City Girls In Search Of Peace In The Mountains

Tripoto
15th Sep 2019
Photo of City Girls In Search Of Peace In The Mountains by pankhi lahkar
Day 1

The Trip was planned a month back before the start of our final year finals.. We 4 friends were too excited because this will be the first time we will be traveling together and that also without our parents or any guardians. The day our exam got over we started packing we were excited but little bit scared too and silently prayed to God to have a safe journey back home. Our journey started on 15th Sep in the morning at 6:30am.. We took a cab to Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport Guwahati Assam and from there we took our flight at 9:30 am to Bagdogra airport Siliguri from where we started our journey to Gangtok by cab which was already pre booked through a travel agency.
   We reached Bagdogra at 10:30. It took only 40mins from Ghy to reach Bagdogra. We started our journey to Gangtok at 11am. The driver a native from Darjeeling told us it will be a 5hours journey. We were very much excited played our favorite Playlist and headed towards Gangtok, Sikkim. The journey was so blissful. The scenery all around made the journey less tiresome and enjoyable. We stopped at a restaurant to have our lunch and after a non stop ride we finally reached Gangtok at 4:30pm.
   After checking in into our hotel which was only a 100 meters away from MG Marg we freshened up and got ready to explore the famous MG Marg of Sikkim.
   Mahatma Gandhi Marg or MG Marg which is famously known as is the heart of Gangtok city. Gangtok is located at an altitude of 5,410 ft above sea level and MG Marg is its main attraction. Vehicles are not allowed to ply in MG Marg. You will have to walk around to explore. The streets are sparkling clean and it have a foreign touch in its look. We tried the softies out there and also the steaming hot momos and it was definitely yum. But totally disappointed with the Thukpa still we had a great evening and slept away immediately after reaching hotel as we have to go a long way bounding to North Sikkim.

After a quick shower the dazzling MG marg

Photo of Gangtok, MG Marg, Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Chicken Thukpa - Tibetan delicacy

Photo of Gangtok, MG Marg, Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

The famous softie of MG marg

Photo of Gangtok, MG Marg, Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Starting from our hostel in Guwahati Assam

Photo of Gangtok, MG Marg, Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

At Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport Guwahati Assam India

Photo of Gangtok, MG Marg, Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Cotton candies all over MG Marg

Photo of Gangtok, MG Marg, Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Waking up at 5am we hurriedly got ready for our trip to Lachung North Sikkim. Our car arrived and after completing all the formalities regarding permit we headed towards our journey to North Sikkim. Here I would like to add some information if you are traveling to North sikkim make sure you contact a travel agency beforehand and there are plenty of travel agencies to opt for because they will take all the pain of getting the permits and the money will be included in the trip amount. The amount taken for the trip may vary from agency to agency and it depends on your capability to bargain. And do not forget to take a valid ID proof either Voter ID card/Driving license /Dependant card(for members of army background). Adhar Card and Pan Card is not applicable.
        We started off our journey to North Sikkim at around 9:15am. It was late in the morning but we couldn't see a thing as it was completely covered with fog and was slightly raining too but it was so scenic that I cannot describe in words. As we were heading towards our destination we got to witness more of scenic beauty all around which cannot be captured in camera nor can be described in words but can be felt. The first waterfall we got to witness is a huge one and we got so very excited that the moment we got down from our car we started clicking pictures and I being the careless one got one of my shoe wet by slipping into the water. Our driver seeing our excitement said that it's just a small one we are going to witness a lot more bigger ones in our way so we again started our journey towards lachung.
     We stopped at many places to click pictures. In your journey to North Sikkim you are going to witness a waterfall in every 500 meters or around the corner. Waterfalls are just flowing over the roads and the cars are plying over the falls which makes the journey quite an adventurous one.
At around 1pm we stopped at a stall to have some snacks and we found out that the place which is overlooking is a dam over the River Teesta. The Teesta is the main river which is flowing through Sikkim. It originates from the Himalayas and flows through the states of Sikkim and some parts of West Bengal enters into Bangladesh and falls into the Bay of Bengal. It was a so beautiful to watch the dam and the river and the hilltops covered with fog that we completely forgot about the time. We are steaming hot Maggi and coffee and again started our journey.
After a tiresome journey of almost 5 hours we reached our hotel at 2:30pm but  there we faced with a problem which we have never thought of. The hotel we booked through OYO declined our stay as they have withdrawal their contract with OYO. We have already paid the required amount to OYO and when they dec got so tensed and also due to poor connectivity we were unable to contact OYO also. Seeing our plight the hotel staff gave us rooms at a much lower price. So please if anyone is traveling to Sikkim, Darjeeling or Siliguri don't ever book hotels through OYO. They are just taking money from guests without any knowledge of the hotels and later the guests have to suffer all the turmoil.
  We kept our luggage and decided to visit the monastery of Lachung. But to our dismay the monastery have been closed and we could only get the outer view. We were also prohibited to click pictures but stealthily managed to click some. After returning from the monastery we decided to explore the small beautiful town of Lachung. We set out on our foot but since it was raining we decided to have Maggi in a nearby shop and return back. The owner of the shop a Sikkimese lady chatted with us and we exchanged our cultural views.
Mobile network which seems to be a basic necessity of our daily life is nill in Lachung. We were desperately trying to get network as we had to call our parents too but in vain. After a lot of trouble somehow managed to get network in my vodafone Sim. So make sure you have a connection of either Vodafone or BSNL before setting out to Sikkim atleast to contact your near ones at times of emergency. But the bliss of having any connections with the virtual world and enjoying the calmness of nature cannot be depicted. After almost 8yrs enjoyed a night without having any connection with my phone and it was indeed so very peaceful.
After having our dinner we quickly dozed off as we had to wake up really early to set out for our next stop. So stay tuned.

