94 Kms from Gairkata
Best time to visit - October- April
Often called as the "Queen of all Hill Stations", this is one of the most popular in the whole world. This place is wrapped by everything beautiful nature has blessed the Earth with. Darjeeling is located in the lap of the Mountain Kanchenjunga and crowned by the mighty Himalayas, there is tranquility everywhere you see. There is the bright red hue of blooming rhododendrons, the peaceful white of the magnolias and also the silvery white firs all spread over the hills and the stretches of hills covered with the emerald color tea bushes. If you are out during the early mornings, the clouds will cross across your face. This is a perfect place for a tourist, ornithologist, trekker, a photographer and children too. The famous toytrain of Darjeeling is now a Heritage of Bengal. The other nearby attractions are Mirik, Mall, Batasia Loop, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Dooars Valley. A trip to this beautiful place is sure to fetch you a lot of memories to be etched in your heart forever.Read More
Often called as the "Queen of all Hill Stations", this is one of the most popular in the whole world. This place is wrapped by everything beautiful nature has blessed the Earth with. Darjeeling is located in the lap of the Mountain Kanchenjunga and crowned by the mighty Himalayas, there is tranquility everywhere you see. There is the bright red hue of blooming rhododendrons, the peaceful white of the magnolias and also the silvery white firs all spread over the hills and the stretches of hills covered with the emerald color tea bushes. If you are out during the early mornings, the clouds will cross across your face. This is a perfect place for a tourist, ornithologist, trekker, a photographer and children too. The famous toytrain of Darjeeling is now a Heritage of Bengal. The other nearby attractions are Mirik, Mall, Batasia Loop, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Dooars Valley. A trip to this beautiful place is sure to fetch you a lot of memories to be etched in your heart forever.
After our Journey of Darjeeling, we moved further towards Guwahati (Assam) as it is the major destination near Meghalaya. One can get majority of trains and flights to Guwahati easily. When we reached Guwahati and went out of railway station, shared taxi drivers were shouting "Shillong-Shillong" so we were somewhat relieved that we won't have to suffer in hunting for taxi/bus services. We then went to stay in a hotel for our stay at Guwahati for one day as we had decided to go Shillong next morning. The hotel was average but we stayed there as we had decided to save our money in Hotel costs so that we can spend more for tour.
We reached a cold and wet Darjeeling for Rs 200 per person in a shared jeep. After putting down our bags, we did a bit of Googling and decided to have dinner at the most popular bakery/restaurant in Darjeeling, Glenary's. But this highly recommended spot by Lonely Planet was a major disappointment. I would suggest eating at Shangri-La Restaurant instead, as we did on our second night.
The day before we had booked the cab for our other sight seeing for 1300 INR. The cab came at 4 am in the morning and we headed to Tigerhill for the sunrise.The view of the sunrise and the Kangchenjunga peaks are just breath taking but be prepared for the cold, its freezing out there. You have to go there as early at around 4 am to get a seat there and for a good view, if you are late it would be fully packed and you'll need to stand there for the sunrise.For a good view of the sunrise and if you don't want any one in front of you, you need to sit on east corner of the seating stand and enjoy the sip of hot coffee available there.The Kangchenjunga would be the right side of the sunrise, it was cloudy when we visited so didn't gt the view of the peaks .The next point is ghoom monastery which is sort of ordinary. After that we went to batasia loop,here you can see the toy train crossing by, but make sure you are reach here around 8 am in the morning. The is a must if you are visiting darjeeling. Our driver then took us to the rock garden which is also good, with all the waterfalls. Here we planned to have our breakfast.We had bread-omelette, coffee, maggi noodles and if you want to try something else try wai wai chicken noodles. Our next spot was Japanese Peace Pagoda and with all the darjeeling traffic it seemed to be, and was the most peaceful, calm and serene place in darjeeling. We just sat here for an hour enjoying the view and seeing the world pass-by and clicking some pics as this was our last spot in darjeeling.We came to our hotel around 12 noon and then went for shopping in the market you can get good jackets and other winter wear. And in the evening we left to NJP.NOTES:-1-Frankly, we went darjeeling with lots of expectation but we found it an average place with must-visit places being Tiger Hill Sunrise, Batasia Loop, Rock garden, Japanese Peace Pagoda and the Zoo for the panda.2- Site seeing cost depends on number of points. 3 points for 1000 5 points for 1500 and 8 points for 2000 INR. You can and you must bargain with the rates.3-Day starts early and the sunsets at around 5 at 6 its totally dark and so start your day as early as possible.
After days in the train we finally made it to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station at around in the morning 6 am.Just as you get out of the train you will get the travel agents asking for taxi and hotels.We had done our hotel booking in advance with deals from MMT(Hotel Broadway Annex), so we were just looking for taxi from NJP(New Jalpaiguri) to Darjeeling. We found one agent and he took us to his office outside the station but he was asking for 6000 INR for drop and sightseeing which was way high from our budget.We then went near the station for other options and booked a brand new Ford Figo for just 1600. Darjeeling is around 70-80 km from NJP with all the mountain route so people who get dizzy on such roads be prepared.The road to darjeeling is very scenic, you can see the tea gardens,mountains, good sunrise, toy train and even the Kangchenjunga range on a non-cloudy day. There was some problem with the tracks so the toy train started from kurseong to darjeeling instead of NJP to DarjeelingWe reached our hotel (Broadway Annex) in darjeeling and got fresh and had our breakfast and got ready. We did some local sight seeing on this day.1)Rope way - The ropeway costs you around 165 INR per head,there is a lot of crowd for it so make it early there as its functional till 3 pm. I'll rate the ropeway from low to avg, the carts are not well maintained,the ride is very slow and sloppy.But you can have a good view of the Tea Gardens and the mountain ranges. You can go down have a coffee or so in the cafe down with some photos around and return back up.2)Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park - Then we went to the zoo the attraction here would be the red panda ,bengal tiger and other animals there is also Himalayan Mountaineering Institute to visit.After that we visited the local market chauk bazaar. You can hire a cab for it but we took bicycle on rent from Off Road Adventure (+919832054944) they also have other activities like Paragliding.NOTES:-1-Fare from NJP to Darjeeling if you go by sharing would be 150 to 200 INR and private would cost you around 1500 to 2000 depending on the condition and type of car.2-In the map the distance from one spot to another is around 500M or 1 Km but the roads are full of uphill and downhill which would be tiring who are not used to.
