Hill Stations and Summer Vacations go hand in hand right? However, what does it feel like to walk through the hills in rains? Well, my recent journey to East Sikkim was a romantic bliss; well not between a couple but between the mountains and the rains. As I started leaving Bagdogra Airport towards Gangtok (East Sikkim), I was accompanied by River Teesta; the lifeline of Eastern Himalayas. As I moved up, the calm beauty of the River became wilder…
After passing through the changing landscape through Shevak, Kalimpong to Gangtok, I reached my hotel to rest and revive my energy for the next excitement. My first day journey was just an introduction to the lush green beauty of East Sikkim.
A Day Excursion To Baba Mandir & Changu Lake
My Day 2 was a journey to the famous East Sikkim tourist destinations to Baba Mandir and Changu Lake. But to me it was the journey that stood out more than the destinations. Yes, Baba Mandir is a tribute to ultimate place of holiness. The beautiful temple located at an height of approximately 13k feet will evoke your devotion.
Changu Lake, also known as Tsomgo Lake, at a height of approximately 12k feet was a sight to behold. To add the to the joy, you can enjoy some fun rides on beautifully decked up Yaks. Besides enjoying the deep blue waters of Changu Lake, you can also opt for boating at the Hangu Lake, located between the Baba Mandir and the Changu Lake. Encircled with the Great Himalayan Range, just sail forgetting all your worries.
Get prepared for the trip by packing some woolens as given in the below link-
Now coming to the road-experience, as my car went up and up and up through the rocky roads, I was welcomed by wild, free flowing waterfalls. While there are some significant ones worth mentioning like the Mandakini Waterfalls, all through the snaky trail, there are one or the other, small or large falls, gurgling down the hills.
As you travel to the top, there are several food stalls where you can enjoy steaming hot momos, maggi or local Sikkimese food with cups of hot tea and coffee. Trust me, how much and how expensive coffee or tea you might have in your whole life, sipping this simple cup of coffee or tea from the paper cup at this height, as the drizzles wet the roads, can be one of your best caffeine moments. In case you are not carrying enough warm clothes and start feeling the prick of cold, these stalls even have warm clothes that you can buy or even rent. If you want to go ready, you might checkout the below products.
Day 3 – A Cultural Tour To The Flower Exhibition Center, Do Drul Chorten & Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
If Day 2 was a treat to your eyes, today was a day to explore the Sikkimese culture. However on my way to the Flower Exhibition Center I found another spark of nature at the Bathan Waterfalls.
The Flower Exhibition Center was my next destination. Here I witnessed some of the best blooms from across the state. If you want to take a piece of these rare and beautiful blooms, you can get seeds, bulbs and pots from the center.
Exploring the culture of Sikkim is incomplete without a visit to the Do Drul Chorten. Roll the prayer wheels at this white-gold monastery just not to wish but to get the peace of mind.
In the same complex there is the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. This place exhibits the history, culture and characters of Buddhism. There is a small curio shop right outside the Institute where you can pickup some souvenirs. While expensive, the artefacts come with intricate carvings.
M G Marg- The Shopping Destination
Well, if you are a shopaholic like me, a visit to the M G Marg is a must. Lined with numerous shops selling warm clothes, showpieces and handicrafts, there is something for everyone. However, as per my personal experience, you must checkout few stores and do some bargaining before buying stuff to get the best deal. Personally I loved the pure rabbit wool sweaters, super soft and available in soothing pastel colors. The ceramic jugs, mugs and teapots showcase the Sikkimese culture through its colorful paintings.
Besides M G Marg, you can also visit Laal Bazaar for shopping.
While in the continuous rains, I could not witness the sunrise or the sunset, but I can surely say, this was a journey to have a true connection with the nature. While mine was a short trip to East Sikkim, there are multiple other tourist destinations to explore, like the Seven Sisters’ Waterfall, Himalayan Zoological Park, Tashi View Point and Nathank Valley, to name a few. So if you want to spend some memorable moments far from the maddening crowd, the hills of Sikkim is there to embrace you.
The most popular way to travel to East Sikkim is via West Bengal.
- You can get down at the New Jalpaiguri Station and hire a cab to Gangtok
- Board a bus and get down at the Siliguri bus stand and hire a cab to Gangtok
- Bagdogra Airport is the fastest way to reach North Bengal. From there you can again hire a cab to Gangtok