Lush green valleys with river streams, a touch of Tibetan Plateau, the famous Zuluk loops or zig zag road, height gain of 4500 ft in just 35 hairpin bends, temperature upto -20℃(We got 'only'-10℃) and Kanchanjangha in the horizon; in all Silk Route is a total package.
The Old Silk Route or Silk Road which passes through East Sikkim is a part of the ancient network of trade routes which connected China to India. This route passed through Lhasa and Nathu La and Jelep La Pass and finally reached the port of Tamralipta (present Tamluk in West Bengal) from where it took to the sea and reached far east. This Ancient Silk Route is expected to have been discovered by traders as early as First Century AD.
We targeted to complete the total silk route in one day i.e. 16hrs long journey. We took the following route: Lava- Rongli- Padamchen- Zuluk- Nathang Valley- Kupup(Elephant lake)- Tsong mo(Chhangu) lake- Gangtok- Rangpo- Lava.
Started early in the morning to avoid clouds and the dynamite blast of BRO. At Rongli we took a small break as we must take our ILP. Breakfast break was at Kue falls. After enjoying Tibetan delicacy like Momo and Thukpa we resumed our journey. Our target was to cross the zig-zag road with in 9-30 am. Luckily that day there were no blasting by BRO but the cloud spoiled our journey to some extent. Last sun was seen at Ganek view point, half way on the zig-zag road but from there cloud covered the sun upto Gangtok. After Thambi view point cold started to increase. At Nathang Valley we saw some patch of snow. When we reached Harbhajan Baba Mandir(Old) to see his bunker strong wind started to blow. This was the highest point of our journey at anout 14,800 ft. All the Army personnel were telling that snowfall will start very soon and advised us to move on quickly. Atlast at Kupup(Elephant) lake the snowfall started but it was a little bit different. Locals call it 'Chirka'. Cold became intolerable... Even Old Monk failed to keep us warm. We quickly crossed Tukla Valley, famous for the 'Battle of Tukla', Memencho lake, New Baba Mandir and Hangu lake to reach Tsongmo i.e. Chhangu lake. After a little break at Chhangu we started again and suddenly visibility was zero thanks to the clouds. Kiranji, our driver, showed his talent with the steering wheel in this moment. Despite rain and zero visibility in a risky road like Nathu La to Gangtok, he brought us back to Lava at around 9 pm. The 16 hrs long journey came to an end.