Sikkim- A Continued Affair with the Himalayas <3

Tripoto
15th Nov 2017
Photo of Sikkim- A Continued Affair with the Himalayas &lt;3 by Raghavendra Nayak

The Himalayan affair was bound to continue, after a mesmerizing Roopkund trek. Life was indeed revolving around the Work-Earn-Save-Travel cycle. Constantly looking for travel itineraries, cheap hotels and leaves at office, to make the second Himalayan trip of the year happen, proved worthwhile and Sikkim was decided as the destination (Thanks to the monitoring skills by one group member and Bagdogra flight was available for a steal deal:P).

Thumb rule we follow is to plan extensively, so we enjoy our time there at to the fullest (In Contrast, #SoloTrip #Unplanned #Wanderlust is in everybody's bucket-list, but who risks it :D). Having heard of the travel permit constraints in Sikkim, we finalized the list of places we wanted to visit and reached out few of the tour operators listed in Sikkim Tourism website and got a great deal flexible to our plan and now everything was fixed and countdown to fly down started.

The Day was finally here. We were all packed and layered up to withstand the sub zero temperatures.

We had a 3 hour layover at Kolkota before we fly again to Bagdogra. Our (my) overly ambitious plan to take a selfie at Howrah Bridge and post #Kolkata in Instagram wasn't meant to happen. We had to settle for delicious Rasogullas at the airport, which was not bad at all for a consolation prize.

The aerial view in the flight to Bagdogra, was just out of the world and we landed in no time amidst the stunning view. Surprised by the pitch darkness at 4 30 in the evening, we took the meandering route along the Teesta river and finally reached Gangtok.

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Day 1

Not all days, you wake up 5 AM without an alarm. Such was the excitement when we learnt Kanchenjunga could be viewed from our hotel rooms. Amidst the star studded skies, we see the Great Kanchenjunga playing Peek-a-boo. And it just got better with the rising Sun. The mountains turning orange for a few seconds would be something etched in our memories for a long long time. Before we could sober up from the Kanchenjunga high, we set off to Nathula Pass. Visit to such places makes you realize the paramount sacrifices made by our Armed forces. Guarding the borders round the clock to ensure our safety, at such intense weather conditions, hats off to the ITBP!! It was an honor to interact with them about their routine and experiences and click a few photographs. Then it was time for some adventure, paragliding, with a birds eyes view of Gangtok, and a visit to monastery to find some inner peace and some shopping (only the ladies :P) in Gangtok.

Photo of Nathula, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Nathula, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Nathula, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Day 2

Sikkim trip is all about the journey, and not the destination. The zig zag roads, the picturesque panoramic mountain view, the rippling sound of Teesta river and the Kanchenjunga playing hide and seek. All of us just fell in love with the everything around. We headed to North Sikkim encountering several wooden bridges, waterfalls, and the traditional Multi-coloured inscription flags. There is something about these flags, such a boon to the eyes!! With gradually increasing altitude and reducing temperature we reached Lachen which was our base for the next 2 days.

Photo of Lachen, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Lachen, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Lachen, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Lachen, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Day 3

Gurudogmar Lake, situated at 18000 ft, is one of the highest lake in the world, and also the route leading to the lake is among the highest motorable roads in the world. We were warned about the limited oxygen, the chilly winds and temperatures of around -8 degress even in broad daylight. Life does begin at the end of your comfort zone. It is when you experience these, you truly feel alive. It was a 4 hour drive from Lachen with literally no roads. Indeed I need to appreciate the driving skills of the locals in Sikkim here. With a lot of Chai stops , Military camps after Military camps, we finally hit the cold desert. Straight roads till the horizon, snow clad mountains on both sides was just truly amazing to witness. The feeling when we reached the Gurudogmar lake was just Wow!! Strong breeze to add up to the sub zero temperature, our driver warned us not to wander around more than 10 minutes. But we were prepared. One person in our group had 10 layers of clothing on,(we are still wondering how :P) yet was shivering. Indeed the weather conditions were not favorable to hang out for more than a few minutes, and few of us returned to our car. What is life without a little madness?! So I decided to stay there a bit longer, take a walk along the perimeter of the lake and finally was out of gas and returned to the car. Magical 40 odd minutes. With our minds still digesting the beauty, we returned back to Lachen and then to Lachung, not before checking off 18k feet off our Bucket-list.

Photo of Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Gurudongmar Lake, North Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Day 4

Gazing at the stars and snowy mountains reflecting the moonlight, with such things on offer, sleep was always secondary. With the luxury of Nature's view at our hotel, we set out to topmost part of Sikkim, Zero point. En route we stopped over at the Amitabh Bacchan falls (The name goes with the insane height of the waterfall) and also the Yumthang flower valley (Unfortunately this picturesque valley would he coloured with blooming flowers right after winter). Zero point is a valley at 15000 ft, with mountains sharing borders with India and China. Walking across the banks of a frozen river over ice, playing all sorts of mad snow games, filmy poses summed up our time at the place. The journey back to Lachung was all about the breaks at maggi shops, enjoying the warmth of the firewood and speaking to the locals to know more about the place and taking loads of pictures . The blog would be incomplete if the beautiful ladies of Sikkim are not mentioned ( Infact I was awestruck by a pretty Chaiwali, and hypothetically decided to move in to Sikkim ;) ).

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Raghavendra Nayak
Day 5

Sadly, it was time to go back and 5 days just passed by in a jiffy. Our minds were still wandering around the colorful fluttering flags, crisp layers of mountains, swim in the freezing rivers and of course the Chaiwali :P.

The return flight seemed to take forever and the frown was so evident on our faces. But yes, Work-Earn-Save-Travel cycle has other components to it. So until the next opportunity to continue the Himalayan affair ( Hopefully a dream bike ride to Ladakh) , all we can do is plan and wait (May be even depict your next destination on a canvas with your brush :P). Signing off with the link to the video highlighting our entire trip .

https://youtu.be/2FjBtrAjANI

Photo of Bengaluru by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Bengaluru by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Bengaluru by Raghavendra Nayak
Photo of Bengaluru by Raghavendra Nayak
1 Comment(s)
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Awesome macha! :-)
Sun 02 04 18, 04:00 · Reply · Report