West Sikkim: Kaluk & Uttarey Nov 2014

#1 Nov 11th, 2014, 20:27
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#1
I have a strong liking for travelling alone. Hence I planned a Sikkim trip for myself (with wifeís kind consent ). When the day arrived, I boarded Darjeeling Mail from Sealdah with excitement and enthusiasm

5th Nov 2014

On the wayÖ..

I was out of NJP station by 8:30 am and immediately swarmed by agents. I observed there were share jeeps for Gangtok and Darjeeling from NJP itself, but none for Jorethang. Without any delay, I took an auto from NJP for the jeep stand opposite Payel Cinema (Siliguri). Auto took Rs 220 and dropped me just in front of the jeep stand. There were few jeeps here and there and I was confused from where tickets could be obtained. Just then a person yelled at me ďJorethang??Ē. I nodded and he showed me a room at the back of the jeep stand. I booked 2 tickets (yes 2 tickets for me) for the front seat. The fare per seat in these jeeps is Rs 170. But there were only two other passengers. More jeeps arrived, but hardly any passenger. Maybe because itís slightly off season. Eventually all seats got booked and the first jeep to Jorethang rolled at 10:20am. I was the only tourist in the jeep.

Road from Siliguri to Melli is more or less good. Only some part after Kalijhora is quite pathetic. But the real fun starts after Melli. This Melli to Jorethang road has been named ďDigestive RoadĒ by locals , as this stretch can digest your food by violently shaking the stomach. Only about 30% of this stretch is comfortable. Actually a maga road widening project has been undertaken by central government here. I guess a couple of more years will be needed to complete this work. We even got stuck for 15 min as some boulders were being cleared.

By the time I reached Jorethang it was 1:30pm and I was quite exhausted. Though there are shared jeeps to Kaluk from Jorethang jeep stand, but I decided to book a cab. If you start walking to the left of Jorethang jeep stand, you will find the taxis at a lane on your left. The cabbie charged me Rs 1500 to drop me at Mandarin Village Resort.

This part of the journey was soothing for mind & body. The car took a steep ascend to Zoom. In about 20min, the comfortable temperature of Jorethang was past and chill was clearly felt. I finally reached Kaluk via Chikung and Soreng in about 1.5 hours.

Mandarin Village Resort

After reaching Kaluk bazaar, it was found to be my responsibility to guide the cabbie to Mandarin. He had no idea where Mandarin is A steep lane goes down from the end of Kaluk bazaar (from opposite of FL off shop) and Mandarin is located at the end of this lane. In fact this lane ends at Mandarin. Hence climbing up the lane to Kaluk bazaar is pretty stressful for lungs and legs. Otherwise, the resort just faces full Kanchenjunga range and a lush deep valley. I was truly impressed. I had told them about a cottage room, hence I was checked in to Citron 1. On reaching there I found that I was the only tourist there. I finally chose a cottage super delux room, the phenomenal Orange 3. They had quoted Rs 2300 for cottage room and Rs 3000 for super delux. This could have been brought down further, but I refrained from haggling since there was a possibility that I have to walk uphill/downhill again. Though I finally got another 20% off because of other reason. In this aspect location of Ghonday is best. View from both the resorts is same. But Ghonday is located higher than Mandarin. Hence itís comparatively easier to access on foot. Somehow I didnít like Rinchenpong Village Resort, which is situated between Ghonday and Mandarin. If you stay at Mandarin, try to avoid Pomelo 1 & 2 due to slightly restricted view.

Kaluk bazaar

After settling down in Orange 3, I came out to take a walk along Kaluk bazaar. I didnít see a single tourist other than me. Kaluk bazaar is very small and you can cover it in 15 min even at leisurely pace. At around 5pm Kaluk bazaar was already turning sleepy.

Evening sets in

I was back to my room by 5:30pm and immediately requested to order evening snacks, if I wish. I ordered chicken dry fry for snacks and just chicken fried rice for dinner. When the snack came, I soaked myself in to some indulgence By 6pm the hill on the other side lighted up with thousands of fire flies. I loved every bit of the balcony during the rest of my stay there.


