Unexplored got explored- Gangtok & Darjeeling!

Tripoto
23rd Apr 2013
Photo of Unexplored got explored- Gangtok & Darjeeling! by Saumy Nagayach

How often do you feel that a trip to a new place will change the way you see the world? I'm sure not often enough until you get the taste of experiencing the joy of exploring the unexplored. The same happened to me 4 years ago when I planned a trip to Gangtok and Darjeeling. It changed my way of looking things and made me a musafir. :)

How it all started....

5 years back, when I was posted in Kolkata, I planned a trip with my parents to explore the beautiful north east. Since, I was short on leaves, we had only 4 days to cover the most we could.

So, we finally prepared the itinerary for 4 days; Kolkata-Gangtok-Darjeeling-Kolkata. We started off from Kolkata on 24th April,2013 evening and reached Jalpaiguri on the next day morning, from there we took a cab to Gangtok and reached there on the same day by evening. Since, roughly we had 3 days time for exploring two places excluding the travel time, we thought of utilizing it by not wasting our time in roaming around the streets and resting @ our room. We jotted down the places in advance to cover the must visit places in Gangtok and made all the arrangements like taxi and permits required .

Day 1....

Day 1

We started from our hotel at 6 in the morning and gathered at a common point as told by our guide, from where we had to start our journey to the 1st destination of our trip i.e. "Nathula Pass". Nathula pass is best known as the place which connects Sikkim with China's part of Tibet. I was very excited to visit this place, as I had heard a lot about it beforehand. En-route,on one side we saw many water falls and valley on the other side. The beauty we witnessed around us was breathtaking. As we reached one of the sightseeing places before Nathula pass i.e. "Tsomgo Lake", we were informed by the locals that the route to Nathula pass was closed due to heavy land slide. And then we were told by our guide that Tsomgo Lake is the last resort for us to spend time. So, we buckled up for the sightseeing and took out our cameras as the scenic beauty at Tsomgo Lake was enchanting. I had never been to any such place before which actually had stunned me with its beauty, it was my first experience of this kind, so naturally I took my camera out and clicked lots of pictures of the lake along with valley, yaks and snow-capped mountains etc. We spent almost 3 hours there when rain started to pour-in, we headed back to our vehicles. As soon as we reached Gangtok, we had lunch and continued with our sightseeing. We covered few temples and monasteries and after dusk we came back to our hotel. At night, we took a stroll on beautiful mall road of Gangtok and had our dinner at authentic momos restaurant.

Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)

Photo of Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach

Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)

Photo of Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach

Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)

Photo of Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Enchey Monastery, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach

Prayer wheels

Photo of Enchey Monastery, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Enchey Monastery, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach

Day 2 ....

Day 2

We had to leave for Darjeeling in the afternoon, so we woke up early and took a cab to cover few more places from our list before leaving. And the first place we opt was the Himalayan zoo of Gangtok. Being a nature lover and enthusiastic photographer, I like taking pictures of animals and that's the main reason I chose zoo as our first place to visit on day 2. There were various species like the Himalayan leopard, the Himalayan cats, white foxes and red panda (the cutest of them all). I took many pictures and saved the memories in my camera. After that we went to the botanical garden of Gangtok and then to the Dro-dul Chorten stupa before leaving for Darjeeling. And finally our trip to Gangtok ended there and we reached Darjeeling.

Dro-dul Chorten Stupa, Gangtok

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach

Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park

Photo of Zoological Park Gantok Sikkim, Gangtok-Chungthang Road, Chhateng, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Zoological Park Gantok Sikkim, Gangtok-Chungthang Road, Chhateng, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Zoological Park Gantok Sikkim, Gangtok-Chungthang Road, Chhateng, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach

Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden

Photo of Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, Sikkim, India by Saumy Nagayach

At the end of the second day, we reached Darjeeling and spent rest of the evening resting in our hotel room.

Day 3.....

Day 3

We got up early at 3 AM, got ready and took a cab to Tiger hill to see the sunrise. Before planning this trip, I read a lot about Tiger hill's sunrise view, that when the sunlight strikes on the snow peaks of Kanchenjunga, it gives you a surreal experience of sheer panoramic view. But to our bad luck the weather badly struck our plan with slight drizzle. And with great disappointment, we headed back to our hotel again and slept for another 2-3 hrs. As soon as we got up, we decided the places to cover on the first day in Darjeeling. Our first place was the war memorial, then the Himalayan zoological park, Rock garden, Tea garden and then finally the Buddhist temple. The whole day went well, I clicked many pictures at war memorial and zoological park. Alongside zoological park, we also visited the Himalayan trekking museum (those who love trekking and other stuff like that will love the facts and history gathered together of all the trekkers and trekking events ever happened in India). The rock garden also had a wonderful view around with a waterfall and different varieties of flowers covering a huge area. Overall, the experience was great and then we went to the Buddhist temple, which was our last place to visit on day 3. Well if you go to places like Gangtok and Darjeeling, its highly advisable to spend good time at places like monasteries and Buddhist temples, these places will make you feel calm and relaxed. As we ended our sightseeing on the 3rd day, we headed back to our hotel and later, went for shopping and strolled around the city.

Batasia Loop, War memorial garden, Darjeeling

Photo of Batasia Loop, West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Batasia Loop, West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal by Saumy Nagayach

Buddhist Monastery

Photo of Batasia Loop, West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal by Saumy Nagayach

Rock Garden, Darjeeling

Photo of Rock Garden, Lingsay Khasmahal, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Rock Garden, Lingsay Khasmahal, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Saumy Nagayach
Photo of Rock Garden, Lingsay Khasmahal, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Saumy Nagayach

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Photo of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Jawahar Parbat, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Saumy Nagayach

Tea Garden, Darjeeling

Photo of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Jawahar Parbat, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Saumy Nagayach

Day 4....

Day 4

Since we had to reach the Jalpaiguri station before its late in the evening, we planned to leave Darjeeling in the morning, at around 10 AM. So, for the last adventure we opted to travel by "Darjeeling Himalayan Railway" also known as the "Toy train”. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is declared as the world heritage site by UNESCO and is well known all over the world. We boarded the first train of the day from Darjeeling to Ghoom station (distance of 10 km approx.) and then took a cab from Ghoom to our hotel at Darjeeling. The whole experience of traveling by the toy train was fun. At the end, we left Darjeeling and reached Jalpaiguri on time, and then we boarded our train in the evening from Jalpaiguri to Kolkata.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Photo of Darjeeling Himalaya Railway, West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Saumy Nagayach

Dirdham Temple

Photo of Darjeeling Himalaya Railway, West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Saumy Nagayach

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Photo of Darjeeling Himalaya Railway, West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Saumy Nagayach

Note: The content was originally posted on my blog www.saumynagayach.com.

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