My 2 Days in Gangtok – A Short Weekend Trip

If you are getting bored with your daily life and work. Then leave your place and go for a short weekend trip to Sikkim as I did.

I went to Gangtok this January 2018. On day 1 I went for local Gangtok sightseeing and visited following places.

It is called Gangtok 7-Point Sightseeing

  1. Suicide point
  2. Flower garden
  3. Chorten Stupa
  4. The famous Gangtok Ropeway
  5. Bakthang Waterfall
  6. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
  7. Tashi Viewpoint

Next day I went to visit Changu lake and Baba Mandir.

I have made this short 3 mins video of my Gangtok tour. Please watch and like this video if you really enjoy it. Also please don’t forget to subscribe my YouTube channel Top Five Buzz Travel Vlogger to get more video like this.


Author Bio:

Debarup, the founder of Top Five Buzz, is a passionate photographer and a traveler. He loves mountains and wants to explore every curve of it. His dream is to travel around the world to enjoy the nature in every part of this mighty earth.

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Sikkim Diaries: Serendipity at Nathu La Pass

Watching snowfall has always been a beautiful dream for me. Never did I imagine that I would experience it and that too, in the month of May when it is the peak of the summer season in India.

Yes, it happened to me a couple of years back in Sikkim.

It was the second week of May. We set out to visit Tsomgo Lake (Chhangu), Baba Mandir and Nathu La (Himalayan pass) from Gangtok. It was cloudy when we started at 10 in the morning. By the time we reached Chhangu it started drizzling.

sikkim, himalayas, cloudy, rain

I have seen so many beautiful images of Tsomgo Lake with its bluish water. Unfortunately, it was only shades of grey all around that day. Only the prayer flags added a dash of color to the landscape.

chhangu, lake, tsomgo lake, sikkim

After a brief halt by the lake, we headed towards Baba Mandir. We had a bowl of steaming Momo at a restaurant beside the temple dedicated to the brave soul and legend Baba Harbhajan Singh.

baba mandir, sikkim

baba mandir, gangtok, sikkim

By the time we resumed our journey to Nathu La it was raining heavily. Hailstones lashed the road making it slippery and harder to drive. For a moment, I thought we won’t be able to make it to Nathu La this time due to poor weather condition.

rain, sikkim, nathula

Little did I know then that the bad weather would soon turn out to be a boon for us! 🙂

It was getting colder as we drove up the zig-zag roads. After some time, I noticed that the hailstones looked unusually white.

We asked the driver to stop. As the car stopped, I opened the door and stretched my hands outside.

snowfall, nathula, sikkim, himalayas

Gosh! It was not raining anymore. It was snowing! :O

snowfall, nathula, sikkim

When we finally reached Nathu La, it was white all around. Soft, white snow covered the entire place.

nathla pass, snowfall, sikkim

I didn’t have my gloves with me, therefore, managed to click only a few snaps with quivering fingers.

At a distance, the Indo-Chinese border gate was almost invisible in the mist and snow.

nathula pass, sikkim, himalayas

nathula pass, sikkim

It was freezing outside and soon I had to retire to the warmth of our car. This snowfall was completely unexpected but it was truly AMAZING an experience! A memory I would cherish all my life.

Snowfall… or luck by chance! Whatever it is… a selfie is a must. Hope you recognize me…  😉 🙂

nathula pass, sikkim, himalayas

Did you ever experience serendipity? Please do share your story with us in the comment section.

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Experience the Myriad Hues of India in 15 Days

dal lake, kashmir

To pack countless cultures and innumerable landscapes within the confines of a 15-day journey is an incredibly challenging yet exciting task. India is a land of diversity, whether it is the languages that people speak or the clothes that they wear. Each corner of this vibrant nation tints your experiences a different colour. With such a fantastic range of experiences that you can immerse yourself into, India forms an absolute paradise for someone who yearns for travelling. In order to truly understand the richness of India’s cultural and natural wealth, you need to acquaint yourself with all the four directions India’s limbs stretch towards. Fully explore all the myriad hues of India by visiting these 5 places, for a period of 3 days, to fulfill your travel appetite in 15 days.

