Tsomgo Lake (Changu Lake)
Tsomgo Lake is situated 38 km from Gangtok and at an elevation of 12,400 ft, the ethereally excellent Tsomgo lake is an absolute necessity on each visitors agenda. A twisting street through rough mountain landscape and sharp cliffs takes you to Tsomgo, which implies source of the water in Bhutia dialect. It is heared that in past times, Buddhist ministers would study over the water's shade of the lake to figure the future. The lake is likewise of extraordinary importance for the Jhakris of Sikkim who assemble here every year on Guru Purnima. For the visitor, a visit to the lake offers a glorious excursion. Rides on colourfully designed yaks and donkeys are offered at the lake site, which additionally has a variety of food stalls serving snacks and drinks. Snowboots and gumboots can be rented here. Tsomgo lake is open for both Indian and outside nationals, however international guests must be in a gathering of two or more and need to apply for a guests license through an authorised travel organization.
The Nathula merges the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass is situated, at 4,310 m above sea level, forms as a piece of a branch of the old Silk Road. Nathu signifies "listening ears" and La signifies "go" in Tibetan. On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km (34 mi) east of Gangtok, the capital of Indian state of Sikkim. Just natives of India can visit the pass, but only after successfull permit from the administration of Gangtok. Nathu La is one of the two open trading border posts in the middle of China and India.The others being Shipkila in Himachal Pradesh and Lipulekh in Nepal. Sealed by India after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, Nathu La was re-opened in 2006 after various trade understandings. The Chinese government is wanting to extend its rail administration to Yadong, barely a couple of kilometers from Nathu La.
Everest view trek is one of the best and favorable treks for those who seek to enjoy the classic view of Mt Everest and others mighty peak of khumbu region. In this trek trekkersEverest view trek is one of the best and favorable treks for those who seek to enjoy the classic view of Mt Everest and others mighty peak of khumbu region. In this trek trekkers can enjoy the combination of cultural, spiritual and natural beauty of the Everest region of Nepal. The friendly Sherpa people, picturesque villages, great variety of cultures and traditions, colorful festivals and monasteries of this region provide the life time memory to the visitors. Everest view trek is a famous trek into the famous Everest region with fascinating beauty of culture and nature to offer. Everest view trek starts with a scenic flight from Kathmandu to lukla. From lukla we trek the adventurous trekking trail of Everest. Following the upward and downward trekking trail and passing some of the most scenic laces, cultural villages and rivers.Nepal is known as the country of Mt. Everest and every one may have such desire to see this highest mountain in the world. This trekking is not only popular for highest mountain. This trek also provides the warm hospitality of Sherpa people, so one can experience Sherpa culture, way of living style, visit monasteries, wild animals and enjoy the mountain views of snow capped peaks. Following the trail of Everest region and passing via villages like Namche Bazaar, Phakding, Lobuche and more this adventurous trek is worth commencing for.
I headed to Tsogo lake. Earlier in the day the lake was clear and there was no crowd. Now the atmosphere changed totally. . It was crowded and the whole lake was covered with fog. People were enjoying the Yak ride and clicking photos with the fancy dressed yaks. The climate was pleasant and I enjoyed a lot. By 1700 hrs I reached Gangtok and as usual I started roaming on M.G Road. Suddenly a unexpected surprise struck me. While I was walking on the street I met one of my school days friend, Souvik. What a way to meet him after a gap of 10 years. It was one of my evergreen unforgettable movement in the trip
The Rumtek Monastery also noted as the Dharmachakra Center, is a gompa situated in the Indian state of Sikkim close to the capital Gangtok. It is a point of convergence for the sectarian pressures inside of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism that portray the Karmapa controversy. Initially constructed under the course of Changchub Dorje, twelfth Karmapa Lama in the mid-1700s, Rumtek served as the fundamental seat of the Karma Kagyu heredity in Sikkim for quite a while. The religious community is at present the biggest in Sikkim. It is home to the group of monks and where they perform the customs and practices of the Karma Kagyu ancestry. A stupa made of gold contains the relics of the sixteenth Karmapa. Inverse to that building is a school, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies. The Rumtek Monastery is highlighted in the 2014 Indian mystery thriller novel, The emperor's riddles by Satyarth Nayak.
Yumesamdong (Zero Point)
Yume Samdong is around 26 kilometers from Yumthang, another acclaimed spot in North Sikkim. Yume Samdong of North Sikkim is set at an elevation of 15,300 feet above sea level. Since the spot is in close vicinity to the border standing between India and China, a special license is required to visit Yume Samdong. The drive through the mountain amidst the unpleasant region of Sikkim is an breathtaking experience.The most imperative essence of the spot lies in the Azalea's scent. Azalea frames a major source of income to local people. They make the crude material out of which neighborhood people make incense sticks. Being set at high elevation, Yume Samdong in Sikkim remains snow loaded consistently. So it is advised to take preliminary measures before a trek to Yume Samdong is attempted. But for trekkers, the course from Yume Samdong to Yumthang is one of the most loved ones. It takes just about an hour drive to reach Yume Samdong from Yumthang. This drive is as sparkling as the spot itself.