Last year, 2016, we went on this soul refreshing journey to Darjeeling and Gangtok. That's when i knew i had to write. Write about this beautiful paradise, the people and lifestyle, which is a complete stark opposite of the place that i currently reside in, Bangalore. And i love Bangalore! I love the busy streets, the wonderful cafes, the punk pubs and rocking bars, the carnival malls and the buzz. I love it all. Yet, that is where the difference lies. Both Darjeeling and Gangtok have the same busy streets, pretty little cafes, their own hard rock pubs and in case of Gangtok (tax free) outlets, crowded markets and the buzz. A calmer one, an at-peace one. Maybe its the altitude, maybe the setting amongst those mystic hills but something helps you lay down that guard, that we (metro people) had taken years to build and fortify. And it all starts with the ride.Bagdogra Airport, is the only one that you can use to reach either Darjeeling or Gangtok. It takes about the same time to reach either of them from there, though we decided to visit Darjeeling first. Bear in mind we were the 'foolish' ones, to have decided to visit in August. Why foolish? Landslides. Incessant rain causes it and that makes traveling an ordeal. Bangalore has its own fair share of rain all through the year. So i thought, "Hey how bad could it be?". The ride to Darjeeling, didn't have landslides but when you're riding at the edge of a hill with zero visibility due to the rain and clouds (yes, clouds), one can't help but pray. Hence foolish. But were we?The exact reason of our foolishness made the whole scene so much better for photography and as a memory. Of course you had to wait till the rain stops and in all honesty apart from the first day, we were lucky not find any of it till the end of the trip in Darjeeling. The moist heavy air, the magical parade of clouds, the mysterious fog, the beautiful smell of earth and the green, Oh the green.You can easily find out what you want to visit in Darjeeling and they all are worth it. I'm not going to give you an itinerary. Once you make yours, you start making your own story. What i can tell you is that they are beautiful, all of it. The early morning rides for sunrise and Kanchenjunga sightings, the "tea bagan" visits, the Mall road strolls, the monastery visits. all of it is an experience. The food is healthy, the people are jolly and their smiles are infectious, as is the case in any part of the world.AstrophotographyIt gave me my first experience with something, i had dreamt as a kid even if i had no idea how to do it then. Remember i told you it rained the first day we were there, well that continued till 11 pm in the night and thanks to me, mucking around, i wasn't asleep by then even if it was cold as, well as one cozy sleep requires (important note to never stop mucking around, that's when the magic happens). So the rain was beating down and it was a kind of tranquility that you seldom experience. And then there was another. The literal one.Around 11:30 pm i notice the calm has changed its attire, its more unclad, more natural. I parted the curtains of my room and walked into the balcony. Into a sky that had the most number of stars i had seen in atleast a decade. I almost could tell without any instrument where the Milkyway was. Of course the camera does a better job at it, but boy, all alone walking to the bigger open balcony of the hotel room's floor, setting up the camera for the shot in that shivering cold, under a sky that was cleared, nay washed of its impurities by that blessed shower only to show the jewels it possessed. Unmatched.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway:
Having graduated from University of Calcutta, I’ve always had an enormous love for this place. Something about it continues to appeal to me and each revisit brings me some kind of joy. How can I possibly say ‘No’ to another revisit! If not for the emotional attachment I have for the city of joy, I could still learn something new. The workshop on Forced Migration helped me view issues with a new perspective; I made new friends from all over; I enjoyed the rides with splendid views of sprawling tea gardens as we headed Darjeeling- one more place off my travel bucket list! I loved the beautiful Cedar Inn we made our home for a few days; I loved the food, the people, the visit to the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre…just everything about Darjeeling, that reminds me of home in some splendid ways, and simply how the art of travelling has broadened my mind in ways more than one.Delhi (November 2012)
At 2042 metres, Darjeeling was more urbanised than I initially thought. The winding alleys, the vibrant people, open drains that sounded like waterfalls, tea shops in abundance, the overhanging electric wires, the whistling toy train and the missing Kanchendzonga. There were pockets of colonial era buildings with the best views of the valleys down below, and then there are pockets where it is really cramped and congested, where it did not seem like Darjeeling the hill station at all. Our base was Youth Hostel Kadambari, where we settled down on our assigned bunk beds – the dorm was okay with all the bare essentials. YHAI, which organises treks like these is a non profit organisation and perhaps the cheapest around that may take you to the Himalayas. The Sandakphu trek cost me Rs. 5775 including food and accommodation. Moreover, there’s always a chance of bumping into fellow trekkers who will narrate experiences that can last a lifetime.
85 Kms from Gairkata
Best time to visit - September to December
Gangtok is the capital city of the north Indian state of Sikkim. Built up as a Buddhist journey site in the 1840s, the city got to be capital of an autonomous government after extinction of British principle, however it joined India in 1975. Today, it remains a Tibetan Buddhist focus and a base for climbers sorting out licenses and transport for treks through Sikkim's Himalayan mountain ranges. Settled inside higher crests of the Himalaya and relishing a year-round gentle calm atmosphere, Gangtok is at the center point of Sikkim's tourism industry. The accommodation business is the biggest business in Gangtok as the city is the main base for Sikkim tourism. Summer and spring seasons are the most prominent visitor seasons. Large portions of Gangtok's occupants are utilized specifically and in a roundabout way in the tourism business, with numerous inhabitants owning and working in Hotels. Ecotourism has risen as an essential monetary action in Gangtok which incorporates trekking, mountaineering, stream rafting and other practices. Read More
Gangtok is the capital city of the north Indian state of Sikkim. Built up as a Buddhist journey site in the 1840s, the city got to be capital of an autonomous government after extinction of British principle, however it joined India in 1975. Today, it remains a Tibetan Buddhist focus and a base for climbers sorting out licenses and transport for treks through Sikkim's Himalayan mountain ranges. Settled inside higher crests of the Himalaya and relishing a year-round gentle calm atmosphere, Gangtok is at the center point of Sikkim's tourism industry. The accommodation business is the biggest business in Gangtok as the city is the main base for Sikkim tourism. Summer and spring seasons are the most prominent visitor seasons. Large portions of Gangtok's occupants are utilized specifically and in a roundabout way in the tourism business, with numerous inhabitants owning and working in Hotels. Ecotourism has risen as an essential monetary action in Gangtok which incorporates trekking, mountaineering, stream rafting and other practices.
Let's start with GangtokGangtok is the capital of Sikkim and is the starting point of Sikkim as you'll be able to book your trip, hotels and cab/taxi from Gangtok. Gangtok is famous for MG-road which is the main center of attraction due to it's European street style. See the magical Gangtok through the eyes of roadaviator.
