Three of my family members and I started our journey to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, from Bengaluru.
We landed in Kolkata and from there, boarded the plane for Bagdogra as it was the gateway to both Darjeeling and Gangtok.
Once we landed there, we voiced our safety concerns with officials from Sikkim tourism. They told us that travelling to Gangtok by government buses was much safer.
We stayed at Siliguri one night and next day morning, boarded the bus to Gangtok. Now, nature started unravelling its beauty and we were just mute spectators. Teesta river started accompanying us throughout our journey.
There was Teesta on one side and mountains on the other side. Once the bus started ascending the mountain, we could see small towns in between the mountains. Rrangpo is the starting point for Sikkim state, and where West Bengal border ends.
We enjoyed a lovely sun set as we travelled past the amazing forest. When we entered Gangtok, it was looking like a city decorated to welcome us. We headed to our hotel all excited for our tour the next day. Next morning, we started our journey towards Yumthang Valley which was at an altitude of 12,000 feet. The sun rises at 4.30 am here. So we had good day light as we started.
We could see waterfalls or small streams of water gushing out of the mountain every 100 to 120 metres. The roads were curvy and narrow. The mountains were like a big giant and we named these ‘Mountain Masters’. We were surprised, how much pain the organisation (BRO) had taken to build the roads on these mountains.
We reached a place called Mangan and had quick lunch. On the way, we saw many streams and waterfalls like the ‘Seven Sisters Falls’. It looked like the clouds were dancing on the mountains. After five to six hours of journey from Gangtok, we reached Lachung where we saw hydro-power projects and tunnels. We had seen these only in movies, but now it was in front of us.
As dusk fell, we reached Lachung. Lachung is a small and beautiful village. We could hear the roaring sound of the water flowing from the mountains continuosly. The temperature was 10 degreecelsius in the night. Next morning, we started our journey towards Yumthang Valley. There were very steep curves and we could see river Teesta flowing in different directions.
One must have good driving skills to drive in Sikkim. Our driver was very skilled and drove tirelessly. He showed us bunkers of the Army on the way.
Finally, we reached Yumthung Valley with flowers in different colours like red, yellow and pink. These were called rhodendrons. It was an unforgettable sight. We then left for Zero Point, which is the Indo-China border. It was about 15,000 ft from sea level. On our way, yaks welcomed us. We reached Zero Point where the oxygen level is less. To our delight, we saw snow- covered mountains.
In the afternoon, we bid adieu to Zero Point and Yumthang Valley and headed back to Lachung for lunch. As we headed back to Gangtok, our trip was coming to an end. A trip that rejuvenated us and brought us closer to nature.
By: Nitish Gudi | Source: Deccan Herald