Everest Base Camp
The trek to Everest Base Camp is quite possibly the most dramatic and picturesque in the Himalayas. We stayed in villages set against soaring, jagged pinnacles; we got to know the unique culture of the Sherpas; discovered remote mountain monasteries; walked trails lined with mani stones, engraved with Tibetan Buddhist prayers and learnt about the Sherpas’ spiritual perspective on the mountains they call home.
Goecha La (el. 4940 mt or 16,207 ft) is a high mountain pass in Sikkim, India in the Himalaya range. The southeast face of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain, is viewable from the pass, which is also a base camp for those aspiring to scale the mountain. From here, you can see the head-spinning Goecha La (4940m) for those incredible views of Khangchendzonga. A further viewpoint, another hour’s walk ahead, offers even closer views.
Khangchendzonga National Park
Day 3 started with warm up exercise and a good short jog around the place. We saw the snow-capped Himalayas with its 2nd tallest peak – Kanchenjunga standing majestically right in the centre. After some local sightseeing, we were briefed about the trek and the route post which everyone introduced themselves. And thus, we spent our last night in the pleasant weather of Darjeeling before beginning our trek on the following day. Day 4 began pretty interestingly for me, of which I may write in April of 2014. The entire batch got ready and assembled for the flag off to begin our journey. On reaching the starting point by a jeep, we were introduced to our 2 trek guides. Both of them lean, fit & unbelievably young! One of them was 23 years old and he was responsible for leading the group. Looking at their normal backpacks, we felt a little foolish to have carried such huge rucksacks. By the end of the trek, we realized it was indeed stupid to have carried more than 2 pair of clothes as that’s the maximum required for such a cold journey.
Trekking to Taktsang is an experience of a lifetime and all of us in the group vowed to be back again someday. It is believed that this sacred monastery was founded by Guru Rimpoche who flew on the back of a flaming tiger in the 8th century and meditated in a cave for three months at this site. Located at 2,950 metres above sea level, this is the most famous and the only hanging cliff monastery in Bhutan. The hike itself is at once challenging and fulfilling. We walk for almost 4 hours to be confronted by 1000 more steps that would give any sane person a vertigo. But the adrenaline is so much that you cannot help but continue. The monastery stands gleaming in its white exterior with red adornments and a gold cupola roof, looking strikingly spiritual.
Punakha to Phobjikha and backWe started the day early as we planned to ride to Phobjikha and return back to Punakha in the evening. Phobjikha is around 80 km from Punakha with roads worse than thimpu to Punakha. After riding for 3 hours, first glimpse of Phobjika valley which was mesmerizing proved the point that "Great roads take you to cities but worst roads take you to heaven". The valley was so beautiful, that we even considered the idea of not going back to Punakha but later on dropped it for practical reasons and returned back to Punakha. Heavy rain made the return journey like a roadies task, mud roads became very slippery. Phobjikha valley was one place for which I can repeat the bhutan trip anytimeDistance covered : 150 km (to and fro)Ride Time : 7 hrsRoad Condition : Roads were worse than thimpu to punakha route (Quality : 1/5). Heavy rain while returning did the work of catalyst.Food : There are very limited number of restaurants in Phobjikha, mainly there is a culture of homestays there. We somehow managed to get noodles and tea for 10 people which costs us 3000 rupees.Places visited : Valley, Gangtey Monastery
Banjhakri Water Falls
Banjhakri falls is a remarkable touristy spot in Sikkim. There is very popular story behind this spot and its name. The word "Banjhakri" means woodland shaman, now if we separate it further "Boycott" implies primitive and "Jhakri" implies shaman. Shaman is a priest among specific people of northern Asia, viewed as one with recuperating and supernatural forces who can impact the spirits and achieve good and evil. Furthermore, it is these Shamanistic practices that are delineated by means of the dolls in this amusement park. Some of these portray customs, some recuperating ceremonies and others the start process in the life of a shaman. All these are entirely fascinating as is the waterfall that thunders down from a height of say 70 feet. Few facilities have been built for the visitors to go closer to the waterfall and take a shower.This a ideal place for kids to enjoy and is also best for family hangouts.
