Sikkim & Bhutan – Epilogue & Acknowledgement

It had been great time during these two weeks when we kept exploring one place after another and Himalayan beauty kept us mesmerised and shocked me at some points when I could not even my eyes open for some time due to abundance of sun light and all over reflection by snow.

Sikkim is one of least explored region in India is seems and as and when one approach Northern parts of Sikkim, it goes on to become more and more tranquil and peaceful. I envisioned to do cycling in this region someday.

Simplistic life style but great awareness of nature in Bhutanese people is admirable, I saw couple of cleanliness drives where people were picking plastics from road side to keep area clean. It is mandatory for government officials to wear national dress of Bhutan and that make it more beautiful.

I heard Bhutanese music sometimes during our taxi drives and like quite few of the track though I dont understand them.

Sikkim & Bhutan was not our plan initially but thats what was fated to us. Yes, you have read it right, it was not a solo journey. It would be stupid of me to finish this series with out writing about my dear friend, great writer, amazing photographer, not so regular blogger,  and travel partner on this journey.

Insignia or Bindu is the person who made this journey possible in first place. When we came to about fall out of Philippines plan, it was not a good feeling to say the least but then shit happens.

We discussed many destinations in few days and after going through I-dont-know-how-many-places Bhutan is what we could book tickets for. At this point I did not know a things about Bhutan as it was a last moment decision.

She took it in her hands probably to make most out it and I have already had my faith placed in her when it comes to travel, after who would not do that with a person who has already travelled 15+ countries and 160+ cities.

During whole journey she had been always ahead of the time and knew where are we going next day and covering what all destinations along with at least preliminary information about the places.

I know I can not thank her enough for all that she has done however I hope for more journey with her as my thank you gesture. 🙂

Insignia!

Insignia!

             You can read more about her travelogue and other stuffs here

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Sikkim & Bhutan -20

Hello all, This is post is about our last couple of days while coming back from Sikkim & Bhutan but you can read here what all we have done so far.

Planning & Research Courtesy: Insignia

After visiting Punakha Dzong , which the most beautiful Monastery so far I have seen, It felt so nice at to finish the journey with a beautiful note. We returned to Thimpu after that and relaxed next day while exploring some remaining place like Post Office.

Post Office, Thimpu!

Post Office, Thimpu!

We got our personalised stamp here. I got clicked by the post office personal and she returned beautiful postal stamps with Bhutan in back ground. These stamps can be used for postal purpose.

It was a good day to relax and have coffee and eat after marathon of 15 days, however we did not rush our journey any where but still joy of just being and not having next destination in mind, sleeping and then eating again is amazing. It costed us couple of places at the end but one place for which I would definitely go back to Bhutan probably would be Bumthang, which also houses a National Park. Nevertheless that would be for some other day.

Next day we bought our drive back to Phuntsoling by Toyota Coasters which was mentioned in arrival post as well but now you can take look too.

Toyota Coaster Bus in Thimpu

Toyota Coaster Bus in Thimpu

Exiting Bhutan!!

Exiting Bhutan!!

After reaching to Jaigaon. India we explored local shop for couple of hours before resuming our journey to Siliguri, West Bengal. It took whole and next day we had our flight back from Bagdogra Airport.

IGI Airport Delhi!

IGI Airport Delhi!

We had great time during this journey exploring Darjeeling, Gangtok, North Sikkim, Thimpu, Paro, Punakha. We did not cover all places those are normally mentioned in travel guides but we are content with what we did. I personally hope I get more chances to come to this region few more times as it is a wonder place to trek and be with nature.

I hope it was my introduction to the region and there many more to come.

So what the this journey has come to its end part but we have some more things to discuss yet and you will see that in next post.

Sikkim & Bhutan -12

So far we roamed in Darjeeling, Checkout Gangtok

Explored North Sikkim District.

Planning & Research Courtesy : Insignia

We headed to local Bus & Taxi Stop to enquire about transport to Jaigaon ( India) /Phuentsholing ( Bhutan) and after gathering information about our next days plan, we came back and surfed the local market, prepared for the paper work for Immigration at Bhutan Border and called it a day.