Strolling on the streets of Lachung

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

The famous Naga falls

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar
Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

In the View point of Lachung

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

The Minu falls

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Maggi with a view

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

On the way to Lachung

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Lachung Monastery

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Take me to the top

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Dam over River Teesta

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

The picturesque lachung village

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar
Day 3

We woke up really early at around 4:30 am as we have to head towards a no man terrain or no man lands "The Zero Point" Yumesumdong crossing the "Yumthang Valley" or The Valley of Flowers. It was so cold that it was too hard for us to come out of the blankets moreover it was raining too. We opened the door to our balcony and couldn't see a thing due to fog. We hurriedly freshened us up and got ready and without wasting any moment had our breakfast, paid the hotel bills and headed for our next destination.
   "Zero Point" The No Man's Land also known as Yumesamdong. Zero point, Sikkim stands at an altitude of 15,300 feet above mean sea level (23 km’s from Yumthang Valley) and is the last outpost of civilization. The road ends here!!! And beyond that at a distance of almost two hours as said by our driver is the Indo China Border but tourists are not allowed to visit there. Zero Point Sikkim is the place where three rivers meet with snow-clad mountains in the vicinity offering some thrilling views. There is hardly any vegetation in Zero Point as it remains snow covered for the most of the year but still, we can see yaks grazing in search of vegetation. Due to the high altitude of Zero Point, oxygen in the air is low and there can be breathing difficulty so it is an advice to think before taking elderly persons and young children to Zero point. And yes to visit Zero Point you will require permits which I have mentioned earlier.
   It was around 1°C there and we were freezing to the extent that our hands stopped sensing anything. We couldn't even hold out mobile phones steadily to click pictures. But it was one hell of an experience. The only way to warm yourself up there is by having a steaming hot cup of coffee or a peg of Rum. The freezing air, the slight snow like raindrops made everything so dreamy that we couldn't stopped ourselves from imagining us to be in heaven. Though we didn't experience snow fall but it was worth it as every season have its own beauty. And I guess this is the best we got.
After staying there for almost 1hr we headed on our journey back Gangtok and after traveling for almost one and half hour we reached Yumthang Valley or The Valley of Flowers. The view from the road beneath is so picturesque that can't be explained. But it was not the season for the flowers to bloom so we couldn't see the Valley in its actual form for which it is known. But it was really beautiful and mesmerizing. I got a little bit dizzy too because of the high altitude and constant journey so decided to continue with our journey way back.
After almost travelling for 5 hours we safely reached Gangtok at 6pm and checked into our hotel. It was indeed a journey to be remembered for lifetime and North Sikkim had my soul because it is not less than Heaven.

