After the long 1st part now comes the 2nd part, I've no idea how long this one would be.
So after the adventurous trip from darjeeling we finally reached Gangtok. We checked into this hotel called Shonali international. A 3 bedroom suite costed us around 450 bucks..Now the 3 bedroom is not a room with 3 beds..But a bed which is large enough to accommodate 3 normal sized people...so our soham was obvious left over. He got a special bed. The worst part was there was water problem all over Gangtok. It was the 3rd day they were facing that problem. The hotel service people were kind enough to get water in buckets for us whenever we asked for. Another strange thing about Gangtok is that the city sleeps early. By 8:30pm all shops and hotels close down. We went out at 9pm and there were hardly any hotels. There was one hotel called Bayul which was open at that time with no customers in it. We were happy to find it open and went in and sat there. The lone server gave us a menu and asked what we would like to order. Whatever we asked for he said it wasn’t available..finally we asked him to get whatever he has.. for that he said he just had 2plate chicken and no rotis... we got pissed and left that hotel...and then went further..finally we found a hotel called Tashi Delek restaurant. This one is big and has an open air restro also. We got something there but it was not upto our satisfaction levels. By the way Tashi Delek is "Namaste" in Sikkimese.
While coming back to our hotel we took a taxi, thats when we met this person Dhava(Dhaba). He is a very active person. He told he would arrange for our Nathula and Lachung trip, initially we were a little sceptical about the guy so we didn’t pay him any money but later we realised that this guy is a gentle soul. Infact most of the Sikkimese people are very cordial. They respect the tourists because tourism is their daily bread and butter. So you can trust any Sikkimese person. The next day we left to Lachung which is around 150kms from Gangtok. The trip costed us 800 per head. This is because it's off peak season else it could go up till 2000.
The way to Lachung is one of the worst ghat roads I've ever seen. There were even quite a few of breathtaking moments while going. You see warnings about shooting stones and landslides. The road is narrow and it is a 2 way road. The driver of our cab was Mr. Dhrubha. He is one arrogant rash driver. He doesnt like following any vehicle..He will do anything to overtake that vehicle. So just imagine with all this it was one hell of a ride to Lachung.
The first stop was at “Seven sister falls”. Its called so cos the waterfall before touching the ground hits seven rocks and changes its course. We stayed for sometime and took some pics.
The waterfalls in background
Then we moved on to a place called Rang Rang, where we had our lunch in a hotel. We got nice dal and fish curry there. This food was also included in the package.
The next stop was some waterfalls I don’t remember the name, If some one knows the name of this waterfalls please to update me. We took some pics there, I almost broke my bones. I slipped on a rock but was lucky to get away with just some scratches. Then we moved on.
We were getting closer to the mountains covered with ice. It was getting colder and dark. We stopped at another water falls. This one is the scariest waterfall I've ever seen in whole of life time. It falls from a great height. The height of which is not mentioned anywhere. This waterfall is called Amitabh falls for the obvious reasons. The water there was so cold that I was shivering inspite of wearing 2 shirts and a jacket over that.
You can see me in the pic..
A full size photo of Amitabh falls
At around 6pm we finally reached Lachung where we checked into a small hotel. By then it was pitch dark over there and there were no street lights but still we decided to check out the village. We walked for quite a long distance, The following pic shows the wooden houses in the village.
Can you see a kid posing for the photo
The next day morning we left to the place called Yumthang, where you get to do skiing but to our disappointment the way to Yumthang was blocked because of an avalanche. So we stopped 7kms before Yumthang and played with ice over there. We were disappointed with the trip because we couldnt do the skiing which was the main reason for coming to the place.
We left to Gangtok that afternoon around 2pm. In the mid way there was some landslide and all the vehicles were stuck up on either side of the road. It took around 4hrs for the whole thing to clear up. The BRO came and cleared it using bull dozers and dynamites. We explored the hilly village in mean time.
Finally we reached Gangtok at around 9pm. By then our hero Dhava was ready with all processing for Nathula. Dear readers for Nathula you need to get permits done a day before and it’s better you get it from some travel agent. We checked into another hotel called Viewpoint hotel. This hotel costed us 550 per day and even in this theres one large bed and an extra bed. I chose the extra bed :). We then planned to go to casino but the hotel wala was very strict he told that he would close the gate of the hotel at 10:30 and after that even if some one bangs the gate no one would open, he even told us to check out if we want to go out. So we gave up the idea of Casino. That night me and Soham tried weed :) I dint get high with it may be cos of the quality of the weed. This is the first time I tried and probably the last time also.