Gangtok from here is a little over one hour away. We booked a hotel online on the drive from Siliguri to Gangtok, a decision that would reap a variety of rewards. First and foremost, Gangtok has A LOT of options. Hotels are spread all over the city, from budget to luxury; every place offers the best of hospitality. So, it is highly suggested that you pre-book before reaching Gangtok so precious time is not wasted scouting around.
Sikkim had always been the dream destination. The state intrigued me with it's unusual terrains, beautiful people and magnificent vistas. Sikkim is a landlocked state and has three international borders i.e. for China, Nepal and Bhutan. This fact makes travelling to remote corners of Sikkim a bit tedious and expensive but believe me, it's all worth it.Zuluk is an unorthodox destination in East Sikkim, it's a village with a population less than few hundreds. But those few hundreds are more than welcoming and most likely the kindest people you will meet on this planet.How To ReachOne can directly reach Zuluk from Bagdogra airport and Jalpaiguri railway station through a 7-8 hour road trip but due to the unplanned nature of our vacation, we decided to go for Zuluk after we reached Gangtok. And that was a blessing in disguise. The road trip from Gangtok to Zuluk is roughly 100 kilometres and takes 4-5 hours based on the number of stops you take.PermitsYou need to have permits for Zuluk from the local authorities. These permits can be taken from the help of tour operators or hotel staff. The latter came in handy for us and our permits were ready for the very next morning. If you are planning to take your own car, you will need to spend more time in getting your permits.TransportFrom Gangtok, the only option available to us was hiring a private vehicle. No shared cabs, bus or government vehicles. You can get a private vehicle for this trip anywhere between 6,000 and 8,000 depending upon how good you are at negotiating and how much time you have. Although, it was bit expensive, I wouldn't have it any other way. I stopped the vehicle at a number of occasions because of the incredible views and that wouldn't have been possible in a shared cab.Where To StayZuluk has plenty of home stay options that range from 600 to 1000 per person. And it includes all three meals. I haven't seen any online options for booking these home stays other than Airbnb which I would highly recommend during season. As it was off season, we were able to get a nice home stay for two people at 800 per person without prior booking.I believe I have shared all the information you will need to plan this trip and now I will let my pictures do the talking.
How many times has it happened that right in the middle of a long trip, one that is meant to encompass many destinations, we find ourselves unwilling to let go of the "home". A place, that somehow steals your soul and hides it in its surreal aura. A place that makes you wonder your priorities and has the ability to fix that small niggle, that hairline fracture in your heart. A place... Or sometimes it's the road, the journey, the flight of transit that lets you be.
Covered in snow, and surrounded by Christmas trees tingling with fairly lights, Gangtok is the perfect place to enjoy the winter cheer. Perfect for places to visit in January in India for travellers who enjoy snowfall, because Gangtok will have plenty of it. You can also go around to the Nathu La pass, or visit the Namgyal Institute Of Buddhism, which is considered to be the largest institute in India for Buddhism studies. You can also drive to the Tsongmo Lake, which might just be absolutely frozen and a mind-boggling sight!How To Reach: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, which is 120km away. You can also take a train to New Jalpaiguri and then take a taxi from there to Gangtok.
Next morning, when I woke up I had decided that this is not the time to remorse. I had come so far not to be disappointed or sad, happiness is always in our hands. I stood up in the line again hoping for a positive result and finally I withdrew cash. The next thing that I did was to file a complaint in the bank about my amount being debited. For a moment, I thought that my time was being wasted by visiting these banks and ATM. I had come so far not to do this....But this was a learning for me, I did discovered that in difficult times how did I react, what decisions did I take. I was left all alone in this situation and made to fight it, I had to be victorious.After doing all this work, I decided to do some local sightseeing. The first place I went to was Hanuman Tok.
Gangtok This honeymooners’ heaven is also the perfect place to let your wild side loose with your mad gang. Whether you go trekking, eating, or clubbing—Gangtok will assure that there’s a twist in the tale. The duty-free goods are just an added bonus. Don’t forget to make friends with a yak as you take a bumpy ride on its back through this amazing hill-station!
110 Kms from Gairkata
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,October,November,December
One would assume that Thimphu is still settling into its role as the capital of one of the happiest countries in the world, Bhutan. Simple at heart, grappling with growing commercialisation, Thimphu is bustling with energy and is the heart of the country. Thimphu is a delight to explore if history interests you and also if you want a break from the quiet and serenity of Bhutan. Brimming with cafes, nightclubs and restaurants, the city welcomes people from all over the world with open arms. While here, do check out Changangkha Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the National Folk Heritage Museum which offers a peek into the life of the Bhutanese people, especially the rural way of life. There are tons of parks, gardens and galleries in and around Thimpu and you cover most of these in a single day depending on your interests. The exhibits here range from archaic to contemporary and are definitely worth taking a look at. Read More
One would assume that Thimphu is still settling into its role as the capital of one of the happiest countries in the world, Bhutan. Simple at heart, grappling with growing commercialisation, Thimphu is bustling with energy and is the heart of the country. Thimphu is a delight to explore if history interests you and also if you want a break from the quiet and serenity of Bhutan. Brimming with cafes, nightclubs and restaurants, the city welcomes people from all over the world with open arms. While here, do check out Changangkha Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the National Folk Heritage Museum which offers a peek into the life of the Bhutanese people, especially the rural way of life. There are tons of parks, gardens and galleries in and around Thimpu and you cover most of these in a single day depending on your interests. The exhibits here range from archaic to contemporary and are definitely worth taking a look at.
The next day we had planned to leave as early as 9am but the car needed separate permits as well. So anyone heading there please get these things in place for a smooth trip. Nonetheless we got our permits sorted and left for Thimpu. It takes about 5 hours to reach the capital city.Thimpu even though a small capital has its own charm and there is a vast difference of culture in spite of being a road across India. This Himalayan kingdom has kept its traditions intact and is still ruled by a King. After lunch we did some sightseeing like the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point), National Memorial Chorten and the Tashichho Dzong. We also went to the Takin Reserve to see the national animal of Bhutan which is like a goat - antelope and is only found in the Eastern Himalayan Region.
The next morning, we hired a car for Thimphu sight seeing. The city has several exciting tourist spots. The scenic view from the 'Budha Point' was stunning. The King's Palace on the bank of the Thimphu river, surrounded by colorful alpine trees looked picture perfect.
