These days runaway designed things are in and so aligned to this I went for a runaway trip. I had many trips but this was of its own kind. No planning, no destination decided just wanted a break. My last trip planned cancelled due to some unexpected medical issue in my family and that led me to take this adverse step. Last moment packing and a day car preparation was all. The start was similar just the Christmas leaves were punched with weekends.
Leaving Home ...
Day 0 and Day 1(Kolkata -> Siliguri -> Jorethang -> Zoom -> Kaluk -> Rinchenpong):
Near Airport .. Waiting in heavy traffic
Somewhere at SH7
The night travel was a regular one but early morning drive was something that has to be mentioned. Beyond Raiganj at point Bolero penetrated through the zero visibility fog like a light beam of sun penetrating the atmosphere. From here onwards, the play of thief and police started between bolero and Volvo. The kolkata-siliguri Royal cruiser sometimes is ahead of me and when it took break, I led it. On the Botolbari road I beat its projector which chased me for a while. The truck line was a small hurdle for me but a big one for that huge machine rendering it to slow down. Beyond the truck jam, once again the blue giant ran faster than we did. The fog was of no filter for it but I was barely able to see through it at an arm's distance also.
Drive Through Fog Botolbari Road
This run away lasted until Islampur where we lost the blue giant and move towards Rinchenpong via siliguri -> Jorethang -> Zoom. On the way, we took a break at Jorethang for late lunch and called hotels at Rinchenpong to ensure our stay for the day.
last Few KM of Botolbari Road at Early Morning.
After Crossing Islampur .. Moving towards Bagdogra
Near Bagdogra .. Still the visibility is very poor.
On the way to Jorethang
On the way to Jorethang
Journey from Siliguri to Rinchenpong
Reached Rinchenpong via Zoom and Kaluk
Sitting at the hotel room over dinner the topic of discussion was the next day itinerary. Where to go what to do? My friend was least interested for any outing but I cannot stay in a room for the whole day.
Day 2(Rinchenpong –> Dentam -> Pelling -> Uttarey -> Chaaya Taal -> Rinchenpong):
Lazy cloudy morning, somehow I got out of bed. Soon got dressed and accompanied by my wife and brother-in-law set forth because once a nomad is always a nomad. The hotel staffs were not much enthusiastic while talking about the local site seeing though this did not affect us much.
Some near by places at Rinchenpong..
Rabindra Smriti Van. Near our Hotel at Rinchenpong
Way to Rabindra Smriti Van.
Some random snaps at nearby monastery
Started driving towards Dentam and enjoyed beautiful valleys on right side. There was no hurry at all, so very slowly we reached Dentam and then decided to move forward as we had nothing in our plans. There are some famous tourist point on this route to Pelling but to me the most uncommon places looks much more beautiful then any specific tourist location. I will share some pictures of different famous points, which may help you to plan your trip. Soon we reached Pelling and planned to have some thuppa before going to Rabdentse and Pemayangtse Monastery.
Some water park near Hee
Cultivation near Dentam
Waterfalls on the way
It was a pleasure to meet Miss Ruby at breakfast at her restaurant near Pelling. She was a Lady of great interest as she was spreading the cognizance of the importance and significance of her place among Indians as well as foreign tourists. She had been involved in photography, documentary films and even on the verge of publishing a book of her own. Miss Ruby urged to promote her religion of humanism, which has not yet come to the lime light. I will definitely be in her touch for my next itinerary to Sikkim.
Miss Ruby and Her Shop cum Home at Pelling
To be continued ...
The gateway to Pemayangtse Monastery was just a few miles from the restaurant beyond the bakery. Before the monastery, we went straight to the Rabdenste ruins, which is the only place of archeological interest in Sikkim. It was cloudy so we were not lucky enough to view Kangchenjunga from there (Kangchenjunga view is beautiful from this ruin).
Paid homage to this place and came down to Pelling again and then planned to go back towards Kaluk. Just before Dentam we took a break to play Carrom in a tea shop. At that place with a cup of tea in my hand, I saw the Dentam valley appeared like the shape of our country, beautiful!
India map like valley
Sikkim has started charging parking and entry fees to earn from tourism. Somehow, I did not like it. The next point was the 2nd highest bridge in Asia, Singshore Bridge which was very crowded due to 25th December, but the piece was really amazing to have a look at. The last one out of the main route was Chaaya Tal and Hee-Patal. I drove quite a long distance in search of it though it was not worth that. While returning it was dusk. The artificial lake was not of much appreciation but having a picnic can be a good idea there (Hahaha). I had no idea that I have driven more than 120kms in this day.
Santanu Da (BHOOTER RAJA in BCM Touring) suggested us to stay at Okhrey if possible. Next Morning from Rinchenpong we started driving toward Serong and then reached Okhrey by 10:00 AM. It was a lucky day and just at the onset of Okhrey we met Mr. Cer Sherpa, the owner of a home-stay where we stayed. Well maintained lawn to sit and a beautiful view all around. We were in a dilemma of shall we go to Barsey (Varsey) or stay here only enjoying the afternoon. This is not a season of Rhododendrons so at Barsey there will be nothing special to see but then there was nothing to do for the day also. Ultimately, the owner of the Okhrey hotel made a wise suggestion as he told us to drive to Hilley relish the view and the weather and then come back.
My friend as usual was not willing to walk a mile, how can he trek for 4.5 kms? When we reached Hilley, at the entrance gate the jungle seemed to beckon us and so we were desperate to check it out. The forest officer handed us the entry ticket, I equipped my brother-in-law with the walky-talky, and another piece was with my friend sitting in the car. Dense forest appeared to be adventurous and it was humid and dingy. Just beyond 1 km, it started raining but on having a closer look, I was amazed to see the pearls of snow.
Journey continued ...
On the onset of the snowfall, I called up my friend and once he was sure that the roads were not tedious, he wished to join us. We waited for him at a resting point after 2 km of trek. When we met him, the adventure of the jungle was visible on his face. Soon the place covered in snow and we became a bit playful. Here at the resting point, we met people coming back and conveyed us that they were the last among the group who were not going to put up at Guras Kunj. They said that there is provision for food there.
At the top, Guras Kunj was built on a large flat area. The snow-clad land was more prominent here because we could view a wider area. For lunch, there was noodles and limited egg available. Sudden snowfall has hindered the delivery of food materials from Hilley to Barsey. Fed with noodles and omelets, I was all set to walk downhill.
At Guras Kunj
Downhill was slippery because the snowfall has stopped and it has started melting. The water on the hardened ice gave yield to the applied pressure. When I reached near my car, I was overwhelmed to see ice on the head of my car.