A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains.

Tripoto
21st Jan 2018
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Day 1

Choosing to go to on a trip to mountains during winter is risky yet the most satisfying decision one would make. We boarded the express train Garib Rath from Kolkata station on 21st January at 10.45pm. We were a group of 6 friends who were going on a trip without their families for the first time. There was a feel of freedom yet responsibility as this time our parents wouldn't be there to manage everything. We were on our own there. We reached New Jalpaiguri Junction around 11am given to the late arrival of the train. We had our lunch and hired a car to Gangtok around 1pm. The four-hours journey not only brightened up our mood after the overnight journey but also stirred up the excitement of the trip further more. As we climbed the height, the view got more mesmerizing. Music and mountains are the soul food for a person. We reached Gangtok by 5pm. We stayed at India-Post Officer's Guest house which was just 700m away from the famous Mahatma Gandhi Marg over there. The Mahatma Gandhi Marg is the most happening place in Gangtok. The market place has so many vibrant things to offer to one. Adding to the spontaneity of the place is the food. The veg momos served with hot sauce is a dish one would relish on any day. As we reached there by the evening, we didn't go anywhere far and gave a stroll in Mahatma Gandhi Marg known as M. G. Marg. Later, we had our dinner at a small restaurant. We had noodles along with fried chicken. The behaviour of the staff as well as the food were ravishing.

M. G. Marg

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

The road to Gangtok

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Chatter of the river

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

The view keeps getting better

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Lights will guide you home

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Day 2

The next day we woke up to a picturesque view. I would give anything to have a view like that every morning. The sky was crystal with the clouds moving around like balls of cotton as if someone had been blowing them. The mountains complemented the sky as their peaks had their subtle touch on them. The plan for the day was to cover Namchi Tea Garden and Char Dham which were about 80kms and 90kms respectively from Gangtok. We started off around 10 o' clock. The sun was shining upon us giving us a feel of exploring a new place. We halted at a small restaurant where we had veg momos for breakfast. We literally started living on momos from then and why not? Having came from Kolkata, and being a food-lover, the momos were an energy booster. The place where we halted gave another majestic view with the clear river flowing down the mountains and birds in the trees. We resumed our journey in an hour. Though in January, the temperature was moderate. We were not heavily dressed yet the climate was soothing.
Namchi Tea Garden welcomed us with its unique essence and tranquility. Belonging from a crowded city, the place seemed to be bliss. There are not much locality over there given to the remote area it is located in. We captured the view in our cameras as well as in the canvas of our minds. We departed from the place in an hour keeping the view intact in our minds.
The next destination was Char Dham. On our way to the location, we halted by the side of a mountain to perceive a breathtaking scenery. Having done that, our car steadily moved towards the summit of a mountain on the top of which the Char Dham is located. As you slowly head towards it, you will see a status of Lord Shiva standing tall on the top of a mountain. It will surely give you a feel of the Kailash mountain. On reaching the place, we were asked to show our identity proof. Photography was prohibited inside the campus so we could capture few pictures from outside only. For the maintenance of the place, they charge fifty rupees but if you have a student identity proof, they will charge you only twenty five rupees. The campus is beautifully crafted with artworks. It had started to get cold by then and we could feel the cold wind inside out jackets. We took a tour of the place. Statues of many Hindu Gods are worshipped there. The place is quiet allowing one to indulge in their own thoughts. One could connect with one's inner self in that place. It took us about an hour to have a tour of the whole place. We departed from the place around 3pm. It was quite late in the evening when we reached our guest house. Exhausted, we went to M. G. Marg to have our dinner. Our bodies were tired but minds were running to explore more of Sikkim the next day. 

The cafeteria inside the campus of Char Dham

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

The place where the monks reside

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Namchi Tea Garden

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Entrance of Char Dham

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Namchi Tea Garden

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

The localities playing outside the Char Dham

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

On the way to Namchi Tea Garden

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

The place where we halted before entering Char Dham

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Outside Char Dham

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

The view from our room

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Lord Shiva

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Day 3

The next day our plan was to visit the Nathu La Pass which is located at 10,000ft above the sea level. We started off early that day around 9am. For visiting the Nathu La Pass, one has to get a permission from the Sikkim Government. This is usually done by the driver of your car. Our driver had xeroxed our respective identity proofs the other day. After having our breakfast, we headed for the Nathu La Pass which is the Indo-China border. It is located about 60kms from Gangtok. The roads in the mountaineous regions are of different beauty. They are free from noise and pollution along with giving one a perfect view. About one hour from the destination, your phone networks will stop working as you enter the Indian army zone. At some level, it is advantageous for oneself only. Given to the hike in social networking a view rather than perceiving it oneself, this allows one to grasp the scenery completely. Then the identity proofs get checked. Having done that, you enter the Old Silk Route. I tell you it does justice to its name. It is silk-like. You will be able to see the full route once you have climbed up 9000ft. Somehow getting over the road, we arrived at that spot. We had to climb about 20 stairs to the border from the car parking area. We had to cover ourselves with thick jackets as the weather was adverse. It was bone-chilling cold there with the temperature around -10℃. Even after being covered from head to toe, I felt like giving up and going back to the car. The water instantly becomes ice there. Holding on, we went to the border. Believe me, it was worth it. The armies of both the countries standing there in such weather condition and serving the country filled our eyes with tears of gratitude. At that point of time, seeing the Indian army, the cold started to fade. We could only feel gratitude. We were not only to take pictures there and if we were allowed, no picture would be able to express the feeling that we felt at the moment. The trip was already successful by then. We could not go to Baba Mandir as the weather got worse. Baba Mandir is a shrine built in honour of an Indian army Baba Harbhajan Singh. Many of his faithful - chiefly Indian army personnel posted in and around the Nathula Pass and the Sino-Indian border between the state of Sikkim and Chinese-occupied Tibet - have come to believe his spirit protects every soldier in the inhospitable high-altitude terrain of the Eastern Himalayas. As with most saints, the Baba is believed to grant favours to those who revere and worship him.He is said to be protecting the country even after death.
While returning, we also visited Lake Tsomgo but could not stay there long as it started to snow heavily. Lake Tsomgo is another level of beauty. A deep blue lake surrounded with snowy mountains is a feast to the eyes. With gratitude in our heart and pride in our eyes, we returned to our hotel.
Later, in the evening, we went to M. G. Marg for dinner to buy dinner. The day could not have gone any better.

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Identity proofs are being checked

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Lake Tsomgo

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Lake amidst the mountains

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Day 4

The next day, we had our train scheduled for 7.30pm from New Jalpaiguri Junction. We took a stroll around the place. Gangtok is a very planned city. They have built foot bridges to cross the road. The women there are independent instead of being suppressed. The locals there have a great sense of fashion and are very disciplined.
We had our lunch The Dragon Wok restaurant located in M. G. Marg. We departed from Gangtok around 3pm. Leaving behind a part of our soul yet with a heart full of memories, we drove back the same beautiful road to board our train. The trip will always have a special place in our heart as we make other trips in life.

M. G. Marg

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

The Dragon Wok Restaurant

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder

Terrace view

Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
Photo of A Trip to Sikkim: Losing your soul to the mountains. by Trisha Halder
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