MG Marg Market
"M. G. Marg otherwise called Mahatma Gandhi Road or MG Road is a street which is viewed as the town focal point of Gangtok. The street and the territory around it has changed throughout the years. It is currently more like a long extend of open shopping center or lane square where local people and visitors take recreation walk or simply sit and unwind on one of the numerous seats laid along the center and both sides of the street to absorb the vibe. The whole range is free of trash, smoke ,vehicle and any other mode of transportation. It's a ""Person on foot"" zone and vehicles are not permitted on this 1 kilometer stretch of the street. In line with government's green activity, all structures on both sides of this street are painted with green colour. The Statue of Unity overlooks MG Marg. The statue includes the figures of Bhutia Chieftain Khye Bumsa, the Lepcha pioneer Thetong Tek and his wife Ngo-Kong-ngol. Shops in MG Marg are open from 8am to 7pm. "
Its a one and a half hour drive to the chele la pass from paro town . The drive is really scenic and quite steep compared to other drives in bhutan because u are climbing from 7000 feet to 12500 feet in just 90 minutes. The day we had planned to go to the pass , it was really cloudy with no sunlight whatsoever. Our driver suggested to go the next day as it might rain again and the visibility will be very low so we wont be able to see the valley from the top. Anyway , i stuck to the plan and we were off by 10 . though we did not encounter rain but the sky was overcast all along the way , which by the way gave it a very romantic feeling of travelling in rain drenched mountain forests with wisps of clouds of floating by and tall trees zipping by on either side. finally when we arrived, there was not a soul in sight. May be, most of the tourists had rearranged their schedule. Anyway there was a pathway with abyss on one side and rocky surface on the other. As i walked along the path , i had to be extra careful of the abyss since the visibility was really low. The valley below was not visible at all due to heavy cloud covering and as the clouds floated across me, i felt as if i am am being sprayed with tiny droplets of ice cold water. My hands were trembling due to the cold and every now and then , i had to feel the warmth of my jacket pockets. On top of that, since the pathway was pretty narrow, i was tantalising close to falling in the valley below. Infact, it was one of the best experience of the trip because when u are in such situations all alone, u grow as a person.
The locals call it Khāsti or Jyarung Khasyor. A UNESCO heritage site, this imposing stupa is believed to house the remains of the Kassapa Buddha. It is one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal with the dome 120 feet in diameter. Lying on the trade route from Tibet, the stupa was a spot for Tibetan merchants to rest and offer prayers.
Visit to the temple of Pashupatinath, situated on the banks of the sacred Bagmati river, the temple of Lord Shiva is truly amazing. Especially visit of early morning to see Hindu rituals on the river bank is worth. Only Hindus are allowed to go inside the Temple complex, but to others also there are plenty of areas to explore around. Pashupatinath, with a tiered golden roof and silver doors, is famous for its superb architecture and is the holiest of Hindu shrines in Nepal. Cremation ghats located at the Bagmati river showcase the funeral rituals of Hindu followers which is very unique.
Temi Tea Garden
The Temi Tea Garden set up in 1969 by the Government of Sikkim spreads over an area of 440 acres. The greenery enclosure lies in the middle of Damthang and Temi Bazaar along the road to Singtam.The tea delivered here is appreciated worldwide, commanding high prices in world auctions. The government possessed Tea estate today creates around 1 lakh kg of tea every year. Temi tea is planted along steep slopes running from 1200-1800m. The production line is arranged at 1500m and the street upto it, is lined with cherry bloom trees. Driving in November when these trees are in blossom is similar to traveling through a pink fog past, which one can see the sparkling snows of Khangchendzonga.The drive upto Temi takes you through mountain sides rich with greeneries. As of late the Institute of Marketology (IMO) of Switzerland has certified this tea garden as organic and thus the quality and interest of this guaranteed item has increased rapidly.
Khecheoplari Tsho is a huge lake found 27 kms from Pelling and is a very common visitor touring point. The lake is thought to be one of the sacred pools of Sikkim. The lake stays covered up in the rich forest spread. It is said that birds don't allow even a solitary leaf to glide on the Khecheoplari lake surface. There is a motorable street from Pelling straight up to the lake area. The spot is well known among trekkers. There is also a mobile trail from Pelling to Khecheoplari (5 hours). It is also possible to trek to Yuksom from Khecheoplari which takes 4 hours. For those keen on spending a night or two in this spot, there are a couple of basic inns in the town close-by. There is also a traveler's hut intended to give housing to the general population who go on pilgrimage trips to visit Khecheoplari. The tour begins at Pelling and proceeds through Darap Village and Rimbi falls before coming to Khecheoplari.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Sightseeing tour of Kathmandu city with its stone paved lanes visiting old market like Ason & Indra Chowk gives true history of one of the oldest states of ancient Nepal. The main highlights of Old Kathmandu city are Kathmandu Durbar Square with Museum, Kumari Ghar, Hanuman Dhoka and many other temples dotted inside Durbar Square area.
Annapurna Base Camp
Anyway, the clear and beautiful morning welcomed us the next day. Himchuli, Machhapuchchhre, Gangapurna and Annapurna were making golden and stunning 360 degree view. I clicked the photos as much as I can. Bikash's uneasiness was still intact so we decided not to take any chance. Following the ' All or None' policy coined by Praches ;), we quit our plan to go to ABC unhappily. Everybody were feeling the pain of not reaching the final destination. Sunil and I went around 100 meters towards ABC and it hurt more; the sound that came while stepping on the fresh snow was so nice that you forget your favorite song. ' I will hit the trail again very soon ' I silently said to myself as I turned opposite.