Hotel’s front desk person Mr. Vishesh was very kind who woke us up and asked a shared
taxi to wait for us for some time while we get ourselves together along with our stuff and get loaded into the cab.

We reached Siliguri by noon and then there after took a bus to Jaigaon which is last village at India – Bhutan Border on Indian side. Many people may not find this bus journey very nice and it might be advisable to hire a cab for comfort tourists.

It took us around four and half hour & three different mode of transport ( Shared Taxi, Bus, Shared Tuktuk)  to reach Jaigaon and we were lucky to reach in time for immigration office, Phuentsholing. Phuentsholing is the town on Bhutan Side, separated by a concrete wall from Jaigaon, India.

Indian nationals can just walk in without any hassle and get their permit done at immigration office. It took us almost half an hour to get our permits and start to Hotel hunting

The Gate at Indo- Bhutan Border.

The Gate at Indo- Bhutan Border from Bhutan Side

Ahh! We are in Bhutan now and hell! We see it all around us. Roads, dresses, buildings, people, Vehicle registration plates everywhere. It was our turn to get introduced with Bhutan and we did it nicely with a Bhutanese dinner at a local restaurant.We had Datsi among other Bhutanese dishes of soupy noodles, which is made in Yak butter and potatoes. It was tasty and filling.

Before going for dinner we checked into a hotel had some rest (if you take a bus ride to Jaigaon you are definitely going to need it). I even had a bath to get fresh feeling which turned out to be great idea as we roamed around a bit in Phuentsholing after dinner to check for local bus stand to get going to Thimpu next morning.

After saying good bye to Indian border we slept to start for amazing journey ahead.

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To know more about Bhutan, keep reading , stay happy!!!

Sikkim & Bhutan -11

We reached back to Gangtok last time after spending two nights and three days in North Sikkim

Planning & Research Courtesy : Insignia

Next day morning we started for Nathula apprehensively as two days before it was closed for civilian and visitors. However driver of this cab was positive and assured us that we would be able to make it to Nathula!

On the way to Nathula it was decided that we will first go Nathula and then while retuning back will cover other places like Baba Mandir, Lake etc. Excitement is an understatement for the feeling I felt because of many reason, Seeing India – China Border was one them.

On the way we stopped at one place, small market, where we rented snow boots,glows, jackets etc to be ready to enter into snow, well, we did not realise by that time it was more then 4 feet at some places.

Lake!

Lake!

Taking pictures is not allowed at Nathula but I can paint picture for you. It was all snow and so much snow that whole barbed wire fence had gone into it and we were walking like we could cross the Border, had not there been Indian Army guarding the place and on the other side Chinese troops are deployed.

We could not see many Chinese soldiers but only one and he returned a favour of shaking hands with us. I tried asking his name but no response and We spent almost 20 mins at last point of Nathula.

We started climbing down as we started to freeze and we came to know, we can get certificates signed by Army Personal about visiting Nathula, of course we got it. We also got to know about cross border business/ markets and flag meetings and where do they takes place.

After coming down we headed to Baba Mandir ( Temple)  which is in the name of  a soldier of Indian Army who had been martyred on his duty. It is common knowledge in the region that spirit of the soldier still patrol the border and help army personal in their duty. The temple has canteen where food for Baba get ready three times a day and Army treats him as real soldier i.e. all regular uniforms, food etc goes to this temple. They have made one more temple which is rather on road for ease of reach of tourist, however we went to original temple.

We visited Elephant Lake after this and saw Bhutan ( which is distantly visible) on the way back to Gangtok. We saw many trained Yak and Tsongu Lake as well. We reached Gangtok by evening to get ready to start for Bhutan next day!

Keep Reading, Keep Sharing, Stay Happy

Visual Delight – 8

On the way back to Nathula!

On the way back from Nathula!

