Gnathang Valley,East Sikkim-The Gnathang Valley located an altitude of about 13,500 feet above sea level is a valley in the middle of the ancient silk route.The Gnathang valley has an awesome landscape view and the scenery is magnificent.There are some nice newly-built, well equipped modern homestays at Gnathang Valley, which offer basic but comfortable accommodation with the very essentials like hot meals,hot water,beds,british time room heaters,western bathrooms, 24-hr electricity and blankets.There are sunrise view points such as Eagle's nest Bunker & Lungthu just below Gnathang.You would find a small Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery in the valley and rest is all endless stretches of grassland surrounded by high mountains but beautiful in everyway.Gnathang falls in the middle of the Silk Route circuit and is the most scenic place to stay which makes it a valley which must be in every tourist's bucket list who visits Sikkim.
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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.
Tsongmo 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.
Changu Lake also noted as the " source of the lake' in Bhutia dialect. Situated around 35 kms far from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, this quiet lake is situated at an elevation of 12,310 ft on the Gangtok Nathu La expressway. The lake has enchanting Alpine forests, which is home to some uncommon creatures like the Red Panda, Brahminy ducks and many more variety of birds. Between the month of May and August one can see a large variety of flowers sprouting like the Rhododendrous, different types of Primulas, Blue and Yellow Poppies, Iries etc. The lake is about 1 km. Long, oval shaped, 15 meters deep and is viewed as a holy place by the nearby local people. It's cool, serene water easily converges with the beautiful excellence around. The Changu Lake is adjacent to Gangtok, one can easily reach it after landing in Gangtok. Accomodation is very easily available in Gangtok.
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.
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.
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. "
Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir
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.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
A lot of Tibetans have made Sikkim their home. I think I encountered more Tibetan refugees than locals here. And, therefore you can find traces of the Tibetan culture here. If say all of it is accumulated in one place, it is here the Institute of Tibetology. The main attraction is of course the museum, that explains the history and the practice of Tibetan Buddhism perfectly to someone who knows nothing about it.
Yumthang Valley - Tamu Tour and Treks
Yumthang valley is another beauty in itself. Mist cladded mountains and valleys, wild horses strolling briskly all around. It gives you a feeling of mini Switzerland(not a comparison but just a reference). It is place where you can spend a good amount of time and then head for other adjoining places like Zero Point, Katau and an hot water spring. This valley is also known as valley of flowers but we did not find much of an evidence to verify that. Nevertheless, the trip to Yumthang valley is a uber pleasant experience that you would love to capture in your camera.
Hanuman Tok is located more or less 5 km rising from the White Hall on a bifurcating street of the GangtokNathula highway. It is 11 km far from Gangtok town. The height of this tall structure is about 7,200 ft. The Hanuman Tok in Sikkim itself gives brilliant photographic perspectives of the Khangcendzonga. The snow-topped mountain tops look heavenly from this sanctuary. From the Hanuman Tok, one can likewise see the waterworks of Selep located far away, the most important and only source of water for the whole city of Gangtok. The Hanuman Tok rests at a height of a few hundreds feet over for the whole city. The adventure to Hanuman Tok is an exciting one, which offers excellent perspectives of the capital city of Gangtok and the surrounding uneven hilly regions. There are several chortens and stupas at this spot, which imply the accurate areas where the last customs of the royal corpses were carried to.
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.
Nobody tells you much about this place, except that it is a Buddhist Stupa. And, there is an eerie message outside that says that the land it was built on was once haunted by evil spirits that would kill the people who came here. The stupa had to be built to free the land from these spirits. For something that claims to do such a dangerous task, the stupa looks quite a bright and pleasing place. It's open to the public only on specific days and is a great place to stop by.
Mahatma Gandhi Marg
The city is live! MG Marg is the main market and a beautiful place to go to. You can take a carpool for Rs. 20/- per head (yes, they have it, running the city even before the low-landers started making money out of it). The sophisticated Vishal gaon has a cheaper, more rugged local brother - the Chotey Gaon. The people are extremely friendly, you can hit a cheerful conversation very easily and get going on and on about yourself, parallely taking suggestions and P.S. notes from them.
