Monday, 9 January 2017

Unexplored got explored- Gangtok & Darjeeling!






3 years back, I traveled to Gangtok and Darjeeling with my parents and thought of writing about my experiences at that time, but couldn’t. So, finally! here I am posting few photographs along with the coverage of my 4 day trip.

It was an itinerary of 4 days; Kolkata-Gangtok-Darjeeling-Kolkata. We started off from Kolkata on 24th April,2013 evening and reached Jalpaiguri on the next day morning, from there we took a cab to Gangtok and reached there on the same day by evening. Since, roughly we had 3 days time for exploring two places excluding the travel time, we thought of utilizing it by not wasting our time in roaming around the streets and resting @ our room. We jotted down the places in advance to cover the must visit places in Gangtok and made all the arrangements like taxi and permits
required .
 
On day 1, we started from our hotel at 6 in the morning and gathered at a common point as told by our guide, from where we had to start our journey to the 1st destination of our trip i.e. "Nathula Pass". Nathula pass is best known as the place which connects Sikkim with China's part of Tibet. I was very excited to visit this place, as I had heard a lot about it beforehand. En-route,on one side we saw many water falls and valley on the other side. The beauty we witnessed around us was breathtaking. As we reached one of the sightseeing places before Nathula pass i.e. "Tsomgo Lake", we were informed by the locals that the route to Nathula pass was closed due to heavy land slide. And then we were told by our guide that Tsomgo Lake is the last resort for us to spend time. So, we buckled up for the sightseeing and took out our cameras as the scenic beauty at Tsomgo Lake was enchanting. I had never been to any such place before which actually had stunned me with its beauty, it was my first experience of this kind, so naturally I took my camera out and clicked lots of pictures of the lake along with valley, yaks and snow-capped mountains etc. We spent almost 3 hours there when rain started to pour-in, we headed back to our vehicles. As soon as we reached Gangtok, we had lunch and continued with our sightseeing. We covered few temples and monasteries and after dusk we came back to our hotel. At night, we took a stroll on beautiful mall road of Gangtok and had our dinner at authentic momos restaurant.


Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)

Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)
Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)
Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)
Enchey Monastery
Prayers wheels @ Enchey Monastery
Child monk @ Enchey Monastery

On day 2, we had to leave for Darjeeling in the afternoon, so we woke up early and took a cab to cover few more places from our list before leaving. And the first place we opt was the Himalayan zoo of Gangtok. Being a nature lover and enthusiastic photographer, I like taking pictures of animals and that's the main reason I chose zoo as our first place to visit on day 2. There were various species like the Himalayan leopard, the Himalayan cats, white foxes and red panda (the cutest of them all). I took pictures of them all and saved the memories in my camera. After that we went to the botanical garden of Gangtok and then to the Dro-dul Chorten stupa before leaving for Darjeeling. And finally our trip to Gangtok ended there and we reached Darjeeling.

Dro-dul Chorten Stupa, Gangtok

Dro-dul Chorten Stupa, Gangtok

Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park

Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park

Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden

On Day 2, we reached Darjeeling and spent rest of the evening resting in our hotel room.

On Day 3, we got up early at 3 AM, got ready and took a cab to Tiger hill to see the sunrise. Before planning this trip, I read a lot about Tiger hill's sunrise view, that when the sunlight strikes on the snow peaks of Kanchenjunga, it gives you a surreal experience of sheer panoramic view. But to our bad luck the weather badly struck our plan with slight drizzle. And with great disappointment, we headed back to our hotel again and slept for another 2-3 hrs. As soon as we got up, we decided the places to cover on the first day in Darjeeling. Our first place was the war memorial, then the Himalayan zoological park, Rock garden, Tea garden and then finally the Buddhist temple. The whole day went well, I clicked many pictures at war memorial and zoological park. Alongside zoological park, we also visited the Himalayan trekking museum (those who love trekking and other stuff like that will love the facts and history gathered together of all the trekkers and trekking events ever happened in India). The rock garden also had a wonderful view around with a waterfall and different varieties of flowers covering a huge area. Overall, the experience was great and then we went to the Buddhist temple, which was our last place to visit on day 3. Well if you go to places like Gangtok and Darjeeling, its highly advisable to spend good time at places like monasteries and Buddhist temples, these places will make you feel calm and relaxed. As we ended our sightseeing on the 3rd day, we headed back to our hotel and later, went for shopping and strolled around the city.