Visual Delight -7Visual Delight -6,Visual Delight -5,Visual Delight -4,Visual Delight -3,Visual Delight -2,Visual Delight -1,

Visual Delight – 6

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On the way to Gurudongmar Lake.

To see other related posts:

Visual Delight -5, Visual Delight -4, Visual Delight -3, Visual Delight -2, Visual Delight – 1

Sikkim & Bhutan – 9

 After having a treat of all possible sorts ( gourmet, visual, travel ) reached Lachen in our last post here

Planning & Research Courtesy: Insignia

Next day we were supposed to leave the base early like 3 am as instructed by Mr. Dawa if we wanted to spend some time at Gurudongmar Lake. We were already on road ( whatever was there or was not there) when I gained my senses and I thought I was dreaming.

Snow fall started on the way to Gurudongmar and our trip started to become doubtful but

Viola! I was in for fun and I had to have it all. Like this…

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We had to take a halt due to snow fall and there was this small shoppe where we took shelter and warmed ourselves at fire place made in centre of the shoppe. Above picture showing you road or way right outside the shoppe.

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I was surprised to see these creature living life amidst this snow.

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The Lake, one would just want to look at it for infinite time. The whole landscape is covered with snow but still its beauty is incomparable & unmatchable. There is a spot in lake where water never freezes and it said to be the sacred place.

We spent considerable time given it was chilling cold over there, paid a visit to the Gurudwara and the Monastery which has been made in same compound. Roamed around, there was so much reflection of light here due to white color that not having a pair of shades can be real nightmare for someone.

I went down to lake’s liquid part and spent few minutes there, felt like meditation.

We resume to be on roll but could not help to keep marvelling the beauty of the region

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You see this right after Gurudongmar and its stark difference with all the snow we saw.

Keep watching this space for more

Visual Delights-5

This beauty is what I captured while returning from Zero point and going toward Lachen!

This beauty is what I captured while returning from Zero point and going toward Lachen!

If you would like to feel more delighted, please click these links:

Visual Delights – 4

Visual Delights -3

Visual Delights -2

Visual Delights -1

Sikkim & Bhutan – 8

Hey folks, you read till now how we reached to zero point

Planning & Research : Insignia

Snow fall is something I like, Ok, I love it. So it was sort of euphoric pleasure which I derived. I did not want to leave that place, Alas! It was not meant to be and we resumed our journey.

As I mentioned earlier we pre- decided to stop in Yumthang Valley on the way back and we were in for a treat by Yak! Yes, when we came back to Yumthang, there were a lot of Yaks grazing in the open land. We stopped there and decided to have some fun,

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Flowers & A lot of flowers!!

Flowers & A lot of flowers!!

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After having some fun in Yumthang Valley, we resumed our journey to our next halt place which was Lachen. We need to come back down to Chumthang to change the route to go to Lachen. We spent whole remaining day on road and reached Lachen around evening time.

We left after checking in to our Hotel to visit village and I came to know about a local monastery. Due to late in evening it was closed, however we got to talk to locals and we could see the monastery’s outer walls which has stories in the form of painting and carvings.

Village Lachen!

Village Lachen!

We heard musical tunes were coming out of the house and we were to assumed it was a worship event because of the type of the music. We entered the house and asked the people what exactly was it and if we could see the event which turned out to be a house warming ceremony and spanning three days and to be performed 4 – 6 hours each day.

Worship!!This was the setup of the worship, they were reciting religious chants and Shlokas. We saw all the process for few minutes. When we were about to leave we met owner of the house and he started to talk to us. We exchanged ideas, thoughts, informations and so on.

We moved back to our hotel after this, had dinner and slept off.

More to come…Stay Happy

Visual Delights -3

Visual Delight -1

Visual Delight – 2

Work in progress!!

Work in progress!!

This was one of many machines which had been parked along side the road on the way to  Zero point. BRO put their efforts in all the harshest condition to make it possible that our people ( Military & civilians can travel across the lengths and breadths of these mountains)

Hail BRO!!