Saturday, 31 December 2016

Sikkim Travel ~ Summing Up



As with all other log trip blogs, I dare not break the rule so here's the final summing up of our Sikkim trip.

Day1 -     Night train(Darjeeling Mail) from Sealdah.

Day2 -     Reach NJP in the morning. Head for Pelling.
                Reach Pelling in evening. Rest for the remaining day.
                Night Halt
Blog Post - http://thetravellerweare.blogspot.in/2016/11/prologue-sikkim-diaries-1.html

Day3  -    Full day sightseeing

                Places covered:
                Kanchendzonga Falls
                Rimbi Waterfall
                Darap Village
                Khecheopalri Lake
                Pemayangtse Monastery
                Rabdanse Ruins
                Changey Waterfall
                Dentam Valley
                Singshore Bridge

                Night Halt
Blog Post - http://thetravellerweare.blogspot.in/2016/11/pelling-sikkim-diaries-2.html
         
Day4 -     Head for Gangtok
                Night Halt

Day5 -     Embark on a 2 nights/3 days North Sikkim trip.
                Because of road blockade, could visit only Lachung
                Night Halt at Lachung
Blog Post - http://thetravellerweare.blogspot.in/2016/11/lachung-sikkim-diaries-3.html

Day6 -     Visit Yumthang Valley and Zero Point
                 Night halt at Lachung

Day7 -      Visit Katao
                  Head back to Gangtok
                  Night Halt
Blog Post - http://thetravellerweare.blogspot.in/2016/12/katao-sikkim-diaries-4.html

Day8 -       Rest day/Relaxing, eating,shopping in MG Marg, Gangtok
                  Night Halt

Day9 -        Visiting Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir
                    Night Halt at Gangtok
Blog Post - http://thetravellerweare.blogspot.in/2016/12/lake-tsomgo-and-baba-mandir-sikkim.html


Day10 -       Head for NJP. Board train to Sealdah
                   Night in train

Day11 -       Arrive at Sealdah, Kolkata


Some glimpses of Sikkim

Kanchenzdonga waterfalls

Pelling

Wishing lake

Zero point

Zero point

waterfalls

Lachung

Lachung

Lachung

Lachung

Katao

Lachung

Lachung

Lachung

Lachung

Katao

Changu Lake

Changu Lake

Changu Lake

Changu Lake

Gangtok

Kupup

Lake Tsomgo and Baba Mandir, Sikkim Diaries - 5



Last two and half days we kept aside for Gangtok. We kept an entire day just to take rest. The journey to North Sikkim was pretty hectic although we had a good car with us. Our plan was to utilize the first day exploring Gangtok, more precisely MG Marg on foot,savoring local cuisines, visiting the curio shops while making sure that we have adequate rest.We had no plans for the local sight seeing.

We stayed at Jain Group Hotel Royal Residency, situated very close to MG Road. The hotel is new, very nicely done and on top of that one can get very clear view of Mt Kanchendzonga.

In the evening we walked to MG Marg. In every aspect MG Marg and its adjoining localities look like any small European city. The city is very clean,vibrant and youthful. The footpaths are broader than the car lanes and are nicely paved with stone bricks. There are benches to take rest on the sideways. Colourful blooms can also be found on the road dividers. I spend some time relaxing on the benches watching people. Average people are so well dressed and groomed and have fashion quotient much higher than Indian city dwellers elsewhere.

MG Marg

MG Marg


We tasted momos, local cakes, chocolate coffee,thuppa, roles and on an average the food tastes food in any eatery on MG Road. There were some makeshift stalls on the pavement on MG Road and the food they had was not that impressive.

We witnessed some Sikkimese cultural program going on in MG Marg. There was thousands of other tourists cheering the performers. Its always a good idea to carry umbrella or raincoat if you are in Gangtok during September/October because the evening showers come all of a sudden.

The next day we booked a xylo for a day trip to Tsomgo Lake and  Baba Mandir. We skipped Nathula since we felt that the weather was not good for Nathula.

