DISCOVERING THE MOUNTAINS-A TRIP TO SIKKIM

Sikkim is a small state in the northeastern part of India. It is probably one of the finest and neatest state of India. Sikkim is famous for its beautiful landscape, astonishing climatic conditions and its wide variety of flora and fauna.this place has very less population and has got the highest literacy rate among the Himalayan states. As the state is situated on the laps of the Himalayas, the climatic conditions of this state is snowy almost throughout the year.

I had my visit to this beautiful place on November 2019, until then I didn’t know Sikkim was a piece of heaven.i think this is place is one of the most underrated tourist destination in India as it is a little hard to reach there and its a place prone to landslides,so that travelling through the state is a bit difficult. At times you could see broken bridges and roads on your way due to landslides. Jeeps are the main vehicle used for travelling as they are good for off road journeys.Only expert drivers with permits are allowed to drive the jeeps.

    The main religion followed here is Buddhism and Hinduism. The official languages are Nepali, Sikkimese and Lepcha. The states main income is from tourism and agriculture. As i said earlier, Sikkim is a cleanest state;you cannot see garbage here and there on the streets. And the population is so much low than compared to other states of India

PLACES TO VISIT

We, a team of 32 members made our visit to this heavenly destination on 14 November 2018 for 12 days including the travel to there and back..this was our final year college trip.frankly speaking, this was some amazing days of my life. So here are some places we visited during this period.

GANGTOK

Gangtok

 Gangtok is the state capital,and the crowded and developed  place out of all the other places in Sikkim. Gangtok is famous for mg Marg,the only market in Sikkim. Mg Marg is Mahatma Gandhi Marg,is a street market with various local and international brands of almost all kinds of goods. I had  Rasmalai from here,the recipe of which i have had updated in this blog. Saloons here offer services at lower prices than compared to my state kerala. All other goods are priced fairly or at times higher.

MG Marg, the street market in sikkim.

It was nice walking through the street during nights,with little rain that added up an extra happy vibe.i shopped various gifts for my friends and family from Mg Marg.

Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir

Popularly known as Baba Mandir,is built in memory of a soldier named Harbhajan Singh.situated at high altitude and lies between Nathula and Jelepla pass. The history behind this temple s so interesting. Harbhajan singh was a soldier at the borders.once when a provision was going on he fell off from a mule to a down stream.later on,one of his colleague had a dream in which he saw Harbhajan Singh asking him to built a Mandir in memory of him.that is how this temple was built .As situated at high altitudes,this place is heavily influenced by heavy cold winds.

Tsomgo lake

Also known as Changu lake, is a magnificent lake situated in the state of surrounded by snowy mountains and glacial lake at winters this lake offers a beautiful treat for your eyes. its better to visit Tsomgo lake during windows so that you can experience the beauty of frozen lake.this lake also changes its colors according to seasons.

Lake Tsomgo,sikkim tourism

We touched snow for the first time from  a near by place to this lake. Everyone in the team was busy taking photos and updating their stories on Instagram and other social sites. Photographer buddies were too busy taking photos for their friends and others were busy posing and playing around.made balls out of snow and threw at each other,slided  and had so much fun with extreme excitement.after awhile the legs and hand were so cold and were burning so we decided to get into the respective jeeps. 

Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar lake, sikkim tourism

           Situated at 17,000 ft, gurudongmar lake owns the position for the second highest lake in the world.the lake surrounded by mountains offers a great panoramic view to the visitors. gurudongmar is considered as a sacred river by the locals.it is believed that one who takes up the water of this lake attains virility and strength.

   There is also an interesting story behind this lake too, that is,once when guru nanak ji visited the place gurudongmar,the villages told the guru that make this frozen lake a source of water during winters. Realizing the sufferings of the villagers,he decided to help them. As soon he touched the lake with his walking stick, the frozen lake defrosted and turned to a water source.

 Yumthang valley

a river in yumthang vallley, sikkim tourism

Yumthang is known as the valley of flowers. yumthang has got wide variety of flora, hot springs,rivers,meadows and yaks and other cattle gazing around. The valley is famous for rhododendron,the official flower of the state.around 26 varieties of rhododendron is found here.other flora found here are, opis, iris, primulas and pine trees. Yumthang valley turns to a meadow of rain bow during the spring seasons.the best time to visit here is during February to June.

yumthang valley, sikkim tourism

    Yumthang was my personal favorite spot from all other destinations at sikkim. This was such a beautiful places with so much of delights to the eyes. There were small cottages here and there, pine trees all around, tiny bushes, colorful flowers, and various beautiful flora.snow fallen on the leaves and flowers made the view much prettier. During off seasons the villages use this valley to graze their cattle.

yumthang valley,sikkim tourism

Kala patthar

We had our visit to this astonishing place by the end of the 12 days trip. Kala patthar was new destination that was being added during the trip to our itinerary. We came to know about this place from a group of travellers we happened to meet during the stay. The temperature is so much low at this place that people can withstand  staying so long there. We were extremely excited to visit this place and decided to head towards kala patthar the very next day itself.