Thimpu - The most busy and populated city, where vehicles drive in a queue, people use walkways to walk and cobbled by-lanes surprisingly lead you to a staircase which lead to parallel lanes. The traffic is so organised, that the city is the only capital city in the world with no traffic signals. A traffic police mans the entire traffic from a single traffic booth standing at the central square.Walk down the entire town, stop and browse the local shops to buy souvenirs, sit at cafés, enjoy a relaxed lifestyle and end the day with a Bhutanese meal at a restaurant suggested by the locals.26 October, 2016We went to Thimpu Immigration office, for both ours and the car and the drivers pass further to Punakha and Haa. Time taken 3 hours.Started for Punakha from Thimpu at around 12 noon. Reached at 4pm.
Thimpu :Next morning, I took a bus from Paro to Thimpu, It is a beautiful ride. The road goes in parllel with the Paro Chu River. And there I was in the capital city of Bhutan. First thing I did, was extension of my permit to Punakha and Dochula Pass in the Immigration office.
With 2 days in hand, Thimphu turned out to be very eventful. We stayed at Hotel Riverview. A local city tour was organised by Royal Enfield riders of Thimphu. They took us to the National Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the 4th King), Kuensel Phodrang ( Buddha Dordenma or Buddha Point), BBS Tower (photographic view of the valley below), Motithang Takin Preserve (Takin is the national animal - half goat half yak), Chagri Dorjeden Monastery (also called Cheri) and Phajoding Monastery. The market has a lot of goods and handicrafts to offer and live music/nightlife can be enjoyed at places like Mojo Park and Space 34.
Being budget travellers, my friend and I researched about the country about a month before backpacking. We decided to travel via the road from Siliguri in West Bengal. We had to do tran shifts which was quite tiresome but totally worthwhile. The best part about taking the road was encountering the locals and the information kept pouring in. We could halt whereever and whenever we wanted, viewing the scenic beauty and letting the aura sink in. It took us an entire day. By the time we reached Thimpu, the capital city we were exhausted and so we decided to hit the sack early. It was early fall hence we were greeted by a chilly morning. In no time we got charged up to explore the city. A local friend of mine drove us around. In a single day we ran the latitudes and longitudes of the city, occasionally halting at places, tasting the local gourmet, sipping the local drinks, talking to the localites and juicing out as much information from them. My eyes and my camera both have captured absolute scenic beauty of the city. To name a few we stepped in to the Buddha park, the Buddha point, which is supposedly to be one of the wonders of the world. The second day was the most beautiful part of my stay in Bhutan. We started early on for yet another gorgeous city, Paro. A few miles away from Paro is where the world famous Tiger's Nest lies. It was around 3 hours of trek! There are horses and mules carrying people to the monastery, but what better way than walk the walk to the top! We started the trek from Taksang. Each step gave us an adrenaline rush! Must haves for the trek are a pair of shades, a hat, enough water and lots of sunscreen! As we came closer to our destination, we were awestruck by what we saw! The entire monastery was carved into the mountains! It was the most beautiful thing I had seen, and the view of Paro from the top, how I wish I could describe it in words! It was a gloomy morning with no suns hining through. It was our last day in Thimpu and the weather added fuel to the fire. I did not want to return so soon but we had got a pass of only three days. A city without the night life is an incomplete city and Thimpu was nowhere near to imperfection. We went club hopping and to my surprise the Bhutanese nocturnals shook their feet to Bollywood numbers too! I got to interact a lot with the teenage population of the city. They were the most friendly souls I've met. They made us feel at home. After the party was over they drove us to a view point which was at a higher altitude. What I saw from there will forever be etched in my heart. The entire city burned in sparkles just like a thousand fireflies, the sky, clear and starry, the moon shone high above, below were we with our new Bhutanese friends sipping the local wine while we looked on. I'm still amazed when I go through the pictures. The stay wasn't quite enough but I'm definitely packing my bags for a second visit and this time it will be during the fall.
Next morning we went for local sightseeing of Thimphu . First we visited the BBS Tower that offered us a bird’s eye view of the picturesque Thimphu city. We then paid a visit to the majestic Great Buddha Dordenma Statue, Folk Heritage Museum , Tashi Choo Dzong while other times cruising in and around Thimphu on our bikes. In the evening we strolled in Norzim –La, the main street of Thimphu and later in the evening hopped on to a nightclub –‘The Thimphu Club’.The environment inside the club was quite different from the traditional Bhutanese way of life, as it was buzzing with western- influenced music and dance.
94 Kms from Gairkata
Best time to visit - March,April,May
Bhutan has gradually become a popular tourist destination. And if you are visiting Bhutan, you can't possibly miss the lovely city of Paro. Considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, it is definitely a must visit! A perfect mix of culture, beauty, nature and history, Paro offers you an experience unlike another. Do visit the unofficial Taktsang Monastery or Tiger's Nest, which is a delight for trekkers and explorers! Located on a hill, the trek to this monastery is something you'll always remember. Do carry water, wear proper shoes before you start your trek lest the number of halts increases your trek time. Another wonderful place to visit is the National Museum of Bhutan which is located in a former watch tower and hosts a collection of artefacts tracing the history of Bhutan. Among other places to visit, Rinpung Dzong and Drakhapo are definitely worth visiting. The Paro market is also a great place to explore and makes for a perfect location for an evening stroll. If you don't want to stay in the city, Paro is where you should head to. The lush valleys here are a delight to explore and the streams and meadows are nothing less than a postcard. Read More
Bhutan has gradually become a popular tourist destination. And if you are visiting Bhutan, you can't possibly miss the lovely city of Paro. Considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan, it is definitely a must visit! A perfect mix of culture, beauty, nature and history, Paro offers you an experience unlike another. Do visit the unofficial Taktsang Monastery or Tiger's Nest, which is a delight for trekkers and explorers! Located on a hill, the trek to this monastery is something you'll always remember. Do carry water, wear proper shoes before you start your trek lest the number of halts increases your trek time. Another wonderful place to visit is the National Museum of Bhutan which is located in a former watch tower and hosts a collection of artefacts tracing the history of Bhutan. Among other places to visit, Rinpung Dzong and Drakhapo are definitely worth visiting. The Paro market is also a great place to explore and makes for a perfect location for an evening stroll. If you don't want to stay in the city, Paro is where you should head to. The lush valleys here are a delight to explore and the streams and meadows are nothing less than a postcard.
The next morning we headed off for Phuentsholing.For any avid traveller this country no matter how small should surely be on the to - be - done list. The country has very friendly people and some beautiful architecture. The climate is clean and soothing and you can immediately feel the change of place in spite of it being so close to India.