Our hotel arranged the necessary permits and by 8 AM we were on the roads. We crossed the check point to Tsomgo pretty soon. I think tourist vehicles are not allowed to take the route to Tsomgo Lake after 10 am.

Our driver drove slow but steady since it was dense fog in the morning with very poor visibility.First we reached Tsomgo Lake also called Changu Lake by Bengalis. Located at an elevation of 3,753 m, the lake is considered sacred by Buddhists.

Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo Lake

Directions


There was one small shop by the side of the lake renting Sikkimse costume. We rented some and took a few pictures in them. Also there were gigantic yaks. They were adorned with colorful costumes and were available for ride.However I just had the courage to take a few photos with them but not more than that.

Us @ Changu Lake

Me in a Sikkimese dress with Ankur @ Changu Lake

 Changu Lake

Yak @ Changu Lake

At Changu Lake

At Changu Lake

Changu Lake


Next we went to Baba Mandir. The Baba Mandir is a temple where hundreds of tourists and army personnel come every day to pay their respect to one of their own.

Excerpts from wiki:

Major "Baba" Harbhajan Singh (August 30, 1946 – October 4, 1968) was an Indian army soldier who died in 1968 near the Nathu La in eastern Sikkim, India. He is revered by soldiers of the Indian army as the "Hero of Nathula" and the army men have also built a shrine in his honour. He has been accorded the status of saint by believers who refer to him as the Baba (saintly father). Many of the faithful people, chiefly Indian army personnel posted in and around the Nathula Pass and the Sino-Indian border between the state of Sikkim and Chinese occupied Tibet have come to believe his spirit protects every soldier in the inhospitable high altitude terrain of the Eastern Himalayas. As with most saints, the Baba is said to also grant favours presumably to those who revere and worship him.

At Baba Mandir

At Baba Mandir

At Baba Mandir

At Baba Mandir

Cafeteria at Baba Mandir

At Baba Mandir

At Baba Mandir


On the way back we stopped by the beautiful Kupup Lake. There is also a museum near to Kupup lake. The road from Tsomgo actually goes till Zuluk in east Sikkim. The road is extra ordinarily beautiful, but to go till Zuluk one should have the necessary permits. However this time Zuluk was not in our itinerary, so we went back to Gangtok.

Kupup Lake

Kupup Lake

wild flowers at Kupup

Us at Kupup Lake

@Kupup Lake

@Kupup Lake

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Katao, Sikkim Diaries - 4

Ready for the trip..Do not miss the mountains at the back

A bright sunny day

Our trip to Zero Point was so overwhelmingly satisfying and frankly speaking the beauty of the path increases ten fold once we crossed Yumthang Valley and proceeded towards Zero Point. So when our driver popped the question whether we would like to visit Katao for extra bucks, it was an instant 'yes'. I had done my research and my initial plan was to drop Katao, but overwhelmed by Zero Point's beauty we decided to go to Katao.

So the next day we started around 9 am. It was drizzling in the morning, something very common in hilly areas. We crossed over to the other side of the Teesta river and started our ascend uphill. After covering some distance our driver stopped the car, from where we could get a bird's eye view of Lachung. 


Our first view point from where we got a bird's eyeview of Lachung

Lachung from above


Village women in their traditional attire

some wild mushrooms

Always some time for posing

Next we stopped at a waterfalls on the way. This waterfalls flows down and finally joins Teesta.

Some wild flower

The road with a part of the falls

Katao waterfalls
Us

wild flowers on the way


Next we reached Katao. The place is heavily guarded by the army since this is one of the last frontier of India in Sikkim. On the other side of the mountain is China. We could see Mt Katao, its caps covered in ice and glistering in the clear sunlight.

The all the year round snow covered peaks

The way back was nothing very significant and was pretty fast. The road condition from Lachung to Katao is also good.

final verdict: As per my opinion Katao is nice though not outstanding or nowhere compared to Zero Point in Lachung. This place can be skipped if needed.

To include Katao in the itinerary, driver will charge extra and that can be anywhere between 1500-3000 bucks.





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