Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sikkim - Nature Lover's Paradise

Last month, along with some friends, I had a chance to visit Sikkim - a less explored state in north east India. The long and tiring journey from Bangalore was well worth it the moment we stepped outside Bagdodra airport. Some of the most picturesque moments of my journeys so far were about to unfold over the next ten days.

From AP blog.1

Some of the places we visited:-


The journey started with Pelling, a small town in West Sikkim which boasted a great view of the Kanchenjunga. After talking to the local folks we were told that depending on the weather conditions, the best view would be possible early in the morning at around five. With hope of getting a glimpse of the mountains, I managed to wake up at six in the morning and was awestruck at the sight of a big wall of snow covered mountains staring back at me. I admired this natural beauty with awe.

From AP blog.1


Our next stop was Gangtok in East Sikkim. This is one of the biggest cities in Sikkim and has a population mix from a plethora of origin. Here is where we saw a confluence of cultures from four countries - India, Tibet, Nepal and China. The city was like any other Indian city, though much cleaner. If you ever visited here then do not forget to spend a couple of evenings at MG road and definitely try the Baker's Cafe.

Since Gangtok is a major hub for tourists, finding transportation from here to any part of Sikkim is easy. Places like Nathula Pass at the border with China and Rumtek Monastery are easily accessible. We passed the Tsomgo-Changu lake on our way to Nathula.

From AP blog.1

Gurudongmar Lake

The next destination was Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim. The journey from Gangtok was long and we took a halt at Lachen before we left for our destination the next day. It is advisable to take a day's halt at Lachen to acclimatise to the higher altitude so that you would not feel altitude sickness at Gurudongmar (17100 ft). Gurudongmar is on the way to Cho Lhamu lake which is the origin of the river Teesta. The view at the lake is breath taking with the water having a beautiful color and an equally picturesque landscape.

From AP blog.1

Rawangla and Namchi
Our next destinations were the small towns of Rawangla and Namchi in South Sikkim. Both of these places are small market towns with local shops all around. We visited a monastery in Rawangla and were able to catch the construction of the replica Char Dham temple site in Namchi. Namchi had a great view of the mountain range as well.

From sikkim_oct2008

Visiting Sikkim in October meant that the summer was at its peak. But we were greeted with very pleasant weather. The days were hot with evenings being a bit chilly. There were an abundance of waterfalls all around because of the sporadic rainfall and the melting snow.

With weather, welcoming locals, picturesque landscapes and breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga - Sikkim is a must visit place for nature lovers. Though, I should warn you about long journeys in jeeps on ever so winding roads.

Friday, October 31, 2008