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An Unforgettable Trip to Gangtok

“To travel is to live.”

– Hans Christian Andersen.


Situated on the eastern Himalayan range and 5500 feet above sea level, Gangtok is the lively capital of Sikkim. Gangtok is known as the ‘Land of Monasteries. I visited Gangtok in November 2019, and it was an amazing adventure that I have not been able to forget. Gangtok is filled with beauty owing to its hills, lakes, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, deep valleys, dense forests, and rivers.


During my trip to Gangtok, I visited many tourist locations but these were my favourite:


Nathula Pass

The visit to Nathula Pass was one of the highlights of my trip. This is a mountain pass between India and China. The border trade between India and China is highest at this pass in Sikkim. When I visited this location, I could see the Indian and Chinese soldiers standing guard at the border. This pass is at an astonishing height of approximately 4,310 metres above sea level and is considered to be one of the highest travelable mountain passes in the world. Due to its incredible height, Nathula Pass has very low temperatures ranging from approximately 10°C during the summer season to -20°C during the winter season. As it was early winter, it was freezing cold at the pass. My fingers were starting to feel numb, so to keep myself warm I had to drink some hot chai. The hot beverage helped a lot in providing warmth in those extremely cold conditions.


Zero Point

Zero Point is the last outpost of civilization and the place where three rivers meet amid a panoramic view of snow-clad mountains and picturesque surroundings. Also, this point is close to the Chinese border with India and tourists are required to obtain special permission to visit this point and no visitors are allowed to go beyond this point. Since this point is situated at a higher altitude than the Nathula Pass, the oxygen level was extremely low and I could barely breathe. Despite wearing gloves, a woollen cap and two jackets, it was still freezing and I could barely stand in the open. Nevertheless, it was all worth it as the view from the top was amazing especially because there was snow all around. The view looked like it was straight out of a painting. The road trip was long so we had stopped at one of the many small restaurants on the way back to the hotel where they served us noodles, which, even though simple, tasted amazing. I then realised that food always tastes better outdoors with a great view of the mountains.


Bakthang Waterfall

One of the most memorable parts of my trip was visiting Bakthang waterfall. On the way back from Zero Point, we stopped at a beautiful cascading waterfall, the Bakthang waterfall. In front of the waterfall, there is a bridge which lets us go close to the waterfall. Here, I clicked a lot of beautiful pictures of the waterfall and the scenic view all around it. Near the waterfall, many stalls that sold food, clothes, and bags. At one of the stalls, I tried momos for the first time and they were soft and flavoursome. I still remember how delicious they were and can’t wait to have them again.


Rumtek Monastery

On my last day there, I visited the largest monastery in Sikkim called the Rumtek Monastery which was built to spread the teachings of the Buddha throughout the world. It was built in 1966 with the Tibetan style of architecture. It is surrounded by nature and is extremely serene. I saw how the monks meditate during their morning prayers. They looked very peaceful. At the monastery, people spin a prayer wheel clockwise while chanting a mantra. I tried it too and it was an absolutely fascinating experience.


I would recommend visiting Sikkim as it is one of the most breathtaking places that I have ever been to. I loved every moment of the trip from the culture of this Himalayan state to its food and the warmth of the locals. I hope I will get to visit this nature’s paradise again.


Bibliography:

  1. n.a. “Welcome to Sikkim Tourism - Official Website of Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Sikkim - Sikkim Tourism” Sikkimtourism.gov.in. n.d. Web. 4 Mar, 2022.


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