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Old 31st October 2012, 21:46   #1
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Default Icy Nathu-La

Do trips happen at a short notice of 30mins, that too at 4 am in the morning?

Well, in my case it happened. Though my cousin was persisting me for this trip since long, courtesy : a member ship pass to a resort Summit @ Gangtok, Sikkim.

By 5am, we (me & my wife) were good to go. We were 9 people (2 kids) in 2 Cars. My Figo D and a Estilo.

A start at that hour saw us closing on Siliguri by 7:30 despite loo & fuel top up breaks.

But then, we were grounded at Siliguri till 10 in the morning.

A teaser for what was in store for us

To Sikkim and hopefully Nathu-La, in pursuit of snow.
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Icy Nathu-La-1.jpg  


Last edited by Sheel : 31st October 2012 at 22:28.
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Old 31st October 2012, 22:00   #2
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

What makes us grounded? I was busy a day earlier and could not obtain PUC for my Car. Though I was sure we wouldn't be stopped as Puja was over (just) and cops would have had their fill. But no one knows what destiny has in store for you and you might be checked for things you don't have.

So, we wasted good more than an hour checking out various shops issuing PUC, but due to Puja (right after Dashmi on 25th October) most were in holiday mood.

Finally at around 10, the shop opened, we obtained the PUC and we left for hills.

Everyone was in holiday mood & hence we weren't rushing & stopping quite often.

Kids = Momos, chow-mein

Women = Window shop, more than shopping.

The progress was a bit slow for other reason as well. Slides. Not actual, but previous ones, causing the roads to be narrow and to be not in good condition.

We reached Gangtok, Sikkim by 3 in the after noon and then the search for the Resort began.

Picture while entering Gangtok
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Icy Nathu-La-img_0035.jpg  


Last edited by Sheel : 1st November 2012 at 09:44.
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Old 31st October 2012, 22:50   #3
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

We landed at the said resort & were left wanting.

Not only were the prices inflated, there weren't rooms or villas available as well. Complete occupancy.

We were dejected & hungry. Dejected as it was quite far away (being a resort) and had to do multiple steep incline 1st gear climbs to reach.

Hungry? Well, no proper breakfast or lunch. And it was 3 in the afternoon.

We had spotted another resort on way & landed there. There weren't rooms available, but the manager was kind enough to provide a guy who would take us to another hotel.

The Hotel where we stayed was named Hotel Le Greens. It was near the Helipad.

Icy Nathu-La-helipad-board.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-helipad.jpg

The only one @ Gangtok. It was easy to locate.

The Hotel was nothing fancy. We were quoted Rs. 5,100 for 3 rooms which dropped down to Rs. 3,700 after bargaining.

I got a room at the top floor, while the views were splendid, it got quite chilly.

Both the Cars are parked after their first sojourn to the hills.
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Icy Nathu-La-cars.jpg  

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Old 1st November 2012, 09:34   #4
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

We went to see the local market on foot (kids couldn't & hired taxis later)

The aim was to have good food, buy some woolens & soak in the atmosphere.

Morning at Gangtok

Pawan Hans in all its glory

Icy Nathu-La-copter.jpg

About to take off

Icy Nathu-La-about-fly.jpg

Innumerable small paths leading to houses

Icy Nathu-La-small-paths.jpg

Beautiful houses & loved the way they decorate them. I believe they do the same in Europe as well.

Icy Nathu-La-house-1.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-house-2.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-house-3.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-house-4.jpg
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Old 1st November 2012, 09:42   #5
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

We headed to the famous MG Market.

Loved the concept of this market. No traffic & most importantly, no horns, no litter, no garbage.

MG Market

Icy Nathu-La-mg-marg.jpg

Interesting sculptures at Hotel Bayul.

Icy Nathu-La-bauyl-1.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-bayul-2.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-bayul-3.jpg

Chilly Chicken

Icy Nathu-La-chilly.jpg

Veg Manchurian & Chilly Paneer

Icy Nathu-La-veg.jpg

Excuse the no. of forks here . We were hungry as hell & it tasted yum. Pork Sekwa.

Icy Nathu-La-pork-sekwa.jpg
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Old 3rd November 2012, 08:55   #6
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

After shopping, soaking in the atmosphere & enjoying the no horn/vehicle zone, we approached for permits for visiting Nathu-La.

