It was my second trip after 9 years to the cleanest state of India(Sikkim). The plan was made all of a sudden as I went to Siliguri to attend one of my best friend’s marriage ceremony.
We reached Siliguri by Train from Kolkata. We arrived at 9 am sharp at the day of reception at the nearest railway station NJP (New Jalpaiguri). If you travel by air, you can book your ticket from Kolkata to Bagdogra Airport(IXB).
We started our journey just after the day of reception with a lot of exuberance. We booked our cab to Gangtok from Tenzing Norgay bus stand and after 15 minutes we left behind the city’s hustle and bustle. We were speeding through a lush green valley (jungle of Dooars) called Sevoke Road which helped me forget all the stresses of modern professional life. When we reached Sevoke (famous for coronation bridge-in pic) it started to drizzle which made scenic Dooars more romantic. We kept on driving along the beautiful river Teesta and in 4 hours we reached Gangtok.
We already had our lunch at Rangpo (a small town in the lap of Himalayas), so we planned to visit M.G Marg and do some shopping. As we had confirmed booking at a hotel near helipad, we didn’t find much trouble finding our room and get refreshed. We took a cab and went to M.G Marg (in pic) which took around 10 minutes to reach. The brick road for the pedestrians and the illuminated stalls beside that road. Moreover, the ambiance was comparable with any beautiful city of northern Europe. We had some snacks and beer from a restro bar and came back to hotel. Then we dined with some chinese dishes and we slept a bit early as we had our plans ready for the next day to visit the famous Tsomgo lake and silk route.
I always wake up early in the morning whenever I travel, may be due to the excitement to know the place more. I came out at the balcony and again I got stunned by the beauty of snow-capped Kanchenjunga. However, we started our journey through a scenic spiral road and snowy hills (in pic). It was mid-March and still the temperature was below 3 degree Celsius.
There were new govt. rest houses (in pic) also being constructed for the pilgrims to holy Manas Sarovar (Situated in Tibet) beside that highway.
After 2 hours of journey we reached Tsomgo lake (aka Chhangu lake), which is situated at the altitude of 12,310 ft. It was a serene lake in the snow valley. Quite a few roadside tea stalls and local shops were there, where one can take a cup of tea and relax for hours.
Though we were reluctant to leave this place our driver sahib was continuously poking us to leave for our next stop Baba Mandir. It took 30 mints approx. to reach the temple of martyr Harbhajan Singh of Indian Armed force aka Baba Mandir. This temple was made by Indian Army with the belief that baba Harbhajan Singh’s divine soul will protect them from every calamity and enemies. This is a new construction that’s why they call it new baba mandir; to see the old one you have to travel 20 minutes more through silk route. As we had a very stringent timeline we prefered not to go there. There is a café where we had some delicious momo. They had other snacks preferences as well though I prefer Tibetan food whenever come to these places near Nepal/Bhutan/Tibet. We spent a good one hour, took some photographs of nearby places and scenic landscapes and planned to return back.
Our next destination was famous Rumtek Monastery, for which we had to travel a long distance. The monastery is the largest monastery in Sikkim and very famous one. It took almost 3 hours to reach Rumtek via Gangtok. The monastery is situated at a high altitude and is full of scenic beauties. As the monastery is situated in the opposite hill of Gangtok, you can have a view of the city Gangtok which is marvelous.
Afterwards we visited the monastery and had thukpa (again a famous tibetian food) from nearby restaurant. We were done with our first day schedule and headed towards the hotel.
We had plans to visit some nearby places from Gangtok next day and the day after at the morning we started for Bagdogra and returned back to Kolkata via Indigo Airlines.
Anyhow I am mentioning a few places below amongst the places we visited at our last at Gangtok-
Tashi View Point- It’s a view point on top of a hill where you can take a view of exquisite valleys of Sikkim.An excellent view point for sunrise.
It’s a beautiful monastery situated in the outskirts of Gangtok.
A Ganesh temple with an open lounge where you can have a view of the valleys.
Ban Jhakri Waterfall-