1. Serene Srinagar

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Dal lake, Photo by confused_me, CC0 1.0

Beginning from the north, your exploration of India is incomplete without visiting this epitome of natural beauty. Srinagar, an absolute paradise, is the most tranquil, breathtaking and magical place in India. It offers the perfect combination of architectural feats, cultural vibrancy and nature’s stroke of artistry. Start your journey by visiting the glistening Dal Lake, an iconic attraction of this place. Beam with joy while cruising on Shikaras in its evergreen waters. You can also visit the nearby Shalimar Bagh, an exquisite garden with Mughal designs. Other places that would leave you in awe are the Pari Mahal, the wilderness of Dachigam National Park and the Shankaracharya temple.

2. Regal Jaipur

palace-of-winds-1882851_1280

Hawa mahal, Photo by Barthwo, CC0 1.0

The pink city of Jaipur offers a grand insight into the country’s astounding palaces, forts, and beautiful architectures. The local markets bustling with colorful skirts, blouses, and mirror-work kurtas are a feast for your eyes and your shopaholic soul. Hawa Mahal is one of the must-visits in Jaipur when you find yourself in this glorious town. Built with the ancient wisdom of science, the palace offers cool breeze to its inhabitants all year round. Another mesmerizing sight in Jaipur is the Amer Palace. Gigantic gates with intricate artwork greet you at the entrance, followed by a huge wealth of paintings, murals, and regal interiors. Other places of interest here are the Abhaneri step-well and Jal Mahal.

3. Grand Agra

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Taj mahal, Photo by TLSPAMG, CC0 1.0

India’s entry into the Seven Wonders of the World has been enabled by the presence of one eternal monument in the city of Agra. To visit India without seeing the grandeur and splendor of the Taj Mahal might be a huge loss for any traveler. Even an initial glimpse of this white edifice is enough to blow your breath away. Emanating a romantic aura from the bygone era, the Taj Mahal is a concrete legend of the power of love. Another beautiful sight to visit in Agra is Akbar’s tomb, Sikandra. Resonating Hindu, Muslim and Christian architecture, visiting the tomb of the greatest Emperor of the Mughal Empire is a truly inspiring experience.

4. Relaxing Komarkum

houseboat-2052738_1920Photo by ravishahi, CC0 1.0

Kerala forms the rejuvenating leg of your thrilling journey. And the scenic beauty of this state is captured beautifully by the backwaters in Kumarakom. The never-ending queues of coconut trees and a rich fauna make Kumarakom an ideal place to unwind, and at the same time be in awe of its natural charms. The most unforgettable experience that you can gain from your visit here is undoubtedly the houseboat cruise. Delightful houses offering different levels of luxuries, you can lie down in its bed while watching the water recede from your window, lulling you into a soothing sleep. Another place to visit in Kumarakom is a bird sanctuary housing varied species of colorful birds.

5. Pristine North East

13681664874_e6cb539b0b_bPhoto by Stefan Krasowski, CC BY 2.0

Two places that can give you a flavor of India’s north-eastern heritage are Assam and Sikkim. Sikkim, with its lofty mountains and pleasant climate, is the personification of the ultimate hill station. You can visit the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary where the endangered and delightful red pandas await your presence. The Lake Tsongmo is an exquisite frozen lake that is a true treasure of India, one you must visit in Sikkim. Assam is another such state which offers to its guests the majestic sights of the one-horned rhinos and Majuli, which is the largest river island in the world.

The amount of variety offered by less than 10 places in India can be extrapolated to predict the multiplicity of experiences that await you in more than thousand such places. Catch a glimpse of this kaleidoscopic country by exploring these five places that exemplify to the best of their ability all that India has to offer.