kala patthar, sikkim tourism

 Kala patthar got this name as it has got roads through snowy mountains and balck cliffs. On reaching there,we took boots for rent and went up to the snowy mountains.we played all along ,made snowman,slided through the snow and took pretty much photos from there.our legs burning with cold after playing in  the snow,yeah you read it right,burning with cold! Nearby tea stallers helped us with hot water to pour over the frozen legs.that was so much relieving.we also had chais from the nearby tea stalls.the fun part is that extremely hot teas get cold within no time

kala patthar, sikkim tourism

  Many including me in our team got a sensation of wheezing while playing around and climbing up the snowy mountains.so as aprecautionary method you can keep inhalers with you.i also felt fatigue as i fell from while climbing up. Lol!

Lachen

lachen, sikkim tourism

Lachen is a place in the north sikkim.we had our stay here while heading to our destination yumthang valley. We experienced the maximum coldness here from out of all the places we visited.we were shivering like hell. This was the best stay we had during the whole trip.we had campfires, we cooked, we sang, we danced the whole night there. And finally went for a night walk .wow!!that was the best night and a day to remember for a life time.

THINGS TO CARRY:

  • ID proofs
  • passport size photo
  • thermal wears
  • sweaters
  • hand gloves, socks and caps
  • medications if you take any
  • shoes
  • dresses
  • moisturizers and lip balms
  • hand sanitisers and dry food items.

HOW TO REACH:

how to reach sikim

We were a team from kerala, and we traveled by train .it took about 3 days to reach Gangtok. we boarded from Tirur railway station to Chennai  railway station. It took about 16 hours to reach there. from Chennai the next destination was Kolkata, this was quite a long journey. The journey was one day long. We had an overnight stay at Kolkata and the next morning we took the train to new jalpaiguri and this took about ten hours to reach there.

We had spent three whole days in train, met new people,had different foods, the journey was all good. As we had 32 members in our team,we never felt the journey tiring or boring. We had kept cards and board games with us to play while on the train and also organized many other games with the other passengers in train. Those are some unforgettable memories.

 Travelling by train is a beautiful experience.but you should be very careful about your safety and luggage and robbery are common in trains. So must have an eye over all your things every time.

By Air:

The nearest airport is in Bagdogra,near siliguri in west Bengal from there you can reach the capital city of Sikkim by cabs and taxi services. Taxis and cabs are easily available at the airport for tourism purposes.

By Rail:

The nearest railway station to Gangtok is at new jalpaiguri,in siliguri district of west Bengal. from new jalpaiguri,taxis and cabs are easily available to Gangtok city.

By Helicopter:

 From the nearby airport Bagdogra , there is daily helicopter service to Gangtok that takes about 20 minutes to reach there. This journey will be tireless than compared to other means of transport but its expensive. You may also note that this service is subjected to weather conditions.

THE FOOD 

 Food is an important aspect while travelling. There are increased chances for food infection while journeys.so one must be very careful about having  food that is cooked up under hygienic conditions. If you are travelling by means of rail and roads its better to keep food items and water with you.you can have dry food items like nuts, biscuits and fruits to have during the journey. At times the food delivered from the train may not be always good and cause health problems. We had kept food with us and also delivered from train.nobody had a problem.but the food wasn’t tasty.

 

momos
noodles, major food in sikkim

The food that we had from Sikkim was mostly bread omelette, momos and noodles.we have tried out different kinds of momos, i think momos and noodles are the staple food of Sikkim. ha ha! ! we had the best momos from Siliguri, OMG they were the best i had till date. Sikkim is not a much populated place so that number of stores and hotels are very less here. All we can find are some small tea shops that serves only limited dishes likes bread and omelette, and noodles.you can also find a good number of beer and wine parlors there.the people here use them to beat the cold.

bread omelette, major food in sikim tea stalls,

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Sikkim is during November to April.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  • Take your ID proofs and passport size photos with you,these are required to complete paper works for permits.
  • Keep your tickets and other valuables safe with you
  • Be punctual at railway stations cause  if you miss the train, you must wait so long for the next train sometimes it takes about a day.
  • If you are willing to purchase from mg marg or any other shops please don’t get too late as the shops there closes by 7 or 8 pm in the evening.
  • Beware of the frauds. Don’t receive lifts or anything like food or drinks that strangers offer.
  • Keep enough cash for your requirements and other adventure activities.
  • Do not forget to take your daily medications and keep inhalers if you think necessary.
  • Do not over eat or have heavy foods that are too much heavy, try to avoid street foods that looks unhygienic while on long travels because your health is your wealth. 

Thank you for your time, if you haven’t visited Sikkim yet ,then have a visit to this heavenly place. Its a budget friendly spot with mesmerizing landscapes and thrilling activities.so happy journey folks!!

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