In & around Gangtok

Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim & resembles a typical government seat of power, - well laid out wide roads, imposing buildings with a touch of ethnicity & busy markets. To the credit of its citizens, it is fairly clean. M.G. Road is the main commercial hub of the city. I was impressed to see that the road is divided into a large pedestrian mall & a road for vehicles - apparently an idea gianed by the the local Chief Minister from one of his many overseas visits. Lall bazaar is more downmarket & could do with some clean-up.

the 1st visit for the day is to the Emchay monastry, the oldest in Sikkim dating back to 1800s. A beautiful monastry located in the heart of Gangtok








a smiling young monk obliges for a photographs. He is turning the numerous prayer wheels seen at monastries

Entrance to the Chogyal's (last ruler of independent Sikkim) Palace. The palace is closed to visitors


Next monastry is the famous Rumtek Monastry 25 kms west of Gangtok - a picturesque drive up the hills. The driver, lobsang Dawa informs us there there are2 Rumtek Monastries, the old & the new. So here are pictures of the new monastry
entrance to the new Rumtek Monastry. this monastry was part of an unseemly controversy recently evoked by the present Karmappa - a Buddhist religious head

Prayer wheels

this saying is actually by a Red Indian Chief

Entrance to the Rumtek (new) Monastry. There is strict security here & the Army Personnel requested to see proof of my nationality. foreign citizens are expected to register at a desk. Apparently the Karmappa's controversy is still lingering





behind the monastry is an Institue for Buddhist Studies

View of the Monastry Gate & the mini commercialisation around it
The Old Rumtek Monastry is further uphill & nestled amongst some beautiful greenery. there is very limited tourist traffic here, but is surely worth a visit
Entrance



The Monastry was specially opened for our benefit. comparatively plainer than its latter day counterpart








Red panda at Himalayan Zoological Park

View of Gangtok city
Next destination is the flower show at Gangtok. some beautiful Orchids on display
Anthuruum andreanum












this interesting orchid is labelled as "Pops" scietific name is Paphiopedilum chowetti "von dyke"



beautifully caouflaged Gecko in the garden. Experts pls ID


Tortoiseshell sucking nectar






the namgyal Institue of Tibetology has a good collection of Tibetan manuscipts & artefacts gives good insight into the life and times of Ttibetan in their past glory. worth a visit




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