A Guest Post by Rohit

Rohit Agarwal is a passionate traveller and writer who shares his experiences on TransIndiaTravels.com from his many travelling excursions and expeditions of around the world.
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Prayer Stones: The Cherry on Top

gurudongmar, lake, north sikkim

This is a snap from my Sikkim Tour photo-story series. The clear reflections of the snow-covered peaks in the still waters of the sacred lake, Gurudongmar could make a decent picture. I think, the heap of prayers stones in the foreground works like the cherry on top to make this frame look more interesting and meaningful. What do you say? 🙂

gurudongmar, sikkim, lachen

Published in response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Cherry on Top.

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Sikkim Diaries: Waterfall-breaks on the Way to Lachung

waterfall, lachung, sikkim

This is the second part of my North Sikkim tour photo series. If you have missed the first part, click here to view the photo-essay on my journey to Lake Gurudongmar.

We reached Gangtok in the afternoon, on May 7, 2016, and headed for Lachung the very next morning. The shared taxis/rental cars for Lachung are available at Vajra taxi stand, just outside the city. Unfortunately, a technical fault was detected in our car right after we started from Vajra. It took some time to get it repaired. Therefore, it was a delayed start from Gangtok at around 12 pm.

mountain roard, sikkim, lachung

The weather was fine and the views were great. The rows of white and colored prayer ‪‎flags, with the sublime mountains in the background, added a pristine charm to the ‪‎landscapes.

prayer flags, gangtok, lachung, sikkimblue prayer flags, Gangtok, Sikkim

Unfortunately, the road condition is extremely bad in North Sikkim. It was a rough ride throughout on the broken mountain roads, but the torturous journey was compensated with breaks like these… 🙂

waterfall, lachung, north sikkim

Our first stop was at Seven Sisters’ Waterfall.

seven sisters waterfalls, lachung, sikkimseven sisters waterfalls, lachung, sikkim

There was a natural pool at the bottom of the falls.

natural pool, waterfalls, lachung, north sikkim

And we could see big boys were having fun in the water.

waterfall, natural pool, lachung, sikkim

swimming, waterfall, natural pool, Lachung, North Sikkim

This part of the Himalayas is green and verdant year-round as it receives sufficient rainfall to boost the streams and waterfalls. We stopped as many times as we could to take in the beauty of the hills and rivers on our way.

mountain road, road trip, hills, river, sikkimhills, mountains, sikkim, himalayas

And took pleasure in small things as well…

blue berry, berries, fruits, hills, sikkimThere were quite a few waterfalls on the way up to Chungthung, a small town, after which the road bifurcates. One goes to Lachung and the other leads to Lachen, the gateway to Gurudongmar, the iconic lake in North Sikkim.

waterfall, mountain road, sikkim, lachung

However, the last and most notable was ‘Bachchan Falls’, which is popularly called so because of its appearance, tall and lean like Big B. 😀   Well, I don’t know if this waterfall is really called so by the locals. I didn’t see any signboard there, indicating the name of this waterfall.

bachchan falls, waterfall, lachung, sikkim

My Sikkim diary will continue. Please don’t forget to share your thoughts on this journey if you like it.

Before I stop for now, here are a few more beautiful moments captured on the way…

waterfall, lachung, sikkim

hills, river, mountains, lachung, sikkim, landscapegreenery, woods, hills, lachung, sikkim

bridge, mountain road, sikkim

waterfalls, mountain road, lachung, sikkimwaterfalls, lachung, sikkim

river, stream, lachen, lachung, sikkimriver, stream, lachung, lachen, sikkim

waterfall, lachung, sikkim

And a selfie is the way to go when there is no one to click your pics. 😉

selfie at waterfallTake care. See you soon.

A Short Trip to Namchi, South Sikkim: Traveler’s Diary

Namchi, Valley, Sikkim, South Sikkim
Namchi Valley

Namchi is the capital town of the district of South Sikkim. Nestled in the lap of Himalayan mountain range, at an altitude of 1315 meter, Namchi is known for its natural beauty. As we planned for a weekend short trip that summer we chose Namchi for its breathtaking scenic beauty and comparatively less crowd than other hill stations. We went off the beat by choosing Pipalay, an unspoilt mountain village located in proximity to the town of Namchi.

