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 town, quickly converting to a tourist place 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 quiet spot, not sullied by the arrival of tourists yet. It also offers activities for nature and adventure lovers. Paragliding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and forest camping are some of the offerings one can expect at Mangan, though an inquiry via a travel agent before reaching the place would be better. As it is a small town, travel equipment is not readily available, and tourists must bring their equipment.
What to see
Mangan has an interesting ambiance and is a destination that is sure to hypnotize any traveler. It has the purity of village life, and gives a flash into the same, without negotiating on the convenience of the traveler. Surrounding villages and hamlets are a charming sight. Exploring the place by road is the easiest and feasible option, as it makes the journey comfortable as well as exciting.
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 9th Karmapa. It houses around 260 monks and has some ancient paintings which have been diligently maintained by the monks.
Phensang Sangag Chhoding Monastery
On the small slope that ranges from the tiny village of Kabi to the terrace-farming town of Phodong, remains the Phensang Monastery. One of the six biggest gompas in Sikkim, this religious structure belongs to the Nyingma Order of Buddhism. Nyingma translates to ‘ancient’ and its teachings are founded on the original 8th-century interpretations of the Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures into old Tibetan. The pivot of the oldest school of Buddhism revolves around Dzongchen or ‘great perfection’, to learn and maintain the primordial state of existence.
Read more at Phensan Sangag Chhoding Monastery
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 artifacts are unveiled for public viewing.
The Mangan Music Festival
The Mangan Music Festival held in December every year is a cultural extravaganza that 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.
When to reach
Winter between October To February
If you are someone who loves winter, then Mangan is a perfect bet for you. Come here in winter when it is chilly here and the temperature drops as low as -5°C. If you are visiting Mangan in winter, don’t forget to pack heavy woolens to keep yourself warm. To avoid the extreme cold, you can visit this town in the early winter months.
Summer between May To June
Summer is a great season to visit Mangan as the weather is quite pleasant. The temperature ranges between 10°C to 28°C. It is a favorable time to go trekking, sightseeing, and other outdoor activities. Most of the tourists come here in summer.
Monsoon between July To September
Mangan witnesses heavy rainfall in the monsoon which makes it difficult to roam around. In June the occasional spells of rain make this town greener and beautiful and one can visit during this time. Travelers mostly avoid visiting Mangan during this season as they cant enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing. Also, there is always a chance of landslide in the surrounding areas due to heavy rain.
How to reach
Mangan is 53 km from Gangtok and the most convenient way to reach Mangan is to first come to Gangtok and then from there drive down to Mangan. Gangtok is the nearest town of Sikkim from Pakyong Airport, located in Pakyong village which is around 35 km from the south of Gangtok.
The nearest railway station to Mangan is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in Siliguri, West Bengal. It is around 140 km from Mangan. Mangan is 53 km from Gangtok and the most convenient and the only way to reach Mangan is to first come to Gangtok and then from there drive down to Mangan. The town is connected to Gangtok by a metalled road. The railway station is well connected to major cities of India such as Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi. Private as well as shared taxis are available at the airport and in Siliguri.
All the major cities and towns in the Sikkim region are well connected to Mangan by road. Mangan is 53 km from Gangtok and the most convenient and the only way to reach Mangan is to first drive to Gangtok and then from there drive down to Mangan. The town is connected to Gangtok by a metalled road.
Mangan is well connected with cities like Darjeeling, Siliguri, and Gangtok. Private and shared taxis are easily available. Buses are also available from places like Siliguri, Darjeeling, Gangtok, Pelling, etc