Sikkim – The Land of Kanchenjunga – Part II

By Bhudeb Chakrabarti

Continuing from the narration of my travel to South and East Sikkim in Part I , here I describe my journey through West and North Sikkim.

West Sikkim

Rangeet a spectacular river of silvery swirling waters with its source in a glacier of Lower Kanchenjunga Range in West Sikkim is fed by the melting snow and abundant monsoon rains. We travelled through interior West Sikkim and reached Geizing, the District Headquarters late night, after a gruelling road journey.

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Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons | Image credit : @IndianDiplomacy on Twitter

 

Geyzing

During my stay at Geyzing (also called Gyalshing) I visited Pemayangtse (Perfect Sublime Lotus) Monastery built in 8th century. It was a practice that every second son of three sons of a Bhutia family of pure Tibetan lineage were to be ordained as a monk of Pemayangtse Monastery and lead a life of celibacy. The monastery maintained the tradition of ‘Masked Dance’ during its Annual ‘Pang Lhabsol’ Festival in January- February.

Masked Dance

Masked Dance | Image credit : @Sangay93 on Twitter

Trekking routes from Yaksam, which is around 40 kms from Geyzing went right up to Kanchenjunga Range and Kanchenjunga National Park, one of the highest national parks in the world.

On my return journey from Geyzing to Gangtok, I went through Legship on the bank of Rangeet. Legship, known for the Kirateswar Mahdev Temple (Shiva Temple) was the gateway to West Sikkim.

 

Tashiding

Tashiding Monastery

Tashiding Monastery | Image credit : Shared by @Capertravel on Twitter

 

A steep road from Legship took us to Tashiding, where we left our vehicle and started climbing slowly through the wooded hills.

Tashiding Monastery was on a high ridge situated between Rathong Chu River and Rangeet. The monastery had colourful prayer flags fluttering high in the breeze. A sublime peace pervaded the atmosphere and I was enthralled by an ethereal feeling in the sacredness of the monastery.

On the way back, Rabongla on the top of the hill (7800 feet) provided a majestic view of the snow -capped mountains in the twilight.

Rabongla, Sikkim

Rabongla | Image credit : @basantark on Twitter

 

North Sikkim

Finally I visited North Sikkim. The road from Gangtok to Mangan slowly descended from 5500 feet to 3000 feet with dense forests and numerous waterfalls. North Sikkim is the largest producer of cardamom in the world. It is the largest district of the state and has the lowest population in the State. Singhik, at a distance of 5 kilometres from Mangan offered a clear view of Kanchenjunga.

Mangan

Mangan | image credit : @Capertravel on twitter

 

I travelled up to Yumthang at 12000 feet in North Sikkim, passing through the forests of crimson and yellow rhododendrons. Yaks, the only animal in the world to perform heavy work in high altitude are found in Alpine zone.

At a height of about 18000 feet above the permanent snow line is Gurudongmar Lake sacred to the Buddhists and Hindus alike. According to legend, Guru Padmasambhava,  one of the founding fathers of Tibetan Buddhism, while returning from Tibet touched a portion of the Lake to provide clean drinking water to the people.

Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar Lake |Image credit : @kamathmanohar68 on Twitter

 

The polls for Sikkim Legislative Assembly Election were held on 16 November 1994, peacefully in line with the peaceful nature of the colourful people of Sikkim. A new political party Sikkim Democratic Front came to power.

I returned to Kolkata on completion of my assignment, bringing home with me the wonderful memories of this hidden paradise of India.

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Reference :

  1. North Eastern Council Secretariat Ministry of DoNER-India’s North East- Paradise Unexplored

 

 


This article is contributed by Bhudeb Chakrabarti, Dy IG (Retd) CRPF. He has commanded several Operational and Administrative functions in the force and has imparted training to gazetted officers of CRPF and other central & state police forces.

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Readers Comments (40)

  1. The photos have complemented the narration perfectly… 🙂

    Have you visited Sikkim, Somali?

    Reply
    • Thanks Maniparna. Yes I had gone to Sikkim in the month of Dec. That was ages back for honeymoon. Went upto the Nathula border where we saw Indian and Chinese soldiers lined up on both sides of the border. A dog strayed in the No man’s land in between. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Feeling good to know more about Sikkim. Now, I regret the decision when I declined the opportunity to visit the place.

    Reply
  3. Archana Kapoor June 3, 2015 @ 5:30 pm

    Spectacular Somali. Thanks for sharing. Hope Desh and I get to visit soon 🙂

    Reply
  4. A good read once again from the North East and spectacular pics! Thanks for sharing, Somali.

    Reply
  5. Serene beauty of Sikkim. I really liked the Buddha statue in Tashiding. Spectacular view. Quite clear now why travel sites advertise Sikkim so frequently..

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 3, 2015 @ 8:12 pm

      The Buddha statue is at Rabongla in South Sikkim on way back to Gangtok from West Sikkim .
      Thank you for reading the post .Regards .

      Reply
  6. I really like the narration it feels as if I am walking the trails and feeling the beauty 🙂 reading the two posts its a must visit for me 🙂

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 4, 2015 @ 10:10 am

      Hope you are in a position to visit Sikkim soon . Thank you for your kind appreciation of my post . Regards .

      Reply
  7. Reminds me of my trip to these parts of Sikkim long back in 2007. Nostalgia …

    Reply
  8. Beautiful pictures and loved the narration 🙂

    Reply
  9. I feel like attaining nirvana at Rabongla…it looks such a beautiful and a perfect place to achieve moksha.

    Reply
    • Hey Alok just saw this comment of yours on attaining moksha at Rabongla in Sikkim. Somehow it went to the spam, but I sincerely suggest you not to get such enlightened thoughts, if at all you wish plan out a short trip sometime 🙂

      Reply
  10. Beautiful and calming locales. And very, very inviting.
    Thank you for the sights. 🙂

    Reply
  11. Sikkim – here I come:)

    Reply
  12. Serene beauty of Sikkim. I really liked the Buddha statue in Tashiding.very well narrated

    Reply
    • bhudeb chakrabarti June 4, 2015 @ 5:28 pm

      The Buddha statue is at Rabongla in South Sikkim on the way back to Gangtok from West Sikkim .
      Thanks for reading the post and finding it good

      Reply
  13. WOw! Brilliant! I loved the panoramic view of the city. My god. It looks absolutely beautiful!

    Reply
  14. Looks like I have to visit again! What wonderful sights!

    Reply
  15. This is really spectacular stuff. The pictures are spellbinding.

    Reply
  16. Lovely shots, Somali! Mountain pics are always my favorite. Your Sikkim travelogue reminds me of my visit there although I am not yet lucky to visit North Sikkim, especially Yumthung and Gurdongmer but wish to go there soon! 🙂

    Reply
  17. Plan a trip to Sikkim soon xD

    Reply
  18. lovely write-up and images

    Reply
  19. driving images,,,,nice narration…..anybody can fall in love with the place as u described it…..:)

    Reply

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