The next day we got up around 8, and got ready for the Nathula trip.
The driver of this cab was Sunil. Along with us there were 2 families. A couple sat in the front seat. The second family was a Rajasthani family consisting of mom, dad and 2 sons. They were so excited that we were from IIM Calcutta :). They asked us to guide their son, Most of the time I was silent but my friends Soham and Swadheen were active in giving free fundaes :). Somehow the discussion went on about girls. Thats when the lady told that girls in Darjeeling are so beautiful for which 3 of us concurred but our ultra pseud Kalyan refuted saying girls in Europe are beautiful. There was a pin drop silence after that then I again broke the silence saying I am a desi and I like only desi stuff ;)
We reached Nathula at around 11pm. It is at 14000 feet above sea level and cold and windy. My hands shivered even after wearing gloves. I couldnt click the camera properly, It was that bad. We went close to the gate,which was electrified, and took pics. The Chinese rang a siren and warned us. Our Accountant was shouted by Chinese military people personally when he stepped on the barbed wire.
That's where we were warned by Chinese
Look at the Chinese army man looking at my friend's feet.
After this we left to another point called Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. It was constructed in memory of a person named Harbhajan singh who was in army and died during his service. It seems after his death he appeared in dreams of people in army and warned them of all impending dangers like avalanches, attacks etc. The army people are staunch believers of him and whoever passes by that route stop in front of it and leave only after offering prayers.
Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir
We bought some souvenirs there. Then we left to Tsomgo lake a video of which I already uploaded. In simple words it's heaven on earth. For a beautiful description do check the video. We took a yak ride there. The Yak on which I sat was called Jack.
Then we went to Sherbathang market where we bought some more souvenirs and had our lunch( wai wai and chowmin).
Hot Hot Wai Wai
We then left to Gangtok and reached there around 8pm. We requested the hotel wala to keep the gate open atleast for that one time for us. He was very strict over that but after repeated request he told he will keep it open till 11:30pm and will close the very next minute. We thought something was better than nothing and left to the Casino. It was a nice experience there. We initially lost our money in roulette but later with some strategy made up for all the loss, We then left the place and while coming out we met 2 of our friends who were coming to the Casino, we again went back to Casino accompanying them. This time we made losses again but were not confident enough so left. Finally it was not worth it :(
We went back to hotel at around 10:30pm itself. We talked to Dhava about our plan for the last day. We wanted to cover the Rumtek monastery, Lingdum monastery and Teestha water rafting.
The next day we checked out the hotel at around 9am and got into the taxi. The driver of the taxi was Subash who was again very cooperative; He drove really fast for us so that we could cover all those places. We were running out of time cos we had the Calcutta train to catch on that day evening at Siliguri. We first went to this place called Banjhakhri falls, this is the worst place and I dont suggest anyone to visit this place. I think may be kids in KG may enjoy that place else it’s not worth it.
After that we went to Lingdum monastery. It was big and very peaceful.
You are supposed to roll that and chant this mantra "Om Mani Padme Hung"
Then we left for Rumtek monastery. This monastery is one of the most visited monsateries in Asia. A lot of Bhutanese visit this place. Theres a small book shop cum canteen to the right side in the monastery owned by one cute lady. She told she is from Kharaghpur. We bought the Buddhist incense sticks over there. Then we visited a Tibet curio, you get all antique stuff there, outside the monastery. The owner of the shop is Ms. Siring an old lady. We bought a lot of goodies there.
We skipped our lunch to do the rafting as we running out of time. The place where we do rafting is Millie. The rafting thing costed us 1400 Rs and a 100 more for photography. It was a nice experience rafting. We did for almost 8kms. The wind was very strong and it was difficult rowing there. We even got into the river and swimming for sometime. Then after rowing for 8kms we finally reached our destination. We were shameless to change our dress on the main road though there was changing room just to save 15 bucks ;)
After we were done with the rowing
We then left to New Jalpai Guri by our taxi. Thats it.. This is how our trip to North East ended. It was an awesome experience and I would like to suggest all my readers to try visiting North East atleast once in your lifetime :)
Things to keep in mind
1) Keep winter clothing when you are visiting North-East
2) Vaseline, Boroplus are must
3) Sikkimese people are very courteous
4) Kolkata mobiles are not roaming in Sikkim