We had no option, but to take a taxi. Maybe the Estilo could have made it, but my Figo? No chance. There are non existent roads (as reported) and the taxi union is strong enough to make it hard for private vehicles to get permit.

You require two colored photographs and one identification proof. We approached the one where MG Market starts (at the right side).

With permits & taxi fare, it came to Rs. 9,500 for 9 people. Now that is steep considering you got to travel merely 50kms and that too in a vehicle in which there is no carpet. And yes, during peak season, renting a taxi can shame the fare of an S-Class. It goes upto Rs.40,000 on some good days.

We had a day to ourselves and thought to utilize it by doing local sightseeing.

You are fleeced again. The taxi guy promises 7 point sight seeing or 9, but few are hardly worth. The places worth visiting aren't shown as either they are high up (Hanuman Top being a prime example) or they realize that you know zilch about & would take a lot of time. The zoo & the aquarium. Maybe next time.

We visited a flower garden, a monastery, Tashi Top and the rope-way point.

Few pictures of the local sightseeing.

View from the Tashi Top of the beautiful curvaceous road

Icy Nathu-La-beautiful-road.jpg

Flower garden and few pictures

Icy Nathu-La-butterfly-bush.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-flower-1.jpg

The mood (not us, but family friend)

Icy Nathu-La-mood.jpg

View from Ganesha top

Icy Nathu-La-top.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-top-2.jpg

A random waterfall

Icy Nathu-La-waterfall.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-waterfall-2.jpg

I loved the architecture of the buildings of Sikkim, here is one at full zoom

Icy Nathu-La-window.jpg

And Pawan Hans retires for the night

Icy Nathu-La-night-rest.jpg
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Old 3rd November 2012, 09:48   #7
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

Today was going to be an exhilarating day. I am going to be at the highest altitude I ever have been. My wife has stayed for a good part at Tawang and Patnitop, so she wasn't as twitchy as I was.

We woke up early today, had light breakfast, carried ration (consisting of juices, soft drinks, noodles, fruits and some others) Unsure as to what would be available at the top, this much was required.

Though we were ready by 9, the taxi took its own sweet time to arrive, allowing me to enjoy Moto 3 and Moto 2 Races. I knew I wouldn't be able to watch the Moto GP and I was right. As soon as the chequered flag got waved for the Moto 2, the Bolero+ arrived.

Saw for the first time and couldn't resist clicking Let me tell you that their doo doo smells awful though.

Icy Nathu-La-yak.jpg

This was up in the mountains, zoomed, but couldn't make out as to what it is, any guesses?

Icy Nathu-La-what.jpg

This is how roads were (it is a much better picture depicting the condition BTW)

Icy Nathu-La-nathu-la-road.jpg

My first sighting of the snow :-)

Icy Nathu-La-first-view-snow.jpg

At Nathula

Icy Nathu-La-nathula.jpg

Nathula

Icy Nathu-La-nathula.jpg

Mera Bharat Mahan

Icy Nathu-La-mera-bharat-mahan.jpg

Kirloskar genset

Icy Nathu-La-kirloskar-genset.jpg

Random picture

Icy Nathu-La-landscape.jpg

Us

Icy Nathu-La-us.jpg
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Old 3rd November 2012, 10:21   #8
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

Few more pictures of in and around Nathula

Important Directions

Icy Nathu-La-important-directions.jpg

Powerful RWD anyone? Smoke it till kingdom arrives

Icy Nathu-La-drift.jpg

Standing ovation

Icy Nathu-La-martyur.jpg

Random pictures now...
Attached Thumbnails
Icy Nathu-La-landscape.jpg  

Icy Nathu-La-landscape-1.jpg  

Icy Nathu-La-ls-3.jpg  

Icy Nathu-La-ls-4.jpg  

Icy Nathu-La-snow-1.jpg  

Icy Nathu-La-snow-2.jpg  

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Old 3rd November 2012, 10:48   #9
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

Baba Harbhajan Singh Ji Mandir. Interesting details about him can be found on WWW. You may read a bit here

Pictures now...

Icy Nathu-La-baba-1.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-baba.jpg

What are these? Khachhars?