Elegantly situated at MG Marg, the heart of Gangtok, this restro is an incredible spot to appreciate, loosen up and mollify your craving throbs with lip smacking recipes and reviving drinks. The menu has crisply prepared baked goods, smooth cakes, filling sandwiches and sweet-smelling espresso on its menu. Run by local people and expats, Bakers Cafe is absolutely a spot to investigate in the town.This spot is a sample of reasonable valuing with amazing nourishment quality. The staff is exceptionally respectful and are continually ready to present with a smile, also the soothing music played here will make you feel refreshed. Cozy warm air, awesome spot for a recess from all the strolling and visiting around. Cakes served here are heavenly and the coffee is outstanding. If you cherish breads or have a sweeth tooth, you will love this spot. One must pay a visit to this cafe and must try the coffee they serve.
Located on MG Road, Baker’s café is one of the many cafes to duck into for a warm coffee and deliciously baked stuff. The ambiance is warm and cosy, and there’s no other place as inviting for coffee when a sudden drizzle catches you by surprise on MG Road. Or you are simply tired after shopping for numerous trinkets on the most fashionable stretch in Gangtok.
Hotel Norbu Gang
We left for Gangtok after returning from Zero Point and having a sumptuous lunch at the Hotel at Lachung. It was almost 10 pm in the night when we reached our hotel at Gangtok. The next day i.e, 24th May, we had an elaborate American breakfast and set off local sightseeing in Gangtok. The first destination in the town was the Govt. of Sikkim's Handicraft & Handloom Museum, followed by the Flower Show at Congeal Palden Thondup Namgyal Memorial Park, the Ganeshtok -a view point just outskirts of Gangtok from where one can have a bird's eye view of the entire town and especially in case of couples, it is worthy of trying out photoshoot in traditional Sikkimese costume. We had our lunch at Ganeshtok and left for the next destination nearby Gangtok..
M a i n Taxi Stand Road
Chapter 3:- "All ends that ends well" Now the time had come to adieu Gangtok and the trip too. The time had come where everything will be back to square one, the time had come where I had to just take back these memories with me. The time had come to leave. I took a shared taxi to Siliguri, from where I had to board a bus to Kolkata. The route was almost the same but the feeling wasn't. I am now more calm and silent rather than excited. The car which took me to these heavenly places now is taking me back to that place from where everything started.
Dubdi Monastery, occasionally called Yuksom Monastery is a Buddhist monastery of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism near Yuksom, in the Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district, in northeastern India. The Chogyar Namgyal established the first monastery known as the Dubdi Monastery in 1701, at Yuksom in Sikkim, which is part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit. Established in 1701, it is professed to be the oldest monastery in Sikkim and is located on the top of a hill which is about an hour's walk (3 kilometres) from Yuksom. It was also known as the Hermit's Cell after its ascetic founder Lhatsun Namkha Jigme, who along with two other lamas from Tibet met at Norbugang near Yuksom and crowned Phuntsog Namgyal as the first King or Chogyal of Sikkim at Norbugang Yuksom in 1642. The literal meaning of 'Dubdi' in local language is "the retreat".
Hotel Yangthang Heritage
The Eastern beauty of India lies in Sikkim. From the strict airport checking at the military base airport in Bagdogra to the cleanliness of Gangtok. Sikkim enchantes a person the way chocolates do to children! It is HEAVEN on Earth and also known as the Switzerland of India. The temperatures may be as cool as the people of Sikkim(metaphoric and literally)! But at the end we all learn something new everyday and your visit to Sikkim will strengthen your bond with mother nature. So Pack Your Bags... (PS- you will also get ample amount of time for contemplation.)
Must Do in Aritar: Watch the sun rise over the Kangchendzonga.Do a trek short or long in and around.Try some momo and traditional local dishes. Aritar Lake Travel Tip: If you love hiking ,then a trek to Phushery Lake,Pangolakha and Rachela, the historic tri junction border of Sikkim, West Bengal and Bhutan,is quite thrilling experience.You may have chance to see red panda,peasant,rare species of butterflies,wild orchids and other exotic flora and fauna. How To Reach Aritar: Bagdogra is the nearest airport and New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railway station. From Siliguri it is almost 5-6 hours drive by hired cab or can be reached by four hours drive from Gangtok via Rangpo. Where to Stay In Aritar: If you need star category hotel,then this place is not for you.Couple of budget hotel is there .But I have seen some good home stay \farm house near the view point. Season to Visit: Avoid rainy season June to August,as these area is prone to landslide.Autumn and winter is best for Kangchendzonga View.