Where to Stay

River Ringit, Namchi, Sikkim, South Sikkim
River Ringit, Namchi

Not so known and not so developed Pipalay is a wonderful place to stay if you are fond of majestic mountains, rippling rivers and fountains and lush greenery.  A small cottage surrounded by tall Shaal trees on the bank of gushing river Ringit was our abode during the short trip. The view of the mountains and the river right through the cottage window is simply amazing. The sound of the river amplified by the silence of the mountains all around makes you feel in harmony with nature. In the night flood light from Rothak Power station on the other side of Ringit created a magical aura.

Namchi, Rock Garden, Sikkim, Namchi Sightseeing
View from Namchi Rock Garden

As you search over internet you’ll find some standard hotels in Namchi. These hotels are mostly located in the township of Namchi. Though they do not promise high standard of service and wide range of amenities they surely offer cozy and comfortable accommodation. But for a completely unique experience I recommend Shephard’s Vacation Home (Ph: 09002503151) where we stayed for 3 days and 2 nights.

 

Shephard's Vacation Home, Namchi Hotel, Hotel in Namchi, South Sikkim
The cottage on the banks of River Ringit

How to Get There

We reached New Jalpaiguri early in the morning (7 am). Darjeeling Mail was right on time. However, there are other trains like Kanchanjanga Express, Testa Torsa Exp, etc.

We took breakfast in the railway canteen and then started for Namchi at about 9 o’clock. The hotel’s car was waiting outside the station. It took nearly 3 hours (by car) to reach Jorethang, the nearest commercial and transport hub. From Jorethang we took right turn towards Namchi.

It took 20 minutes more to reach to Rothak Power Station on Ringit. The hotel’s car could not go further as the only way to reach the cottage on the other side was a narrow, hanging bridge made of wooden boards some of which were missing along the way allowing through holes scary glimpse of the wild streams running some 40 feet below my feet.

The bridge on River Ringit, Namchi, Sikkim
The bridge on River Ringit will take you to the cottage

What to See

The scenic beauty of the place itself is a treat to the eyes. But there are some other things to see as well. Even though ours was a very short trip the owner of the hotel planned our itinerary in a way so that we don’t miss the main attractions of the place. The next morning of our arrival we started for Namchi sightseeing.

Padmasambhava, Samdruptse, Ravlong Monastery, Samdruptse, Namchi Sightseeing, Sikkim
Padmasambhava, Samdruptse monastery, Namchi

Samdruptse

Our first destination was the Buddhist shrine of Samdruptse. The awe inspiring 45m high statue of Guru Padmasambhava watching over the hills is a must see. Inside the temple below peace and quiet prevail all around. The place is dotted with manicured plants and blossoms to add to the beauty and serenity of the place.

 

Namchi Rock Garden, Namchi Sightseeing, South Sikkim
Namchi Rock Garden

Namchi Rock Garden

On our way back we stopped at the Namchi Rock Garden. It is actually a view-point from where you get awesome view of the surrounding mountain range. The blue-green mountain wearing a veil of mist – the spiral roads carved along the green slopes – smoke coming out from small cottages down the mountain village – all contribute to form a beautiful landscape to watch at from the Rock Garden.

Namchi Bazar

After spending half-an-hour enjoying the scenic beauty we started towards Namchi town. We made our way through the bustling Namchi Bazar (town’s market). Local men and women wearing multicolored costumes, hues of fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers in the market make it a vibrant place. We reached the plaza in the center of the town. The commercial hub of Namchi town is a well planned and nicely decorated plaza housing shopping arcade, eateries, restaurants and entertainment center and of course ATMs of leading banks. So you can shop freely if you have the debit card with you. From fashionable clothing, accessories and jewelry to a variety of dry fruits, handicrafts and trinkets – Namchi Bazar has a lot of things to offer.

