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Superb Sikkim, Humbling Himalayas, Stunning Lakes, Amazing Skies

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by VahanPujari, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 3 - 13th Nov'15...... Darjeeling to Pelling

    Time to say goodbye to Darjeeling.

    Scheduled to leave by 9 am, could leave only by 10 am for Pelling.

    Darjeeling to Pelling, there is a direct route thro' Jorethang. Nice scenic route. The weather was still clear.

    On the way from Darjeeling to Pelling....

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    Look at the clouds approaching Kanchenjungha....

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    Such were the roads.....

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    If we see a river, we have to get down....


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    --- Double Post Merged, Dec 12, 2015, Original Post Date: Dec 11, 2015 ---
    Day 3.....contd.......

    Reached Pelling at about 2.30 pm. Had Lunch and had a round in the village. The Hotel was a nice little hotel a bit away from the village. Had bonfire in the evening. And then we had one of the best experiences of the trip. The young guy of the hotel asked us that it's the last day of Diwali celebration and if we're ok, a group is coming to dance. We had no issues with it.

    After sometime, a group of young guys came in with 3 cartons of b***. There were acouple of families too in the group. They arranged a small Music system and the party started. After sometime, we also joined in and danced to the tune of Hindi & Nepali songs ! Hell of an experience it was. For almost 2 hours we enjoyed the party.

    Don't know how the pics are blurred. May be as it was dark and pics were captured on mobile or may be the lens got smudged due to gloves or whatever.

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    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
    ramjn, Raaz, Ravi_M and 4 others like this.
  2. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 4 - 14th Nov'15.....Pelling - Yuksom - Pelling

    The schedule for the day was to leave Pelling early and complete the Pelling - Yuksom circuit (Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdengtse Ruins, Rimbi Waterfall, Rimbi Rock Garden, Khecheopalri lake, Kanchenjunga falls, Yuksom).

    The staple breakfast in Sikkim is Puti-Bhaji (Potato subji with gravy). We had it in Darjeeling hotel for 2 days and again in Pelling hotel. Since we love it, it actually was a blessing in disuise.

    We got a bit late and could leave by 10 am instead of scheduled 9 am. So, we decided that we'll cover the first 2 sights - Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdengtse Ruins - the next day while going to Gangtok.

    But before we left the hotel, we enjoyed the magnificent views of Kanchenjungha from our hotel room balcony at 8 am. Little did we know that it was the last view of Kanchenjungha for next 3-4 days, as the "innocent" clouds approaching Kanchenjungha that morning would envelop it so dearly not to leave it for coming 3-4 days!

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    Exactly in front of our hotel, there was this nice little wooden bench made by a store owner besides it.

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    Rimbi Water fall


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    A small temple with a big prayer bell at Khecheopalri lake



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    The Prayer flags

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    Khecheopalri lake
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  3. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Pelling to Yuksom route is also very scenic. It prompts you to stop every now and then !

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    The Coronation Throne Norbugang



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    While passing thro' Yuksom, saw thisplace with 10-12 huge prayer bells.
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    .....and then the Sikkimese food for lunch at our driver's place. He has a hotel at Yuksom.
    (Roti was asked specifically by us to be added, it generally is not part of the this Sikkimese lunch)
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  4. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 5 - 15th Nov'15..... Pelling to Gangtok

    The plan was start in the morning from Pelling, visit Pemayangtse Monastery & Rabdengtse Ruins enroute to Gangtok thro' Ravangla. Unfortunately, the weather was very very cloudy and there was no point to visit Rabdengtse Ruins as nothing was visible. The first stop was Pemayangtse Monastery.

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    We passed thro' Ravangla which is a beautiful hill station. We stopped at magnificent Buddha Park at Ravangla.

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  5. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 5.....contd......

    20151115-DSC_3235.jpg

    We decided to visit Rumtek Monastery enroute to Gangtok so that we don't have to come back again from Gangtok. Had delicious lunch / snacks at 5 pm in the Monastery cafeteria.


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    By the time we left Rumtek Monastery, it was 6.30 pm and dark. We reached Gangtok and checked in Club Mahindra after meeting our main contact for taxi at his office.

    Next day would be Gangtok Sight seeing and then a rest day at Gangtok (as our plan for Nathula-Zuluk got cancelled due to Nathula remaining closed on Mon-Tue.
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  6. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 6....Gangtok

    The List of tourist places Gangtok compiled during my readings is as below:

    HANUMAN TOK
    GANESH TOK
    TASHI VIEW POINT

    BAKTHANG FALLS
    DO DRUL CHORTEN
    M. G. MARG

    ROPEWAY
    SIKKIM HIMALAYAN ZOOLOGICAL PARK
    KHANGCHENDZONGA TOURIST PARK
    LINGDUM MONASTERY
    NEHRU BOTANICAL GARDEN
    ORCHID SANCTUARY
    ENCHEY MONASTERY
    BAN JHAKRI FALLS

    We omitted all sights except for the first six (in bold)

    HANUMAN TOK

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    Ganesh Tok

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    Tashi View Point: It usually offers a very good view of Kanchenjungha but since the weather was cloudy, there was nothing much to see.


