A journey to find snow-Changu,Sikkim|Part1|

Photo of A journey to find snow-Changu,Sikkim|Part1| by Aravindhan

It seems like a different world altogether now. The pandemic had turned the life's of people around the world upside down. All the years of struggling and planning to find a path, to find a life was gone. It's a new beginning.

My bags were packed and ready for the flight. This was an altogether new experience for me. I have never before travelled with a trolley in my life. It was always a backpack, a jacket and my motorbike and off I was gone.

But this time I was more like a tourist, my trolley at my side, packed and ready waiting for a cab to take me to the airport. I was flying to Gangtok. To find snow.

It took me 8 hours to reach Gangtok from Bangalore with an overnight layover in Calcutta.

Arriving in Pakyong Airport

It is the first green field airport in North East India built at an altitude of 4590 feet. I should agree that the landing was scary as the runway is too small. But we made it.

My friend had joined me on the same fight from Calcutta to Gangtok. We decided to spend the night in Gangtok. It was an hour's drive from the airport to the town. We were booked at a travel hostel where we spent the night sleepless making plans for the following day.

Changu lake

We decided on visiting Changu. That's where we were hoping to see snowfall.  My friend was so sure that it would be snowing there and I for a second thought "yahooo I am going to see snowfall tomorrow and I can tick it off my bucket list".

The following day we woke up at 6 AM and went to the nearby taxi stand to find a cab to Changu. We had to submit our government identity cards and photographs for the permit. It was not a complicated  process, there are so many tour operators who help organize day tours all over Gangtok. 

Only after reaching the taxi stand we found out that it was our only chance of visiting Changu this year. Due to the pandemic the Sikkim government was shutting its doors to the tourist. It was the last day before the Sikkim borders are closed to outsiders.

We were lucky to find two seats in a shared cab heading to Changu. We had to cope up with the bad mountain roads for the next two hours but the terrain was so beautiful that the bumps didn't matter much. Before we knew it the green capped mountains turned to white capped ones. It was the beauty of nature. The landscapes that are so mesmerizing . 

Once we enter Changu all mobile networks are cut off. The entire area is very close to the Chinese border hence such measures are taken by the Indian army to ensure security. All around Changu we can see the brave soldiers of the Indian Army patrolling and protecting our  borders we share with China  in such extreme weather conditions . 

The temperature here is recorded in the range of 0-25 degree Celsius. So it is important to layer ourselves with warm clothes and jackets. 

It was not snowing but this was my first time seeing snow. I have never seen snow before. There was snow everywhere. Everything was covered in white. The water in the tanks were frozen, the rooftops of houses were covered in snow, the mountains and the  trees were under a layer of white. It was like a therapy. So calm, so peaceful, soundless.

I have only heard about lakes freezing during winters but here I got to see an entire lake which was frozen for myself. There were villagers walking around with there domesticated yaks around the lake area trying to attract tourists.

We got to spend good few hours at Changu walking around a bit. Touching and feeling the warmth of snow. Having a mouth watering meal of rice and chicken at a locals house which was preordered. Getting food here is little difficult. Generally the cab drivers are the ones who coordinate with the tourist and arrange for the meals. If the food is not preordered its not likely one will get proper meals. 

The sun was coming down. It was time for us to head back to town. We had come here hoping to see snowfall but we were not that lucky yet. We got to see snow but not snowfall. But undoubtfully  we had an amazing experience. It was time to say goodbye and keep continuing our little adventure to find snow some other place. Just not yet. Not yet.

To be continued.

Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan
Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan
Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan
Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan
Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan
Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan
Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan
Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan
Photo of CHANGU LAKE by Aravindhan