Last December, along with two of my friends, I was fortunate to visit one of the most beautiful places on Earth: Sikkim. During the one week trip, 3 days were spent at the Northern part of Sikkim, and the remaining days at Gangtok as well as spend in travelling. Below are few photos taken during the trip, which I feel is worth sharing! Do leave your comments below!
Visiting Gurudongmar lake, with the Himalayan mountains in the backdrop, situated at 17000 ft above sea level ( >5 km above sea level) was the most exciting and difficult part of our trip. Temperature here is as low as minus 2 to minus 6 degree Celsius and the oxygen level is extremely low. Being at this place for more than 10 minutes can be considered as a life achievement! It’s really crazy at the same time amazing that, we have traveled 1000’s of kilometers, drove through the most difficult of terrains, just to be here for 10 minutes!
The early morning drive to the lake (need to start at 3 AM!), from a village called Lachen, about 70 km away from Gurudongmar is a treat for all your senses! The roads which go around the foothills, the shining moon in the sky, clouds that move besides you, chilling wind that touch down on you, all these experience are something beyond words.
The region is so remote, the only human presence (other than the tourists) are the strong presence of the Indian Army at regular intervals along the route. We have passed through a dozen military zones throughout our journey, and the might of our Army is much more than what you read about in newspapers! (Photography prohibited at all military occupied regions, hence no photos)
Next major place we visited is the “Zero point”, another high altitude place along the borders, but with a better temperature (between 0 to 5 degree Celsius) and enough oxygen to survive for hours! This place is so beautiful, with the frozen yet flowing river (one of the source of River Teesta), snowy mountains, rocky terrain, all at one place, you feel like you are attaining Nirvana once you contemplate on what is in front of you!
The drive back to habitable Sikkim is a memorable one. Quite often you are joined by river Teesta (Gurudongmar lake is another source of the river) along the roads, and the view of the flowing river between the valleys, coupled with the sun rays is breathtaking !
Gradient of light! Some relief from the bright sun light which keeps appearing from behind the mountains at each turn of the road!
Somewhere on the way!!!! Wherever you stop is a photogenic place! Actually the photo above is near “Hot Spring”, a recreational stop on the way back from Zero point, where you can take bath in a hot spring which arise from Mountains!
Its not just nature! Heavy machinery and heavy goods vehicles are all around North Sikkim! A robotic rock driller en route! The driver is actually standing outside and controlling the vehicle using remote!
Sikkim is not just about Mountains and Snow! There is so much of greenery around, often you feel, you are in a dream world as depicted in movies, where you walk across lush green gardens!
Lake Tsomgo, a fresh water lake, on the way to the India-China mountain pass (NaTula Pass), is known for its serenity. The lake is so calm, all your melancholy gets absorbed in!
Sikkim is also known for its strong presence of Buddhist culture and monasteries, visiting one of the monastery brings in a sense of serendipity.
2 students on their way to School! Reminds me the childhood days!
And back in Gangtok, don’t forget to visit MG Marg! The perfect place for a peaceful yet exciting shopping spree!
If you are an avid traveler or plan to explore the unexplored, Sikkim, especially North Sikkim is one place you shouldn’t miss out! Happy journey in advance!!!
I have included this post also part of WordPress photo challenge themed Reward . Being able to visit this place is the greatest reward!