Situated around 23 kms from Gangtok, in the hill facing Gangtok is Rumtek, a quiet getaway and home to the Rumtek Monastery, seat of His Holiness, The Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kargyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
The drive to Rumtek snakes through typical Sikkimese villages and many paddy fields. The paddy fields resemble a green carpet from July to September and later in October-November, the entire place is a sight to behold with golden paddy swaying in the breeze.
The lush green hilly terrain, a breathtaking topography and misty mountains makes Rumtek an ideal place for some quiet time. Rumtek offer a host of sightseeing opportunities. These include local sightseeing within Rumtek, one day tours to places around Rumtek, monastery tours and adventurous exploits such as white water rafting and trekking.
The main attraction, however, is the Rumtek Monastery, seat of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kargyu sect of Buddhism. The largest monastery in Sikkim it demonstrates the best of Tibetan architecture and is an almost replica of the original monastery in Tsurpu inTibet. The monastery houses some of the rarest Buddhist religious art objects found in the world and is also a world renowned centre for Kargyu teachings.
Just ahead of the Rumtek Monastery is the Nehru Botanical Garden which has a mix of tropical and temperate plants and trees as well as a big greenhouse of exotic orchids. It’s a good place to stop for a while. For children there is a small playground with swings and a see-saw and a winding footpath is ideal for a stroll. Rumtek offers many stay options. You can stay at the many lodges near the monastery or at the beautiful tourist resorts, which offer modern amenities in typical rural settings.
How to Reach:
The nearest airport to East district is Pakyong (Sikkim) which is around 32 km from Gangtok. From there one can hire a taxi or bus service to come up to Gangtok. Another airport at Bagdogra(West bengal.The distance from Bagdogra to Gangtok is 124.5 km and it takes approximately 4 hours to reach Gangtok. Helicopter/ Chopper services are also available from Bagdogra to Gangtok..
The nearest railway station to Gangtok are Siliguri (113 km) and New Jalpaiguri (125 km) connecting Kolkata, Delhi and other important cites of the country. Rail connectivity is under construction between Rangpo in Sikkim to Siliguri in West Bengal.
From Bagdogra Airport and New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri railway stations one can hire a taxi Siliguri bus stand. From there, one has the option to travel to Gangtok by Sikkim Nationalised Transport Buses, roughly a 5-6 hour journey. Luxury taxis/normal taxis also which can be booked at the airport or railway stations or by tour and travel operators.