Icy Nathu-La-mules.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-mule-1.jpg

View of Chaangu lake while descending from Nathula

Icy Nathu-La-changu-lake.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-changu-lake-1.jpg

And this is the most beautiful picture I have ever shot in my life time. It is RAW, no editing & shot from a humble camera having 10 MP and 10X zoom

Icy Nathu-La-most-beautiful-pic-i-shot-ever.jpg
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Old 3rd November 2012, 11:46   #10
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

Last set of photos :-

Snow clad mountains

Icy Nathu-La-snow-clad.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-snow-clad-mountain.jpg

Bellissima!!

Icy Nathu-La-clouds.jpg

Icy Nathu-La-clouds-1.jpg

We returned to the Hotel and retired. In the morning, there was nothing much to do save for packing bags, loading it up in the Car & settling bills.

Very intelligently, the Hotel Manager put the check out date as 30th Oct instead of 29th. Realized later.

The few last pictures

Icy Nathu-La-wooden-bridge.jpg

All downhill

Icy Nathu-La-last-pic.jpg

We reached Siliguri at around 5 in the evening after encountering jams in the hills. The women as usual shopped till we dropped Had an early dinner and started for home (Purnea) at 9:30. I had to cruise at 90kmph thanks to an over-packed Car. My Car without any judders can pull from 50kmph in 5th. Today it had to be whipped. Reached at 12 mid-night. No stops in the mid BTW.

The total distance came to some ~650kms.

Fuel was consumed at 14kilometers to a liter.

Other expenses per head came to approx Rs. 5,000 per head.

Thanks for reading. Signing off...

Icy Nathu-La-me.jpg

Last edited by Sheel : 3rd November 2012 at 11:47.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 11:55   #11
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 12:28   #12
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

That was a nice, short and sweet trip! Seems the road condition to Nathu La is not as bad as it used to be. Did you face landslides and slush on the way, especially since it was snowing?
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Old 3rd November 2012, 12:44   #13
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Thumbs up Re: Icy Nathu-La

So many Nostalgic memories attached to this trip, I had undertaken during Sep 2009. Thank a lot for reliving those memories.

Few things:-

1. Not advisable to take own vehicle unless an SUV/vehicle with good road clearance.

2. Covering number of points in Gangtok is a money making business. Only 4-5 of them are worth visiting. Anyway not possible to cover all of them comfortable in one day. So relax sit and enjoy the ones one likes.

3. MG road market is indeed a nice concept and worth a visit.

4. The army post at Nathu La gives a "certifcate" and some badges on payment which can be a good memorabilia.

5. One gets a good view into Chinese area from the top and gets to see the nice black top roads on other side.

6. People keep "water bottles" at Baba Harbhajan Mandir to be blessed by Baba. Some even keep for months. The blessed water is supposedly curative.
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Old 3rd November 2012, 21:36   #14
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
That was a nice, short and sweet trip!
Thanks
Quote:
Seems the road condition to Nathu La is not as bad as it used to be. Did you face landslides and slush on the way, especially since it was snowing?
Slush was there and lots of it. Imagine someone else driving, a Bolero, on resole tires. Creeps

Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
So many Nostalgic memories attached to this trip, I had undertaken during Sep 2009. Thank a lot for reliving those memories.
:-)

Quote:
1. Not advisable to take own vehicle unless an SUV/vehicle with good road clearance.
Till Gangtok, any Car can go. Unsure about a Civic, but Figo isn't known for good GC and that too when it loaded. A bit careful & you shall be through.

Quote:
2. Covering number of points in Gangtok is a money making business. Only 4-5 of them are worth visiting. Anyway not possible to cover all of them comfortable in one day. So relax sit and enjoy the ones one likes.
So very true.

Quote:
3. MG road market is indeed a nice concept and worth a visit.
Wish we have something like this.

Quote:
4. The army post at Nathu La gives a "certifcate" and some badges on payment which can be a good memorabilia.

5. One gets a good view into Chinese area from the top and gets to see the nice black top roads on other side.
Wasn't aware of these as it was freezing & snowing quite hard.

Thanks
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Old 5th November 2012, 00:18   #15
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Default Re: Icy Nathu-La

Wow! Liked the impromptu idea of the trip. And nice pics to complement.

So, Nathu La was worse than Rohtang? The road conditions, I mean.
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