Gangtok to Lachung by shared or reserved taxi and one night stay there. The way to Lachung from Gangtok could not be anymore beautiful. There are a few waterfalls too where you can stop by stretch your legs and enjoy the fresh air and the sound of the waterfall that's crushing though the mountains and paving its own path.
Mangan : The entry point to Lachung Lachen, Mangan is a base town before reaching the lesser known parts of North Sikkim. The town is also reckoned to be the market centre for northern Sikkim.
Day 6Clear skies greeted us the next morning and we wasted no time to be back on the road. The monstrous stream of the previous day was reduced to a trickle. Even though the weather was on our side there were several landslides due to the previous night's rain. At one such landslide the brave hearts of the BRO were working hard to clear the landslide but it was taking up a lot of time. Finally all the tourist, drivers and locals joined the task of clearing the huge boulders and tree trunks off the road and with our very hands we cleared the landslide in a matter of minutes. Mangan was just a few kilometres away and we were hopeful to reach Gangtok by the end of the day. However, it was not to be. What we witnessed next was the mother of all landslides. The entire road was washed off and one whole side of mountain had completely blocked the road with boulders two storey high! We saw that the tourists on this side of the landslide were abandoning their vehicle and trekking their way to the other side of the landslide with their entire luggage and then taking a different car from there. This made me realize that there was no way that this route would open in the next 2-3 days.It was our extreme good luck that the volunteers of the BRO working tirelessly to clear the road and help the tourist to trek across the landslide were all part of a Sikh regiment. I went to one of the soldiers and explained him our situation in Punjabi. Even though they were sceptical they couldn't turn down my persistent requests in their native language. Soon 5-6 "Gabru Jawans" of the Sikh regiment came to Dukey, picked it up on their shoulders with their bare hands and started to trek across the huge landslide. They transferred the bike across the landslide in a matter of minutes but those were the most anxious minutes of my life as even a small slip would have resulted in Dukey falling off the cliff into the river below. I pray to god that he gives all the happiness to each and every soldier who made the impossible possible.The day was not over yet. While crossing Mangan we asked the locals for the road ahead till Gangtok and they confirmed it to be clear. But the weather transformed within minutes and an extremely heavy downpour started. While it was very dangerous to ride in such heavy rain we kept edging forward with one eye on the road ahead for any traffic and the other on the mountain above for falling boulders. In an almost repeat of previous day's events we saw a strong stream of water making it impossible to cross it on two wheels and forcing us to head back to Mangan to look for an accommodation there. Once again while on our way back we saw a fresh landslide blocking the road. The only difference this time was that the distance between the stream of water and the landslide was a matter of a few hundred meters and the number of houses in between the two was less than half a dozen. The locals of this area were Lepchas and they knew nothing apart from their local language making it almost impossible to make them understand our need to find shelter for the night. An old man who could speak broken hindi came to our rescue and we found a home to stay.By looking at the condition of the home we understood that this Lepcha family was in economical distress. Yet, they opened their kitchen and all the groceries for us to use. As a gesture to repay them for their help I bought excess supplies of groceries like rice, dal and egg from the local village store and we cooked for not just us but for the Lepcha family as well.
Day 5We had initially planned to visit Bhutan after Gurudongmar but the rain gods had other plans for us. The adventure quotient of the trip was about to reach a whole new level! A gloomy morning made us realize that it would be a day filled with rain. We crossed Chungthang and saw lots of cars coming back with the drivers waving us to go back. At the Toong check post we saw a row of cars waiting. The torrential rains had resulted in several landslides. We went to a small canteen to keep ourselves warm but with each passing minute more and more people entered the canteen and soon there were close to 100 people of all ages cramped in that small canteen. Thankfully we got the news that the landslide has been cleared and we slowly moved forward with the hope of making it to the land of the thunder dragon. Within 10 minutes of riding our hopes drained down the Teesta River as we saw a ferocious stream of water about to break the connecting bridge. Such was the force of the water that even four wheelers were sceptical to cross it. We waited for 4-5 hours but the stream showed no mercy. We were forced to head back and find help. The nearest large village with accommodation was at Chungthang but a fresh landslide had cut us off from it. Basically we were stuck in between a landslide and a ferocious stream of water.