Sikkim 2015 - A week in the lap of eastern himalayas


Hello dear Bcmtians,

This is my first post in the forum. I have been a silent reader of the forum for a long time now. Decided to become a member last year and thought of contributing to the forum. But was speechless after reading so many travelogues in this forum, the quality of writing and pictures here are truly amazing. Finally, made up my mind to write my own travelogue after my recent trip to Sikkim during the Durga puja this year.

My name is Aninda Kar and I live in a small town called Halisahar, about 50 kms from the heart of the city Kolkata. I am neither a good writer nor I am any good with photography. I just purchased my first digital camera (Nikon point and shoot) :) and have been learning on it.

I live in a joint family, with cousin brothers and sisters. During one of the many family get together, I initiated a plan for a family trip, everyone was excited and started giving their input about the locations for the trip. After a lot of discussion few locations were finalized namely, Puri, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Bhutan. And the time decided for the trip was to be during the Durga puja vacation. This was in the month of April and after this everyone got busy with their lives. In the month of June when it was time to book the tickets a few members opted out of the trip citing work pressure and other reasons. Finally it came down to 8 members of our family and the place decided was Sikkim.

After zeroing in on the location, I started creating an itinerary for the trip and the locations were selected after debate among the members. The trip was for a week and I started looking for hotels at our places of interest. As our trip was scheduled during the time of Durga puja and being a full season, we decided to book the hotels beforehand. One of our relative is posted at Gangtok and I called him to check up on the hotels. I got to know from him that he knows a person who himself drives his own car and arrange tours accordingly along with all the required permits. Then we got the contact number of that person and asked for a quote about our entire trip including hotels, permits, fuel etc. After numerous discussions the deal was struck and dates were fixed for the trip.

Trip Itinerary
The trip was to start on 17 Oct, 2015 and we were to come back to Kolkata on 25 Oct, 2015. We decided to visit the west, south and northern parts of Sikkim. And our itinerary was:

Day 1 (17th Oct)
Sealdah - New Jalpaiguri(NJP)

Depart for NJP station. We had booked our tickets for Uttarbanga Express from Sealdah to NJP. Nothing to report really (Ohhh! yes I had one cheese chicken sandwich from station counter :tonqe:). The train left right on time. We all settled in our berths then chatted for sometime. Then took out dinner from the tiffin boxes, ate our dinner and then retired for the night hoping for an exciting trip ahead for the next 6 days [-o<

Day 2 (18th Oct)
NJP - Pelling

Arrived at NJP station and left for Pelling. Met our tour manager/driver/tour guide Mr Mingma Bhutia for the first time. He drives a Xylo and I must say he is a very good driver. And he is ever smiling and doesn’t get irritated on requests for stopping the car for photo breaks.

Our rath and sarathi: Mingma Bhutia with his Xylo
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Some snaps I took after crossing Sevoke
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The roads from NJP to Sevoke is in very good condition with a few rough patches. But the route from Melli to Pelling, is in very bad condition as road work is going on. The journey was bone jarring. The roads were so bad that some of the members fell sick :vom:. And we had to take frequent breaks. It took almost 9 hours for us to reach our hotel in upper Pelling from NJP. The hotel was already booked by Mr. Mingma Bhutia. The rooms were great and had a balcony facing the mountains, where one can get a clear view of the snow capped mountains on a clear day. It was an overcast day today. So, the mountains were not visible to us today. Hoping for a clear sky tomorrow [-o<

After having our late lunch I along with my cousins went for a stroll. We were walking aimlessly and suddenly heard hindi music blaring from a distance. When we reached the source of the music we found that some local people have organised Durga puja in Pelling :)
On walking some more, we reached the Pelling Helipad. It was mostly deserted with some locals roaming around. Some snaps from the helipad area [Please excuse the quality as it was taken from my humble mobile phone camera]


After spending a little more than an hour in the helipad area we came back to our hotel as it was getting dark. After returning to our hotel we ordered for some onion pakoras. We charted our next day sightseeing plans munching on the awesome pakoras and muri. After that at 8:30 pm we opted to have our dinner and then bid an early goodnight. Well hoping for a clear morning tomorrow so that we get a glimpse of the magnificent Kanchenjunga.

To be continued...


Subscribed. Nice TR in making. As a first timer, I must say that your pic came out nicely. Your frame selection is near perfect. Carry on, please and we are enjoying!


Day 3 (19th Oct)
After having been in the car for close to 9.5 hours, last day was a very tiring day. And needless to say I had a very sound sleep. Woke up early in the morning because of the alarm set in my mobile phone. I had set the alarm for 5:00 am just to get a glimpse of the snow capped mountains. Considering yesterday was a clouded day, came to the balcony with hopes of a clear sky and this is what I got to see:

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I went back to my room and woke everybody up. Everyone rushed to the balcony to get a glimpse of the amazing views.

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After that everyone went about their morning routine and we all got ready for the sightseeing plans for today. Everyone was excited as this was the official start of our Sikkim tour \\:D/. With a call from our driver, we all came out of the hotel and got into the car. The driver said a little prayer and then started the car. First up was Singshore Bridge. It was about 20 kms from Pelling. It is supposedly the 2nd highest hanging gorge bridge in Asia.

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We spend around 45 minutes roaming around the bridge, taking photographs and selfies and all :D.

Next up was Changey Falls. It is situated at a height of about 300 meters, about 10 kms from Pelling. The water descends and disappears into the extensive greenery all around the waterfall and because of its whiteness, it appears like a great white line on the lush greenery around the mountains when viewed from far.

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There is a staircase winding down the side of the mountains, which takes you a little above although not on top of the waterfalls. But still you can get a good view of the Dentam village from the top and breathtaking view of the valley.

Next in line for exploration was the Rabdentse Ruins or the Ancient Capital of Sikkim. It is said to be the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim. Now, it lies in ruins. The Archaeological Survey of India is currently restoring and maintaining the site. The driver dropped us at the gate of the ancient palace. The way to the palace is paved in stones and it is in between some forest. At some places the road is really steep and for city dwellers like me that’s breathtaking, literally :D.

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After soaking in the views of the ancient capital, we moved to our next destination, Pemayangtse Monastery. But there, I guess some festival was going on and it was choc a bloc with people participating in the rituals. In the main hall, some rituals were going on. Photography was prohibited during the festival, so unfortunately I could not take any pictures there. But sound of the chants were very soothing to the ears. After the mini trekking expedition in the Rabdentse Ruins, we were relaxing, sitting on the benches in the monastery and soaking in the atmosphere. Slowly hunger overpowered us and as it was already noon, we moved towards our hotel where our lunch was beckoning. So, that ends the trip for the day. In the afternoon we went for a walk in the lower Pelling, ate some delicious thukpa and momo, to our heart's content. Today is our last day in Pelling. Ravangla here we come.

To be continued...

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