The royal oaks hotel
I started my journey from Delhi and reached Bagdogra Airport via Kolkata, by air. One can travel on rails, via New Jalpaiguri. From Bagdogra, we have exciting options to reach Gangtok - one may choose to hit the roads the conventional way, or take in the cool gush of air by flying in a helicopter (Rs. 2500 - 3000/- per head). Royal Oaks Hotel, is an OYO Premium, in Pelling, Gangtok, and has ultra luxurious rooms. The delights lie in the elegant sculptures of Buddha, amazing paintings that are capable of pulling you in deep thoughts of your own. Perks: Awesome food; rooftop restaurant; is at just the right distance from the main market of the city; friendliest staff!
Well, this is not a cinema hall at present, but used to be back in the nineties. This building now houses a modest art gallery started by the youth of Gangtok. I must say they are doing a splendid job in showcasing the talent the budding artists of Sikkim have. Their's is an "Art with a Cause", these art pieces have been sold for large amounts of money which was later donated for Nepal Earthquake victims.
Paragliding at Reshithang. Accompanied by my pilot, they called him Pilot Prateek, I went up the hill. Excited and reluctant, when I saw the high, steep hill, I lost my mind. The trainer told me to get equipped, run down the hill, and Jump! How could I jump? On the verge of giving up any moment, I thought, "..but I have to cross this thing off of my to-do list, hence, make the jump!" ** The moment I made the jump, the winds held me in their arms, higher, and higher. What came next, is beyond words! I was awestruck. It was Qualia. I started talking to my pilot. He is 24! and is paragliding since the past 8 years, this - not being his profession. Fear is momentary. What comes next (pause) is Euphoria.
Lal Market Road
After relishing on the yummy pastries, I took a walk down the stairs that lead to Lal Market from M.G. Marg, on both sides of this flight of stairs are numerous little shops selling souvenirs and other everyday utility goods . There's a huge shopping complex called Kanchengha Shopping Complex at the end of the stairs. This building gives you a sneak peek into the everyday lives of the people living in Gangtok.The well organized complex houses numerous small stalls and shops selling everything from organically grown vegetables, to churpi or hardened cheese made from Yak's milk, bamboo shoots, to fiery small red peppers that could give the peri peri peppers a run for their flavour and a lot more. The ground floor essentially is the vegetable market, the second and third floors sell almost everything such as clothes, winter wear, bags, shoes, puja offerings and affordable kitchen appliances mostly Chinese. You will also find a store by the name of SIMFED (Sikkim State Cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Ltd.), these stores were put across Sikkim as a price control mechanism so as to safeguard the people of Sikkim from the inflation in consumables. SIMFED was established as an Apex Marketing society for the state of Sikkim with the main intention of undertaking wholesale supply of consumer goods to the Multi Purpose Cooperative Societies (MPCS) and Consumer Cooperative Societies (CCS) and to arrange for bulk marketing of the surplus Agricultural produce including the important cash crops of the state.
The frozen road through the lower Himalayan region from the queen of hills Darjeeling to capital city of Sikkim. Darjeeling and Gangtok are situated at 97 km of distance or 2 hours road driver through,beautiful tea garden,great valleys and majestic mountains of Himalaya. A journey through the Darjeeling -Gangtok -Pelling -Tashiding is the life time experience for the adventures traveler.
On the way, you can also halt for some time to get some snaps with Changey Falls. You will get many falls like this in Pelling. Changey falls from a height of about 300m and is a treat to watch when there is bright sunshine.Then we headed towards Uttarey village. The height of Uttarey is about 6600 ft. The main attraction here is the beautiful view of the valley with stunning backdrop and a park created in the memory of Tenzing-Hillery.
