Gang talk

Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim, a small state near the corridor to the “seven sister” states of North East India. Sikkim tourism’s tagline is “Small, but beautiful”. After roaming around Sikkim for over a week, couldn’t agree more. This place is all about rivers with white waters, waterfalls and flags!

This is how we covered Sikkim:
We reached Sikkim through the town of Siliguri in West Bengal. The road to Gangtok follows the Teesta and Rani river. We reached Gangtok quite late in the evening, and didn’t venture out.

First day in Sikkim was invested in seeing the eastern region. The Tsomgo (or Changu) lake is known as the frozen lake. The same road goes on to the Indo-Tibetan border pass of Nathula. In terms of height, it may not compete with Khardungla / Changlas of Ladakh. But what it lacks in height, it makes up with its political connection. Walking up the final few hundred metres over snow, you reach the border between India and China. A simple barb wire and a few soldiers keeping a watch is all that keeps one away from going to China. Then you zoom out through your camera view finder, and you see Chinese soldiers keeping a watch as well, with guns in their hands. While coming back to Gangtok, we visited the Baba mandir.

The second day we left for North Sikkim. The road from Gangtok passes through several waterfalls and bridges: the further you go from Gangtok, the waterfalls gets prettier, and the bridges get older and higher. From the town of Chungthang, the road forks out to Lachen and Lachung, both towns offering nightstay options. We took the road to the left to Lachen. After a night halt at Lachen, we moved out to the Gurudongmar lake (the third day). The road became drier and vegetation less as we moved towards the lake. The lake is one of the highest in India at 17,100 ft. Legend has it that the lake is blessed, and even when the surrounding water bodies are frozen under similar conditions, this lake doesn’t freeze completely. Also, the wind here is very erratic. Within a few minutes, the gentle breeze suddenly stopped completely, and then a very strong wind blew. It supposedly blows so strongly that it can blow away people! We couldn’t wait to verify that as the army only allows cars to stay for a limited amount of time. On our way back to Lachen, we stopped the car at Thangu. There was a freak snag with the car, and the driver tried to fix it there. I enjoyed the time there by playing an extended practice session of cricket with local village folks. We came back to Lachen and after a quick lunch, left for Lachung.

Lachung is the preferred resting place for people going to Yumthang – the valley of flowers. We had anticipated a lot of flowers there as per various websites. Unfortunately, there was no flower when we went there (the fourth day). Still, it was very relaxing just to sit by the river, on a fallen tree trunk, a warm sunshine negating the effect of the cold wind. Another quick lunch at Lachung, and we were on our way to Gangtok. Although we stayed at Gangtok for two nights earlier, we hadn’t really seen the Gangtok town. We reached Gangtok early in the evening, and quickly went out to enjoy Gangtok. The M G road is the main shopping mall road of Gangtok, and it was crowded to say the least. However, after eight in the evening, the crowd vanished, and the mall was nice!

Fifth day morning, we left early for Pelling, in the west. The road passes through South and west Sikkim’s pretty hills alongside the mighty Teesta and Rangeet rivers. Pelling, as a town, has nothing much to offer. However, we saw our best view of Mt. Kanchenzunga from here. The various “tourist” spots were generally nothing to write home about. However, the Kanchenzunga water fall was nice: this was the first time I actually went behind a waterfall! The Khechupudi lake was absolutely silent and serene – the only sound coming from the frogs croaking loudly continuously.



The next morning we left for Darjeeling.

13 comments:

Rohit Talwar said...

ME FIRST!

Muahahahahaaa. :P

Rohit Talwar said...

Superb title, to begin with.
The way you write about your trips is really cool - details sprinkled with some personal experiences.

So you had fun, eh? The best part seems to be the India-China border.. whoa!
The lake at that height.. is it the picture? THAT is an awesome view.

"Behind" a waterfall? Damnit.. must have been a memorable experience!

Rohit Talwar said...

And, not to forget.. looking forward to the post about Darjeeling. :)

Anonymous said...

Shubu!! I've been to gangtok so I know what u must have experienced. The road, the landscape, the chowmein. I relived the moments thru ur post. Darjelling has nothing to offer except for Tiger Hills maybe and boiled pork they u get on the street. Take the toy train from Kurseion to darjelling...u'll enjoy the scenic beauty. :) Sanjit

~ | | OM | | ~ said...

Bhishon Bhalo dada....

Chal main aata hoon... chalte hain ghoomne...

Subhadip said...

@Rohit
We are still playing MF? Well... I enjoyed the trip very much, many memorable experiences.

@Sanjit
Didn't get the tickets for the toy train. Next time :)

@Om
Aa ja

Kanu said...

Ok this is awesome........Sometimes I really wonder what I like more about your writing...your sarcastic undertones style or the simple descriptive manner...for both are just amazing.

Gangtok seems like a place I would be able to visit....Lets see...

And oh yes....I envy you!!!!! :)

~ Deeps ~ said...

well written.......i want to see more pics ...........will surely visit that place someday

Subhadip said...

@Kanu

You wrongly accuse me of being sarcastic, yet again! Glad you like it though :-)

And you should travel - all great people did.

@Deeps
More pics @ Flickr site. You should visit Sikkim. You will like it.

Anuradha said...

hey great post, where are the pics ??

Butterfly said...

Very good title.:-)
I have never been to Gangtok and Darjeeling, but I've heard the names of some of the towns you've mentioned. I would like to visit these places after my ICSE.
You actually went behind a waterfall?!!
What was it like?:-D

Subhadip said...

@Anuradha
Thanks. I wish I was prolific with pics! Still, have uploaded some here. More at flickr.

@Butterfly
When you go there, please visit North Sikkim - its beautiful.

Going behind a waterfall was great!

Chitrangada said...

post with beautiful descriptin n pics :)


acchi hain :)