Trek to Sandakpu, Darjeeling : Part 1

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There was no accommodation booking in advance. I headed for the PWD guest house where I tried using my army card but it was full. There were two expensive lodges, I decided against Sherpa Chalet, Sunrise Lodge and Namo Buddha Lodges being more expensive than needed and decided to go for the dorm bed in the humble Government Tourism Lodge A. There are 3 of such Govt lodges, A, B & C. Unfortunately C has been raged by fire last winter. These lodges are humble and cheap run by a Sherpa family of four, an elderly couple and their grownup son and daughter. There was a dorm with 20 beds @ 120 INR per bed and 2 rooms of 5 beds each @ 500 INR. 2 Indian type toilets and 2 bath rooms that had seen better days. The dorm and rooms were clean with wooden cots placed very close with hardly any leg space in between let alone a bedside table. I took one bed in the corner and grabbed the only table to place my rucksack. Hot tea was served immediately on asking but the quality needed improvement. After tea I went out for a walk to enjoy the view and beauty of the place. My guide, Bijay took me to a Shiva Temple just across the border in the Nepal side. It was a strange place that seems very old cave at the foot of a very huge deodar tree with many stone formations that resembled “Shiva Ling”. Clear spring water was flowing from inner side of the rock formations. Not so strange in these parts of the world that the place was worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists. Many “Diyas” were lighted inside the sanctum sanatorium to mark the Holy Day of Buddha Purnima and an elderly Tibetan lady who was lighting more Diyas told me that her wishes had been granted.

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