Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA)

Tripoto
29th Sep 2013
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 1/15 by SHIMOJ
Hanuman Tok
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 2/15 by SHIMOJ
Entrance to Enchey Monastery
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 3/15 by SHIMOJ
Nathu La
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 4/15 by SHIMOJ
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 5/15 by SHIMOJ
Pemayangtse Monatery
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 6/15 by SHIMOJ
Rumtek Monastery
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 7/15 by SHIMOJ
Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 8/15 by SHIMOJ
Tsongmo Lake
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 9/15 by SHIMOJ
M G Road
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 10/15 by SHIMOJ
Namchi Monastery
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 11/15 by SHIMOJ
Char Dham Temple Complex
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 12/15 by SHIMOJ
Buddha Park
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 13/15 by SHIMOJ
Rabdentse Ruins
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 14/15 by SHIMOJ
Sanga Cholling
Photo of Finding My Way Around Sikkim (INDIA) 15/15 by SHIMOJ
Dubdi Monastery

DAY 1: STEPPING INTO Gangtok

All the way from Ambala Cantt, finally I reached my destination New Jalpaiguri (NJP). As I climbed the stairs to reach the other side of platform the scene that struck my eyes was beautiful mountains at far distance, my ultimate destination to where I am heading to. From NJP, I took a rickshaw to reach Tenzing Norgay bus stand. Like I predicted, soon I alighted from rickshaw I was engulfed with variety offers from agents for cabs, bus and hotels. But I decided to stick on to my own principles - explore yourself. Turning down all offers I boarded a bus to Gangtok. My journey to Gangtok started at approx 0945 hrs and expected to reach Gangtok by 1500 hrs. The route was amazing, of course back breaking. On the way the bus Tyre got punctured and in that way I was lucky enough to enjoy the beautiful scenery of River Teesta. By 1515 hrs, I reached Gangtok. It was a private taxi stand. I realized that I was no where near to my place in Gangtok which I marked on my map. From there I hired a taxi and got myself dropped in a hotel. After a quick nap I started my exploration with M.G Road Gangtok. It was similar to all Mall Road in every hill station. But the uniqueness of this place is about its cleanliness,100% litter free zone and cool architecture. Locals say "our Chief Minister has made M.G Road as beautiful as a street in Singapore". Having my dinner at 'Rasoi', I concluded my day's walk and headed back to my hotel.

DAY 2: SIGHTSEEING GANGTOK AND AROUND

It was 6 in the morning. After a sound sleep my eyes opened up feeling the bright sunshine. I ordered for a cup of coffee. As planned my driver was in front of my hotel with his cab exactly at 9 am. Before starting the days exploration, I consulted the hotel owner about Nathula trip and requested him to book a ticket for me. My first destination was to Rumtek MONASTERY. It was situated at a distance of 26 km from Gangtok. At about 10 am I reached Rumtek. It was a peaceful area guarded by CISF. My driver briefed me about this Monastery. He told this is the costliest Monastery in Sikkim because the idol of Lord Buddha is furnished with gold. The indoor painting was magnificent. I was feeling like I was in another world surrounded with pin drop silence, birds humming and mountains all around.

 After Rumtek I proceeded to NAMGYAL INSTITUTE OF TIBETOLOGY. An interesting place about which I have read a lot. I was eager to explore this place. After entering the museum I was stunned seeing the interior wall hanged paintings. They were masterpiece I would say. The museum consists of variety of arts along with historic manuscripts and some precious items. Completing my visit there I headed to Do-Drul Chorten. Do-Drul Chorten is a large and impressive stupa constructed in 1945. Thereafter I went to flower park and ridge park. After having my lunch I headed to Hanuman Tok. In trip adviser a guy has written about Hanuman Tok that 'If you have not visited Hanuman Tok , your trip to Gangtok is mere incomplete.' His statement made me to keep this place a must see in my list. It was well out of city on a mountain top. The road was typical zig-zag way and not many visitors make it there. On reaching there I realized, this is the place I was in search of. Absolute silence, chill breeze and lush greenery. The temple is maintained by Indian Army. My view of Kanchenjunga was blocked due to heavy clouding. I spent almost an hour there alone. On my way back I visited Ganesh Tok which was on my way to last point Enchey Monastery. Enchey Monastery is a two hundred year old monastery in the Nyingma tradition of Tibet Buddhism located just above the town. The either side of the compound wall to the monastery has prayer bells.

