Unplanned trip to Sikkim

Tripoto
27th Feb 2019
Photo of Unplanned trip to Sikkim by Kasturi Mitra
Day 1

It's about one month till I got back from an unplanned yet extremely thrilling trip from Sikkim. At first we had plan to visit old silk route like zuluk to gnathang valley. Just 2days before our journey our trip got cancelled due to road block from heavy snowfall. With a heavy heart we somehow managed to book our hotel at other places recommended by the hotel authority. Anyway on 27th Feb 2019 we reached at Bagdogra airport and started for Bidhyang with our tour guide Gelek Gyatso.

On cloud nine

Photo of Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

At sevoke we had our breakfast at a roadside restaurant. The green teesta river took all the anxiety away. We had high hopes, positive vibes and a dream to see the snow capped mountains. After sevoke the road divides into two, one towards Darjeeling and the other towards kalimpong. We took the road towards kalimpong to reach Bidhyang.

Teesta river

Photo of Sevoke, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Kalimpong city

Photo of Sevoke, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Bidhyang is a virgin village beside relli river. It only has one or two homestay to accommodate tourists. It's in kalimpong district of West Bengal. There is no motorable road to the homestay, one has to cross the river to reach there. The river flows between mountains. One wooden bridge is there for crossing the river by foot. The place was beyond our expectations. Leaving behind city chaos we enjoyed complete solitude in nature's lap. We stayed at doon valley nature retreat, a chain of spring vale resorts.

Nature at purest form

Photo of Bidhyang Doon Valley Resort, Alipurduar Road, Lolay Khasmahal, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

The footover bridge

Photo of Bidhyang Doon Valley Resort, Alipurduar Road, Lolay Khasmahal, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Relli river in afternoon

Photo of Bidhyang Doon Valley Resort, Alipurduar Road, Lolay Khasmahal, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Relli river

Photo of Bidhyang Doon Valley Resort, Alipurduar Road, Lolay Khasmahal, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Homestay

Photo of Bidhyang Doon Valley Resort, Alipurduar Road, Lolay Khasmahal, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Doon valley homestay

Photo of Bidhyang Doon Valley Resort, Alipurduar Road, Lolay Khasmahal, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Azalea flower in full bloom

Photo of Bidhyang Doon Valley Resort, Alipurduar Road, Lolay Khasmahal, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Dining hall in nature's lap

Photo of Bidhyang Doon Valley Resort, Alipurduar Road, Lolay Khasmahal, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

It took around 4hrs to reach Bidhyang from Siliguri. We enjoyed the sunset at the river bank, enjoyed bonfire in the evening, had dinner. After a brief raining it was a clear starry sky above us . We, the dwellers of cities never witness such starry skyline regularly. It was a magical night, we stayed awake for a longtime watching stars, listening to the flowing river.

Day 2

After a hearty breakfast we started towards rishikhola. It took around 2hrs to reach there. We started the day with rainfall and everyone was worried of our next days. But nature is Almighty, it can change anytime. We reached rishikhola and the sky was clear, sunny weather that continued for our entire trip afterwards. We were immensely grateful and utterly happy to see the sudden weather change.

Rishikhola is after the name of the river rishi. The picturesque river and the mountain valley can surely make you fall in love. This place is quite popular among tourists these days, it has numbers of homestay to spend the night. However we didn't stay there at night but will do that again sometime.

Cloudy weather in the morning

Photo of Rishi Khola, West Bengal by Kasturi Mitra

Near rishikhola

Photo of Rishi Khola, West Bengal by Kasturi Mitra

Rishi river

Photo of Rishi Khola, West Bengal by Kasturi Mitra

The valley

Photo of Rishi Khola, West Bengal by Kasturi Mitra

Small foot bridge to cross the river

Photo of Rishi Khola, West Bengal by Kasturi Mitra

The sky says it well

Photo of Rishi Khola, West Bengal by Kasturi Mitra

The cuties we met, they had four more siblings.

Photo of Rishi Khola, West Bengal by Kasturi Mitra

We left the river and started for the 3rd destination sillery gaon. Mt. Kanchenjungha started to play hide and seek through the bends and mountains. It took 2hrs to reach sillery gaon from rishikhola. The road condition is very bad before sillery gaon. But the nature will heal all your discomfort.

'Sillery' is a tree that grows in this area, 'gaon' means a village. It is situated in kalimpong district at an altitude of 6000ft. It's a small village with only 32 family, due to tourism there are plenty of homestays available now.

Sillery gaon offers breathtaking view of kanchenjungha, lash green pine forest. In 15min walk you can reach Ramitey view point to witness sunrise at kanchenjungha.

We spend the night at heaven valley resort, it was chilling cold at the night, we slept early for the sunrise. Rest my pictures will say.

Towards sillery gaon

Photo of Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

The gaon at night

Photo of Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra
Day 3

The day started before sunrise. We felt the magic of nature, enjoyed the colour show during sunrise at Mt. Kanchenjungha.

View from hotel before sunrise at 5am

Photo of Sillery Gaon Peak View, Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

The village is yawning in a lazy morning

Photo of Sillery Gaon Peak View, Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Sleepy kanchenjungha

Photo of Sillery Gaon Peak View, Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

When nature plays Holi @ 5.30am

Photo of Sillery Gaon Peak View, Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

The colour show

Photo of Sillery Gaon Peak View, Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Good morning from sillery gaon

Photo of Sillery Gaon Peak View, Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

Time to say goodbye

Photo of Sillery Gaon Peak View, Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

One final shot from sillery gaon

Photo of Sillery Gaon Peak View, Sillery Gaon, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

We finally approached further towards our main focus Sikkim. We started at 7am from sillery gaon and reached gangtok at 11am on 1st March. We decided to visit nearby common tourist places before heading to the hotel.

