History of Gangtok

There is not much found about the history of Gangtok. A very little about the history of Gangtok has been traced in the oldest monasteries in Gangtok. The ancient record of Gangtok goes back to 1716 when the Monastery of Gangtok was built. During this time other monasteries were also constructed. Gangtok gained prominence as a significant pilgrimage center with the construction of Enchey Monastery in 1840, which until today serves as an important pilgrimage site in Gangtok.

Gangtok became the capital of Sikkim after the British conquest in the mid 19th century. After the defeat of the Tibetans by the British at the end of the 19th century, Gangtok became a major stopover in trade between Tibet and India. Major and most of the roads between telegraph and Gangtok were constructed during this time. Gangtok began gaining importance as a city when the Sikkimese monarch Thutob Namgyal shifted the capital from Tumlong in 1894, and Grand Palace and other buildings were constructed in the city.

After the Indian Independence in 1947, Gangtok became the capital of the nation-state of Sikkim. Today, Gangtok is the largest city in Sikkim and India’s cleanest and spit-free zone.

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Gangtok experiences monsoon-driven subtropical highland climate. The city enjoys a temperate and mild climate all year round due to its sheltered environment and elevation. Like the rest of the Himalayan town, Gangtok enjoys 5 seasons- spring, summer, monsoon, autumn, and winter. The average temperature ranges from average 4 Degree Celsius in winter to 22 Degree Celsius in summer. Heavy torrential rain from June to September indicates monsoon in Gangtok. Winter is extremely cold with highest elevations experiencing snowfall. Spring and autumn are pleasant and the city witnesses a huge influx of tourists.


Due to ethnic diversity, the local inhabitants of Gangtok celebrate other local festivals apart from the major festivals like Dashain, Tihar, Holi, Christmas, etc. The New Year is celebrated in January to February by Lepchas and Bhutias. Some of the important Nepalese festivals are Ram Navami, Maghe Sankranti, etc. Some of the festivals in Gangtok are distinct and some of them are shared with the rest of India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet.

Highlight of sightseeing places

  • Banjhakri Falls
  • M.G Marg
  • Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
  • Enchey Monastery
  • Flower Exhibition Centre


Gangtok is well connected by road networks with the major hilly region and the major airports and railway stations in Siliguri. Shared vehicles and taxi services are widely available from Siliguri, Bagdogra Airport, and NJP. The nearest railway station is NJP in Siliguri and the nearest airport is Pakyong Airport, 35 km from Gangtok.

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