DAY 3: NATHU LA AND TSOMGO LAKE

The day was cloudy along with chill breeze. Today's program was simple. Only two destinations :- Nathula and Tsogo lake. The scheduled departure of my cab was at 0730 hrs. I reached the taxi stand by 0715 hrs. The whole stand was crowded with people eagerly waiting for their cabs to Nathula. The journey started around 0745 hrs and like I guessed, the journey was adventurous. The roads taking its turn at the edge of the narrow mountain passes. Often we were crossing the army convey. The courageous hard work of BRO can be felt on the roads they constructed. The repair work was under progress. After a breathtaking journey my driver stopped the cab near a tea stall. Actually I can call it a mini one stop point for all problems than a tea stall. The shop was having a variety of menu from medicine, liquor to jackets, fur coats. After an hour and half journey from there I finally spotted a board telling "you are under direct surveillance of Chinese army". It was a special feeling, beyond expressing in words. Soon Nathula welcomed me with mist and fog. The feeling was heavenly seeing our National flag at one end and Chinese one at the opposite end. The pass had a cool cafe for tourist owned by Indian Army. There is a war memorial near the border and climbing further high, I was standing right on the border. Behind me it was the international fence and beyond that the Chinese conference hall. If I had moved a feet ahead I would have been inside China... of course behind the bars thereafter.. The situation was amazing,, surrounded with fog, chill breeze at Sino border. The gate to China recollected my memories of Wagha Border. On specified days trucks from both countries cross this border gate for trade purpose. After spending a quality hour and half there I proceeded to Harbajan Singh Mandir. It was all about an Indian soldier who is still protecting the soldiers guarding the border even after his death. It was getting late stated my driver. So without any delay I headed to Tsogo lake. Earlier in the day the lake was clear and there was no crowd. Now the atmosphere changed totally. . It was crowded and the whole lake was covered with fog. People were enjoying the Yak ride and clicking photos with the fancy dressed yaks. The climate was pleasant and I enjoyed a lot. By 1700 hrs I reached Gangtok and as usual I started roaming on M.G Road. Suddenly a unexpected surprise struck me. While I was walking on the street I met one of my school days friend, Souvik. What a way to meet him after a gap of 10 years. It was one of my evergreen unforgettable movement in the trip.

DAY 4: Namchi, THEMI, Ravangla

As per my schedule, today I was to head to Pelling and Yuksom further. But when I reached Yuksom taxi stand, the cab for Pelling had left already and the next taxi is at 1300 hrs. In a confused state what to do, a person approached me to increase my state of confusion. He was a taxi driver and offered me a trip to Pelling for Rs 2500. I resisted because I felt its too high. As usual he was justifying it in his way. I kept an another offer before him. I will pay Rs 2000 and should cover Namchi and Ravangla. After a long discussion he agreed for 2100. The Wagon R was all mine. The route was amazing as usual. 