It was nearly 4:30 in the afternoon. The golden rays of sun was telling us he was about to set and we need to hurry otherwise we’ll miss two man-made wonders of Namchi.

Chardham Temples, Namchi Sightseeing, South Sikkim
Chardham Temples, Namchi, Sikkim

Chardham

We drove to Chardham at Solofok, a sacred pilgrimage (which was under construction at the time of our visit in September, 2010) consisting of replicas of four famous Hindu pilgrimages –  Rameshwaram Dham, Jagannath Dham, Dwaraka Dham, Badrinath Dham. There is also a beautiful temple featuring a huge statue of Lord Shiva sitting on top of the temple.

Assangthan Helipad

On the way back a surprise was waiting for us. The driver took us to Assangthan Helipad located on the top of a hill. It’s the perfect spot to get a 360 degree view of the valley below. We enjoyed awesome view of the setting sun from there.

Some other places that we missed in our Namchi trip are Temi Tea Garden and Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. The lone tea estate in the entire state of Sikkim offers scenic beauty and lush greenery to behold. The wildlife sanctuary gives you an insight about the rich flora and fauna of the region. You’ll see some beautiful birds and can catch the glimpse of red pandas here. However, to cover all the places conveniently you need to extend your trip to a few more days.

What to Eat

We reached Pipalay in the afternoon at about 1:30 pm. We were too hungry to go outside and decided to take our lunch at the hotel’s restaurant which was not fully developed at that time – there was no menu card, no pricing list and no options to choose from. For a bowl of plain rice, daal, chicken and salad in lunch and rice and egg curry at dinner we were billed Rs 2000! And we took our lesson. When you are staying at a remote or underdeveloped area it is better you have your meals in the nearest town during sightseeing in day time and pack your food for dinner while getting back to the hotel in the night. There are restaurants in Jorthang where you can have Indian and Chinese at reasonable price. By the way, don’t forget to taste Momo at Namchi Bazar. You’ll relish it, I bet.

When to Visit

The best time to visit the place is from March to October. Though we found the weather little hot and humid during the day in September, nights were lot cooler. Mountain has a different charm in monsoon but that can be dangerous too with muddy and slippery roads and landslides. So if you are not so daring avoid visiting the place in June, July and August when Namchi sees huge rainfall.

A Bunch of Flowers from the Hills of Sikkim

blue snowball bush, sikkim

Flowers are perhaps the most beautiful creation of Nature. And you’ll find them aplenty on the hills. During our stay in Pipalay, a beautiful village in Namchi, South Sikkim I did try my hand on nature photography. There were wide variety of flowers and foliages. Some were known to me and some unknown. Some dazzled in vibrant colors while some were too small to go unnoticed, but when they blossom you can’t ignore their collective beauty.

There was this red Zinnia in the garden of Shepherd’s Vacation Home (the cottage where we stayed during our short trip). I zoomed in with my Sony Cybershot DSC-W190.

zinnia, red flower

I found this tiny crimson beauty in the bush behind the cottage and the yellow one too…

small flower

cassia, senna, sikkim

The pink and blue ones bloomed at the feet of the Holy Statue of Samdruptse in South Sikkim. Can you tell me their names?

pink flower, Namchi, Sikkim

snowball bush, sikkim

The monastery at Samdruptse has manicured gardens where purple and white cosmos were bountiful. They looked like small butterflies amidst the green blades of grass.

cosmos flower

This ‘unidentified’ pink blossom along the garden fence also caught my eyes. And this time I badly felt the need of a DSLR

pink flowers, Sikkim

On our way back to Pipalay (from Samdruptse) we stopped by Namchi Rock Garden that offers mind-blowing view of the mountains all around. Bonus was a variety of foliage that adorned the small garden. I thought this magenta one is worth sharing.

foliage, Namchi, Sikkim

You might also love the following combination of red and green sprouted along the stairways of the Rock Garden.

green and red flower, Sikkim