Gangtok is the capital of the mountainous northern Indian state of Sikkim. Established as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 1840s, the city became capital of an independent monarchy after British rule ended, but joined India in 1975. Today, it remains a Tibetan Buddhist center and a base for hikers organizing permits and transport for treks through Sikkim’s Himalayan mountain ranges.
Notable Buddhist sites include Rumtek Monastery, home of rare artifacts belonging to the Karma Kagyu order (also known as the “Black Hat”). Enchey Monastery is built in the style of a Chinese pagoda. Whitewashed Do Drul Chorten is a giant stupa constructed in the 1940s. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology contains a museum housing a collection of rare manuscripts and Buddhist arts and crafts. Passing nearby, the Gangtok Ropeway gondola offers panoramic views of the city. The region’s outdoor recreation includes hiking, camping, mountain climbing and white-water rafting.