Batasia Loop, War memorial garden, mountain

Batasia Loop, War memorial garden, mountain

Buddhist Monastery
Rock Garden, Darjeeling


Rock Garden, Darjeeling

Rock Garden, Darjeeling

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Tea Garden, Darjeeling


On Day 4, since we had to reach the Jalpaiguri station before its late in the evening, we planned to leave Darjeeling in the morning, at around 10 AM. So, for the last adventure we opted to travel by "Darjeeling Himalayan Railway" also known as the "Toy train”. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is declared as the world heritage site by UNESCO and is well known all over the world. We boarded the first train of the day from Darjeeling to Ghoom station (distance of 10 km approx.) and then took a cab from Ghoom to our hotel at Darjeeling. The whole experience of traveling by the toy train was fun. At the end, we left Darjeeling and reached Jalpaiguri on time, and then we boarded our train in the evening from Jalpaiguri to Kolkata.


Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Dirdham Temple


39 comments:

  1. I must say Saumy- all the pictures are really admirable. I have been to Kalimpong and Darjeeling but your pics are telling more beautiful story. Can I use any pic with due credit?

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Upasna!

      Please feel free to use any of the pics, I'd be more than happy! :)

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  2. Its my wish to go to this place, lets see when it happens. We have beauty in our country which leaves you spellbound. Nice Pics Saumy. A bit jealous that you could make it. You really utilised you time effectively (thumbs up to that).

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    1. This is Manisha. Somehow my name is not there.

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    2. True that our country has lots of beautiful gems all around. Glad you liked the pictures, Manisha! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  3. Amazing sights, buddy! I haven't been to any of these places...actually, I have not even explored India much.

    Your trip inspires me to cover them; atleast the queen of hills 😊

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    1. Thanks buddy! :)
      I feel that India has everything from a traveler's perspective. And I guess, I haven't covered even 1% of our country. Lots of places to visit and ppl to meet. Hope you also explore India soon. :)

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  4. After this virtual trip I feel like going right away and you have clicked them beautifully.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mansi! Glad you liked the pictures :)
      Sikkim is one of the most beautiful states in India. You will love the place for sure :)

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  5. Wow pictures with nice description.Darjeeling and Sikkim looks beautiful. We have never explored that part of India but looks like it's worth going. Thanks for this virtual trip. :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Deepa! Glad u liked the pictures :)
      It's definitely worth a visit. :)

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  6. This looks like such amazing trip
    With awesome experience of spotting tigers
    Loved the post

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    1. Thanks a lot for stopping by Dixita. Glad you liked the post :)

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  7. You have actually inspired me to go and explore Sikkim! Such gorgeous photos. LOVE LOVE your featured pic. It tells a story. The reason you didn't get the sunrise was because you need to revisit the place. You have actually designed a first timer's itinerary. Very useful. Thanks Saumy. Loved this virtual tour!

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    1. hehe! Yeah, I too feel that, I have to revisit the place soon. So happy to hear that the pictures inspired you to plan a trip to Sikkim. Also, there are some photos which are very close to my heart and this cover pic is one amongst them. And your appreciation for any picture means a lot, trust me! :)

      Thanks for your kind words, Divyakshi! :)

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  8. This looks like a fun trip. And I love the photographs! I want to plan a trip there soon now!!