Himalayan Zoological Park
Set up in 1991, Himalayan Zoological Park is the first zoological park of its kind in the North-Eastern area of India. The Park fulfills the impression of cutting edge zoo, where the creatures are kept in imitated regular conditions. The Park has been set up, to safeguard the untamed life, without irritating the animals and keeping them in their normal habitat. Situated in Bulbuley, Himalayan Zoological Park is at a separation of 3 kms from Gangtok. At a height of 5,840ft (1,780 mtrs), the Zoological Park additionally tenders a mind blowing perspective of Mt. Khangchendzonga. This Park sprawls in a territory of 205 hectares in the bumpy terrain. The Government of Sikkim under the Department of Forest, Environment & Wildlife is controlling the power of Himalayan Zoological Park. The powers are additionally wanting to keep, the Himalayan species of creatures and flying creatures that are found in high terrains.
Known for once being a transit point on the famous silk route to Lhasa, Zuluk is a small village located on a hilltop in East Sikkim, and also serves as a military base for the Indian Army. Slowly emerging as an offbeat destination, Zuluk is ideally located on the Silk Route such that Padamchen, Lungthung, Nathang, and Kupup lake can be covered in day trips. Known for offering breathtaking views of the sunrise over Kanchenjunga, Thambi Point is a must visit. Being a restricted area, one needs to apply for a special permit to enter Zuluk. The permit can be obtained from Gangtok or Rangli. Zuluk can be reached by road from Gangtok, Bagdogra, Kalimpong, Pelling, and Darjeeling. One can make arrangements to stay at one of the many homestays in the village.
Last day in Gangtok and I started early for Nathula Pass on the Indo-China border. It was the single-best road trip I have ever made as we navigated through treacherous roads that, literally had us driving through the clouds. The driver was a pleasant guy who drove carefully and slowly, while regaling me with local folklore and stories of his own life. We arrived at Nathula at 14000 feet in about 3 hours. Temperatures were close to 0 degrees and oxygen was scarce which left me huffing and panting while regretting the fact that I never thought to bring actual warm clothes. Since this was the first time I had visited a border, the whole experience of standing just a foot away from China was surreal. On the other side one can see the towering snow-clad peaks of Tibet pockmarked by Chinese observation posts. But unlike the Indian side which was teeming with tourists there was hardly any movement on that side. Having collected my visitation certificate and paid my respects to the war memorial, we visited the Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, dedicated to an army man who was martyred in the border skirmish. Set beside a glacial lake which, in one of the best images of the trip, had clouds caressing the surface, the temple is maintained by the army who believe the spirit of the Baba keeps them safe and protects them. We also stopped at the Changu Lake on our way back which was a very scenic lake with yaks in beautifully colored garb. I was back in Gangtok by 4 pm, having started at 7 am and bid adieu to the place the next morning.
After a night of blissful sleep in the comfort of my own cozy bed, I headed out the next morning to take a walk down the memory lanes of Gangtok, the city that has been all these years. A lot seems changed but still feels familiar. There are some seriously talented budding graffiti artists here and they have done a splendid job in beautifying the city with their pieces of art. Towards the end of MG Marg many small eateries and restaurants have come up, and this specific Khan Chacha's catches my fancy and I see many people enjoying their meaty delights to the heart's content.The restaurant looks pretty attractive with Khan Chacha himself holding out a plate for you to try. However I walk past it, its the cakes that interest me the most in Gangtok.
Summit Norling Resort & Spa
Darjeeling is a town and a region in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is situated in the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalayas at a height of 6,700 ft. It is noted for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darjeeling is the central station of Darjeeling district which has a partially independent status inside of the state of West Bengal. Extensive tea ranches were set up in the district, and tea producers created hybrids of black tea and made new fermentation methods. The resultant unmistakable Darjeeling tea is globally perceived and positions among the most mainstream of the black teas. Darjeeling has a few British-style state funded schools which are another attraction in Darjeeling as students from all over the country come to enroll in these British style schools. Darjeeling has a calm atmosphere with wet summers brought on by monsoon downpours.
There are many quintessential bakeries here in Gangtok which serve the best of the cakes,pastries,cupcakes, macaroons,cookies etc. The Baker's Cafe,The Glenary's, Tripti's etc. My personal favourite though, is Tripti's. I love cakes that are a perfect combination of moist, cold and correct blend of flavours and Tripti's is exactly where I get them. Do indulge in their coffee pastry and cream doughnut, which is a subtle doughnut layered in milk cream,not too sweet or overloaded in cream but just the perfect taste a doughnut should have. It Simply melts in your mouth.