It had turned laborious now, the never ending days and nights all blending with each other when beyond a point even relaxation felt tedious. It was time for a holiday! The indications were crystal clear and I embarked on the much celebrated Gangtok tour that my friends could not stop talking about. They have had the opportunity to visit it the previous year and this time I was to get lucky.
The flight to Baghdogra was uneventful or one could rather categorize it as a lull before the storm. Just that there is no storm in Gangtok, only plush serenity and nature’s splendor everywhere you look. I had bunked all standard Gangtok tour packages and wished to move on instinct.
The many ways to reach Gangtok
- By air- The nearest airport being Baghdogra from where it is 4 hour drive to Gangtok amidst distant snowcapped mountains and scary forested valleys.
- By train- Take the train to New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri and then the longer drive again.
- By road- Reach Gangtok through road which would take about 12 hours.
My choice of abode- the Mayfair
Make no mistake, Gangtok has a big heart, it accommodates every segment of travelers and for all those who tour on limited budgets, be rest assured, it costs nothing to soak in the ethereal surroundings. I was booked with Mayfair though, the most upbeat place to be with breakfast spreads to gorge on and lavish dinners to relish. It has the most impressive hospitality team that there could be including the full-packed casino where I spent most hours of my nights!
Sightseeing in Gangtok– a charming experience
White water rafting in Teesta- Moderately adventurous by nature, I simply had to indulge in this daring albeit safe activity. I teamed up with a few others and along with our life jackets had our rafts in the rocky crevices of the Teesta. With the waters rising up in full force to engulf us, it was thrilling beyond expectations and the highlight of my Gangtok tour.
Visit to the quintessential Mall Road– The walk through the dual lanes dotted with quirky shops selling everything from woolens to curios to handicrafts was at a leisurely pace. With a little drizzle, the falling drops of cool rain felt heavenly and I moved on without a care in the world. Also, available in the Mall road is the local cuisine of Sikkim Gangtok. The traditional momos were a far cry from the adapted and adulterated versions and doubly yummy.
The spiritual Changu Lake– The Gods must be smiling on me because despite any planning, I was able to get the permit straightened for Changu Lake. Located 35 kilometers away from Gangtok, I started fresh in the early morning and reached the pious lake which bereft of movement evoked the same calmness in my soul.
The Nathu-la Pass– The drive to the Nathu-la Pass had been the most memorable drive with scenic, picture post-card type beauty to soak in and the thrill to witness the border; the point where Indian territory ends and the Chinese’ begin. Although, I could not but you may just get to pose with the Chinese soldiers!
The precious little ‘feeling’ I took back from the Gangtok tour
Gangtok taught me to be impulsive once again, it made me reconnect with nature; it made me smile and feel hopeful, for all those, who would wonder what to expect of this capital of Sikkim- expect to return back peaceful!