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    1. It was indeed! Glad you liked the pictures, Jini! :)

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  9. I have no words to say saumy! the pictures are really awesome and is inspirational. Every picture is speial. You have a great eye as a photographer buddy!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Menaka! Means a lot :)

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  10. Wohooooo! Saumy! this is such an awesome lovely post :) Love, love the captures. Pictures of animals <3 Like the itinerary and so so want to be there (Gangtok has already been on the bucket list for some time == 2 years :D ) Keep sharing experiences. So good to read this!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Shashank! Glad you liked the pictures :)
      I feel that it's high time now;2 years is a long time. Cover Sikkim and share your experiences buddy. Would love to read your journey exp. too :)

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  11. Oh God! I miss Sikkim! You post just took me back to that beautiful corner of our country. Gangtok is one of the places I would love to settle in when I retire :D Lovely post!

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    1. Wow! Am so glad that the post took you to the place itself. Gangtok is indeed one of the best places I have visited till date. Nice people, scenic beauty, mall road, monasteries. Ahh..there was so much calmness around there. :)

      Thanks for stopping by, Vaisakhi! :)

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  12. I love GANGtok and the Tsangmo lake us indeed stunning. To catch the sunrise at tiger hill you have to visit once more.The pictures are beautiful

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Amrita! Glad you liked the pictures :)

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  13. OMG! I am totally blown by this beautiful post Saumy! I had planned to visit Sikkim, Gangtok and the rest a few years ago but postponed it when I heard the road travel is torturous, especially if you are prone to road sickness. But seeing this post has rekindled that desire! Magnificent pictures and wonderfully covered.

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    1. Sikkim is worth a visit, Di! There are so many untouched places in and around Gangtok, that are worth seeing. My mom had the same problem of road sickness but the trip went well and she didn't face any difficulty. If you plan this trip in future, do let me know. I will help you in making your itinerary. :)

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  14. Beautiful photographs! Thanks for sharing this post with us. I think I will plan a trip there someday..hopefully soon ! :)

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  15. Saumy your pictures have painted a far more surreal image of your trip. Boarding the toy train is one of my biggie travel dreams and I envy you for it.
    Bad weather can be such a dampener but I am impressed by your enthu of not letting it get you down and enjoy other things. 😊

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  16. Whoa! What a rush of beauty all packed in one post - so beautiful. I am absolutely sold on the pictures, the next time I am getting a chance I know where to go. This post is a real treat Saumy - you make a great guide for travel lovers all over the world. Thanks for taking me along!

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  17. I can use the same itinerary minus the zoo trip. We have covered so many zoos that now if I travel to one more, its residents would ask us to start the messenger service to pass on to their relatives living in others. But Red Panda is one reason I might. Alok loves sunrise, so we would adopt your itinerary and get up at 3 in the morning. Anything to witness and capture a beautiful sunrise. Love the lake pictures. It's one of hidden gems of our country. I haven't read about it earlier. Thanks for bringing it to my knowledge.

    Great captures, Saumy! You know the craft well. :)

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  18. OH MY GOD! You took me back by 7 years! I love Sikkim. In fact it is one of the places I am considering of settling down in, in future. You literally reminded me of my trip to Sikkim and Darjeeling. Lovely clicks!!! Loved this post :)

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  19. Such a great post! Thank you for this detailed itinerary, I am going to bookmark this. Gorgeous shots, I especially like the black & white ones.

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  20. Awesome itinerary Saumy and such amazing experience shared :) Agree monasteries bring in so much peace....the pictures are beautiful and awesome account of each day :)

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  21. You must write travel posts more . These are beautiful pictures and its a crime that you had not posted this before .

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  22. Love that place, just recently visited second time 😃

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  23. Great pictures. Took me back to my visit of Gangtok and Darjeeling :)

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  24. These pictures are to die for! I am visiting these iconic places! Bookmarking to show and pursue the soldier :P

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  25. I chose this post particularly to post my comment of nominating you cause these pics are my absolute fav's of ur collection of pics!

    I am nominating you for "The Mystery Blogger Award" under the category of Travel/Photography. Check out the below link for additional details.
    https://thoughtsthrulens.blog/2017/10/25/the-mystery-blogger/

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