Please give me some time for rest of the TR... Pics will also be uploaded.
Regards,
Avishek.
______________________________________________
"The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see."
#2 Nov 12th, 2014, 08:23
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#2

Photo-set 1

1) Jeep stand at Siliguri... That's the car which took me to Jorethang
2) At Mandarin : Citron 1
3) At Mandarin : Citron 1
4) At Mandarin : Orange 3
5) At Mandarin : Orange 3
6) Taken from the balcony of Orange 3, the day I reached... Peaks are naturally hidden behind cloud
Attached Images
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#3 Nov 12th, 2014, 19:08
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Day 2

6th Nov 2014

Even after setting an alarm for myself, I missed the sunrise. When I woke up with that sudden realization, Kanchanjunga was partially draped in cloud. With a heavy heart, I started preparing for a long walk to Rinchenpong. It took me 40 min to reach Rinchenpong bazaar from Kaluk. You donít feel the time while walking as you have lush green valley and Kanchanjunga at your company. Rinchenpong bazaar was almost deserted. There were few people sitting in the warm sun and chatting. It was too laid back for a bazaar. Both Kaluk and Rinchenpong are very clean. Itís hard to spot some plastic packets piled up at any corner. Feels like some place out of India. Moreover, smoking is not allowed in Rinchenpong bazaar.

There is one road going uphill from Rinchenpong bazaar which took me to a very peaceful and serene Rinchenpong monastery. With the help of some locals, I found the walking trail towards Rishum monastery. This trail starts near Rinchenpong monastery. It took me almost 1 hour to climb up to Rishum monastery. It was continuous ascend. Rishum monastery was completely deserted. Neither a single human being was present there, nor any animals. I heard later that some festival takes place there once a year. But the place was neat and picturesque. After climbing down, I visited Heritage House and Rabindra Smriti Bon. When I was back to Rinchenpong bazaar my legs were seriously aching. I took a late lunch and had chicken rice noodles (Rs 120) at a local eatery.
Upon reaching Mandarin, I observed that another family has checked in there. That night I setup multiple alarms for myself, so that I donít miss the sunrise next morning
#4 Nov 13th, 2014, 01:13
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Photo-set 2

1) Orange 3: View from the bed
2) Rinchenpong Bazaar (the road branching off at the right leads to Rinchenpong Monastry)
3) Rinchenpong Bazaar
4) Rinchenpong Monastry
5) Path to Rishum Monastry
6) Rishum Monastry
7) Back side of Rishum Monastry
Attached Images
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#5 Nov 13th, 2014, 01:54
a LEARNER here......be careful or ignore his posts
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#5
amazing presentation really enjoying

Quote:
Hence I planned a ..... trip for myself (with wife’s kind consent ).
PLEASE! share with us how you did this miracle..........including me thousand of silent IM members will praise you for that for ever
.


Totaly confused how to explore the beautiful earth when one life is too short to complete my great India


Photo-Story: HARI-SILA or HARSIL Deoriatal-Chopta,
#6 Nov 19th, 2014, 20:11
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#6

Day 3

7th Nov 2014

I woke up multiple times in the night before I finally left the comfort of the warm bed at 5am. By 5:15am I was ready with my camera and tripod at the balcony. The whole Kanchanjunga range was clearly visible and there was no trace of any cloud. I waited for the breathtaking show. First rays of sun touched the tip of Kanchanjunga just after 5:30. For the next 15 min it was a show I had never witnessed before. The whole range of peaks were changing shades, keeping me mesmerized. Then it all became silvery white, but I sat there for half an hour more with a cup of coffee.

Gradually I came back to my senses and started packing, as I had to leave for Uttarey. I paid up all the bills and requested the manager to get a cab for me. The cab arrived instantly and I left Mandarin Resort.

My take on Mandarin

I quite liked the resort actually. The position is awesome (other than the steep road), the hospitality is charming and the food is excellent (I tasted both Indian and Chinese dishes). I have already given my room tips.

Towards Uttarey

After leaving Kaluk, I first reached Bermiok and then just before entering Hee, I took a turn towards Chayataal. But Chayataal completely disappointed me. I seems the place is not maintained properly nowadays. I liked Hee more than Bermiok. But Kaluk was still better than both the places. After touching Dentam and Singshore Bridge, I moved ahead towards Uttarey. After crossing Singshore Bridge, I was quite mesmerized by the view of Dentam Valley from a vantage point before reaching Uttarey.

