Scintillating, sensational, stunning, solemn, serene sikkim !!

Discussion in 'North Eastern and Eastern States' started by Sudha Kailas, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Sudha Kailas

    Sudha Kailas IL Hall of Fame

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on">Sikkim</st1:country-region> is a small <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Himalayan</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">State</st1:placeType></st1:place> in the North East of India. Its capital is Gangtok. Since it is bordering <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">China </st1:country-region></st1:place>there is a lot of army presence in the State and one needs special passes to travel within the State. Fortunately our travel agent had made all arrangements for us including the passes, transport and all hotel arrangements.

    Since <st1:country-region w:st="on">Sikkim</st1:country-region> is in the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Himalayan</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Ranges</st1:placeType></st1:place>, it can only be reached by road transport. The nearest Airport is Bagdogra in <st1:place w:st="on">West Bengal</st1:place> and the Railway Station is New Jalpaiguri also in W.B.

    There are 2 Seasons to travel:
    1. Spring/Summer – April to June
    2. Fall/Early Winter – September to December.

    We had the opportunity to travel to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sikkim</st1:place></st1:country-region> in April 2009 since we had a wedding to attend in Kalimpong, W.B. We decided to combine the wedding and a small vacation for ourselves. The entire trip was for 12 days, 3 days in Kalimpong, 6 days in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Sikkim</st1:country-region> and 3 days in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Darjeeling</st1:City></st1:place>.

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  2. Sudha Kailas

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    Since we were transitting in and out of Gangtok we decided to taste the hospitality of 2 hotels there. We checked into Orange Valley Resort on our way in from Kalimpong.

    Our first visit was to the Enchey Monastery meaning solitary temple, 3 kms from the city of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Gangtok</st1:place></st1:City>. The place was so silent and serene and situated at such a beautiful spot that one does not feel like coming away from there.


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  3. Sudha Kailas

    Sudha Kailas IL Hall of Fame

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    We visited the famous <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:placeName w:st="on">Nalanda</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">University</st1:placeType> which is just above the Rumtek Monastery in <st1:place w:st="on">Eastern Sikkim</st1:place> 24 kms from Gangtok. We could see the monks of all ages mainly from the Himalayan Region.

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    These pictures of Orchids are taken at the Flower Show that is always held at the famous White Hall just below the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeType w:st="on">Palace</st1:placeType> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Ridge</st1:placeType> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Park</st1:placeType></st1:place> which is the office of the Sikkim Government.

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  4. Sudha Kailas

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    Our next visit was to Ganeshtok which is a small temple of Ganesha situated on the Gangtok – <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Nathula Road</st1:address></st1:Street>. We took some pictures dressed up in their traditional Sikkimese outfit. (for pics please look up my album as I am not supposed to be posting them here).


    Tashi View Point is another famous tourist spot which is a small climb of steps from where one can see the opposite hills very clearly. We bought some cushion covers from there depicting the Tibetan Origin and their Culture.


    We also had the taste of a lot of gardens like the <st1:placeName w:st="on">Saramsa</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Garden</st1:placeType> and the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Jawaharlal</st1:placeName> <st1:placeName w:st="on">Nehru</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Botanical Garden</st1:placeType></st1:place> where there are a lot of waterfalls and excellent recreation and picnic spot.


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  5. Sudha Kailas

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    Coming to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Tsomgo</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place> which is situated at an altitude of 12,500 ft. is 40 kms from Gangtok city. The lake is about 1 km long, oval in shape, 50 ft deep and regarded as a holy place. When we reached there the lake was fully covered with fog and mist and so cold (about 2/3 deg) and there is a climb up on the hill adjacent to the lake where there was snow (0 deg) and we played like kids. You can have Yak rides to go further into the lake in the snow ……..though I did not venture climbing on them (my SIL did) (picture in the album for you to see).

    There were ‘’n’’ number of Monasteries which we deferred to see owing to time and rides up and down the hills.

    Our next stopover was at the <st1:placeName w:st="on">Khecheopalri</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Lake</st1:placeType>, a sacred wish fulfilling lake for Buddhists and Hindus in the North West Pelling town of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Sikkim</st1:City></st1:place>. There is a small worship place and from there one can reach the fence of the lake and can throw coins into it after prayers. The belief is that what one wishes is fulfilled if we pray to the goddess Tara of this lake.

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    Prayer Flags are a common feature all over the State and this is a tradition of Buddhism. Prayers are written on individual flags for various reasons like prosperity, good health, weddings, to ward off evil eye etc. The Priest at the Monastery will chant prayers with the flags at the altar. These are then handed over to the person who has requested them. Each flag is then hoisted on a bamboo pole and placed outside the house or wherever required. In this picture you can see the flags hoisted around the lake.

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  6. Sudha Kailas

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    Our next halt was at Chungthang which is in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">North Sikkim</st1:place> and is a Confluence of Lechen and Lachung Chu rivers. This is where the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Teesta</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType></st1:place> starts. What a beauty to see the glacial water passing through,,,,,,

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  7. Sudha Kailas

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    We proceeded to Lachung next where we halted in the night. Lachung is also winter haunt for skying. Unfortunately that night I took very ill and the next day could not go to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Yumthang</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Valley</st1:placeType></st1:place>, the valley of flowers and fauna. We heard that there are more than 20 varieties of Rhododendrons in the valley. Yumthang ‘’Tsa-Chu’’ is a hot spring and noted for its curative and healing power.


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    There are so many natural waterfalls and we always used to stop the vehicle and taste the cold water. The Kyongnosla waterfall and the Seven Sisters waterfall were just amazing and a sight to behold !! (especially for us Chennaites where there is scarcity of rain and water !!)

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  8. Sudha Kailas

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    On our return leg, we reached Gangtok the State’s Capital and stayed in the Mewa Regency on our way to<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Darjeeling</st1:City></st1:place>.

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    To cover the time, we took the Cable Car which takes you from one end of the City to the other.

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    Take a cable car trip with me to have an
    aerial view of Gangtok......

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  9. Sudha Kailas

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:placeName w:st="on">Teesta</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType> is the lifeline of the <st1:placeName w:st="on">Indian</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">State</st1:placeType> of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sikkim</st1:place></st1:country-region>. It was so wonderful to travel along with the river while climbing up and down the numerous hills of Sikkim.

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  10. Sudha Kailas

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    The market area here is so neat and clean. As usual, I picked up some Ganeshas for my collection (you can see this in my Ganesha album) !!

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    Talking about food, we enjoyed ‘’MOMOS’’ which is specific to the North East. This is similar to our ‘’salted pillayar kozhukattai (modak)’’ which is made of Maida flour and filled with Cabbage or Cauliflower most of the time.


    The Sikkimese are very friendly and hospitable and converse freely in English and you can see a lot of foreigners visiting this place.


    Hope you enjoyed a short tour of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Sikkim</st1:country-region></st1:place> with me !!

    PS: Do visit my album for more pictures !!
     
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