DARJEELING TO WEST SIKKIM
Members: Selvam Sridharan, Pridesh
Bike: Royal enfield 500cc
Note: This was the first road trip to north india, Was very excited about the and how it is going to be.We were assisted by a very good friend of ours, Gautham, who runs a bike renting company for road trip enthusiasts like us to travel across international borders by road just for the thrill of it. The company is called ‘ADVENTURES LIMITED’. Because of his support and guidance we saw things that we only see on TV, things like landslides and a lot of animals that we recollect from discovery channel, we expected to see waterfalls and high altitude mountains but didn’t realize the magnitude of their beauty till we set eyes on them.
Day 01: BAGDOGRA – The Adventure Begins
The trip to Dargeeling started with a safe landing at the Bagdogra Airport on a Monday to a pleasing 19C degree! Not something we do every week. On the arrival, we had butterflies in our stomach expecting the unexpected for the next couple of weeks. We took a taxi from Bagdogra airport to Dargeeling. We had already called our friend to arrange for a Bike and were eagerly waiting to kick start our Enfield and our trip! We knew it was going to be a life changing one.
Day 02: DARGEELING TO KALIMPONG – The Scenic Roads (65 km)
The ride through the dense forest of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary was a memorable one that took us through the green covers and its admirable inhabitants that popped throughout the journey! Wild fowls, rabbits, mongeese.The feeling we have when the cold fresh breeze brushes through our jacket and into our bodies gives us a different form of energy that no other drink or enhancer could do. The distance to Kalimpong was a mere 65 kms but beauty and the curves and the things the roads show us and take us through definitely mesmerized us. We knew this was just the beginning. The journey through the sanctuary ended at Sevok where we were suddenly exposed to a huge canvas painting of forest covered hills. Overnight at the hotel in Kalimpong was a welcome rest at the end of an exciting day!
Day 03: Kalimgpong to Gangtok (74 km) – The etheric beauty
The cool crisp morning complemented by a sumptuous breakfast, gave us the energy we needed to start from Kalimpongto ride towards Gangtok. Initially we drove around the foothills and when we thought it quite easy we faced the serpentine roads that made us go uphill and downhill for quite a long time. We saw to it that there was enough energy in our mind to give us the acceptance of the scenic beauty of nature and how its inhabitants behave towards it. After a long adventurous day we settled for the night at a hotel in Gangtok.
Day 04: GANGTOK – The Capital Town
Gangtok was like cotton candy tucked away in the middle of the clouds, placed on a ridge 5000 ft above the sea level. The day was well spent on an excursion in and around the capital and to Changhu Lake. This eye catching glacier that soothes the soul of almost anyone that plans on maintaining peace with the soul. The lake is open for visitors during this season and is worth the ride especially to get a view of Gangtok town. We had to spend the night in Gangtok letting us sink in all the greeneries in this part of the country that I bet can never be found in any other country or continent.
Day 05: In Gangtok
The second day in Gangtok was spent visiting many attractions that awaited the tourists, not many like us though. Rumtek monastery is just one of them. The day was be spent in Gangtok in rest and visiting local tourist interests.An Overnight stay at the Hotel in Gangtok was a cosy and one .
Rumtek Monastery: The Rumtek monastery is Located at a distance of about 24 kilometres from Gangtok. It is an ancient structure that was built in 1717, and resurrected later in 1960. The monastery is full of ancient pieces of art. The monastery isalso covered with murals, Tibetan paintings, Tankhas and frescoes. It is also the largest monastery in Sikkim.
Day 06: Gangtok to Pelling (110 km)
The day started with an exciting ride to Pelling in West Sikkim. The first phase of the journey rolls along the picturesque valley of River Tistatill Melliand then it runs along the beautiful valley of Rangittill Legship. Wetook a refreshing break at the view point near Melli and watched the magnificent birds eye view of the confluence of both the rivers. From Legship the road takes a steep turn through Geyzing. The view of the entire surrounding widens as you proceed towards Pelling through the clouds and forests.