The hotel was cheap, decent (ish) and served by a restaurant downstairs. We got a ride to Taktsang the next day. At the base of the hill were the obligatory souvenir stalls selling prayer beads, flags and other knick knacks. Piles of pony dung peppered the rocky ground and the pungent smell of the animals and their faeces hung in the air. A 40-something European gentleman and his wife were selecting rides. We were young and full of vigour; surely we weren’t going to take the ponies to the half-way mark. Five minutes into the walk and I thought, ‘hell, this is easy’. Then came the uphill climb. While it was nippy getting there, I ought to have been smart enough not to wear my sweater. After all, exercise does make you work up a sweat. I bore it out. The path was probably hewn into the rock over the ages. Taktsang or ‘Tiger’s Nest’ Monastery was built in the 1694, but held sacred for centuries earlier. Legend has it that the revered Guru Rinpoche flew to this location on the back of a tigress to meditate sometime in the 8th century. Seated precariously, on the edge of the cliff-face, the monastery with its four main buildings, chortens and caves, was rebuilt after a fire in 1958. Taktsang through the trees We plodded on. Up ahead, the European gentleman was not on his pony anymore, but instead behind it, urging it forward. On and off he would climb onto its back, helped by the guide, but the pony seemed to want the day off. Between the trees on certain turns of the path, glimpses of Taktsang peek at you. It’s a good way to motivate you on, particularly if you start having second thoughts about the walk. Soon, we were at the little restaurant where you can tank up with water and a bite. The next point at which you can get the strange tasting butter tea the Bhutanese love is at a little kiosk run by a toothy, smiling old lady along the steps to Taktsang (It’s free and served out of a mug). The road gets nastier here. I realised how much more fit I needed to be (or turn miraculously into Heidi of the hills) as elderly Germans passed us with their hiking sticks, a senior Japanese lady bent forward to tie her shoelaces and continued on, and Bhutanese pilgrims raced by with barely a heavy breath. We strung up our prayer flags, took a few mandatory pictures and began climbing down the stairs. Already I was dreading the walk back. Stairs have never been my best friend. But the view from Taktsang is worth every uphill climb, every second thought, every penny spent getting to Bhutan. Chilly wind from the valley whips at your face, threatening to tear off your nose. The wood panelled rooms are comparatively warmer, and because you were on too tight a budget to afford a guide, you sidle up to the ones speaking English and catch snippets of their stories. As usual, I got lost, roaming room to room for at least half an hour before I was heated up enough to grunt ‘where the hell were you?’ when I finally found my travel buddy at the ‘Personal Belongings’ desk. We chatted with the sentries, who like most Bhutanese were dressed in traditional ‘gho’s. We trudged back up the stairs, stopping to take pictures by the waterfall as a web of colourful prayer flags fluttered maddeningly in the wind. I couldn’t help but wonder how they tied them across cliff faces like that. The Dzhong we saw the previous day had nothing on Taktsang. Sure it was beautiful in its own right, majestic and royal with its pretty wooden bridge across the pebbled river and gilded tops. Truth be told, visiting Bhutan had always been a wish, but it was Taktsang that actually yanked me there.
Taktsang Palphug Monastery
Taktshang Monastery a.ka. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, is undoubtedly Bhutan’s most famous monastery. Aberrantly hanged on the edge of a 1000m cliff in the Paro Valley, it makes an impressive sight. The temple was built in 1692, around the cave where Guru Rinpoche said to have meditated for three years in the 8th century.
In close vicinity of Gangtok, stands the Enchey Monastery (3 km far from the town focus) on top of a hill. The site on which the monastery stands is accepted to be honored by the renowned tantric master Druptob Karpo. It is said that this loved master, who had flying ability, traveled to this site from Maenam Hill in south Sikkim and manufactured a little hermitage. Later, amid the rule of Sikyong Tulku in the mid nineteenth century, the monastery was built and given the shape of a Chinese Pagoda. The Monastery building is a little and basic two storied structure encircled by tall pine trees. The special highlights of monastery are the wall paintings portraying the protective god and wheel of law on the porch. The three Gods worshipped in this monastery are Buddha, Loki Sharia and Guru Padmasambhava. The yearly celebration of Enchey is praised on the eighteenth to nineteenth day of the twelfth month of the Tibetan timetable which is January.
Lukla - Everest Base Camp Trekking Route
Day 1 of your trek starts with an early journey into the small Himalayan town of Lukla, the gateway to the EBC. This is a heart-stopping, thrill-seeking adventure in its own right. Dubbed ‘the world’s most dangerous airport’ due to its runway off the edge of a steep cliff, this short, yet highly memorable 30-minute flight to Lukla Airport is guaranteed to distract your nerves away from the trek at hand. If you’re able to, sit on the left side of the plane to catch your first glimpse of the Himalayan mountains. This stunning scenery is sure to answer the question that’s bound to be racing through your mind, ‘why am I doing this again?!?!’Once you’ve recovered from that experience the trek begins with a 3 hour easy going trek to Phadking reaching 2800m altitude.
I find local folklore the most interesting in any place. So, here is a local legend. Baba Harbajan Singh is a hero not only for the locals here, but also the army. He was a soldier who dies during the Indo-China war. There are various stories leading his sainthood and subsequent worship by the people and the building of this temple. One states that he appeared in a fellow soldier's dream and instructed him to build a shrine. Other states on how his spirit would give the soldiers warning prior to the attack during the war. In general, he is believed to be protecting the soldiers stationed there and is revered as a saint.
