Gangtok has a moderate climate as it is located at an altitude ranging from 5000 to 6000 ft above and experiences temperatures between 15 to 25 degrees Celcius for the most part of the year: it is only in winter the temperature touches about 4 degrees. It is only on rare occasions that it snows at Gangtok.
Straddling a ridge, Gangtok has a cosmopolitan flavor with a lively mix of cultures and has undergone rapid modernization in the last two decades or so. Being the capital of a state, Gangtok contains all modern facilities. There are good schools, a railway out agency, airline ticket agencies, cinema halls, a well-equipped hospital, fast food centers, and restaurants selling North Indian, South Indian, Sikkimese, Chinese and Continental cuisines.
With the expansion, Gangtok town is literally spilling downwards with huge buildings precariously clinging to the hillside. It is in fact becoming a concrete jungle with trees vying for space in the town area. Where is the wooden shop that was there yesterday or that beautiful tree that adorned the corner of the road?
Big hoardings advertise products, including some exhorting “Practise of Safe Sex and Use of Condoms to prevent Aids”. A banner elsewhere trumpets the opening of an Internet Cafe and another put up by a local environment group Green Circle exhorts the public not to use plastic carry bags and keep Gangtok clean.
Till the late 1950s mules and even yaks carrying goods from Tibet used to descend to present-day MG Marg and Sonam Gyatso Road (Tibet Road). Even as late as the mid-1970s, Gangtok had a pastoral ambiance. I the author of this website grew up in a cottage in the Development area, Gangtok: we had cows that used to graze till the early 1980s where you have the present-day Manan Kendra. It is from the mid-1980s that there has been a continuous building boom. You can download the Bollywood superhit movie made in 1967 from YouTube and see what Gangtok looked like in the mid-1960s,
Sikkim’s once sleepy capital has indeed mushroomed into a glitzy hedonistic destination.
The Main Market which has hotels, restaurants, curios, garments, footwear, and grocery shops line the flat Mahatma Gandhi (M.G.)Marg. The M.G. Marg is out of bounds for vehicles. The Government Bus Terminus is located about 10 minutes walk away from the M.G. Marg. Gangtok has a few Taxi and Bus Stands. If you are coming by bus or shared taxi from Siliguri, you will be dropped at the Taxi Stand at Deorali which is two kilometers short of Gangtok town. If you are leaving for the South and West District, then you will catch your shared taxi from the Taxi stand near M.G. Marg. If going to North Sikkim, you can catch your taxi from the Stand near Vajra Cinema Hall. Gangtok itself is teeming with taxis and you can hail one on a shared basis to get around to anywhere in the town. This is a far cry from the 1960s when there were only a couple of taxis in the town. Gangtok was so silent with widely spaced houses that the town could hear the vehicles moving around.
An imposing manmade landmark of Gangtok is the 60 meters high TV tower which overlooks the town and is situated near the Enchey Monastery below Ganesh Tok.