My recent trip to South & West Sikkim

#1 Oct 25th, 2007, 17:45
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#1
I'm back from an one week trip of South & West Sikkim.This time I couldn't manage neither friends nor any relatives to accompany with us.So I left only with my parents.There was some warning from the Alipore weather department of downpour created over the Bay of Bengal.But we started our journey neglecting all.
We left Kolkata on 16th October and returned on 23rd.

16th:Attended the office as usual in the morning but returned home a little earlier.We reached Sealdah station at 9:15pm and get on Darjeeling mail.It left Kolkata five min late at 10:10pm.

17th:We woke up in the morning to hear that it's running almost 1hr 30 min late.Finally it reached NJP station at 9'O clock i.e. 1hr late.We had our breakfast there and took a shared auto to reach Siliguri Junction @Rs.8/- per head.There was one known person at hotel Hindusthan.We went there and started bargaining with the drivers for our trip.Finally we made with one driver @Rs.6000 for 4 night 5 days trip.It includes daily car charge @Rs.700/ per day plus extra charge for oil, fooding/lodging.He was told to drop us at Kalimpong on 5th day.
Due to all this delay we started when it was almost 12 noon.

Our first destination was Rinchenpong.As it's a newer spot the route is not well known by everybody.The road to Teesta Bazaar is severely damaged at some points due to landslides.We took our lunch at a roadside hotel after Melli and reached Jorethang at appx 3pm.There are two roads from Jorethang those reach Rinchenpong.The shorter one goes via Reshi and longer one goes via Soreng-Zoom-Kaluk. We're misguided this time by some local persons and took the longer road.However this road is very calm and passes through jungles besides.At Zoom the road is very steep making and angle of 40-45 degrees slant.Although very few cars pass through this road, one jeep came in front of us suddenly at one turn without giving horn. This made the pickup of our car down and it was rolling backwards. We quickly get down the car to lessen the weight and it proceeded without us. Another car behind us took us forward where our personal car was waiting for us.

After moving for some time we get the glimpse of mighty peaks for the first time though inside the clouds.They were looking golden with sunset light.When we were just few kms before Kaluk we came accross a beautiful falls.If we had been through Reshi we'd surely miss it.Rinchenpong is 3km more from Kaluk and we reached Rinchenpong when it was almost dark at 6pm. We entered in 'Hotel Nohrla' where we had booking earlier.Rinchenpong is still a village type area in Southern part of Sikkim and only 3-4 hotels are there to stay.When we reached, the sky was completely cloudy and I was doubtful of a clear morning.We're very tired and also the atmosphere was cold enough to made us fallen into the bed.Outside was very silent and we could hear some prayer song coming from somewhere whatever distant may be.We had our dinner with Roti & Egg Curry.The hotel manager is a Bengali and well behaved.The foods served also very homely.We went to sleep with some hope of a good sunrise view in next morning.

---------------Please watch this thread for total trip-----------
Last edited by ambar_81; Oct 26th, 2007 at 18:28..
#2 Oct 25th, 2007, 22:42
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First view before entering Kaluk.........
#3 Oct 26th, 2007, 17:22
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18th:Get up in the morning at 5 and went to the balcony.We're totally speechless.The whole Mt.Kanchenjungha range is infront of us. It's so close and crystal clear.From left it was Kumbhakarna(Janoo),Frek,Kabru( N & S),Mt.K,Simvo and Pandim rightmost.All the clouds were still sleeping in the laps of mountains.Within half an hour we witnessed the range in all possible colours.First dull white,then light orange,deep orange,golden and finally bright white.I didn't miss any moment to capture with my cam.Thank God I had a digital one.Surrounding environment was also excellent full of chants by variety of birds. The villagers were seen engaged in their morning activities.

The ranges started to go behind clouds after some time.We quickly prepare ourselves and went out for some stroll around in the comfort of sun rays.We found a Monastery is building up where Rabindranath Tagore has visited sometime.That place is called 'Rabindra Smritibhawan'.In another route we went to see 'Poison Lake' where the British have added poison to kill 'Lepchas'.Now it's nothing but some stagnant water.There is also a popular Monastery called 'Reesum Monastery' but we couldn't make time to visit that.From Rinchenpong one can visit Hee-Barmiok village and Dentam. From Dentam the road goes to 'Uttarey' which is quickly becoming a favorite tourist destination.Another popular trek route is 'Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary' from Hilley which also can be gone from here.

At 11 we headed for Pelling. The route goes through Reshi-Legship-Geyzing.At Reshi there is a hot spring some walk away,though we didn't go.There is also a small entry path of a cave from the road. Nobody knows how long the cave is inside. Our drivers told some foreigners tried to enter some time back. At Legship there is a very beautiful hanging bridge over wild Rangeet.Crossing the bridge there is one temple of 'Kirateswar Shiva'.We went beside the Rangeet to closely have a look on it.Again started our journey and finally reached pelling at 2pm.