My first halt was at Temi tea garden. The highway to Namchi pass through Temi. I spend some time in the tea estate and had a organic tea from a tea stall near by. I continued my journey to Namchi. I have read a lot about this city in books. We were driving through the clouds. Around noon I reached Namchi. My first point of interest was Namchi Monastery. The monastery was under its renovation process for the coming tourism months. Finishing my exploration there I headed to Shirdi Sai Mandir. When my driver told this, I was amazed. Sai mandir here.. Yes definitely. This is the first sai mandir in Sikkim. The temple was beyond my imagination. A huge with gold colour decoration. On entering I was amazed to see painting on the roof of the hall. I felt like I was standing inside some planetarium. The entire universe was above me in terms of painting. My next destination was Char Dham. From the gate my eyes caught the glimpses of 108 ft tall lord Shiva's statue. The Chardham situated on the top of a mountain has all the religious places of Shiva in a complex. The architecture of all temples replicate with the original ones. It took two hours for me to cover the entire complex and clicks. I asked my driver in a Buddhist dominated state such amazing temple and Sai mandir. Truly good. The reply he gave was "our C.M is a very nice man. He has provided a good education system in Sikkim. He made all these so that poor and age old people who cannot go that long to see these places can fulfill their wishes here". From his words I can feel a proud Sikkim citizen. After finishing Namchi I headed to Ravangla. My driver was telling "sir, you have Buddha park there. A one of its kind in India." I was not having much idea about it. I guessed, it must be like all other park with a Buddha statue. But the first sight of Buddha statue changed my initial mindset. A big idol of Buddha on the top of a mountain in the centre of the park. The whole park and its surrounding was lush green. A beautiful chant of Buddham Sharanam Gachami was playing in the background in a different Chineses tune. The situation was masterpiece. Chill breeze touching my skin while they pass. All these will make a man to go into his soul and identify himself. After spending a quality 1hr in park I stepped inside Lord Buddha's shrine. Stunned with the wall painting and the hierarchy of the God's city at center, I stood amazed. It took another an hour and half for me to study and appreciate the the paintings and their devotion. The whole wall painting was done by specialists from the Himalayan Kingdom- Nepal. Winding up my days trip I headed towards Pelling. The time was 1845 hrs. It was dark. I was recollecting the day's journey and how coincidental everything was. Missing my cab to Pelling, a driver offering this trip else I would have missed a lot in this beautiful state. I reached Pelling at 2015 hrs. Checked in at a hotel. He offered me a room which have a direct view of Kanchenjunga from my window. The hotel was right in front of the village junction.

DAY 5: PELLING

The wake up eye catch of Kanchenjunga range made my day. A broad smile and fresh breeze refreshing my mind. It was a wonderful moment of having a morning tea in my life. After having my breakfast I started my days exploration. My first destination was Rabdentse ruins. It was at a distance of about 6-7 km from my hotel. I decided to trek to it. I packed my daypack with snacks, chocolates, water and raincoat. I managed to get a local map from there and continued to ruins following my map. After a 30 min trek I reached the entrance of the ruins. There was no ticket collection centre nor boards. The place was deserted and scary. The entrance was well inside a forest. After walking few steps I met few people working there. I enquired with them the road to ruins and they showed me a lonely path leads to ruins. They told its approx 1km from here. After trekking few 100 metres I was in doubt whether am following the right path. Because there was no humans around nor any clearings or footprints. It looked like the path was not used for months fully covered with dry leaves. Now I was all alone well inside a dense forest. I was not having even a knife. After a 30 min trek finally I reached the entrance. The view was splendid. I was alone in the whole ancient capital of Sikkim. I spend almost an hour and half there exploring each and every corner. 

Finishing my visit to ruins I headed toward Pemayangtse Monastery. On my way I spotted some chortens. After a uphill climb I reached Pemayangtse Monastery. It is the third oldest monastery in Sikkim established almost 300 years ago in 1705. Its history was impressive. The Sangtok-Palri inside the monastery is an extraordinary masterpiece. A 3-D wooden structure of the God's celestial city. The whole structure has been put together by wooden joint, not a single nails has been used for its construction. Trekking back I reached my hotel by noon and had my lunch. After a short nap I headed towards Sanga Choling. Sanga Choling is situated on the other side of Pelling which requires a moderate trek to a hill top. I had carried sufficient energy bars and water with me. From the top of the mountain I was able to get the view of Buddha park at Ravangla which made me feel more happy. The Sanga Choling means 'The Place of Secret Spell'. It is the oldest monastery in Sikkim. There are usually four 'Kings of the Quarters', who guard the universe against the outer demons. Exploring the oldest monastery it took an hour for me and enjoying the beautiful landscape by side it started getting dark. I started my trek back at 1745 hrs and reached my hotel by 1830 hrs. Had a great dinner I headed to bed.

