Gangtok-Namchi-Pelling-Darjeeling tour- part 1

I have been reading posts by many inspiring ghumakkars for long and honestly speaking, planned many of my tours based on their real reviews/experience….so I thought let’s start contributing a bit …although I am very bad in writing..But what is the harm in trying…What say?

Places covered: Rumtek Monastery, Tashi View Point, Ban Jhakri Falls, Ganesh and hanuman Tok, 15 miles, ropeway and MG Road in Gangtok
Time of Travel: December 2014 (This information I always keep looking in the posts, before planning my trips, so providing here itself in my post)

We (me, husband and 2 year old kiddo) are fond of traveling and whenever got chance, we try to escape from routine life. This times its North East…
After landing at the airport of Bagdogra, we started our road journey to Gangtok, it took long 5-6 hrs. to reach to our hotel near MG road. The road was in average condition, but it offers fabulous view of Tista River, hills and greenery. Since Sikkim does not have any airport, there is no way to avoid this route, if you are coming via air.
Next morning we started our day from Rumtek Monastery. It was little drizzing that day, which added more charm to that visit. We needed to park the vehicle down, and walk up to the main site, which is like 0.5 km long. You can shop while walking, from the small shops, which are operated by local residents (mainly females) in front of their homes. After buying tickets, and frisking by security staff, they will let you enter the premises. It is the largest monastery in Sikkim, but very limited place is permissible to visit. There is a stupa located inside the monastery, which is the relic of the 16th Karmapa. This monastery also hosts several Tibetan festivals. There was a confusion among the tourists whether to remove shoes, before entering the main site of worship like we do in temple or not…but since they were no signboards..few of them removed(including us), and few entered with shoes…I am yet to get answer on this, what exactly we are suppose to do while entering any monastery…Please do comment, if anyone has answer…

Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery


Tashi view point was our next target. It’s a small setup on a hilltop which offers beautiful view of the mountains. You need to climb up a long staircase to reach at the top, which is worth due to the spectacular view. There is a small souvenir shop along with an eating joint at the view point.

Tashi View Point

Tashi View Point

Our next spot was Ban Jhakri Falls, while going there; we took a tea break at small tea stall, which was located at an awesome place. Tea was expensive considering average taste but view was priceless.

Tea stall

Tea stall

Ban Jhakri Falls is nice well maintained place, which retained its natural charm in the middle of concrete walking tracks, sculptures, kids’ swings, tiny bridges, fountains and lots of greenery. It’s a place which offers natural beauty with manmade touch ups.

Ban Jhakri Falls

Ban Jhakri Falls

Next on our plan was Ganesh Tok. It is a beautiful temple of Lord Ganesha, since it is situated on a height 6,500 ft, you can have a beautiful view of the whole Gangtok city, from the balcony in front of the temple. Photography inside the temple premises was not allowed.

Ganesh Tok

Ganesh Tok

The location of Hanuman Tok was just beyond imagination. It is located not very far of Ganesh Tok, but the route was hilly and the vehicle during the whole journey was in tilted vertical position almost. The temple is located at the height of 7500 ft. and it is very well managed and maintained by a division of Army. The priest inside the temple was also an Army jawan. When we reached there, it was completely dreamy atmosphere where clouds were forming in front of us with chilly and heavy windy weather. We had a small kid with us, so could not stay in such weather for long, but whatever time we spent there, is still a memorable one for us. Photography inside the temple premises was not allowed here as well, but nature was posing in front of us, so who cares.

Hanuman Tok

Hanuman Tok

Natula pass and Tsomgo Lake were on the list for the next day. Our driver told us that, limited permits got issued to visit these places (based on weather conditions and occupancy) and for that we need to apply a day before with id proofs and photograph. Since I was not having photograph with me, we went out to search an instant photo studio. We walked down to MG Road, and found it is such a nice open place with no-vehicle movement and lots of good eating and shopping options. Such large area for pedestrian and kids were just so happy in running here and there. We should also have something like this in Delhi NCR too; all we have here are malls or congested markets with no place to walk. I found Gangtok a very safe place for girls too. On MG Road, females were roaming around even after 10 PM in so-called western dresses with no sign of fear on their faces. It’s a very clean place too, were u find dustbins at every few steps and people follow rules and do not litter. Good governance overall.

MG Road

MG Road

Next day, we came to know due to bad weather, permit given only till some place called 15 miles (it is few km before tsomgo lake) and no movement is allowed upwards. It was very disappointing at first, but we started our journey anyways. In some 2 hrs. we reached to 15 miles, it was a small place covered full with snow and a small downstream with chilly water. We enjoyed there for some time, clicked some photographs and started our journey back.

15 Miles

15 Miles


Since we spent lesser time due to short-permit, we still had few hrs in hand to spend before reaching our hotel back, so we decided to have Chinese food and ropeway ride. It was a small route of rope way (located near to MG road), which gives a full view of the city. There was a nice Chinese restaurant just above the ticketing office of rope-way. After having the ride and authentic Chinese food, we again headed to our favorite MG Road, where winter carnival was going on. Open flower and vegetable exhibitions, live music, good food, lovely weather and what not, it was having all, one can desire. What a climax of our stay in Gangtok. Bye-Bye Gangtok, we will come again…

On the next day we started our trip to Pelling via Namchi, this is coverd in Gangtok-Namchi-Pelling-Darjeeling tour- part 2 of 3.