In Pelling there is three layers where the hotels have been made.Upper,middle and lower Pelling.Our hotel was at middle part. It was 'Hotel Kingstone'.We had a three bedded deluxe room @700 per day.We had our lunch with complete Bengali food.In Pelling there are lots of Bengalis.We're feeling as if we're in Kolkata.Our manager was also a Bengali 'Satyasindhu Bhattacharya' who also possesses a hotel at Ravangla.After taking some rest we went to the Helipad, the topmost area in Pelling. There is also happening one Durgapuja-though very simple but was enough to attract Bengalis like us who were missing pujas of Kolkata.In pelling weather was more cooler than Rinchenpong.We did some shopping of local handicrafts,ate momos,hot coffee and returned in the hotel.It was really chilling cold then.We booked a car on share basis @Rs.175/ per head with the help of the manager for next day's sightseeing, as personal cars are not allowed here for sightseeing.Went to sleep earlier.
#4 Oct 26th, 2007, 17:28
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#4

Thumbs up

Nice job on the write-up, keep it up
#5 Oct 27th, 2007, 02:35
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#5
Duly copied for further reference, while enjoying a cup of Temi tea.

Funny though; during a week in Gangtok I never had any spectacular tea. (I prefer the pure thing, not sugary spiced Chai). But on the last day, I bought some local stuff, and tried it at home. I love it! Now, the Temi ranks as one of my favourites, together with a Vietnamese Oolong brand.

My next major journey will be to China, scheduled for autumn '08, but I'm getting increasingly inclined to extend that trip to Northern India. The South will have to wait another year before returning.
#6 Oct 27th, 2007, 20:44
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19th:Woke up similarly around 5.My bed was just beside a glass window facing north.Opened the curtain with my half-opened eyes-and felt very proud that we're lucky again.The whole Kanchenjunga range is waiting here also for our treat.To get a clearer view went into the balcony and captured everything in my one inch memory card of camera.

Prepared ourselves as the pre-booked car would come to take us at 8:30.The jeep came but the seat allotted for us was very high over the tires and it was impossible for my parents to seat there .Moreover we'd get down from the car at every point of sightseeing spot.My mother tried once only to tore a part of her saree.She decided not to go in this way.Finally after some adjustments with other co-passengers the problem solved.However me and two other younger had to sit at that row.We started at 9:15.We went first to Rimbi falls, Rimbi Rock Garden then the most gorgeous Kanchenjunga falls.After that we went Khechipalri lake which is also called a wishing lake-where everyone's wish is believed to be granted.The lake is full of fish but crystal clear.It's said that if any tree leaves fall by chance, the birds take the responsibility to remove that from water.We came back to hotel at 2:15pm and our first half of sightseeing completed.

We took our lunch and started for second half at 3:30.First went to Pemyangtsy Monastery.The three storied monastery is a real treat to watch.Then we went to Rabdentse which was the ancient capital of Sikkim.Here we had to walk 1-1.5 km through jungle road.At end we found beautiful architecture of ancient kingdom.The place is now a ruin but its historical significance is great.When we're returning it was almost dark and it was really adventurous walking through the jungle at dark.There is another good sightseeing spot beside Pelling, The Singshore Bridge which is the second highest hanging bridge in Asia.Now the road to it is damaged so we missed it.We returned hotel but found the electricity has gone.Remained in candle light, took dinner and lights on just before our sleep.

20th:Woke up in the morning but again found no electricity this time due to fuse blown in our hotel.The water has also gone in toilet. Couldn't take bath and started for Ravangla after taking breakfast at 10.The distance from Pelling to Ravangla is only 30-35km but we heared that the road is block at some point.One needs to take two car in two of the parts.As we had personal car we had to follow a longer route through Reshi-Namchi.We reach Ravangla at 1pm. Our hotel here was 'Hotel Sangrila' which is owned by the same manager of Pelling and it has been started only 15days ago.So everything in the hotel was new.

In Ravangla there are not many hotels but well populated with plenty of villagers.All daily needs items are available in many shops in markets.From here there is a very popular trek route to Mainam peak 10km away.We visited Bon monastery in the evening which is about 250-300 step from the Ralong road.We also walked 2-3km along the road to watch the villages and its people.There were variety of trees and flowers grown beside the road.We had hot elichi tea in a small shop and also ate momos/soups in a chinese hotel.When we returned hotel there was moon in the sky but some time after it started to rain heavily.Temperature started to fall slightly.Had our dinner with roti-chicken while it was raining continuously outside.
Last edited by ambar_81; Oct 28th, 2007 at 21:35..
#7 Oct 28th, 2007, 22:38
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21st:Get up a little late at 6:30 while the sun is already up a bit.But our mountain view luck strucked here again.From window the Mt.Narshing range was clearly visible.Also we observed some new snowfalls at upper part of mountains.In hotel here was also no electricity and water.So we went on some stroll.Visited one Durgapuja pandle in the Ravangla market.The market was full of items esp woolen items,jackets,shoes,electronic goods,bags etc.We spent about one hour in the market but more on bargaining than shopping.We leave Ravangla at about 11:30.