Today we started off early since we wanted to do the trek to the Taktsang Monastery which is commonly referred to as the Tigers Nest. The whole of Bhutan is naturally striking but this trek and the height where the monastery is located is enthralling and surprising. The whole place is on an absolute cliff and looks like it might fall off with a single poke and yet there it has been for centuries. The trek is difficult as there is no road at all and also it was drizzling on and off so the path became even more tough. We did the first few kilometres on a horse but the horses only go half way. The last uphill everyone has to do on foot and it is one of the toughest treks i've done. We reached at around 2 pm which is the lunch time there so we had to wait outside till we could finally enter.
Thimpu has a few more sightseeing spots but since we had a time constraint we headed out for the Dochula Pass. This is 30km from Thimpu. It is a mountain pass on the way from Thimpu to Punakha and consists of 108 memorial chortens or stupas. It is a wonderful sight to look at and on a clear day, one can spot the snow clad peaks from here.
The next morning it was time to drive to Paro. Only 50 kms away from Thimpu, it took us barely 3 hours to reach our hotel in Paro.Paro is where the international airport of Bhutan is located. Naturally, it is more of a ‘touristy’ town than Thimpu. The city built around the Paro River, needless to say, is abundant with nature and scenic beauty. One can easily laze around the city and feel enriched. However, we had a to-do list. First on the list was to visit the oldest Buddhist house of worship in Bhutan, the Kyichu Lhakhang. Built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. The legends say that the temple is one of 108 temples that were built to defeat an ogress (demon) that was lying over the entire Himalayas. Most monasteries and other significant places of Bhutan have interesting transcendental stories and parables. A local tour guide will always have so many magical stories to tell you. The monastery was a very quiet place and people were in serious prayers. After the temple we went to the market and did some shopping which consisted of home décor, antique jewellery and kilos of red rice to name a few .
Finally, you enter Paro, where the river welcomes you. The city if personified would be called a very disciplined, organised city. Rows of buildings of almost the same height, lit in the same way on both sides of the road, which opens up to a ground and similarly planned and structured by-lanes.Go for a stroll around the city, and then plan a day to climb up the Tatkshang Monastery on the Tiger Hills.28th October, 2016:
Paro :Paro is the main center for any tourist who is visiting Bhutan. It had Tiger's Nest, the symbol of Bhutan. I learnt the language of Bhutan, Dzongkha a bit. Simple words. First thing I did was I found a hotel and freshen up and bought new Floaters. If you want to take anything home from Bhutan, you can buy a lot of things here. From Souvenirs to dress, You can eat Pork/Beef. The only bad feeling in Bhutan was that the constant smell of Ghutka/Betel Nut. I bought some things back from Bhutan.
Reaching Paro was a task as immigration took too long and a situation came up at Tanalung checkpoint. One of our rider’s permit got swapped with somebody at the previous checkpoint Kharbandi. Despite the delay, we managed to reach the same day.
Located in a scenic valley it is a historical town with sacred sites and ancient structures. It also has the only international airport of Bhutan.
Paro - local sight seeing:Our new friend, Sonam, joined us at sharp 10:00 AM. We initially thought we shall roam around paro on bicycles but the cycle rental shops were closed. So we hired a cab from the nearby taxi stand for Rs. 1400/- and started our day excursion.We saw, Ta Dzong, Museum, Paro Dzong, Kichyu Lakhang, Drugyel Dzong (which was under renovation) and Jangsarpey Lakhang (a very old Monastery in the shape of a Sthupa, a 3 storeyed building - ground floor dedicated to Mahayana, 1st floor for Hinayana and 2nd floor for Vajrayana Buddhism). At each place, Sonam would tell us about the history of that place and make us understand different aspects of their culture. He brought a new dimension to our tour that day.
332 Kms from Gairkata
Best time to visit - March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October
Tawang has always been in the midst of conflict and controversy. But if you look beyond the controversy, you'll discover beauty incomparable to any other. Tawang is well connected from Tezpur by air and rail and summer is the best time to visit and plan a holiday. The major tourist attraction here is the Twang Monastery, which is celebrated as the birth place of the 6th Dala Lama. Besides the monastery, the Sela Pass and Jang Waterfalls are also touristy places and should definitely be a part of your itinerary. The Penga Teng Tso Lake is frozen for 5 months in a year, but makes for a wonderful sight all through. Do book a cab to visit the lake since the roads are a little tricky and are best managed by a local. Tawang is especially colourful in February when the Monpas, the native tribe, celebrate the Losar Festival (Tibetan New Year) and it really is a great time to be here. For foreign nationals, special permission is required to visit Tawang so do have all your papers in order. Before planning a holiday to Tawang, it's wise to research and also build contacts with the locals there to discover all the wonderful secrets of this splendid district!Read More
Tawang has always been in the midst of conflict and controversy. But if you look beyond the controversy, you'll discover beauty incomparable to any other. Tawang is well connected from Tezpur by air and rail and summer is the best time to visit and plan a holiday. The major tourist attraction here is the Twang Monastery, which is celebrated as the birth place of the 6th Dala Lama. Besides the monastery, the Sela Pass and Jang Waterfalls are also touristy places and should definitely be a part of your itinerary. The Penga Teng Tso Lake is frozen for 5 months in a year, but makes for a wonderful sight all through. Do book a cab to visit the lake since the roads are a little tricky and are best managed by a local. Tawang is especially colourful in February when the Monpas, the native tribe, celebrate the Losar Festival (Tibetan New Year) and it really is a great time to be here. For foreign nationals, special permission is required to visit Tawang so do have all your papers in order. Before planning a holiday to Tawang, it's wise to research and also build contacts with the locals there to discover all the wonderful secrets of this splendid district!
2. Tawang:Endowed with spirituality and natural beauty, Tawang offers visitors with a zillion reasons to visit. Connected to the rest of the country through the Sela Pass, which is known for being the only high altitude motorable mountain pass, Tawang has breathtaking views to offer. The Tawang monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in India and is held in high regards by Buddhists around the world. Believed to be the land of 101 lakes, Tawang is considered to be holy by followers of Buddhism. For people interested in nature and spirituality, Tawang is one of the best places to visit in Spring in India. The nearest airport and railway station are in Tezpur, from where one can reach Tawang by road.
#TakeMeToBrahmatalThis is one of the most gorgeous places on earth, period. Beautiful place and eve more beautiful people. There's more army than civillians who live in such harmony. One state with 3 different country borders and nature in abundance. Its like the most virgin places. Lush green mountains and waterfalls. The waterfalls are from high up in the mountain tops and look like 'stairway to heaven'. You could travel from 1 town to the next in 2 hours but the journey is just awe inspiring through the winding mountains.I spent 5 days in and around tawang only and never wanted to leave. Its such a safe haven, you can walk around in the dark with not a care in the world. Theres a big Buddha in the centre of the town which is mesmerising and spreads peace and calm all over the place.The tawang monastery is one of the oldest monastery present and leaves you absolutely speechless.So this place should be on the top of everyones bucket list.Tawang is just plain Gorgeous.
