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Wed, 17 Oct 2018

Northeast Today

Reminiscence of a Sojourn in Gangtok

Reminiscence of a Sojourn in Gangtok
July 26
13:23 2018

Looking for a cool and serene place with lots of adventure to visit this summer? Then Gangtok is the place you need to be in. One who visits Gangtok tends to fall in love with it. Sristy Chhetri shares her experience of visiting the capital city of the mesmerizing ‘Land of Mystique’.

The Experience

Sikkim offers some exciting experiences and the monasteries here are beyond beautiful and carry a profound legacy. Spending 4 days immersed in the Sikkimese culture, Ihave completely blown away.

My experience in Gangtok started by seeing the Kanchenjunga from the Tashi viewpoint located some 6 km from the city.This viewpoint offers a picturesque sight of Kanchenjunga and its neighbours, whose flawless beauty will take one’s breath away.

Mountain

Monasteries are the must-visit places in and around Gangtok. I went to a couple of them like the Enchey, Lingdum and Pemayangtse. The visit to each monastery gave me an inexplicable sense of solace.

One of the striking features of the monasteries, for me, was the colourful prayer flags which represent the five elements of nature – Earth (yellow), Sky (blue), Water (green), Air (white) and Fire (red).
One can feel very close to the Almighty,as the sacred words mingle with whirring prayer wheels.

A Few More Glimpses

My journey also took me to the TsomgoLake, located at East Sikkim district around 40 km from Gangtok. This lake is one of the high altitude lakes of India,and the reflection of the mountains on the water is an absolute treat to the eyes. The colourfully decorated yaks and ponies around the lake were an added beauty. One can also take a ride or simply take photographs with these decorated animals. There is also one Shiva temple near the lake where the visitors can offer prayers. The locals informed me that, earlier the Lamas used to predict future by looking at the colour of the Lake. The darker it is more chances of chaos in future.

Just 10km from Tsomgo and there lies the Kyongnosala Alpine Sanctuary, a wildlife sanctuary rich in both flora and fauna. Some of the rarest spices and medicinal plants like Nilo Bikh, kutki, Jatamasietc are found here. This sanctuary is a heaven for trekking enthusiasts.

The Cuisines

A visit to a place is incomplete without tasting its local food and Gangtok doesn’t disappoint the foodies. The local food here is simple yet satisfying.It’s a culmination of Nepalese, Tibetan and Sikkimese cuisines. Some must-try items are Momo, Thukpa, Churpi (dry cheese made from Yak milk) Seel Roti, Fhale, Gundruk and Sinki, kinema and Mohi. Local wine made from millet and served in bamboo tubes.

View From Top

On the third day of my visit, I got a chance for the cable car ride from the Deorali market, which is one of the greatest attractions of the city.

Cable ride

The cable car is 1km long and has three entry points. That 20 minutes ride on the cable car was a ride to remember. One gets the spectacular view of the whole city of Gangtok, the amazing valleys and mountains surrounding it.

Shop Till You Drop Dead

If you are a shopaholic, the MG Marg market is the place for you to be. The roads are lined up with decorated shops, restaurants, bars, cafes on both sides. One can get all types of handicraft items, gift stores, souvenirs stores, Sikkimese traditional jewellery and dresses, wooden masks, prayer flags, hand women jackets, Sikkim tea and lot more. The entire MG Marg is no vehicle and no litter zone area. If you want to buy souvenirs for your family and friends, Kanchunjunga Market Complex, adjacent to the MG Marg, is the place for you to be.

Conclusion

My last few hours in Sikkim were directed towards Pelling, the second most visited town of the state after Gangtok. The area is surrounded with alpine vegetation, numerous waterfall and hotels for visitors.One can also visit Pemayangtse Monastery which is 2 km away from there.What one can never forget about Gangtok are the people and their hospitality. They taught me how one can embrace modernization without detaching from the roots.

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