point on the Indo-Tibetan trade route (to the border closure in 1962). Urban sprawl is mainly single storey. At the top of the hill is La Tzuk Kang, palace of the principality, which is also the main Buddhist temple of Sikkim. Buddhist monasteries in Gangtok and its surroundings are typical examples of Tibetan religious architecture. Near Gangtok is located Mount Kanchenjunga (8,585 m), Kanchenjunga National Park, where there are snow leopard, clouded leopard, Red panda, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, blue sheep.
The town’s name is mentioned in the local sources beginning from the 18th century in connection with the hermit saint Trulshig Rinpoche, who settled on the site of the present stupa Dodrul Chorten. In 1840, was built the monastery Enchey, which quickly became a center of pilgrimage. By the end of the 19th century town that grew up around the monastery became a center of trade with Tibet. In 1894 chogyal (king) Thutob Namgyal (1860-1914) made Gangtok fourth capital of Sikkim – after Yuksoma, Rabdentsze and Tumlonga.
Until 1975, Sikkim was an independent principality, though encumbered by special agreement that allows India to control its foreign relations and issues related to defense. However, period of the political crisis and riots in the capital of Sikkim – Gangtok, led to the fact that India annexed the Principality, and Sikkim became the twenty second Indian state. Today, the Indian government spends huge amounts of money for the reconstruction of roads, electrification, water supply and industrial development of Sikkim.
Gangtok became the Sikkim’s capital only in the middle of the XIX century (previous capitals were located in Yaksuma and Rabdantsa), and in recent years has undergone a significant upgrade.
With the opening of Natu La Pass in 2006, it is expected to develop trade in Gangtok and around the state.
In evening, in September 18, 2011 the city underwent shock 6.8-point earthquake. Although destructions were small, tremors caused panic among the population and led to numerous cliffs of electrical cables and telephone lines.