Monday, 25 July 2011

Sikkim: Mesmerising Beauty of the Himalayas

Sikkim: Mesmerising Beauty of the Himalayas…

Trip Details:
I always wanted to travel to Sikkim, a small and beautiful state in the North-Eastern India. Finally got a chance in April 2011. After doing a lot of research, we finalized an itinerary which would suit our budget and time which looks as below:
1) Day 0: Half-day in office, boarded a flight from Bangalore to Kolkata at 18:00 hrs. Reached Kolkata airport at 20:30 hrs. Hired a pre-paid taxi from Kolkata airport to Sealdah railway station. At 23:00 hrs boarded Padatik express to New Jalpaiguri from Sealdah.
2) Day 1: Reached NJP Station at around 10:30 hrs.. Hired a jeep to Gangtok. Reached Gangtok by around 14:00 hrs and checked into Hotel Karlo. It was a nice hotel with excellent staff. We rested for the remaining part of the day as we were supposed to travel to North Sikkim the following day.
3) Day 2: After obtaining all the necessary permits for North Sikkim, we left Gangtok at around 11:00 hrs in a Maxx vehicle. We got a taste of the horrible road condition in the first 1 hr of our trip. But the scenic beauty made us forget all discomfort of travel. In around 1 hr we reached the entrance to North Sikkim area. The first point we visited was Seven Sister falls. It looked great as the water falls in seven stages. After spending some time at the falls and buying some snacks there to munch on the way, we proceeded. The beauty of nature kept getting better as we were travelling and we were unable to shut our eyes even for a moment. The river Teesta kept following us all the way which was crystal clear and was a treat to watch. We took a break for lunch at a small eatery called Hotel Kunghlo. The food served was pure vegetarian and was very good. We proceeded after lunch and reached a few bigger towns on the way like Singhik and Mangan. Our driver said that we can view Kanchenjunga clearly from Singhik but because of heavy clouds and fog we were unable to get a glimpse. Further in the evening we came across several waterfalls and rapids and it looked great. Finally we reached our final destination of the day, Lachen. It was freezing cold in Lachen and we stayed in a small hotel there. Lachen is a very small village and have only basic facilities in all hotels. So we can't expect heaters in the hotels and power cuts throughout the day is very common. After having dinner we crashed to sleep as we were supposed to start at 5am the next morning.
   
4) Day 3: Woke up very early in the morning at Lachen and after a hot cup of tea, we started towards Gurudongmar Lake which is one of the highest lakes in Sikkim at 17000 feet. The sun rises very early in the North east and it was a treat looking at the morning sun kissing the snow covered Himalayan mountains. The route was very scenic with Yaks grazing in the fields and it was pretty cold in the morning. Our driver stopped at Thangu for breakfast. We had bread/butter/jam for breakfast and got our papers verified at the checkpost. We proceeded further and the landscape suddenly changed and it looked like a cold desert with no trees around and clear blue skies. The scenery drastically changed once we reached Gurudongmar lake at around 08:30 hrs. It was a total out of the world look and we were completely awestruck at the beauty of nature. The lake stood calm and more than 70% of the lake was completely frozen. The snow covered mountains at the backdrop added to the beauty of the place. We got down to the base of the river and took some water in our palms. The water was freezing cold. We even dared to walk on the frozen part of the lake and it was a great experience which we had never seen. After enjoying at the place for a while we decided to bid goodbye to this amazing place. We came back to Lachen for lunch and then departed towards Lachung where we had booked a hotel. Again the journey was terrific with lot of waterfalls and snow covered mountains made us click lot of pictures. We reached Lachung in the evening and were looking forward to the next day's plan.
                                                             
5) Day 4: Early morning view from our hotel in Lachung was picture perfect. After breakfast, we started towards Yumthang valley which is called the Valley of flowers as it is full of flowers in summers. Yumthang welcomed us with lovely sunshine and greenery with a stream of river Teesta flowing which looked like Paradise. We spent some quality time at Yumthang and then proceeded towards Zero Point, further up the hills. As we approached Zero Point, we could see snow all around us and from the top we could only see roads cutting through white snow. We reached Zero Point at around 9am and played with snow there for a long time. It was a wonderful experience. We then started our return journey towards Lachung, visitng hot spring on the way. We rested in our room at Lachung for sometime and after lunch we left Lachung towards Gangtok with some great memories of North Sikkim. We reached Gangtok later in the evening and checked into our hotel.
   
6) Day 5: We visited the Geological Meuseum, Rumtek Monastrey, Institute of Tibetology and the ropeway in the morning and went for a walk to MG road in Gangtok. We had yummy Momos and Veg rolls at MG Road in the evening and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
IMG_0176
7) Day 6: Our plan was to visit the Tsomgo Lake and Baba mandir near Nathu La pass. We started early in the morning to obtain all necessary permit for these places. Because of the road repair work we had to wade through a traffic jam on the way but was cleared quickly. We reached the Baba Mandir at around 11:30 and it was freezing cold so we had to pull all our warm clothing. We also get jackets, gloves, and shoes for rent at Tsomgo Lake. After paying respects to Baba Harbhajan Singh, we proceeded back towards the lake, enroute we stopped at a place to play with snow which was fun. We reached Tsomgo Lake at around 14:00 hrs. We clicked a few pics of the Lake and took some pics on the Himalayan Yak as well. We decided to have our lunch at Tsomgo Lake as it was late afternoon. We decided to wind up for the day at around 15:15 hrs. The evening drive became scary as it became very foggy and the visibilty decreased considerably. Enroute was Kyongnosla waterfalls which was totally invisible due to the fog. We managed to reach Gangtok safely by around 16:30 hrs.
   
8) Day 7: Our final day in Gangtok, we checked out of our hotel in the morning towards NJP station. On the way we decided to go for river rafting at Teesta. Our cab driver patiently waited for us to complete our rafting and we had lot of fun in the water though there were very few rapids. We reached NJP station in the evening and boarded Saraighat express to Howrah at 20:00 hrs. We reached Howrah at 06:30 hrs and after breakfast we decided to visit the Howrah Bridge as we had a gap of 4 hours before the departure of our train to Bangalore. This concluded our trip to Sikkim which was very interesting and memorable.
How to reach: Direct flights from Delhi and Kolkata available to Bagdogra, the nearest airport. Nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri. Jeeps can be hired from Siliguri to reach Gangtok. 
Reference: http://northsikkim.nic.in/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sikkim_district
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_Harbhajan_Singh
Map:

View Larger Map

11 comments:

  1. You have framed Indias cleanest state !!! nice pics

    ReplyDelete
  2. excellent sights... one of the places that has been eluding me for a long time...

    especially like the dry landscapes in high altitude...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been to many of these places last summer . Yet to post the picture, by your beautiful pictures I am inspired to do now

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read your information, such a great blog. Darjeeling formed a part of Sikkim and for a brief period of Nepal. We are providing Holidays to Darjeeling and Tour package to Darjeeling in lowest price. Darjeeling is located in west Bengal is called queen of hills in India. Darjeeling town is cover 1, 200 square miles area.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I see and visit your site,nice work for written.If You are worried for cheap flights to Delhi from Miami and Miami to Delhi Flights in unbeatable airfares.Delhi is a great palace in India.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read your awesome information.If anyone wants to Adventure honeymoon package to Sikkim and honeymoon package to Sikkim in very affordable price.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I read your blog, such great information. If anyone wants Ltc Package to Sikkim and Darjeeling and Ltc tour package to Sikkim and Darjeeling for Darjeeling and Sikkim package in lowest price.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have few queires regarding the trip.. can you please share your email id?

    ReplyDelete