Along this journey, we are greeted by the magnificent forests of rhododendron, magnolia and giant firs. After trekking through a high crossing path we will have an enchanting view of Everest and then a 2-hours walk will take us towards the Tangboche Monastery. The beautiful monastery is in the height of 3867m and is surrounded by dwarf firs and rhododendrons.Best seasons: September, October, November, March, April, MayDay 01: Arrival in Kathmandu and trip preparation - 1,300m/4,264 ftDay 02: Kathmandu - Lukla - Phakding (2,652m/8,700ft): 3 - 4 hrsDay 03: Phakding - Namche Bazaar (3440 m/11,280 ft): 5 - 6 hrsDay 04: Acclimatization Day - Namche Bazaar: 3,440m/11,284ftDay 05: Namche Bazzar to Tengboche (3,870m/12,694ft): 5 - 6 hrs walkDay 06: Tengboche to Dingboche (4,360 m/14,300 ft): 5 - 6 hrsDay 07: Dingboche - Duglha (4,600 m/15,090 ft): 3 - 4 hrsDay 08: Duglha - Lobuche (4940 m/16,207 ft): 2 - 4 hrs trekDay 09: Lobuche - Gorak Shep [5170 m/16,961ft]-Everest Base Camp [5364 m/17,594 ft]-Gorak Shep: 8 - 9 hrsDay 10: Gorak Shep - Kala Patthar - Pheriche [4280 m/14,070 ft]: 8 - 9 hrsDay 11: Pheriche-Pangboche-Tengboche-Namche Bazzar (3,440 m/11,280 ft): 5 - 6 hrsDay 12: Namche Bazaar-Lukla (2,800m/9,186ft): 6 - 8 hrsDay 13: Lukla - KathmanduDay 14: Farewell Friend
Everest Base CampEarly 2014 I had decided to do Leh Ladakh in the later half of 2014, however one day I get this mail about Everest Base Camp (EBC) and 2 months later I was on my way to Nepal.The flight from Delhi to Kathmandu was delayed by 2hrs (I know not the best start to a trip where your nerves are already jittery to start with)On Delhi Airport I met the other trekker of the group a 14yr old girl (believe it)!We reached Kathmandu on the noon of 5th Oct’14 directly went to the tourism office got the trekking permit for EBC, rest of the day we spent in Kathmandu market shopping for trekking gears.Next day we left for Lukla in a 14 seater non pressurized aircraft and what a flight it was. The Cockpit was just an arm’s reach and you can have a conversation with the pilots if you are feeling adventurous and want to take a chance of distracting them while they maneuver that toy of a plane through the huge mountains.In the plane I got a glimpse of the scenery and the beauty I was going to be a part of, snowcapped mountains, lush green valleys dotted with small colorful house with milk like river flowing through.In 33 minutes we reached Lukla airport, surrounded on all sides by mountains, clear blue sky with tufts of while clouds, an airport not bigger than a football field, actually smaller and an airstrip not more than 100mts which abruptly ends into a steep valley (scary)We meet our guide Narayan Lama and so began our trek.Lukla is at a height of 2800mts we reach lukla around 8:30AM, transfer our stuff into one knapsack, have breakfast and by 10AM we are ready to move.We decide to call it a day when we reach Phakding which is at a height of 2600mts so the first day trek is mostly downhill. Clear weather, blue sky, mountains on all sides and we pass through a small stretch of forest, and while I was enjoying the till now comfortable trek I come across my first wire bridge hung over a deep gorge AND!!! I was scared, the bridge went sideways with the wind and up and down when you walk on it, essentially moving in all directions possible. It took me atleast 15-20 baby steps, holding the bridge railing to overcome my fear and then I was behaving like I have been walking this bridge since childhood :-DThese wire bridges are the only way of connecting one side of the mountain to another, they are life line of this place. The transportation of goods would have been a nightmare without them.We came across Buddhist houses and monasteries. Our guide told us that all the houses we see which have multi-color flags (Red, Yellow, Green, White, Blue) outside of them are Buddhist households. The flags looked beautiful fluttering in the cool breeze under the sunny blue sky.There were lot of stones and boulders carved with Buddhist Mantra (Hum Mani Padme Hum) in Tibetan.These stones/stupas/sculptures are usually put in the middle of the path and people passing by have to make sure that the structure is always on their right hand side.After a walk of 2+hrs we reach our lunch place on the outside of Phakding and I had taste of Nepali Dal Bhat with Garlic soup and a hint of Timbur added in it (local herb: said to prevent Altitude Sickness), and the meal was tasty.We decided not to call it a day in Phakding but to continue walking don’t know if it was initial excitement of the first day or what but we continued to trek and again downhill for next 2-3 hrs towards a village known as Monju.We passed through some amazing waterfalls and my first thought was these are the falls to try waterfall rappelling J (being too adventurous, I know), the waters were as clear as glass.We trekked along Doodh Koshi, as the name suggests (Doodh=Milk) the water from distance looked like Milk, this river is formed by two different rivers coming together, Bhot Koshi from Tibet and Everest Glaciers waters from Nepal. I was in awe of the force and sound of the water hitting against the rocks.We reached Monju around 5PM, it was getting dark and cold. The place where we stayed for the night got extremely cold and I was shivering even with my jacket, gloves and monkey cap on.The night was so silent and quite not even a sound of a cricket, I could hear my heartbeat and after sometime the heartbeat became so loud that my ear drums were throbbing due to that, I clearly understood that night the meaning of the phrase ‘deafening silence’, initially the silence was irritating even scary but once I got used to it, I felt one with the world, with the nature around, as cold as the night and as warm as the blanket. You feel small, alone, insignificant