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    Bakhtang Falls:


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    Do Drul Chorten

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    The beautiful M.G. Marg: Spit & Litter free zone

    Since we cut short the sights,we decided to finish it by 1.30 and go to M.G. Marg rather than visiting it on the next day as scheduled earlier. This makes the next day free at Club Mahindra where we can relax and also kids can enjoy games & activities.
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    Day 7....Gangtok

    Spent at the resort relaxing, taking lots of snaps, games, activities, Karaoke, rejuvenating as the fun starts from Day 8 onwards when we'll begin our journey to North Sikkim :) !!
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  7. PradeepM

    PradeepM Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    693
    Hyderabad
    Linea 1.3
    @VahanPujari, amazing writeup and pictures. Looking forward from the details from day 8 onwards :).
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  8. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,303
    Mumbai
    So, the First half of the serene, beautiful, magnificent West & Central Sikkim is over. It actually brought the excitement of the Second half which I was so eagerly waiting for - the North Sikkim & East Sikkim ! As I said the fun starts now - of challenging roads, huge rocks stumbled around the road, gorgeous mountains, snow, river, barren land, valleys, and above all the Amazing Skies.

    So, sit back, relax and enjoy this joy ride with me ! And please please please don't mind a flurry of pics if I end up post so !

    Day 8.....Gangtok to Lachen

    Our plan was to leave by 8 am with all the Inner Line Permits (ILP) secured by the taxi guy as the journey to Lachen is about 6 hours. However, the taxi guy got delayed due to paperwork first and traffic jam later. He ended up showing at resort at about 10.15 am. Then he had to tank up the fuel and it was almost 11.30 am by the time we left Gangtok city.

    My short notes (compiled from various sources) for that day read as below:

    Since we were late and Chopta valley is between Lachen & Gurudongmar Lake (next day) further ahead, we decided to postpone Chopta valley for next day while coming back from Gurudongmar.

    The young driver took us on the road to Lachen and since he was a man of very very (almost NIL) few words, and I wanted to make sure that we don't miss anything, I kept on asking about route, the via points and the sights as mentioned above. After 4-5 attempts, he finally said that he has just taken a different and faster route to Lachen which will skip a couple of the places I mentioned. I asked why not the original route and he said it's closed due to landslide. Somehow I was not content and kept on pestering him with questions after questions, finally he relented when I asked that there is only one route to Lachen, isn't it? (which was actually wrong). He said now we'll go with the original route only and turned back the vehicle. I double confirmed that we'll go only if it's safe. I usually do not like to deviate (unless it's absolute necessity) from a pre-decided route which would have been arrived at after lots of research beforehand.

    BTW, the vehicle for North Sikkim was our 1st preference Xylo. Since I missed to mention earlier vehicles, we had Innova for first 3 days -Darjeeling & till reaching Pelling, and then Bolero for Pelling-Yuksom-Pelling-Gangtok.

    Fortunately, it rained heavily the previous night and I assumed that since it rained, it would have taken away all the clouds which "gheraoed" us since 4 days. And it turned out to be true, it was relatively less cloudy.

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    It was only 4:58 pm and it was already dark, the sun already set.

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    We reached Lachen at about 6-6.30 pm and got into the hotel. It was dark with no soul in the street as chilly wind was blowing. Asked the hotel guy to immediately get the room heater. It was extremely cold. I checked and it was 2 degree C with the projection being 0 degree at 12 midnight and -3 degree C at 4 am. We all were shivering even though we had 3-4 layers of clothes on. The next morning we were required to leave at 3 am since it's always advisable to reach Gurudongmar early so as to leave from there before 11 am - 12 noon as after that strong chilly winds usually starts blowing there making it impossible to stay even for minutes. Had dinner and somehow managed to survive the night !
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  9. VahanPujari

    VahanPujari Staff Member Janitor

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    2,303
    Mumbai
    Day 9 - Lachen - Gurudongmar Lake - Lachung

    My research notes for this day read as below:

    I asked all the drivers till now in the tour if they had gone to Chola-mu. None had been there. Each one of them said that army doesn't allow to go there.

    Anyways, back to the chilling morning. Got up at 2.45 am and left at 3.30 - 3.45 am amidst the bone-chilling cold. It was -5 Degree C already ! It was turning out to be impossible to hold the phone to take snaps of the road as can be seen from below pics.

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    We had breakfast at Thangu at 6 am - hot bowl of Maggie and Tea ! By the time we came out, it was dawn and the awesome views ahead all around.

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    The water streams were frozen in the chilling cold!


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    Arrow straight road piercing the texure of the land & mountains....


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    Just ahead of the trail in the above last pic was the sight we won't forget in a long long time.




    .........contd......
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
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  10. Ravi_M

    Ravi_M Regolare

    Messages:
    323
    Indore
    Indore
    Linea 1.3
    Wow! You took us along all the way. I hope to go there some day!
    Did any of you face breathing issues?
    I am waiting for the picture of the multiple bend road!

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