14 Comments

  • Uday Baxi says:

    Dear Rachna

    Welcome to the Ghumakkar as a writer also. It was a good post on Gangtok. Please keep travelling and sharing more of your stories.

    I had visited Gangtok many many years ago. So loved to see the pictures again.

    Waiting for the post on Darjeeling..

    Thanks again.

    R

    • Rachna says:

      Thanks Uday for the warm welcome. Since it was my first writing experience, so it felt so good that you liked it. Sure, I will try post the rest parts soon.

  • Venkat says:

    Rachna, welcome to Ghumakkar. Started off with a nice post on one of the (relatively) less visited states in the country. Looks like there are a lot of beautiful places to discover in and around Gangtok. The MG Road in Gangtok looks too clean, vacant and inviting for a busy shopping area. For one brought up in Delhi, this surely must have been heaven. But is Sikkim any different or more attractive than the hill stations in nearby Himachal/Uttarakhand etc(I am asking this only out of curiosity since it involves travelling such long distances to reach Sikkim or other places in the Northeast). Waiting for your Pelling post.

    • Rachna says:

      Thanks venkat for the welcome and appreciation both. Yes Gangtok is very clean and beautiful place. The pic of MG road above is of early in the morning so appeared to be vacant otherwise in the evening its a lively place with lots of events and people. Due to nicely maintained pedestrian lobbies its fun to just hang around there. And while comparing it with himachal/uttarakhand, i personaly found it more appealing(but on the top of my list is still laddakh), but every beauty of nature is diffrent than the other…so it depends ..what kind of nature lover you are…how you look at it…and the conditions during which you visited the place. Will upload the peeling- namchi and darjeeling soon..

  • Rachna,

    Welcome to Ghumakkar!! With this post you made me nostalgic..
    I had been to Sikkim too somewhere around 2008-09.. If I remember it right, it was my first trip to the northern part of India.. I was too excited to tour there!!

    I loved Sikkim.. It is scenic and tourist friendly with access to many nearby places. We had driven from there to Darjeeling.. It was a lovely experience!

    Did you also go to Mirik? there is a beautiful monastery there as well.. We had gone there by foot from our lodge.. A morning walk in a serene place in search of peace is what I described that experience as :)

    Well written.. Waiting for more posts!

  • Rachna says:

    Thank you so much Archana. I love Sikkim too, ya i agree its a very tourist friendly place where you can breath at your own pace unlike many other tourist places surrounded with pushy people from travel industry.
    We wanted to go to Mirik, but due to lack of time, we skipped it , may be we will cover this in our next North-East trip along with north sikkim and rest of seven sisters states..Have you been to pelling and Namchi as well?

  • saurabh Madan says:

    Hi Rachna,

    Congratulationsssss on ur first travel blog…good to hear about places which are comparatively less famous…

    So keep travelling…!!!!

    Regards
    Saurabh Madan

    • Rachna says:

      Thanks Saurabh!! Getting appreciation for the first write-up is indeed very encouraging for a beginner. Surely i will try to travel more and will come up more posts soon…

  • Anupam Chakraborty says:

    Welcome Rachna! welcome to Ghumakkar family! Great Start and very nice photos! Shoes are not allowed to be worn inside the inner sanctum of the monastery. However, you can wear them to enter into other rooms of the Monastery.

    • Rachna Tomar says:

      Thanks Anupam!! Felt so good to be part of it. Thanks for the kind words, and finally I got the answer of my query :), next time I can do this with full confidence and let others also know about it. So far, it was kind of PK’s confusion, what is valid for temple is invalid for church.. ‘ee gola par bahut confusion hai bhai’ hehehe…

  • Pamela says:

    Dear Rachna,

    Welcome as a ghumakkarians. Nice description as well as nice shots. I also planning for Darjeeling , your story will help me for that.
    Keep writing.

    • Rachna Tomar says:

      Thanks Pamela!!
      Please include Peeling and Namchi also in your travel plan, these are far more beautiful places as compared to Darjeeling. I will come come up with third part of my post soon which will focus on Darjeeling.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Welcome aboard Rachna.

    Anupam beat me on your question. I was to write that you can wear shoes inside the campus but for the main temple (sanctum) you take them off, thats what I have observed. Rumtek is quite a big monastery and with enough of tourist eco-system around it.

    I guess you covered quite a large number of places and Tsongo in December looks difficult because of snow etc. Yes, that no-vehicle road is a boon and hope the new government tries to create that kind of space here in Delhi as well. I believe Raahgiri event, now happening for quite some time, is in that direction. May be we need more of Rahgiris across Delhi.

    Wishing you a great time here, Rachna.

    • Rachna Tomar says:

      Thank for the warm welcome Nandan!!
      Yes, Anupam has already replied, which has been doubly confirmed now after your views.
      your are right, Rahgiri is something, which felt similar like being on MG Road, Gangtok. Its so much fun on the road, when there are no honking and pollution. I hope we will have more of such events across NCR in frequent intervals.

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