but still a significant part of something unimaginably big.Anyways JNext morning was just an amazing sight for the eyes, we got up at 6:00AM and by 6:15AM started seeing the first rays of the Sun hitting the mountains, the streaks of Sun illuminating the blue sky from behind the snow clad peaks.If you are a few minutes late you have to wait for yet another 24hrs for this marvel.We had our breakfast by 7:30 and were ready to start our day which was supposed to be a hard trek, so made sure that we had a filling breakfast. Today our objective was to reach Namche Bazar which is at the height of 3400mts so in all we were supposed to do a trek for 6-8hrs to cover a distance of 800mts (child’s play, right). The trek took us from plains which were strewn with rocks and stones with a strong surge of Doodh Koshi flowing in the opposite direction of our trek. The plains (kind of) ends with steps leading to a wire bridge which is around a few hundred feet up in the air, but I’m a pro now J, the upward incline kept on going for 3-4hrs and trust me after you have crossed 3000mts altitude a 30mins climb feels like a 8-10kms run. Our guide was very clear on the speed aspect, he kept on saying “jo insaan dheere jaata hai voh kahin par bhi pahuch saakta par jo tezi se jaata hai voh bahut jaldi girta hai aur sirf neeche hi jaata hai”. Go slow but steady and moment you need to rest, go ahead and take a breather for a minute of two.The climb/trek to Namache Bazar was quite tiring, but the scenery never lets you feel tired, every minute of the trek was something never seen or experienced before. You could see altitude catching up with trekkers, breathlessness, difficulty in walking, but that’s kind of normal after 3000mts. Make sure you have enough supply of energy bars you will need it now.We reached Namche around lunch time we are supposed to stay here for 2 days for acclimatization at 3400mts.The trek to Namche was hard and tiring but Namche is beautiful, colorful, lively. There are lot of shops selling things right from trekking clothes to local artists handiwork, Cybercafe, pharmacy shops, bakery. When is Namche make sure to visit Namche Gumba (Monastery), they charge Rs.100 but the small museum and the information contained there about the people, culture and the history is quite interesting and helps you understand a lot of things which you have seen or will see during the trek. (Do not try to click the Monks, they don’t like it)When staying in Namche for acclimatization, on the 2nd day we went for a little hike of around 500mts to Syangboche airport although besides choppers nothing else lands there anymore but the birds eye view of Namache there is worth the hard work, if you think Namche is colorful when you are in it, you will be convinced that its even more colorful when you see it from up top.However before going to Syangboche, we also visited the Conservation Memorial Park and guess what I got the first ever view of the Majestic Mountain and trust me I couldn’t stop looking at it and then couldn’t stop clicking. I had my 55-300mm lens and I was almost caressing each and every jagged edge of Everest with my eyes. I don’t recall how many pics I clicked. It is a beauty, an enigma. I was almost ready to run and climb up the peak, just that I was still 5 days away from the base and about 5000mts below the peak. Besides the magnificent Everest there were equally beautiful and astounding peaks Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, Peak 38, Ama Dablam, Nuptse.All the peaks were amazing but every time your eyes will land on the peak of Mt. Everest. I’m not sure whether it was spectacular or was it just so in my head.Moving ahead we went to a small museum/information center which had info about the culture, flora and Fauna of the region.From Syangboche airport we went a bit downhill to Khumjung Village also known as Green Valley because all the houses are colored green. One thing about this village ‘Do not click photos of the people here as it might not be good for you or for your camera. People here don’t like to be clicked and show their displeasure by throwing stones or asking you to hand over the SD card.When in this village make sure to visit the Khumjung Gumba which has Yeti’s scalp on display (ticket of Rs.100). Have a look at the Khumjung School or Edmund Hillary High school, this school is run by the donation given by Edmund Hillary’s family, in this school the teachers and the students both get salary and every year 1-2 bright students are sent abroad for better education.We went back to Namche to call it a day almost 300-400mts downhill trust me if you feel uphill is hard then trust me downhill is painful.Next day as other days, we started early towards Tengboche (3900mts), on our way to Tengboche we met this old man Pasang Lama Sherpa (Khumbu Sarkar), this gentleman has been collecting donations from the trekkers for past 30yrs and has been making the trekking routes walkable.The scenery today was breathtaking, white river beds, with cream water, streams criss-crossing the vast river bed. We reach Tengboche around 3:30PM after a trek of 5-6 hrs.One thing about the mountains is that by 2PM the clouds start descending and start to cover the mountains and then by 4PM its almost as dark as late night. In Tengboche you have to visit the monastery, it’s the biggest of the region, not very different from the others but big, beautiful, colorful and again don’t try to click the Monks, you can take photos of everything else though.Tengboche doesn’t have anything else to offer., charge up your cell phones, camera although the cost is like Rs.300/hr but still do it as you go up the charges just keep on increasing.Next morning as soon as you get up make sure its early, go and get yet another view of Everest, get a good look because now you will see