People rarely read posts these days as they're just mesmerised with images and I thought, well... Why not I join the bandwagon?! These images are from my solo trip to the North East last summer where I spent 2 months spanning across 4 districts in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, West Bengal and Sikkim. Apart from my travels across Assam which was through an NGO, the rest of my travels were unplanned, guided by online blogs and websites, locals' recommendations and most importantly, absolutely safe so whoever tells you that it's unsafe for women to travel alone in this country, shut them up by trying it out for yourself!TAWANG
#Places to visit Tawang Monastery War memorial: There is a war memorial in Tawang dedicated to 1962 war like a Buddhist Monastery which can also be visited Bum la pass: To obtain permit for Bumla pass, the DC office opens at 10 am. Get the application from DC office. With the application give 4 copies of id proof and xerox of inner line permits.Once you submit the permit, you get it by afternoon 3 o’clock.
The following day we woke up early, as we wanted to visit the Tawang Gompa at the time when the monks offer their prayers. Tawang Gompa is the place where the 14th Dalai Lama hid himself after he fled from Tibet. A sense of peace and serenity prevailed at the Gompa . One can see the entire village of Tawang from there. There is a school attached with the Gompa , and we could see several Monpa (local) kids playing near the school.
Whenever I think of travelling, the first thing that comes to my mind are mountains. Arunachal Pradesh had always been in my bucket list, and this time I didn’t hesitate. I convinced four of my friends to join me for this trip. The time was fixed to be the last week of December, 2014. We planned to go to Tawang, a historically significant area rich in natural beauty.
Though the journey was tough, the views coupled with the adventures of encountering live landslides and the fear of the sumo falling off into the river below, helped me reinvigorate my insatiable hunger of getting up early in the morning as fresh as a freshwater dolphin and strolling around in content and happiness. I strolled up to the Tawang Monastery which is considered to be the largest monastery in India and also the largest vihara with more than 60 residential buildings. I managed to reach just in time for the morning prayers with all the lamas and the monks reciting prayers. I then made friends with the little lamas and enjoyed a day full of gully cricket, talks of IPL teams and lunch alongside them. The small alleys filled with the little lamas, criss-crossing the residences, foster warmth even when the sun refuses to shine.The Tawang MonasteryThe old structure on the left and the new temple on the rightI also visited the Ani Gompa. It’s a monastery that houses female lamas. Tugged on to the corner of a mountain opposite to the Tawang Monastery, it takes about 3.5 hours to reach. You have to depend on your legs to get you up there.Ani Gompa, nestled in the mountain
We dedicated this day for local sightseeing. In the morning we walked to the nearby market. The roads of Tawang are very deserted as there is very less population in this area. There are wild flowers on both sides of the road. We visited the Tawang Monastery which is 400 years old and is the second largest monastery in Asia.It was founded near the small town of the same name in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh, by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680-1681 in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso.Situated at the top of a mountain,this is a very important place of worship for the Buddhists.According to the legend, a white horse of the Prince of Lhasa had wandered into Monpa region. People, who went in search of the horse, found the horse grazing at the present location of the monastery. The people of the area then worshiped the horse and the location where it was found and venerated it every year. Eventually to honour the sacred site the Tawang Monastery was built at the site. The Monastery also has a huge library and museum.China had invaded India on 20 October 1962 from the northeastern border forcing the Indian army to retreat. They had occupied Tawang, including the monastery, for six months; they did not desecrate the monastery. China claimed that Tawang belonged to be their territory.In 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama had fled from Tibet, and after a tough journey, crossed into India on 30 March 1959, and had reached Tawang and taken shelter in the monastery for a few days before moving to Tezpur on 18 April 1959 seeking asylum in India.(Source:Wikipedia)For more trivia about this place,look here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawang_MonasteryWe then visited the Urgelling Monastery which happens to be the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama. Next we went to the Tawang War Memorial. It was built to pay homage to the soldiers who had sacrified their lives in the Indo-Sino war in 1962. It has blessing of the Dalai Lama.It also has to memorial halls having artifacts and information of these brave men.A light and sound show is also organised here every evening which depicts the story behind Tawang and the Chinese war.In the evening you can go for shopping,however the shops mostly close by 7pm and being remote the things are bit overpriced.Day 5We were supposed to see the three destinations namely Shungester Lake,PTSO Lake and Y Junction. Amongst these the Y Junction is 13937 feet high. Shungester Lake is situated 33kms off Tawang at a height of about 12000 feet. It was actually a village but in 1950s an earthquake followed by a flash flood destroyed the village and it was were the lake got formed. The place is heavenly and has rhododendrons everywhere with the snow capped mountains in the background. Migratory birds like the Ruddy Shell duck can also be spotted. This place gained prominence when a song from the movie Koyla having Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan in the lead was shot here.That is why it is also fondly called Madhuri Lake.The Y Junction is mostly covered with snow and has many lakes. The PTSO lake is beautiful too. The Tawang Visit is never be complete without visiting these places. Another place Bum La Pass can be visited too situated at a height of 16500 feet but needs another permit. These three points can be visited only by local cars from Tawang. There are specific cars available at the starting point for visiting these three points. The road is bit bumpy. You should carry some camphor with you,just incase you suffer from breathlessness at such heights as oxygen levels are low here. You should also carry some amount of light food and water along with you.Day 6We had to leave Tawang with a heavy heart and started our journey towards Bomdila where we would stay for the night. On our way we stopped at the Nuranang or Jang Falls which is mighty and huge. Never had I seen such a beautiful waterfalls ever in my life. The water falls on the river Tawang Chu which flows downstream.We reached Bomdila in the evening. Since we had already seen the Bomdila Monastery on the way,we didnt have any other things to see there and therefore rested for the day.We stayed at the hotel Siphiyang Phong which was just okay.Day 7Our final destination was the Nameri Tiger Reserve which is around 120 kilometres from Bomdila.On our way we stopped at the Tippi Orchidarium which was a visual treat. Never had a seen so many orchids growing wildly and also in greenhouses at the same place.This place should not be missed. We reached the Nameri Tiger Reserve and checked into the Nameri Eco Camp which was simply the best accommodation in this entire trip.We stayed at the tent cottages. The feeling living inside a jungle has always excited me and that is why forests are my first love.We also went for river rafting in the Jia Bharali river and it was by far the best adventure I had done.It was thrilling! The forest is closed during this time of the year that is why unfortunately we could not avail a safari trip.However he saw many birds like Hornbills etc. The forest arranges a walk inside the main forest when the forest is open which is something you dont find anywhere else. This place is a must visit. You can also try activities like Angling here.The Eco Camp has every cuisine in its menu and it is amazing how they get you everything inside a forest too. The best place was seriously reserved for the last.Day 8We reached Guwahati and stayed there for the night,did some shopping. We took the flight next day early morning.however you can start early and take the flight the day you reach Guwahati itself. Guwahati is 220 kilometres from Nameri.P.S- You should carry mineral water and light food with you all the time.The journeys are time taking and strenuous.Be prepared for it. Take some breaks in between the journey. Try reaching the places before the sunset as roads are situated at high altitudes. This trip will surely be one of your best trips till date I can guarantee.
