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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.