On way to Namchi there is a by-road that goes to the famous 135ft high statue of Guru Padmasambhava. It is about 2km distance through a steep road. It's the main attraction of Ravangla/Namchi.One can go upto the base of the statue.People says that on clear weather it can be visible from whole Sikkim and Darjeeling also. At the car park there is some Walnut trees and local people were selling 100 walnut @Rs.40/.We bought some.We reached Namchi at 1:30pm and had our lunch with Chowmin/Egg Roll and also samosa/sweets/tea.Also visited a durgapuja.Their Dassera festival had already been started.Everyone was seen with 'tikka's made of rice mixed with 'Sindur' in their forehead.In the pandal we were also given that tikka.We again started our journey and reached Kalimpong at 4pm.Here our hotel was 'Hotel Garden Reach' which is not near to the market.We took our room and added one extra day with the driver to cover Kalimpong sightseeing the next day and leave us at Siliguri. As we had to cover some extra kms during journey to Rinchenpong and Ravangla the driver has already said for some extra charges earlier.So including those extras and for additional day we finalized at Rs.8500/.We were so far from the main area we had to stay in the hotel room.In night here also rain started heavily.

22nd:At 9:15 in the morning we went to Dello Hill top.The weather was very foggy.In the park there is beautiful flower garden and also a costly tourist lodge.We again returned hotel and checked out from there doing all the formalities.We went to main Kalimpong market and stay there for one hour.Did some shopping and also had our lunch with Dosas. We went then to a Cactus breeding center. Here we found an wonderful exibition cum sale of uncountable variety of cactus and flowers.Left Kalimpong and started for Siliguri giving a good bye to the mountains.Reached Siliguri at 4:30pm and got a room in the same 'Hotel Hindusthan' from where we started. Paid the driver and at 6 went to 'Hongkong Market' taking two rikshaws. The road was too crowded and busy with the 'Bisarjan' festival of Durga idol. Did some shopping/bargaining at the market and took some snacks/teas.Returned hotel.Again went outside to have our dinner at 'Sher-e-Panjab' restaurant nearby.The sleep was not comfortable due to bite of mosquitoes.

23rd:Contracted with a car to reach us at Bagdogra.Got a call from Indian Airlines that our flight which was scheduled to leave at 2:40pm would be 25min late.After doing some shopping at local markets and having our lunch we stated for Bagdogra at 12:15pm.After some wait at the Airport our flight came and it departed when it was almost 1hr 20min late at 4pm.The sky was still cloudy but when we're over the clouds saw some peaks of Kanchenjunga again from the plane window.Reached at Kolkata Netaji Subhash airport within 55mins and after taking our baggages booked a prepaid taxi.We reached home at 6:30.

Our tour concludes..................... .

Please visit my online album at http://chhoton.picturepush.com/album...st-Sikkim.html

Please let me know how you liked my tour information and also the photos...........

---------------------------------Thank You-----------------------
#8 Oct 28th, 2007, 23:01
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#8
Good write up, and excellent photos
.
This is computer generated drivel. No signature is required.
#9 Oct 30th, 2007, 14:50
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Only two reply after 198 views!!!!!!!!!!!!
#10 Oct 30th, 2007, 19:50
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#10
You forgot me!!

Yeah, discouraging, isnt it? , the photos alone are almost a must see.
#11 Oct 30th, 2007, 22:59
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#11
I just went through the pictures. Next time, I'll rent a jeep of my own, so that I can stop for photos whenever I want. Not that all of my photos will reach the quality of yours, but they will be nice memories. Thanks!
#12 Oct 30th, 2007, 23:38
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#12
Thanks all of you.......
You misunderstood capt_mahajan!! Actually I didn't consider the second one i.e. of LUGUBERT as a reply.But now Lugubert has indeed post a reply at end .
#13 Oct 30th, 2007, 23:42
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#13
I guess a report like this will be more easily read and enjoyed and appreciated on its own merits, rather than commented on, as it doesn't call to.

Rest assured all your efforts have not been in vain & it will likely go down in the annals of IM history
#14 Nov 1st, 2007, 22:50
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#14

Talking

Thanks for sharing your trip details and photos. I leave for Sikkim in 5 weeks and it is great to hear about your travels. Your photos and descriptions makes me think I should head south of Gangtok to Ravangla.
Thanks for sharing!
-Diana
#15 Nov 1st, 2007, 23:29
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#15
Beautiful photos and great trip details! Thanks for sharing. I've added this area to my list of India must see's.
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