Everest after 3 days of trek only and nowhere in between.Today we start our trek to Dingboche, the trek first goes downhill through a small village and forest, keep your eyes and ears open for some nice local brids (is you are interested).The trek today is going to take you through some jungle and even further downhill towards the river side and if you leave Tengboche by 8AM you should be in time for lunch in a small village by river side Phuttefunga. Rest your legs and have a good meal because for the next 3-4 hrs it’s just an upward climb, but don’t forget the scenery, waterfalls, riverbed, the valley and the snow capped mountains in the distance and as all other days its gonna be spectacular and will keep your engaged so that you don’t really feel the climb.Make sure to enjoy the shade offered by the trees while you are climbing because in the next few hours the landscape is about to change.After a 3 hrs climb and a 45mins of walking before you reach Dingboche(4400mts) and as I mentioned the landscape has changed, small shrubs, thorny but colourful, mountains mostly barren but someplace heavily dotted by small green shrubs. Dingboche is the place where we are supposed to stay for 2 days for acclimatization, sleep early around 7PM.Next day is a hiking day, there are two hiking spots. One on the left side takes you up to the top of a peak (5000mts) to a small Shiv temple, on the right hand side is a trek which takes you to 4900mts to Ama Dablam base camp.We chose to go to Ama Dablam Base Camp, the climb takes around 1hr 45mins and you can see and smell the green shrubs dotting the mountain it is known as sonpatta and its smell is very nice, however due to the number of shrubs being very many the smell becomes too much for some trekkers, some even faint or vomit due to the strong smell, so before starting the hike make sure you smell the shrub and if you feel irritated with the smell inform your guide so he can take you from a different route.After a 2hrs steep climb when you reach the top you will not believe your eyes, you will see a lake which is formed from the glacier water, picture perfect blue, clear water surrounded by Ama Dablam glacier on one side and plain barren land on other. The lake is so beautiful that you might have to pinch yourself couple to times, you will get the temptation of taking of your clothes and taking a swim but the water is freezing cold (Duh!!) combined with cold breeze at that altitude.We spent 30mins there and then climbed down in next 40mins in time for lunch, rest of the day you actually have nothing to do. So play cards with the guides and the porters roam around a bit and then off to bed .Next day we trek to Loboche (4900mts), the trek is fairly easy and/or moderate, the only reason why some people find it a bit difficult is that the landscape changes yet again and the small thorny shrubs which were visible in Dingboche that are replaced with small rubbery or moss like growth (less vegetation/plants means less oxygen, make sure you are checking your oxygen level (anything above 65-70 at this altitude is good), the trek takes you to Thukla after walking for 3hrs.Have lunch there rest and then there is a climb of 30mins, which takes you to a memorial, this is constructed to pay respect to the trekkers and sherpas who have lost their lives during the Everest expeditions. Stop there for sometime read the memorials. The trail now is much more rocky and absolutely no vegetation, another one hour and you reach Loboche, we reached there by 2PM. Have a quick bite and go for a small hike of 50mts up a small hill, on the other side of the hill is the Everest Glacier, the start and the end of the glacier is nowhere in sight but the depth of the glacier must be around 40ft, it makes you wonder if the Everest Glacier is this huge what will Everest be like.Make sure you have your windcheaters on as the winds here can be very strong and chilly.We were back by 4:50-5PM, but don’t retire into your room yet, as the sunset is about to happen and its nothing like you have ever seen, the mountains turn golden, the sky changes color from yellow to red to orange to magenta, with clear blue sky in the background. It’s natures light show put up just for you at the height of 16,000 ft. we took as many photos as we could, I was actually running around the whole of loboche (not that it’s a big place, just 3-4 hotels J)Next day we left for Gorakhshep, however last night at 2AM we get a weather update that weather in Gorakhshep and EBC is not going to be good (the reason we realized later was the HudHud hurricane in East of India). We anyhow started out trek quite early 6:30AM we were out. It was quite cloudy and chilly, our guide told us a very disappointing news that if it continues like this we will not be able to have a glimpse of Everest.On this very disappointing note L we started our trek as I had said about the landscape, this time it was just stones, rocks, boulders and just more of the same for as far as you can see. The trek again is not difficult just keep a tab on oxygen levels, and remember the golden rule “GO SLOW”. On the way to Gorakhshep you will be trekking along the Everest glacier and you get to see the enormity of this thing.After a trek of almost 3-4hrs we reach the destination, eat something quick and keep your bags and head out for EBC (make sure to carry some energy bars). Since the weather forecast was not favorable so our guide told us to be prepared for temperatures around -12 to -15 along with chilly winds in the base camp.When we started for base camp the weather gods were not so pleased with us, the clouds were still blocking our view, snow flurries started landing on us (no biggie) but within 30mins or so the flurries transformed into heavy snowfall and of course strong chilly winds. Whatever little hope we had