The spiralling road up above from zero point

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

The river at Zero Point

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar
Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Yumthang Valley

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Zero Point

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar
Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Yumthang Valley

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Zero Point

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

Sacred Rocks

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar

The road towards Zero Point

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by pankhi lahkar
Day 4

And the journey to our final destination started early morning at 8am. We were picked up from our hotel and after acquiring our permits we headed to the Indo-China border "NathuLa pass" which was formarly known as "The Silk Route". The journey was of 2hrs time. It was raining and foggy. The journey was a bit risky as the roads were not good and because of the rain it was slippery also. We stopped at a shop to purchase  required woolens as it was frezzingly cold and we didn't have the sufficient woolens as required. Our driver explained us on the about the things which goes on there in NathuLa. The goods from China are brought to India through NathuLa such as clothes, accessories, home decor items and also electronics but mostly woolens are bought from that route. Those goods carrying vehicles are allowed only to a certain distance and the goods are stored in the godowns made by the Indian army. There is also a small China market from where you can purchase goods.
     Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas in East Sikkim district. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk RoadNathu means "listening ears" and La means "pass" in Tibetan.On the Indian side, the pass is 54 km (34 mi) east of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Only citizens of India can visit the pass, and only after obtaining a permit in Gangtok so before visiting NathuLa make sure you have a valid pass.
  It was frezzingly cold with temperature dropping below 5°C but seeing the great number of tourists our desire of witnessing the border also increased. The border is well designed with two buildings on both side and fenced with barbed wire and there is a well built iron gate which is locked from both sides. Soldiers from both sides are present there and our soldiers are answering every query whoever wanted to know anything. We are not allowed to click photographs there as it is a highly sensitive area so please don't carry cameras but don't worry your photographs will be clicked by the Chinese Army which we will be uploaded by them in their official website so isn't it amazing that your picture will be there in a foreign land without visiting!
    Witnessing one of our border with another country we headed towards Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. Captain "Baba" Harbhajan Singh (30 August 1946 – 4 October 1968)  was an Indian army soldier. He is revered as the "Hero of Nathula" by soldiers of the Indian army, built a shrine in his honour because according to legend, Singh drowned in a glacier while leading a column of mules carrying supplies to a remote outpost. His remains were found after a three-day search. His body was subsequently cremated with full military honors. The legend further claims that the late Singh helped the search party find his body. Some Indian soldiers believe that in the event of a war between India and China, Baba would warn the Indian soldiers of an impending attack at least three days in advance  Many of his faithful - chiefly Indian army personnel posted in and around the Nathu La and the Sino-Indian border between the state of Sikkim and Chinese 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. So with the legend stays the great hero even after his death.
    We followed our journey back to our next location ie the Tsomgo Lake. Tsomgo Lake, also known as Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake, is a glacial lake in the East Sikkim district of the Indianstate of Sikkim, some 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the capital Gangtok. Located at an elevation of 3,753 m (12,313 ft), the lake remains frozen during the winter season. The lake surface reflects different colours with change of seasons and is held in great reverence by the local Sikkimese people. During our visit the color of the lake was greenish blackish. The lake covers far and wide and with the mountains around hold a very spectacular view. There were Yaks which you can ride on or you can also try the Sikkimese traditional wear. The visit the Tsomgo Lake you will have take ticktes of Rs 40 per person in the beginning of of your trip itself. We tried on the Sikkimese wear and after clicking a few pictures we headed back to our hotel in Gangtok.
The sky have started clearing up and then we witnessed a beauty which we have never witnessed. The clouds floating between the mountains and the sun guiding them. It was a view which I cannot depict only my eyes have taken everything not my camera. It was our last day of our tour we were sad about it but there is a saying "Home is where the heart is" so we prepared ourselves to come back home with heavy hearts buti left my soul in the mountains or wadiya of Sikkim. We had an evening flight from Bagdogra to Guwahati the next day so after doing some shopping for our family and friends we packed our bags and the next day early morning we headed towards Bagdogra Airport from Gangtok. It was a trip which I will never forget in my entire life. First time experience but really learned a lot and yeah Sikkim is heaven if u have not visit yet please visit . You won't regret.

From top of NathuLa

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

In Sikkimese traditional wear

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

Wadiya

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

For our amusement they are dressed up

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar
Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar
Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

Coz of them we are safe

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

Tickets to Tsomgo Lake

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

The road taking you up to NathuLa

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

Nothing can be more mesmerizing than nature

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

Ignore me

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

One with our driver who made sure we have a safe trip. Thanks to him.

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

Tsomgo Lake

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar

Baba Harbhajan Singh mandir

Photo of Nathu La, Sikkim by pankhi lahkar
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