289 Kms from Gairkata
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
One of the most important cities of North Bengal, Murshidabad comes with a rich history. Once a stunning example of grandeur, power, culture and beauty, the erstwhile centre of the nawabs was from where the revenue of the whole state of West Bengal went to the king in Delhi. Till date, Murshidabad and its historical monuments are a tourists' delight and the local communities welcome everyone with warmth. This place is also one of the most important Jain pilgrimages with the four most important jain temples of Bengal situated here. These are the Sri Chintamoni Parshwanath Bhagwan Temple in Azimganj, Shri Shambavnath Bhagwan Temple in Jiyaganj, Sree Adinath Bhagwan Temple in Katgola and other one is in Murshidabad itself. You can also visit Hazar Duari Palace, a palace with over 100 doors. Now a museum, the palace is definitely worth visiting. The intricate art work in the museum is a delight for art enthusiasts. Another lovely spot is Katra Masjid. Go during visiting hours for a memorable experience. Read More
One of the most important cities of North Bengal, Murshidabad comes with a rich history. Once a stunning example of grandeur, power, culture and beauty, the erstwhile centre of the nawabs was from where the revenue of the whole state of West Bengal went to the king in Delhi. Till date, Murshidabad and its historical monuments are a tourists' delight and the local communities welcome everyone with warmth. This place is also one of the most important Jain pilgrimages with the four most important jain temples of Bengal situated here. These are the Sri Chintamoni Parshwanath Bhagwan Temple in Azimganj, Shri Shambavnath Bhagwan Temple in Jiyaganj, Sree Adinath Bhagwan Temple in Katgola and other one is in Murshidabad itself. You can also visit Hazar Duari Palace, a palace with over 100 doors. Now a museum, the palace is definitely worth visiting. The intricate art work in the museum is a delight for art enthusiasts. Another lovely spot is Katra Masjid. Go during visiting hours for a memorable experience.
The city of Murshidabad in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal has seen a rich history right from the time of the Mughal Empire. Get a taste of a long gone era when you visit its historical places like the Hazarduari Palace, Nazamat Imambara, Katra and Madina mosques, Jafarganj cemetery and Khush Bagh cemetery which houses the graves of the Nawab Ali Vardi Khan and his mother Siraj ud Daulah. The place has a glorious past is a welcome change from city life.
The capital of Bengal during the Mughal period, Murshidabad stands at a distance of around 230 kilometers from the state's current capital. The best way to get to Murshidabad from Kolkata is by train, which takes around six hours. Murshidabad is best visited between October and March to avoid extreme heat. Finding accommodation is usually not a problem, but as always, make your bookings in advance to be safe rather than sorry!
118 Kms from Gairkata
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,September,October,November,December
Charming and unspoilt, Yuksom is a Himalayan land with maple, birch and magnolia trees and an array of monasteries. This East Sikkim village is also the gateway to Mount Kanchenjunga and is a worthy addition to the eco-tourism villages. The Dubdi Monastery is said to be the oldest of its kind in the whole of Sikkim, perched on a hilltop. An hour's trek from the village will take you to this beautiful place wrapped in greenery and peace. The Kartok Gompa and the Ngadak Chenpo Chorling Gompa are the other monasteries that offer an insight into Tibetan culture. Yuksom is also the base for several treks, the most famous ones being Goechala and Dzongri. There is nothing much to do after sunset but to watch and enjoy the silence of nature. Try the yak cheese momos – a local delicacy, and wash them down with Hit and Dansberg, two local brands of beer. For accommodation, choose a cozy Tibetan homestay over anything else.Read More
Charming and unspoilt, Yuksom is a Himalayan land with maple, birch and magnolia trees and an array of monasteries. This East Sikkim village is also the gateway to Mount Kanchenjunga and is a worthy addition to the eco-tourism villages. The Dubdi Monastery is said to be the oldest of its kind in the whole of Sikkim, perched on a hilltop. An hour's trek from the village will take you to this beautiful place wrapped in greenery and peace. The Kartok Gompa and the Ngadak Chenpo Chorling Gompa are the other monasteries that offer an insight into Tibetan culture. Yuksom is also the base for several treks, the most famous ones being Goechala and Dzongri. There is nothing much to do after sunset but to watch and enjoy the silence of nature. Try the yak cheese momos – a local delicacy, and wash them down with Hit and Dansberg, two local brands of beer. For accommodation, choose a cozy Tibetan homestay over anything else.
Firstly we went to Norbugang Coronation throne. At Norbugang Coronation Throne in Yuksom, the three Lamas who came from Tibet used to meet in a bid to strengthen their hold in Sikkim. The lamas came to Yuksom in 1614 with a purpose to strengthen their hold on Sikkim and preach the people about Buddhism. On the coronation site there is a park called Norbugang Park.
29.10.2016It's the last trek day. Everyone is happy cause now this difficult and exhausting trek is going to be over in 6hrs. We all were very excited to get back to civilization and getting our normal lives back but little did I knew that I'd miss this trek and the fellow trekkers more than I missed my friends when high school ended. We had Breakfast and started the trek by 8:00hrs.Today it was exhausting and difficult. Cause we had to go down. I realised going back down seemed easy but it was tough as hell.My feet were paining and now my blisters also burst. Along the way I realised something that I am in pain but I am not tired at all. I am a marathon runner. Coming back to low altitude with high oxygen levels I felt this energy running through me and I was trekking easily but then again after 3 hrs I was exhausted. I took a break and started again. After 6 tuff hrs, were about to reach base camp but our trek leader Aakash asked us to wait for others because we started as a group and we must finish as a group. So we waited and we started again when everybody came. I am really competitive by nature , I had to finish first and so was my friend Dheeraj. And before we know we are racing to get to base camp. He suggested that we should finish together. I agreed and we finished the trek together.We reached base camp by 2:00hrs. This was now the first time in 8 days that I'll be bathing. It was no doubt the best bath if my life. Now everybody got freshen up and now the party was about to start. We started partying at 16:00 and finished at 24:00 .. Harshali paid up and bought me a bottle of 100piper's.And so we partied till we dropped.That day I ate beef and pork also for the first time in my life. It was delicious. Though pork wasn't so good.
