MANGAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Mangan is a small town in Northern Sikkim, and the gateway to the north of the state. Located at an altitude of 956m, it is a burgeoning town, quickly becoming a tourist spot with the growing influx of tourists from the country and outside. It is also known as the Cardamom Capital of India, and is the district headquarters of North Sikkim.
Surrounded by monasteries and blooming nature, Mangan is a tranquil spot, not sullied by the advent of tourists yet. It also offers activities for the nature and adventure lovers. Paragliding, rock climbing, mountain biking and forest camping are some of the offerings one can expect at Mangan, though an enquiry via a travel agent before reaching the place would be better. As it is a small town, travel gear is not readily available, and tourists must bring their own equipment.
Climate And Best Time To Visit
Mangan enjoys a temperate climate. It is pleasant most of the year round, but March-June is the best time to visit. Winter sees snowfall, so many routes are closed during that time. For adventure sports, it is best to consult with your travel agent while planning the trip, as some activities may not be available during certain months.
Getting There & Getting Around Mangan
Mangan is connected to Gangtok and other towns by roads. Closest airport is Bagdogra airport, and closest railway station is New Jalpaiguri. Incoming tourists can book a taxi from these arrival points to Gangtok, and make the onward journey from there.
For sightseeing, it is best to pre-book a taxi via a travel agent, and procure any permits that might be required before leaving for Mangan.
SIGHTSEEING & ACTIVITIES
Mangan has an intriguing ambience, and is a destination that is sure to mesmerize any traveller. It has the simplicity of a village life, and gives a glimpse into the same, without compromising on the comfort of the traveller. Surrounding villages and hamlets are a charming sight. Exploring the place by road is the most easy and feasible option, as it makes the journey comfortable as well as exciting.
The Labrong Gompa fascinates many travellers, as it is a combination of Buddhist architecture and Indian Vihara style architecture. The monastery displays murals and idols, and is set amidst peaceful surroundings. The Phodong and Phensang Sangag Chhoding Monasteries, which lie on the way from Gangtok to Mangan, are some of the other sights that make for a great outing.
The Phodong Monastery was built by Sidkeong Tulku Namgyal in the 18th century, at the site of an earlier monastery that existed in the same place. It is one of the sacred monasteries established by the ninth Karmapa. It houses around 260 monks, and has some ancient murals which have been diligently maintained by the monks.
PHENSANG SANGAG CHHODING MONASTERY
The Phensang Sangag Chhoding Monastery is one of the six biggest monasteries in Sikkim, housing the maximum number of monks. It was built by 3rd Lhatsun Jigmed Pawo in 1721 AD. It was reconstructed in 1840 AD to accommodate the bigger number of monks. Due to several calamities, the monastery was rebuilt several times, until finally constructed and completed in 1996 AD. The monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism.
Tholung Monastery, situated close to Dzongu, is within the reserve of the Khangchandzonga National Park, and one of the most sacred monasteries in Sikkim. It belongs to the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism as well, and is a World Heritage Property. The monastery houses the holy ashes of an incarnation of Lama Latsun Chembo in a metal Chorten. During the Kamsil Ceremony which happens in April every three years, these protected artefacts are unveiled for public viewing.
THE MANGAN MUSIC FESTIVAL
The Mangan Music Festival held in December every year, is a cultural extravaganza which delights many a tourist. It is organized by the Sikkim State Tourism Department, and is a popular platform to explore the folk arts, handicrafts and local cuisine, alongside musical performances by local bands and bands invited from other parts of North East India.
Mangan is a travel destination for the adventurous traveller and those who wish to sample the local culture and spend time in nature.