We didn't get permit for north Sikkim or tsomgo lake, so we had one complete day at gangtok. Instead of wasting the day inside hotel room we decided to explore the city.
But my blog is for the uncommon places away from citylife, so I am only leaving some pictures here.

We booked one hotel at M.G.Marg on arrival, as we had no prior booking. There are plenty of options, one can find hotel at M.G.Marg from 1500- 9000rs. Also there are hotels at deorali bajar that's 10_15 min by car.

Bridge connecting WB and Sikkim

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Tibetology

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Museum

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Nepali sarengi, widely played at sikkim

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Do-drul chorten monastery

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Gangtok ropeway

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

From ropeway

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Gangtok

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Paragliding

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Banjhakri waterfall

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

The famous cafe to try while at gangtok

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Tea tasting at Golden tips

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Usual gathering at M.G.Marg

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

M.G.Marg at night @10.30pm

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra
Day 4

On our 4th day we got our permit for Lachung. We got ready and had our breakfast at hotel rooftop while enjoying the view of Kanchenjungha. 
During our 6hrs journey we took halt for a few viewpoints.
Tashi view point was at gangtok just outside the main city. It offers a wonderful view from the watch tower.
We were overwhelmed to see world's 3rd highest peak so close to our eyes.

View point

Photo of Tashi View Point, Gangtok, Sikkim by Kasturi Mitra

The mountain range

Photo of Tashi View Point, Gangtok, Sikkim by Kasturi Mitra

Mt. Kanchenjungha

Photo of Tashi View Point, Gangtok, Sikkim by Kasturi Mitra

Lachung as seen from gangtok, tashi

Photo of Tashi View Point, Gangtok, Sikkim by Kasturi Mitra

Namok is a small village at North Sikkim where we had our lunch. Hot pipping rice, dal, veggies, mountains through the window and cold air in our hair.
Sikkim is not only beautiful for it's mountains but for it's people. The roadside restaurant is run by a local family. We had a long conversation with them.

We met Aru at namok

Photo of Namok, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Our next stop was mangan. We crossed many small waterfalls and mountains in between. Mangan is one village in North Sikkim.

River teesta flows through the mountains

Photo of Mangan, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

A treat to the eyes

Photo of Mangan, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Towards Lachung

Photo of Unplanned trip to Sikkim by Kasturi Mitra

Teesta valley corporation at Sikkim

Photo of Unplanned trip to Sikkim by Kasturi Mitra

A beautiful place to have a cup of tea

Photo of Unplanned trip to Sikkim by Kasturi Mitra

Lachung is situated in North Sikkim at an altitude of 8858ft. It's near indo-china border. Snowcapped mountains and valleys will take your breath away. We reached Lachung in the afternoon, checked in hotel Floret,had our dinner and called it a night.

Floret hotel at Lachung

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra
Day 5

The temperature of night was -2° , the morning was chilling. We got ready, took our gumboots and headed towards Katao at 7am sharp. Within 1hr we reached Katao/Katau. You call it snowland. It was my first time in snow, so I couldn't hold my excitement.

View from hotel window

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Remnants of previous day's snowfall

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

River forms here

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Road to katao

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Indo-china border

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Have a sit

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

The mountain and the guard

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

The wind will carry the prayers

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Lachung from above

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

We could barely move ourselves from katao and got back to our car. The beauty of snow white mountains and the numbness in hand and feet was balancing each other a bit. We quickly had our breakfast, packed our bags and started for our final destination yumthang valley.
Yumthang valley is famous for it's flowers as it's also called the valley of flowers. But at this time we got only snow. Indian army is doing a tremendous job out there maintaining roads, clearing snow, helping locals and tourists in every way while protecting us from any tension at indo-china border that is only 70km from yumthang.

Army vans always keep petroling

Photo of Yumthang, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Snowslide area

Photo of Yumthang, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Frozen river

Photo of Yumthang, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Road towards heaven

Photo of Yumthang, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra
Photo of Yumthang, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

Yumthang

Photo of Yumthang, Sikkim, India by Kasturi Mitra

It was our time to get back to gangtok. With lifetime memories, content heart and teary eyes we started crossing the mountains we passed the previous day.

We reached gangtok in the evening and checked in a random hotel. Had some pork momos, thukpa, chowmin. Collected souvenir for relatives, friends. Walked around Gandhi marg for the last time.

Day 6

Around 10.30am we bid adeu to Sikkim and headed towards Bagdogra airport. It takes around 4 hrs if there's no heavy traffic congestion.
The last day passed in a blink of eye and we landed at Kolkata in no time.

Mountains where I find my soul

Photo of Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Kasturi Mitra

# Sikkim is organic state, keep it clean and fresh.

#plastic bottles are banned in North Sikkim. You can safely drink the water they provide at hotels/restaurants. Don't demand for packaged mineral water.

# Indian army is the saviour in North Sikkim. don't be overenthusiastic and cross the permitted limits. Landslides and Snowfall occur anytime and accidents happen. Be safe, enjoy travelling.

#local people and the car driver cum tour guides are the real gem of this state. Welcoming people smiling faces will take all your worries.

#our 6days trip including flight fare was 15k per person. We stayed at moderate hotels as our prime concern was travelling. We traveled in a xylo through the entire trip.

# our driver gelek gyatso was a descent driver and a funny wonderful human being. You can follow him in Facebook @ gelek tourism.

# thank you for reading my very long blog, you can follow me at Instagram @the_musk_deer. I hope to share more stories in future.

2 Comment(s)
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Mon 03 25 19, 18:53 · Reply · Report
Nice description. Feeling lucky to be in that tour.. Keep posting for further!!
Fri 03 22 19, 18:14 · Reply (1) · Report
Mon 03 25 19, 18:54 · Report