BANGALORE --✈-- BAGDOGRA---🚙---GANGTOK
Today I had my flight to Bagdogra from Bangalore. All about today was the journey from Bagdogra to Gangtok. You get to see the scenic and picturesque views of the nature. You get to see the nature in it's best form. But the only draw back for this journey is TRAFFIC . You got to have a lot of patience to get through this. These hill stations are getting crowded and the traffic is increasing due to low maintenance and more people. But I don't regret this at all because I got see the nature in it's best form, and I got to click some great pictures. I ended my day by checking into my hotel, 'Dew Pond'. Well for your information about the hotel, if you are a vegetarian the food you get here is really very good but for non vegetarians have to adjust. But other than that it was a neat and cozy place to stay.
GANGTOK LOCAL SIGHTSEEING
Today I visited the most amazing flower exhibition of gangtok where you can see different varieties of Himalayan flowers. Believe it or not it is just a treat for your eyes. It is just so colorful. You can also wear the local traditional dress of sikkhim and take good pictures with it.
Later I went to
NAMGYAL INSTITUTE OF TIBETOLOGY. Here you can learn about the rich heritage of the Tibetan cultural area at Namgyal institute of tibetology. The research organization holds a museum of Tibetan art and culture, as well as the largest library of relevant works, outside of Tibet, some of them hundreds of years old. Inspect a wealth of artifacts in the museum,including ritual objects used in tantric buddhism, paintings and manuscripts. Be sure to look at the souvenir shop for books, artifacts or jewelry to take home with you. You need to visit it to see what is there in it because no photography allowed but it is worth going.
Next I visited the DO DRUL CHORTEN MONASTERY, which is a five minute walk from Namgyal institute of tibetology. In do drul chorten you can admire the golden top of do drul chorten visible from many far away spots in gangtok, built by Turlshik rinpoche (a celebrated lama of the nyingma order of Tibetan buddhism) In 1945 the stupa drove away the haunted evil spirits that were believed to rule the area, read mantras inscribed on the 108 prayer wheels while turning them clockwise. Inside the stupa find a complete set of holy books, Buddhist drums and other relics. The stupa welcomes anyone to pray inside and charges no admission fee although it graciously accepts donations.
Then I visited BHAKTANG WATERFALLS This is a wonderful waterfall located on the North Sikkim Highway towards Tashi View Point and about 3kms from Gangtok town. While visiting Tashi View point or returning, it's worth stopping at this roadside waterfall for sometime. While the height of the fall isn't much, it's the width of the fall that makes it so beautiful. The source of the water is at Ratey Chu. The flowing water falls over a canopy of green creepers. It's a wonderful sight to take pictures.
Next I went to MG MARG which is a famous place for shopping in Gangtok, I had my lunch here and I headed to RUMTEK MONASTERY the roads to reach Rumtek monastery is just so adventurous but dangerous too, you can hire a private taxi to reach here but for a biker its is a great adventure.
Rumtek monastery standing at 1500 mts above the sea level, Rumtek monastery remains a cultural and spiritual high point shrouded with mystery. Built in the 16th century the monastery exudes, a sense of antiquity, while the colorful and highly ornate architecture enchants at every turn. See the 4m high golden stupa bejeweled with ancient turquoise and coral and decorated with filigree and metal work. Feel the peaceful energy wrapping around your body, mind and soul, as you make a wish at the prayer wheels. While at the monastery, visit the nalanda institute, a college for the Buddhist monks.
I wrapped my day up having the delicious dinner at my hotel and I ended my day with a sense of spirituality.
This place was the highlight of my day as it was the highest point I.e 14150 ft above the sea level .
It is a holy place high up in the mountains, Baba harbajan singh mandir. Built to honor a 27 year soldier who died while posted close to the indo China border. Singh's death has remained a subject of myth and spiritual belief. The official version suggests that he was killed during a skirmish on a mountain pass between Tibet and sikkhim, others state that he perished in a glacier. Legend has it that he visited one of his friend in a dream and asked him to build a shrine here in his memory. The shrine has become a moving tribute and a place of pilgrimage particularly for service personnel.