DAY 6 - 14: GOECHA LA EXPEDITION

DAY 15: YUKSOM AND BACK

Its time to go back to my home. My cab timing was 1030 hrs. So I decided to visit Dubdi Monastery. The monastery was founded by Lhatsun Chenpo in 1697. One of my trekmate Mr. Rahul too joined me. We trekked all the way to reach Dubdi Monastery.The renovation work was under progress. The background of the monastery was lush green forest with water fall and snow covered peak at far. Recollecting the trek memories and Sikkim culture, myself and Rahul returned back to our guest house. Our cab has arrived and its the time to say goodbye to Sikkim. Watching the lush green forest , waterfall in it and feeling the silence around it, an unwilling good-bye came from my mouth and a great thank you from my heart for their wonderful hospitality. I started the journey towards my city life.

http://www.shimzz.blogspot.in/2014/03/sikkim-tour-2733n-8862e.html

The Rumtek Monastery was situated at a distance of 26 km from Gangtok. At about 10 am I reached Rumtek. It was a peaceful area guarded by CISF. My driver briefed me about this Monastery. He told this is the costliest Monastery in Sikkim because the idol of Lord Buddha is furnished with gold. The indoor painting was magnificent. I was feeling like I was in another world surrounded with pin drop silence, birds humming and mountains all around.

Photo of Rumtek Monastery, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ

I proceeded to NAMGYAL INSTITUTE OF TIBETOLOGY. An interesting place about which I have read a lot. I was eager to explore this place. After entering the museum I was stunned seeing the interior wall hanged paintings. They were masterpiece I would say. The museum consists of variety of arts along with historic manuscripts and some precious items.

Photo of Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Sikkim by SHIMOJ

After having my lunch I headed to Hanuman Tok. In trip adviser a guy has written about Hanuman Tok that 'If you have not visited Hanuman Tok , your trip to Gangtok is mere incomplete.' His statement made me to keep this place a must see in my list. It was well out of city on a mountain top. The road was typical zig-zag way and not many visitors make it there. On reaching there I realized, this is the place I was in search of. Absolute silence, chill breeze and lush greenery. The temple is maintained by Indian Army.

Photo of Hanuman Tok, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ

Enchey Monastery is a two hundred year old monastery in the Nyingma tradition of Tibet Buddhism located just above the town. The either side of the compound wall to the monastery has prayer bells.

Photo of Enchey Monastery, Enchey Monastery Road, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ

The next day I set out for Nathu La. The feeling was heavenly seeing our National flag at one end and Chinese one at the opposite end. The pass had a cool cafe for tourist owned by Indian Army. There is a war memorial near the border and climbing further high, I was standing right on the border. Behind me it was the international fence and beyond that the Chinese conference hall. If I had moved a feet ahead I would have been inside China... of course behind the bars thereafter.. The situation was amazing,, surrounded with fog, chill breeze at Sino border.

Photo of Nathu La, India by SHIMOJ

I headed to Tsogo lake. Earlier in the day the lake was clear and there was no crowd. Now the atmosphere changed totally. . It was crowded and the whole lake was covered with fog. People were enjoying the Yak ride and clicking photos with the fancy dressed yaks. The climate was pleasant and I enjoyed a lot. By 1700 hrs I reached Gangtok and as usual I started roaming on M.G Road. Suddenly a unexpected surprise struck me. While I was walking on the street I met one of my school days friend, Souvik. What a way to meet him after a gap of 10 years. It was one of my evergreen unforgettable movement in the trip

Photo of Tsongmo Lake, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ

I have read a lot about this city in books. We were driving through the clouds. Around noon I reached Namchi. My first point of interest was Namchi Monastery. The monastery was under its renovation process for the coming tourism months. Finishing my exploration there I headed to Shirdi Sai Mandir. When my driver told this, I was amazed. Sai mandir here.. Yes definitely. This is the first sai mandir in Sikkim. The temple was beyond my imagination. A huge with gold colour decoration. On entering I was amazed to see painting on the roof of the hall. I felt like I was standing inside some planetarium. The entire universe was above me in terms of painting. My next destination was Char Dham. From the gate my eyes caught the glimpses of 108 ft tall lord Shiva's statue. The Chardham situated on the top of a mountain has all the religious places of Shiva in a complex. The architecture of all temples replicate with the original ones. It took two hours for me to cover the entire complex and clicks.

