Dzongu, Queen in the North: A Travelogue

#1 Dec 12th, 2017, 20:42
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  • Arghya89 is offline
#1
Dear all, this is my first post in Indiamike. I have gained a lot of useful information and guidance from this website in the past. This year me and my friends were planning to visit north Sikkim in October and I would like to share the part where we visited Dzongu.

After a four days and three nights packaged trip in North Sikkim, we had a plan for a two days peaceful stay at Dzongu. One of my good friends went through a lot of stuff in internet and finally contacted a man named Karma who owns a homestay named Rumlyang. He did not take any money in advance and made necessary permits for the all eight of us by just taking our photographs and icards through whatsapp. Though we thought October was a good time to visit Sikkim, our whole tour was ruined by rain and clouds. But somehow the two days spent in the upper Dzongu forest block did not feel ruined.

Karma was supposed to meet us at Mangan at around noon and he was there. He is a very nice man, welcomed us all. Then our group and a few locals boarded the famous "modified" sumo and started for Dzongu. Enroute Dzongu the driver and the local lads unloaded a few stuff for the local people. We also purchased some chicken for the "evening".

After halfway, we got down from the car and crossed the bamboo bridge which was made after the 2016 earthquake destroyed the original one, over Tista. The bamboo bridge crossing with the rains from above and the mighty Tista flowing below, was like a small adventure in itself. After that we got into another car that took us to our homestay.

Rumlyang, is love at first sight. It seems standing in the middle of nowhere. A stream flows by in the right and a muddy road at left leads to the establishment and all of it enhanced by the greenery of tall mountains at the background. It's like a dream home. There are three rooms in the ground floor and one room which may be called an attic. The attic did not have a proper bed but the cushions and blankets were comfortable enough. Since we were three couples and two bachelors, the couples took the three rooms in the ground floor and we took the top one. Also the top room provided the best views.

As soon as we reached, we washed up and had our lunch in the kitchen (cum dining space). After lunch we relaxed in the porch area while having some tea and Karma was telling us about the area and the Lepcha people. He answered to our numerous questions with a grace and told us the various kinds of trees that grow there. He also has an area for bonfire in the evening with wooden benches around, under the Avocado tree (yes you read it right) but unfortunately we could not lit a bonfire as it was drizzling. So, we spent the evening in the porch area where Karma introduced us to their local drink which they call "Chi". It is prepared from fermentation of a certain grain called "millet". Served in the bamboo vessels it added to our excitement. Karma showed us how to start by offering prayers to the mighty Kangchenjunga. He also made this delicious chicken fry as a snack to go with the Chi.

While the boys were enjoying the Chi along with some singing, the ladies decided to cook the chicken by themselves (that's the beauty of a homestay). Karma took a sickle and dug out some turmeric and ginger from his garden for making the chicken (that's what you call organic). The "chulha" was on fire and the chicken making was started. One of my friends who was not so inclined upon cooking on holidays, was actually the most excited one. Also she had some wine that we brought earlier from Mangan (before we knew about Chi). The dinner was great, thanks to the ladies and also Karma.

The next day, day-2, was the day for exploration. Breakfast was prepared by the joint effort of our host, the ladies of the house and (surprisingly) my bachelor friend. Breakfast was the best Bengali breakfast-- Luchi and Aloor torkari (Puri and Aloo curry). After that all of us along with Karma went for a round trek around the villages nearby. Enroute he showed us the various plants like cinnamon, cardamom, wallnuts etc. Also we shared a very juicy sugarcane along the path. We also collected, as per Karma's instruction, a lot of ferns for cooking later on. After almost a 5km round walk through the villages, the upper Dzongu school and the Buddhist monastery, we reached Rumlyang. Few people had a bath in the stream nearby and the rest got freshened up for lunch. At the lunch session I observed how the traditional Indian hospitality of not eating before or with the guests is strictly followed by the locals.

After lunch, Karma asked me out (as I was the one who was showing most interest about trying out what the locals use to eat) and gave me a huge chunk of honeycomb, told me that the smaller combs are to be chewed on for the juice (i.e. 100% natural honey) and the bigger ones contained the larva which is a delicacy. No wonder our minds could not bear with the delicacy part, still some of us had a bite of the larva filled combs. Honestly, it was not that bad. But, the honey- I have never tasted such sweetness before. In the afternoon two of us and Karma went out to collect some walnuts near the stream, came back with quite a few.

Come evening, its Chi time again. This time with a different snack- the larva filled combs fried with oil and onions. It's actually good and it is said to heal infections in respiratory tracks. With an overdose of Chi, we spent the evening singing and dancing along with our host.

The next day, day-3, it was the day to bid goodbye to this place and to this person. Karma made a traditional breakfast with millets and the ferns we collected. After breakfast we bid our goodbyes to Karma and came back through the scenic route we took two days earlier.

The two days spent at Dzongu were one of the best experience for me, and the location of Rumlyang sure made it special. Away from the daily rush of our busy lives, it's the place where one can really appreciate the special relationship that humans have maintained with mother nature. One can really take a moment to admire the natural beauty around and also the beautiful people who are making a living not by destroying but by sustaining the forest around them. Yet it seems to me that we have missed a lot of fun because of the continuing rain. We did not make a bonfire, we could not get a glimpse of the peaks of Mt. Pandim and Mt. Kangchenjunga, we (specially me) could not taste a few of the food preparations that I do not wish to disclose. Had it not been raining, maybe I would have stayed there forever. I have attached a few pictures of the place. Since Karma does not have a website of his own, I shall share the link to his facebook page and the google map link where you can find his number. You can also find him at http://placesmap.net/IN/Rumlyang-Home-Stay-129512/

https://www.facebook.com/rumlyanghomestay/

https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/...6!4d88.4764788
Attached Images
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#2 Aug 26th, 2018, 12:50
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  • sindabad is offline
#2
Came across your blog, while searching for Dzongu, lovely write up and photos..
Is it possible to visit the water falls and lake from the homestay?
#3 Nov 8th, 2018, 17:36
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  • dassurai is offline
#3

Contact details of Dzongu homestay

Couls you please share the contact details of Karma.

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