The Land of Yetis, and Monals, and ….. Beauty

mousourik

Who Am I
Our travel basket was not yet full – we were to see another wonder of Zuluk – the famous loops of Ganak. Shankar stopped the car after some time and the meandering loops unfolded below.

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It was difficult to understand whether the roads were going down or up. We had come along this road at break-neck speed in the morning to watch sunrise! Little did we realize the nature of that road at that time.

We could even see the Green cottage far below. And don’t forget the Kanchenjunga – he could be seen overwhelmingly on the right.

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Back in the cottage there was no power, although hot water was always available as a solar panel was installed here by WWF.

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Now we're at Zuluk, looking high at the mountains where the zigzag road was there

It was a really long journey and we badly needed some rest. In the afternoon, there was a strong light in the window panes. I was a bit surprised, as there was still no power. So I went outside to find out that the light came from the setting sun. We didn’t know that Zuluk is famous for sunsets also. The sky was full of colours.

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This memorable day couldn’t have ended on a better note. The bukhari was lit inside the room.

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It was now time for contemplation.

A note of caution here. We experienced altitude sickness at Kupup, even at Tsangu lake. My wife had headache, she was walking very slowly at Tsangu. I felt a little out of breath at Kupup while taking photos of the Memen Chho lake. Zuluk was at a much lower altitude, so nothing happened here. Nowhere we had read that this might occur here – so we didn’t take any precaution. But when we were discussing it with the people in the cottage, they at once identified the cause.

We didn’t see any Yeti here, although the local people believe that they are present there. Red pandas can be found deep inside the jungles – WWF has confirmed it. We didn’t see monals either, but some tourists had spotted them a day ago. But we were not disappointed. We saw beauty everywhere – more than what we had actually expected. The entire region is the creation of a perfectionist – it’s a masterpiece. We are so blessed that the beauty was unveiled before us.
 
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bora

Active Member
Wow! Wonderful pictures and amazing story. Never realized about this beautiful place! So, Siliguri to Siliguri, how many days do you fathom, on a self driven vehicle?

If possible, do post contact details of Goplaji et al and route map.

Thank you so much for sharing!
 

mousourik

Who Am I
Visibility was good at night and Goplaji showed us the illuminated Darjeeling hills and other parts of Sikkim. However the sky was overcast in the morning and it was raining little bit, which continued for the next couple of days. It was time to bid adieu to heavenly Zuluk and start for earthly Aritar.

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The ladies who used to cook food for us, in traditional dress​

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Good bye, Zuluk​

Our journey began in Shankar’s car, along the same route through which we came.

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The road from Zuluk to Padamchen is very scenic, with conical trees on both sides of the road​

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Bridge over Rongli khola​
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Day 6 : Aritar

There is a diversion after Rongli that has gone to Aritar. The condition of the road is not good in some places, but it made the journey somewhat thrilling.

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We got down in front of hotel Aditya, wherefrom we had to take another car to reach Mankhim top as our hotel, Kanchenjunga Mirror, was located there. Now this stretch was really bad, full of large craters. When we reached the hotel, we were welcomed with khada. There are four rooms and three common toilets. Another floor is being constructed where rooms will have attached baths. It’s managed by a family, who are very friendly but lack in professionalism. We opted for chicken curry in lunch, but it was rotten. At night also, we had to be content with something different from what we had ordered for dinner.
There is a view point just above the hotel, which happens to be the highest point at Aritar. It offers a good panoramic view, all the peaks are visible if the sky is clear.

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View of Lampokhri Lake from Mankhim top, Aritar​

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Inside the temple at Mankhim top​

After lunch, we visited Lampokhri, the manmade lake for which Aritar is famous.

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The lake has lot of fish and ducks who will rush as soon as some tourists go near the water. Packets of puffed rice are sold in the shops for feeding them.

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Although boating is possible, we walked around the lake instead. On one side, there are large trees which gives it an eerie feeling.

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Then we visited the old PWD bungalow on Rhenock road.

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Aritar monastery was on the road towards our hotel, however we decided to give it a miss.

While sipping afternoon tea in the hotel’s lawn, we were looking at the Zuluk hills where we had been just the previous day. A beautiful rainbow over Darjeeling hills added colours to this somewhat pale day.

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mousourik

Who Am I
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The route we traversed​

I got up early – quite nonchalantly – to check whether any peak can be seen. The sky was cloudy and we had to imagine where the peaks might have been present.

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The sun rose, but the cloud cover didn’t lift. So we came down from the view point and got ready for onward journey.

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View of the Aritar Helipad

We took the Rhenock road and then moved towards Rongpo via Rorathang. There is a bridge over the Rongli khola at Rorathang. We took some snaps as it was very picturesque.

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On the way we saw the confluence of Rishi khola and Rongli khola. In fact, one can come to Rishi via Rongpo-Rorathang also, instead of Kalimpong-Pedong.
 
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