Photo of Namchi, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ
Photo of Namchi, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ
Photo of Namchi, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ

My driver was telling "sir, you have Buddha park there. A one of its kind in India." I was not having much idea about it. I guessed, it must be like all other park with a Buddha statue. But the first sight of Buddha statue changed my initial mindset. A big idol of Buddha on the top of a mountain in the centre of the park. The whole park and its surrounding was lush green. A beautiful chant of Buddham Sharanam Gachami was playing in the background in a different Chineses tune. The situation was masterpiece. Chill breeze touching my skin while they pass. All these will make a man to go into his soul and identify himself. After spending a quality 1hr in park I stepped inside Lord Buddha's shrine. Stunned with the wall painting and the hierarchy of the God's city at center, I stood amazed. It took another an hour and half for me to study and appreciate the the paintings and their devotion. The whole wall painting was done by specialists from the Himalayan Kingdom- Nepal. Winding up my days trip I headed towards Pelling. The time was 1845 hrs. It was dark. I was recollecting the day's journey and how coincidental everything was. Missing my cab to Pelling, a driver offering this trip else I would have missed a lot in this beautiful state.

Photo of Buddha Park, Ravangla, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ

After a uphill climb I reached Pemayangtse Monastery. It is the third oldest monastery in Sikkim established almost 300 years ago in 1705. Its history was impressive. The Sangtok-Palri inside the monastery is an extraordinary masterpiece. A 3-D wooden structure of the God's celestial city. The whole structure has been put together by wooden joint, not a single nails has been used for its construction. Trekking back I reached my hotel by noon and had my lunch. (Pemayangtse + Rabdentse + Sanga Choling can be covered in a day program)

Photo of Pemyangtse Monastery, West Sikkim, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ

After having my breakfast I started my days exploration. My first destination was Rabdentse ruins. It was at a distance of about 6-7 km from my hotel. I decided to trek to it. I packed my daypack with snacks, chocolates, water and raincoat. I managed to get a local map from there and continued to ruins following my map. After a 30 min trek I reached the entrance of the ruins. There was no ticket collection centre nor boards. The place was deserted and scary. The entrance was well inside a forest. After walking few steps I met few people working there. I enquired with them the road to ruins and they showed me a lonely path leads to ruins. They told its approx 1km from here. After trekking few 100 metres I was in doubt whether am following the right path. Because there was no humans around nor any clearings or footprints. It looked like the path was not used for months fully covered with dry leaves. Now I was all alone well inside a dense forest. I was not having even a knife. After a 30 min trek finally I reached the entrance. The view was splendid. I was alone in the whole ancient capital of Sikkim. I spend almost an hour and half there exploring each and every corner.

Photo of Rabdentse Ruins, Geyzing, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ

After a short nap I headed towards Sanga Choling. Sanga Choling is situated on the other side of Pelling which requires a moderate trek to a hill top. I had carried sufficient energy bars and water with me. From the top of the mountain I was able to get the view of Buddha park at Ravangla which made me feel more happy. The Sanga Choling means 'The Place of Secret Spell'. It is the oldest monastery in Sikkim. There are usually four 'Kings of the Quarters', who guard the universe against the outer demons. Exploring the oldest monastery it took an hour for me and enjoying the beautiful landscape by side it started getting dark. I started my trek back at 1745 hrs and reached my hotel by 1830 hrs.

Photo of Sanga Choling, Pelling, West Sikkim by SHIMOJ

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".

Photo of Dubdi Monastery, Yuksom, West Sikkim by SHIMOJ
Photo of Dubdi Monastery, Yuksom, West Sikkim by SHIMOJ

I started my exploration with M.G Road Gangtok. It was similar to all Mall Road in every hill station. But the uniqueness of this place is about its cleanliness,100% litter free zone and cool architecture. Locals say "our Chief Minister has made M.G Road as beautiful as a street in Singapore". Having my dinner at 'Rasoi', I concluded my day's walk and headed back to my hotel.

Photo of MG Marg, Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by SHIMOJ
1 Comment(s)
Sort by:
Photo of Madhav Raut
Madhav Raut
Hi Shimoj... I am planning to travel in June and wanted to know what should be my budget for a 4-5 days trip to Sikkim... And also tell me the cab charges...
Sat 05 16 15, 12:17 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·