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Travel Experience

At The Top of The Ridge Gangtok

The taxi stand to Gangtok is situated near to New Jalgapury Station. We could see agents all over there and they are quite interested in people who took the packages that include travel passes and accommodation. Another facility is the availability of government buses. The journey will be possible only if seats are available in the bus.

The Travel

We decided not to seek the help of an agent to see the Gangtok all around. Next day evening we met a guitarist from there. From him we came to know that the way from Gangtok to Rongli is under the army and special permission is required to pass through the way.

The main tourist attractions are Nathula Pass, Baba Mandir, Nathang Valley, and Zuluk Valley etc. The way passes through five lakes namely, Changu, Menmecho, Kuppu etc. Majority selects the Gangtok package which includes Kuppu Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass. The pass for this journey is distributed at Gangtok. Another way is from Rongli via Silk to Gangtok and it takes 2-3 days to reach the destination.

We decided to choose a populated Valley rather than visiting Nathula, one among the four Border Person Meeting Points of India. Thus we started our journey to Arittar village in a taxi which was called by the guitarist boy. He helped us a lot for finding the cab next morning too and we reached Rongli from Arittar. The driver Satheesh went with the procedures of filling the form. To our bad luck on that day we came to know that the tourists are allowed to pass the way only after 3 as there was Army passing.

Around Rongli

Then we started wandering around the small town Rongli. We saw a Himalayan River there and the water was less as there were a dam built somewhere along its flow. The people started destroying the river for collecting sand. Some people were seemed to be fishing in the river. The mirror like shining water wasn’t scary at all. We had a bath in the pure water of the sacred Himalayan River and while taking rest on a rock Jayesh told that he felt like this place isn’t ‘wrongly’ but it is ‘rightly’!

Satheesh returned with the pass at 3 and the plan was to stay at Zuluk valley located 3-4 hours away from there. The journey brought a new experience and a fresh feeling to us and we were much proud to hear that no foreigners were allowed to pass through this way.

We continued our journey after enjoying each beautiful view although it was getting late. It is difficult to forget the sunset we’ve seen on that day as it was that much beautiful to see the red sunrays fading in between the hills. We enjoyed the site silently.

At Zuluk Valley

Many homestays are available at Zuluk Valley and pre-booking is required. The valley consists of about 500 families. Agriculture is not a source of income for this people as they had targeted on trade and tourism. There is camp where the military people are residing in. the sound of parade is heard from there at morning itself. The valley is located 10500 feet high above the sea level.

Next morning after a small walk we started our journey. As those are border roads the patch works are always in progress. And the road construction works are one of the sources of income for the people here.

Each turns has a variety of views. The certain hills are located at Bhutan and Bengal and the driver helped us to recognize each. The Kanchenjunga ranges are visible from the way.

Nathang Valley

It took 3 hours journey from Zuluk to Nathang Valley. Nathang is located 15000 feet high and the room costs us rupees 900 per person. This place has about 200 families. The remains of buildings and the walls built by Britishers were still seen there. The roofs of some of the buildings were renovated and the people started residing in it. Many Buddhist flags are seen above the hills and there was a small monastery too. There are six Buddhist monks. They will be shifted to Kalimpong monastery after one month service. A bar is also situated in the valley.

The food of the entire day was also included in the 900 rupees. The chicken at night got replaced with the mat of Yak as per the suggestion of woman in the mess. We were so delighted with the offer. We went ourselves to buy the meat. Then we went on climbing a hill. It was a steeping one as we continued the climbing after taking rest for 2-3 times. It took around 45 minutes to finish the trekking. And that gave us a big realization about the toughness of mountaineering.

The cold became intense during night. Reaching at the homestay we saw the son of the mess woman there and he brought the fire wood very lately for us. We felt like he was enjoying the shivering scene of us! Unfortunately all the fire woods were burnt quickly and again we started to shiver out of cold. We went to the room and decided to sleep.

To Gangtok

The next morning, while having a tea from a stall there the shop keeping woman brought some of the vegetables grown there. All of them were not much big as the temperature was not suitable for them to flourish. We again started our journey to reach Gangtok by evening. After a travelling a short distance we will reach at Baba [Harbhajan Singh] Mandir. He was a war hero and all of his belongings including the dresses are still preserved in his room. The route after the Mandir consists of lot of small and big lakes. The Changu Lake made the day beautiful.

Nathula Pass is located 2 kms away from the main road. We didn’t have the pass for visiting the pass and this was a well-protected border area. The army was getting their training there and the sounds of bullets and guns were heard. The Changu Lake is located on the way from Nathula Pass to Gangtok. It is one of the biggest lakes there and many tourism programs are progressing based on this lake. The Yak journey can also be enjoyed from here. But it never attracted us and the view which grabbed our attention was of those foreigners who were seemed to be sitting at the rocks. We were amazed to see them as there was no permission for them to enter Gangtok as told by the shop keeper woman although they came there even with Nathula Pass!

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