People say that he still helps the soilders giving clues of any danger and its is also said that they iron his clothes everyday and keep and by the end of the day his clothes will be crumpled as if the clothes are used and his shoes will become muddy by the end of the day. They also say that one who drinks water from here will be cured of any ailment.
This was the next destination was changu lake a.k.a tsomgo lake. But before this I got to play with the little snow which was there but if you want to see more visit this place in the month of October or November.
Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and picturesque scenery of changu lake a.k.a tsomgo lake, a sacred body of water nestled at 3153m in the Himalayan mountains. Take a drive up from Gangtok to the lake area, and admire the scenic surroundings along the way, or enjoy a ride around the lake on a colorfully decorated yak. In summer and fall you'll encounter colorful alpine flowers such as rhododendrons and the primulas, around the azure, oval lake. While in the winter you will find the lake frozen and the area covered in snow. To visit you'll need to obtain a permit from tourist information center.
These are the only places I could visit today because of traffic and the Long distance drive.
I ended my day with a nice dinner
OFF TO DARJEELING
today I headed to Darjeeling which is the queen of hills it has got the picturesque view and here the main attraction is tiger hills from there you can witness the kanchanjunga mountain ranges.
It was a 6 hour drive from Gangtok to darjeeling though I started my day early I reached late because the main reason is traffic. Yet I could explore the the local cuisine and local shops here. The famous shopping place here is the CHOWRASTA you can find many items like shawls,Tibetan handicrafts,prayer flags, prayer wheels,turquoise, etc. You can also try momos and thukpa these are the local delicacies available here.
I ended my day checking into my hotel mount Himalayan resort. It was a nice and cozy place and it had that Himalayan feeling with it.
At Tiger Hills, experience the panaromic view of some of the highest peaks in the Himalayas. You can reach the summit either by foot 11kms from the town of Darjeeling or by jeep. With a straight line distance of 172kms. You can actually see the world's roof top Everest from the site, even though the 5m highest peak "makalu" appears higher here because of the curvature of the Earth. Observe the vast mountains, landscapes around you and the rivers which meander to the south. Visit the wildlife sanctuary visited close to the summit. Remember to bring your hiking boots and warm clothing for this venture. The best month to visit here is October or November because the views will be mind blowing.
Internationally recognised for successfully breeding Tibetan wolves, red Pandas and snow leopards. This zoo is specialised in in providing habitats for wildlife naturally adapted to Alpine conditions. Take time to learn about the indigenous creatures of eastern Himalayas by observing a vast collections of mammals , Birds and reptiles. The zoo shop sells items produced by members of the the local community. Plastic bottles are are not allowed inside the zoo but, drinking water and refreshment stands are are provided on site.
Learn the history of humankind efforts to conquer the rooftop of the world at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Established one year after the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 the institute allows visitors to expand their knowledge about all the documentd attempts to reach the world's tallest summit. Acquire information about the development of climbing Tools and techniques and take up comprehensive Mountaineering courses.
Considered one of the highest tea factories in the world happy Valley tea estates of a chance to witness the the intricate process of tea production. In 1845 Englishman David Wilson established the state which spreads over 177 hectares at the height of 2100m after a narrow steep Downhill trail you will spot the factory with its slightly tilted tin roofs surrounded by tea gardens, all over the slopes. Hire a guide to fully grasp the estate's history and economic purpose and afterwards visit the well provisioned tea shops and purchase gift and souvenirs.
The tea produced by happy valley tea estate is only 5% sold in India rest all are exported. Well if you ask my suggestion white tea Is the best to buy here.
I came to Batasia loop in a toy train. In the toy train you can spend 45min of your life valuably as it is worth going. You get to click pictures of the best scenery of darjeeling. The train will give a 10min stop at the Batasia loop, there you can see the mountain ranges of kanchanjunga with a help of a binocular provided there, and you can also click some good pictures. In the toy train you can go in 2 ways or get down in ghum station visit the Ghoom monastery.