Pelling is a placid travel destination, situated at an altitude of 6,800 ft from the sea level. It attracts most of its visitors for its glorious history, nature and culture of the state. Pelling, is a laid back, scenic, but rapidly swelling hamlet.It is famous for the magnificent view of the snow-capped mountains of Kanchenjunga.
Pelling in Sikkim is an ideal getaway for tourists. In its vicinity there are a numerous amount of waterfalls, soft trek routes, villages and soothing atmosphere for all the discerning. High above the forest covered hills, in a naturalamphitheatrebuilt of cloud, snow and rock. The exhilarating experience ended at an overnight stay at a hotel in Pelling.
Day 07: In Pelling
Pelling called for a definite tour around and we were doing a city tour on our Royal Enfield bike. The most important monasteries in Sikkim are in Pelling! - The PEMAYANGTSE MONASTERY- which is the seat of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, was originally a small Lhakhang, built by LhatsunChempo in the 17th Century. The monastery contains numerous antique idols and objects of worship and is filled with wall paintings and sculptures. The most astounding feature is a painted wooden structure of ZanthoPelri – the heavenly palace of Guru Rinpoche. After the peaceful visit to the monastery and the night was spent ata hotel in Pelling.
Day 08: Pelling – Yuksom (36 km)
After a wonderful scrumptuous breakfast we kick started our motorbike to Yuksom. This historical townis in west Sikkim and located around 36 km from Pelling. It takes approximately an hour’s ride to the place. The main interest was to explore the local areas in and around Yuksom. And the only way to do so was to start our engine and have a POV of the city with our own eyes; nothing beats the human eye. The overnight stay was arranged at a hotel in Yuksom.
Yuksom: Yuksom is a historical town in west Sikkim. It was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 AD by PhutsongNmagyal who was the first religious King of Sikkim. Yuksom has also special religious and cultural significance for the Bhutiatrible community. Being at the head of the Kangchenjunga National Park and as the base camp for trekking to Mount Kangchenjunga, it has large influx of mountaineers from all parts of the world.
Day 09: Yuksom – Darjeeling (145 km)
The ride from Yuksom to Darjeeling was quite a long journey! So after an early breakfast we started on ourmotorbiketo Darjeeling. It is about 145 km and takes around 6-hours to ride. Darjeeling is a beautiful hill station in the eastern mountain regions in India and is famous all over the world for its quality of Tea. Darjeeling is a beautiful place to stay overnight, and so we halted at a hotel in Darjeeling. The cool breeze and a cup of coffee, the best way to sleep among the clouds.
Day 10: In Darjeeling
Darjeeling: - Darjeeling is the famous hill station in Indian state of West Bengal. It is a world renowned tourist destination, along with its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway,it is a must go-to place for any avid lover of the landscapes of height.A UNESCO world Heritage Site too. The town is located in the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya at an average altitude for 2050 meter. Darjeeling was developed by the British in mid-19th century as a military depot. Subsequently, extensive tea plantation was done in the region, and tea growers developed distinctive hybrids of black tea and created new fermenting techniques. The resultant distinctive Darjeeling tea is internationally recognized and ranks among the most popular of the black teas.
The popular places to visit in Darjeelingare Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, It is about 2 and half hours ride from the town, Tiger Hill (visit for 1 hour), Tea Gardens, Japanese peace Pagoda (1 hour), Ghoom Monastery( 1 hour) Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, ( 1 and half Hours), Senchal lake ( 2 Hour), Kanchejunga ( 2 hours), Mahananda Wild life Sanctuary (2 and half hours)... After a long day filled with adventure and nature, It was a well-rested overnightat a hotel in Darjeeling.
Day 12: Darjeeling to Bagdogra (68 km)
The 68 Km ride from Darjeeling to Bagdogra was an event we looked forward to. After breakfast we started our ride on our bike to Bagdogra. From Darjeeling it takes about 2 hours to reach Bagdogra! The fun filled exciting trip from Bagdogra to Darjeeling and back finally came to an end! Theroad trip was adventurous and exhilarating ! the direct contact with nature and its nectar was an unforgettable one time experience! On Arrival at Bagdogra the transfer to Bagdogra Airport to catch the flight for Chennai was an automated routine, and we finally arrived at IGI Airport!