Yuksom has a rich history to its name, and to unravel its mysteries you will have to go there yourself. Yuksom was home to the first Chogyal (monarch) of Sikkim. This December, take on an adventurous journey to an unexplored, rugged yet beautiful town that has been preserved from the outburst of tourists. While in Yuksom, explore the local monasteries and get to know more about Buddhism. To have a good time, get to know the different kinds of cultures and people that call Yuksom home. Yuksom tops the chart for being an adventurous place to visit in India in December.How to reach Yuksom: The nearest railway station is in New Jalpaiguri and from there you can hire a vehicle to Yuksom.
I am a restless medical student.After giving my first yr exams I decided to travel somewhere, but I didn't get a chance to do so.I was feeling this emptiness inside me, a hunger to fill my soul with adventure and thrill.Now around Diwali I got 20 days off .. all my friends had plans to travel somewhere but I didn't. I was surfing on bookmyshow when u saw goechala trek. I booked it through INDIA HIKES and I was on my way to Sikkim on 21.10.16Reach the bagdogra airport by an early flight. I am the first one to reach . After waiting for 3 long hrs others arrive and we share a cab to the base camp. The drive to the base camp is an 8 hrs long ride. And I am sharing this cab with 5 other people.I have the window seat. Person next to me us really nice.. good person.. he gave me stuff to eat (chocolate and gum). We all are talking and laughing, enjoying the ride when suddenly the person sitting on the other window seat pukes. He didn't speak much before also, kind of an introvert person and out of nowhere, he throws up in the car.Driver stops the car , he cleans up.. The guys name is arvind, 32yr old male from the hot city of Chennai.. it was his first trek. He didn't seem fit for the trek. He is fat and ugly(I was judging) and I don't think he should be here. I hate him,he is just creating a mess. But I don't care much about it.Anyways,We start the drive again , I doze off for 3 hrs .. It's noon now.. we stop for lunch at this little place. But the food was amazing. But I couldn't figure out there chicken , it's not zesty and I don't like it that much. But rest was good. One more thing.. the views were amazing during the drive.. we reach the base camp at 20:30 , tired as hell. At 21:00 we get dinner. Everyone's talking to each other. Now I am surrounded by 19 total strangers with whom I'll be spending next 10 days trekking through forest....
Yuksom is a refreshing break from the crowded trails that you get during the peak season. Visit this place in the off-season to enjoy its real beauty. Travel to Yuksom, which resides just on top of the Kanchenjunga National Park, from where the trek up to the world’s third highest mountain begins. It is a quiet town that is sure of bringing you peace. You can visit monasteries in and around Yuksom, the nearest is Dubdi Monastery, which was made by the first Chogyal and also the Khehceopalri Lake. November is an off-season here, as it starts getting colder and the weather is fantastic!To reach Yuksom, the nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) (150 km) and the closest airport is in Bagdogra (155 km).Off-Season In NovemberA sleepy hamlet on the outskirts of Shimla, Mashobra floats in a British aura with the scent of cedar in the air, and tall pine trees to cast shadows on you. Famous for its apple orchards and endless terrace farms that meet the slopes of the mountains, Mashobra has maintained its old world charm while adjusting to people around. You can explore Mashobra’s forest sanctuary and the jam factories, or drive to Shimla for a day.The nearest airport is the Shimla airport (12 km) and the closest railway station is the Shimla railway station.
Its first capital of Sikkim, Yuksom has special religious and cultural significance. It has a number of famous Buddhist monasteries and historical monuments. Being at the head of the Khangchendzonga National Park and as the base camp for trekking to Mt. Khangchendzonga, it has large influx of mountaineers from all parts of the world. The village people, as stake holders in biodiversity preservation of the Rathong Chu valley, where the village is situated, have played a significant role in trendsetting and promotion of eco-tourism in the area. The inhabitants of this village have most successfully adopted promotion of ecotourism not only in the region but also for other similar areas in Sikkim. Yuksom is thus considered a model village for eco-tourism.
Situated at an altitude of 5840 feet, the natural beauty of Yuksom, historically known to be the first capital of Sikkim, is serene, colourful, and inspiring – all at once. Perfect for meditative day-walks, it is also the trailhead for the Khangchendzonga Trek (Dzongri & Goecha La). However, apart from trekkers, Yuksom is yet to attract the large share of tourists who still prefer to soak in mountain views from the now over-crowded Pelling. In Yuksom, NGOs promoting eco-tourism guard the interests of villagers by helping them set-up and promote homestays, which not only serve as an additional income for the villagers but also give visitors an opportunity to live out an authentic village experience in Sikkim. Food served throughout the course of your stay is completely organic, with most ingredients growing in the front yard. Meals include local delicacies like momos, millet rotis, healthy leafy noodle soups, rice and traditional meat dishes. Don’t forget to try the ‘Chhaang’ – a kind of beer made of rice/ millet, which is a favorite with the Sikkimese across the state. Chhaang is offered in a tall bamboo container called Tongba, and is drank warm. Like most village houses, EZOM also has its share of farm animals – yaks, pigs, goats, chickens – you name it. And if you are ever in need of a cosy cuddle, Peechu the adorable house cat will be at your service.
Yuksom is a historical town in Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district in the Northeast Indian state of Sikkim. It was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 AD by Phuntsog Namgyal who was the first Chogyal (temporal and religious king) of Sikkim. The coronation site of the first monarch of Sikkim is known as the "Throne of Norbugang". Yuksom is where there is the Norbugang Chorten near the Norbugang throne, the place Namgyal was crowned and several monasteries and a lake. The dynastic rule of the Chogyals lasted for 333 years.
From Pelling, we continued towards Yuksam, where we were greeted by villagers singing merrily as they went about their day, birds chiming in, yak bells tinkling, and streams providing harmony. We feasted our eyes on one of the snow peaks poking out above the mist settling in on the green mountainsides. Quiet and peaceful. We were drawn in like moths to a flame and we spent the next 4 days visiting with locals at little tea shops, hiking through the countryside, and cooking our dinner. Trekking through the mountains around Yuksom is the main reason a few straggling travelers end up there. The arduous 10 day treks up to the snow mountains or Goecha Peak require permits, and thus are expensive ($30-50 day). Just picking a path and seeing where it leads is a rewarding alternative.