of getting a glimpse of Everest disappeared, vanished then and there. We kept going towards the base camp and the landscape changed from rocky grey to ice white. The trek isn’t tough but the temperature which had fallen to -25 with the chilly winds and fresh snow on those rocks made it dangerous and pain stackingly slow. Due to the fresh snow it was becoming slippery and dangerous.Ok what is base camp, its icy cold water with a thick layer of frozen ice topped with huge boulders and rocks and you walk on top of these, in some places you have icy water on either side and one wrong step and off you go to you icy grave and no way to rescue you and to add to it the trekkers use the same trail for coming and going, so you have trekkers coming from the other side.After trekking for 2hrs now we are just 5mins away from the base camp and the top right hand side of my skull is numb!!!Finally we reach base camp VOOO HOOOOO!!! And what do you see there, is a small banner which reads Everest Base Camp 5364mts, tied to rocks…that’s it!! Beyond base camp is solid jagged ice and beyond that is the majestic Everest which as luck would have it we were unable to see (that time I thought that this is the sign that Everest wants me to come back again)To celebrate our success we had snickers at the base camp as we had decided, there were others celebrating it by opening beer cans. We stayed there for 20mins and then started back. Because of the snow the trail was lost, the rocks were slippery and by now the right side of the head was completely numb and I was literally running, my only motivation was to reach a warm place before my head freezes. But it was a good 2hrs of walk to reach our lodge, so besides my right side of skull, my chin, lips and nose were also numb J. But what an experience it was. I realized the limits of human endurance, the thrill of achieving something under the harshest of conditions.Rest of the day was spent in proclaiming our conquest of EBC to our friends and family. It was beyond freezing outside so we just stayed put near the heater talking with other trekkers and guide about the plan for the next day, as per our schedule next day we were supposed to go to Kala Pathar (5500mts) because you get the best possible view of Everest from there, however due to bad weather and snowfall Kala Patthar becomes very slippery and dangerous to tread. All of us decided that its fool hardy to go there and from next day onwards we started our downward trek towards Lukla and what a descent it was, as expected it was snowing heavily even more than yesterday, based on our guides estimates it would be snowing till Thukla, so we were prepared for a very slow, tedious, slippery descent and so it was, but the rocky barren landscape as it was during the ascent was a sheet of white, with no trails in sight and it was fun making your own way in the snow. We slipped a few times, came close to banging our heads against the rocks.In a day we crossed Gorakhshep, Louboche, Thukla, Fherruche and reached Pangboche. To cover this much uphill we had taken 4days.So, our estimate of snow ending at Thukla was wrong, it was all the way till Pangboche. We had covered 1100mts in a day and we were freezing, stiff, wet, tired, shivering but excitedJ. Next day our target was to reach Namche Bazar and we did reach it, but trust me Namche is hard to reach when going uphill and hard to reach when going downhill. The moment I reached Namche I was like I need a shower and a shave, it had been 11days since I had taken a shower and what a feeling it was to have a warm water bath though it costs you to take a warm water bath but trust me its worth it.And here is where we heard the tragic news of trekkers dying in Annapurna Base Camp due to ice breaking atleast 40-45 trekkers were killed and a lot of them were still missing. RIP!From Namche, next day we reached Lukla another 6-7hrs of descent, reaching lukla was a mixed feeling, I was not sure if I should be happy to have accomplished what I had set forth for or should I be sad that such an amazing experience had come to an end and that I have to return to the usual mundane life.But I was sure of one thing, I’ll be back!
Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple
Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir otherwise called Baba Mandir, located in the middle of Nathula and Jelepla at an elevation of 13,123 ft and around 52kms from Gangtok, it is a recognized touring spot of Sikkim. This mandir is devoted to Harbhajan Singh, who was a trooper of the Indian Army. Two sanctuaries have been manufactured to show adoration to Baba Harbhajan Singh. The old one has been assembled at the dugout's site, where Baba Harbhajan was posted amid his residency in the Indian Army. For the travelers' convenience, the samadhi of Baba Harbhajan Singh has been reconstructed at the intersection of Kupup Gnathang street and the trail leading to Menmecho Lake, on November 11, 1982. This place of worship is famously perceived by touristers all over the country as New Baba Mandir. A round excursion from Gangtok including Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir takes about Rs 3,500 by a large reserved vehicle like Sumo or Qualis.
Day 3, NagarkotAfter almost Half day spending time at Bhaktapur, we continuing our Journey to the view in seeing the Sunrise with Himalaya View... Nagarkot.Reach in the Afternoon, finding the Hotel around, by asking the Local people which area is the best to see the Sunrise in the morning, Finally we found the Best one Hotel with that View.
This historical Buddhist monastery dates back to 1499. This monastery was built in the honor of Lama Drukpa Kunley after he subdued the demoness of the nearby Dochu La with his 'magic thunderbolt of wisdom'. If you're love myths and legends, this monastery is ideal for you.