This was followed by a ritual of Maggi and tea, along with some momos, in a small market nearby, where we sat and watched men on Yaks and women dressed in traditional Sikkimese attire and warm smiles indulging in chatter.
After an hour or two spent reminiscing old times and strolling around the market, we drove back towards Enchey Monastery which, unfortunately, was under renovation. This was followed by Hanuman Tok, a temple complex dedicated to Lord Hanuman, that serves as an observatory for the Kanchenjunga. The intricate paintings depicting the Ramayana and the long passage to the main dome were my favourite parts. We basked in the glory of the Sun as it went down on the Kanchenjunga peak, before heading back to Mall Road for another adventure.
It was evening and we had two more stops in mind – Rachna Book Store, a book store + café famous for its ambience and host to several book launches, and Nimthoo, a restaurant well-known for it’s unmatched Nepali thali.
Gangtok has a very strong literary heritage and consequently, their oldest book store and café, Rachna Book Store embodies the culture. On any given day, you could find poets and writers sipping coffee and discussing excerpts of books that inspired them. What you won’t find here is the work of most best-selling authors thanks to their dubious literary merit. We took a table outside to hear rain drops and take a breath of fresh air, and nibbled on some pav bhaji and pakodas. Since that was the smoking lounge, we met some interesting people – teachers, magazine editors, sisters meeting at their usual hangout, that transcended us into times that were simpler, away from the conundrum of the metropolitans. And just like that, over stories with new friends, we cut her birthday cup tea-cake. A Nepali thali for dinner and we retired for the day.