Gangtok, the capital city of the Indian state of Sikkim, is situated at the altitude of 5200 ft. With a moderate level of population, around 1L, this city is aloof from all the hustle. Gangtok is the main attraction in Sikkim, mostly because it is the gateway to Sikkim as well as some other reasons including the market, places it offers and above all – the historic monasteries. To visit the Northern part of Sikkim, one needs to stay at least a night in Gangtok for acclimatization.
It was around 7 PM when we reached Gangtok city. Our hotel was on Nam Nang Road, which was at a walking distance from M.G. Road market (the most famous market in Sikkim). Roads are very narrow here, but the traffic sense here is astonishing – just like the local people. Rest of the India should follow ‘Sikkim Model’ of traffic control, and we can stop number of accidents.
Our hotel was Summit Nam Nang Hotel, just below the Big Bazaar (it’s funny to give address to someone saying “Have you seen Big Bazaar? Yes, just below it” and we will be like “below it?”). The road leading to the hotel was very steep, none of the average drivers like us can drive on those roads, I bet. Entering the hotel, they started some formalities. I was waiting for the welcome drink to come – but no success (come on man, at least give a lemon juice). Finally we were allotted the room which was on the first floor, a nice view of the city from here. Gangtok, at night, from the hotel room was like a gold sprinkled around in the form of lights.
After a small getting-fresh session, we decided to explore nearby areas (Don’t rest too much while travelling, you might be missing a new place to explore in your life). Quickly after changing, we went to reception and the guy told that the dinner will be available till 9:30 PM (who cares! It’s always better to taste and eat the local food of that vicinity. This can help you connect with the locality). We walked around the streets, a great feeling looking at the houses, hotels flocking with tourists, families all around; none of the metro cities can beat that. These observations didn’t allow to realise we are onto M G Road.
M G Road, the main market of Gangtok is the flat road market. Being a hill station one assumes the market and roads to be sloped, but this market has a flat cement road, which makes it comfortable to cover entire market by walking. Here one can find traditional dresses, antiques, Buddhist prayer flags as well as other items and above all Momos. Momo is the very famous dish of Sikkim. You can find someone or the other eating Momos with green ‘chutney’ (paste). We took at plate of Momos. What a taste it was.
Looking at the watch, we were surprised enough to found that it was already 8:45 PM which was a signal of our returning to the hotel. It was a very steep slope in the way and so we decided to take a taxi. We asked a guy on M G Marg (Road), he said fifty rupees – good enough. Other thing I liked about the people there was after every purchase or service rendered, they take the payment with both their hands. This is the sign of utter respect for you and the money.
Reaching the hotel, we went directly for the dinner. It was a three-course meal. After the long journey and heavy dinner it was the time to sleep as we got instructions from the guide that we will be leaving tomorrow at 8 AM exactly for Lachung. Gangtok, at night, always catches the attention. We slept while watching the beauty of the city from the windows.