Uttarey Valley just arrived suddenly and I was taken surprised. Before entering Uttarey, one road at the left leads to Kagyu Monastry and another one lead to Lamini Pokhri via Nagbeli Resort. Uttarey is basically a small valley surrounded by lush green hills. I didnít find the place exciting if you sit back at your hotel. Even the choice of hotels is very limited and they all are having quite basic qualities. I decided to stay at Green Valley Resort and again I was the only guest there. Their cook had gone for leave and the manager was supposed do the cooking. I ordered lunch and went to the room to get refreshed.

In the afternoon I went for a mini hike towards Kagyu Monastry. It takes approximately half an hour to reach the monastery from Uttarey bazaar and the road is completely ascending. I was surprised to find the Himalayan Holiday Resort just beside the monastery. Normally hotels are not allowed beside monasteries. Nevertheless, the resort was locked down.

When I came back to Uttarey bazaar, I quickly scanned the place. The metaled road just ends at the end of Uttarey after Police post. It was getting cold quite fast; hence I got back to hotel. This valley cools down rapidly from the afternoon and by 7pm it was quite chilling. Then there was the breeze. You get frequent power cuts from the late afternoon which may stay for 10min or 1 hour.

P.S : The cab took Rs 2000 to take me from Kaluk to Uttarey via Chayataal.
#7 Nov 19th, 2014, 23:21
a LEARNER here......be careful or ignore his posts
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now! will wait for sun rise pics and more
#8 Nov 20th, 2014, 13:59
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Photo-set 3

1) Sunrise
2) Sunrise
3) Singhshore Bridge on the way to Uttarey
4) Dentam Valley
5) Uttarey
6) Kagyu Monastery
7) Flower
Attached Images
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#9 Nov 20th, 2014, 23:18
a LEARNER here......be careful or ignore his posts
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once again nice set of photography
#10 Dec 2nd, 2014, 17:49
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Sorry guys for the delay.... I'm not getting time to finish this report... But will do very soon..
#11 Dec 2nd, 2014, 18:21
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#11
Great so far....enjoyed, and smart clicks!!!
Await the remainder, thanks
#12 Jul 12th, 2015, 19:29
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God !!! I am just disgustingly late ... But I will complete this nevertheless

Day 4


Mainbas Falls

There was no need to get uo too early in the morning. Wangdi Sherpa was supposed to take me to Mainbas Falls. The manager of Green Valley Resort contacted Wangdi and set me up. We started around 8am and the first landmark we reached was Trout Fishing Centre. Afterwards it's mostly medium level ascend through dense forest. You get to hear a lot of strange and mixed sound. But it's tranquility all around. Wangdi thought I will get tired soon and we will have to take frequent rests. But I surprised him by taking only 2 intermediate stoppages (playing tennis should at least make that much fit). After entering Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary and before you reach the fall, there is a wide river bed. The place seems so wild and deserted, that you'll feel far away from humanity. Mainbas is amazingly hidden inside the hills and forest. The place is unbelievably peaceful. There are many beehives around, which is the source of the name the fall has got. I felt like staying at the place for there rest of the day. While coming back, when we almost reached Uttarey, Wangdi took me to his elder sister's house. He told me that his didi makes the best Chang in Uttarey. They put some fermented Rai in a bamboo container with a bamboo straw. The they poured some warm water into it. Boy !! It was soothing. It does not intoxicate you, but puts enough stimulant in your system to make you feel fresh. Then Wangdi told me, that since I have absorbed the Mainbas trek effortlessly (!!!) I should go for Lamini Pokhri after lunch. After the 4 hr trek, I was quite exhausted. But couldn't resist his offer.

Lamini Pokhri

Started out for Lamini Pokhri after lunch. Wangdi was taking shortcuts via Nagbeli Resort. It was tough to keep up with him. I had to stop frequently to catch some breath. But this is a picturesque trek which goes around small villages. Lamini Pokhri is sort of a small pond, but the place gives some breathtaking views of Dentam Valley. A big viewing area has been constructed there. May be metaled road will also be made in couple of years. But the place will loose some charm if that happens.

When I reached back Uttarey in the evening, I had absolutely no energy left in me. But the heart was full and content !! It was the last day of the trip.
#13 Jul 13th, 2015, 00:08
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More picture set
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#14 Jul 13th, 2015, 00:09
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Last picture set
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#15 Jul 14th, 2015, 16:14
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#15
Avishek, Very nice description..enjoyed every bit of it.
I have also planned similar trip in November 2015 and going to visit Kaluk & Uttary.
We are 7 people including a kid.
I heard there is a Royal Suit room in Mandarin Resort...Any idea how it is ..view wise ?

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