Next I visited Ghoom monastery one of the oldest Buddhist temple in the Darjeeling area ghoom monastery stands at an elevation of 2226m and remains popular pilgrimage site famous for its colourful 5 metre highest statue of Maitreya Buddha made of clay brought from Tibet. This mid 19th century monastery belongs to the Gelupa or the yellow hat sect Buddhists. Rotating drums provide entertainment for visiting children, snacks and souvenirs are sold inside the monastery.
Peace pagoda, Darjeeling or Darjeeling peace pagoda is one of the peace pagoda designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds to help unite them in their search for world peace. It is located in the town of Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. Like most of the other Peace Pagodas, it was built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujji(1885–1985), a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order.
The foundation stone of the pagoda was laid on 3 November 1972 by Nichidatsu Fujii, and was inaugurated on 1 November 1992. The pagoda was designed by M. Ohka, and it took 36 months for constructing it. It houses the four avatars of Buddha including Maitreya Buddha. The height of the pagoda is 28.5 metres (94 ft) and diameter is 23 metres (75 ft).The Pagoda is situated on the slopes of the Jalapahar hills of Darjeeling, a few kilometres from the town of Darjeeling
They will conduct a prayer session there and it is just so rejuvenating. You can also click good pictures here and the main motive of this monastery is "aahimsa paramo Dharma".
I ended my day after this by shopping in the Chowrasta again and having a nice dinner at my resort
Today was my last day today I travelled from darjeeling to Bagdogra airport and it was a nice journey from there later I boarded my flight and arrived to Bangalore.
This was a magical journey I could see lot of changes within me after this journey. Well my last words about this trip is " you don't need magic to disappear but you need a destination"
If you ever want to learn what is beyond yourself just TRAVEL it will enrich your knowledge.
The one thing I want to appreciate about these places are the taxi drivers, in those narrow roads they are so coordinated and understanding unlike in cities, and the people over there are super friendly only if you are good to them, well they live by the philosophy "respect me 10% and I'll respect you 100%.
POPULATION: 6.19 Lakhs
DANCE FORMS: Mask dance,Singhi chaam and Yak Chaam.
TRIBES: The Lepchas, The Bhutias ( Tibetan origin) and the Nepalese.
LANGUAGE: Nepali,and 11 other official languages
RELIGION: Buddhism and Hinduism.
ORIGIN OF THE NAME : The original theory of the name Sikkhim is that it is a combination of two Limbu words " su" which means "new" and "khym" which means "palace" or "house".
CUISINE : Maize and rice is the staple food if sikkhim.Dal Bhat, Dhinda, Gya thuk or Thukpa momo,Phagshapa, Gundruk, Sinki sel roti, momos.
FESTIVALS: Sonam Lasoong ( new year festival), Thihaar is a festival which is some what like Deepawali.
DRESS: There are different styles according to which men and women of sikkhim wear the traditional attire , for instance men wear Bhaku with a pair of loose trousers, fastened with leather belt. Where as women belt this outfit over a silk blouse which is full sleeved ethnic wear known as Honju. This dress is known as Kho in sikkhimese and Bakhu in Nepal. Married woman tie a extra layer of cloth on their waist.
Where as in Darjeeling tea pickers dress is famous
SOUVENIRS: Prayer flags, Thangka paintings, singing bowls,prayer wheels, dorgee bell and thunder bolt, sikkimese dress,jewelry, masks, momo maker, sikkhim and darjeeling tea,Damru,sikkhimese cups,semi precious stones,silver jewelry, shawls and other local handicrafts.
#MUSTDO'S : Visit the picturesque roads of zuluk, visit charming monasteries, see the wild side of sikkhim, go rafting T teetsa aat teetsa river ,ride a yak, have a delight full cable car ride,go for paragliding, visit Yumthang valley, dip in yumthang hot springs, embark on the Goencha La trek.
I will be back with more of my travel and adventure blogs so till then keep travelling and be adventurous.
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