Phodong, North Sikkim
Phodong is a small village north of Gangtok along the North Sikkim Highway. It’s an important landmark for Buddhists, especially of the Kagyu sect. Phodong almost falls midway between Gangtok and Mangan and hence it is a convenient stop for visitors for light refreshment.
One of the six premier monasteries of Sikkim, Phodong monastery is situated 38 kilometres from Gangtok. This monastery belongs to the Karma Kagyu sect and was built by Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal in 1740. This monastery is well known for its annual Kagyed Dance, a harvest thanksgiving festival held at the onset of winter - sometime between November and January. Near to this monastery is the Tumlong Palace Ruins which was the third capital of the erstwhile Kingdom of Sikkim. The capital was shifted from Rabdenste to Tumlong in the beginning of the nineteenth century, where it remained for almost ninety years.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Anytime of the year except the rainy season would be best time to visit this place. March to June is definitely the best time to indulge in exciting things like sightseeing, trekking and several other outdoor activities. However if you want to experience the chills of winter then anytime between October to March is the best time.
HOW TO GET THERE
Airways: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, West Bengal about 5 hrs drive from Gangtok, and about 150 km from Phodong. Sikkim also has got its first commercial airport at Pakyong, East Sikkim but weather hampers the operation of this airport most of the time. If you are lucky enough you can get a flight directly to Pakyong.
Railways: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal which is about 146 km from Phodong.
Roadways: Phodong is about 40 km from Gangtok, the capital city. You can book a taxi from Gangtok to reach the place.