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Old 19th July 2008, 06:36   #196
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as promised yesterday- the pics you posted last night are very nice.
love the lighting and composition of the pic inside the tea factory.
and that red panda is deservedly your favourite. its mine too.
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Old 27th July 2008, 18:08   #197
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By evening we returned to the city after our trip to Happy Valley and the museum.

We went to Chowrastha and had chicken momos and the famous Darjeeling tea. To tell you the fact, the tea tasted wonderful and had such a strong aroma. The friendly manager chatted with us and enlightened us about the good effects of drinking tea. We were told that Tea has cancer preventive properties and prevents formation of dental plaque and kills some oral bacteria that are responsible for gum diseases. Very impressive!!!

We also purchased a good quantity of premium Darjeeling Tea from the restaurant!

We also learnt the correct way to brew Darjeeling tea. The quantity of tea used per cup should be approximately 2 grams or half a teaspoon according to type, size and preference. The brewing time is 3 to 6 minutes. Then we can add small quantities of milk, sugar or lemon to taste.

We took a stroll towards the residential area near Chowrastha. The bungalows and cottages were stunningly beautiful and some had a magnificent view of the Himalayas! It was terribly cold and we had to wear gloves also.
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Old 27th July 2008, 18:46   #198
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these pics were all shot on film right? if it was,the budget for photography alone would be more than what a normal trip would cost for most of us.
stunning pics.
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Old 27th July 2008, 18:50   #199
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Smile Mount Everest!

This is a photo of Mount Everest. Only a lucky few can ever see it!!!cheers:
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Old 27th July 2008, 18:58   #200
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Default Our last evening in Darjeeling!!!

We spent the evening in Chowrastha, witnessing the sunset and watching the Himalayas being engulfed by darkness! Alas! Today was our last day in Darjeeling! The days we spent in Darjeeling, were some of the best of our lives!!!

We had terrific sizzlers for dinner. After our dinner, we took a leisurely stroll again in the Mall and went to Chowrastha for one final time. The temperature was close to freezing and we enjoyed it. I was really sad that we had to leave such a stunningly beautiful place! But that is how life is! All beautiful experiences will have to come to an end!!! My wifey cheered me up saying that we would be in an equally beautiful place the next day!

We had a big journey coming up, the next day, to Sikkim. We enquired about different options to travel to Gangtok and decided that a car would be the best option!

Travelling by bus was definitely unthinkable! We had a weird experience of occupying three seats while travelling to Phuentsholing from Siliguri, as we could not squeeze into two seats!!! We were sure that we will not get this luxury in Indian buses! And we definitely did not want to pay for a third seat!

We made some enquiries at the taxi booking office at the city centre and found out that Sikkimese taxis returning from Darjeeling to Gangtok, after dropping their guests, will work out cheaper. They introduced me to Lakhan Singh, who was also an ex-army soldier. His taxi was a Bolero and I eagerly accepted a rate of Rs. 900 for the one-way trip to Gangtok. It would have been too tiring to travel again in an Omni!

We slowly made our way back to our hotel and settled down for much-needed sleep!
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Old 27th July 2008, 19:43   #201
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Thumbs up Sikkim! Here we come!!!!

The driver, Lakhan, came to our room at 6 am sharp. We slowly made our way out of Darjeeling by 6:30 am and slowly started our journey down hill. We were surprised to see frost on the road. The drive was very comfortable, though the legroom in the rear seat was very less! We stopped for breakfast by 7:30 am at a roadside restaurant and had tasty omelettes.

The drive to Sikkim was very scenic with the Teesta River flowing on the left hand side and the green hills on the right. Lakhan was maintaining speeds of over 70 and we enjoyed the cool breeze tremendously! The air was so crisp and unpolluted! We entered Sikkim by 8 am and were stopped for the mandatory checks. We had our passports with us, so there were no hassles!

Shortly afterwards, we saw the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, located on the banks of river Teesta and surrounded by green hills. It was an amazing sight.
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An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-enroute-gangtok.jpg  

An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-manipal-university.jpg  

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Old 27th July 2008, 20:35   #202
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During our conversation, Lakhan mentioned that he was a football player in the Army team and left the army after he got injured in a game.

Then he told us that Bhaichung Bhutia was his cousin!!!!

We couldn’t believe our ears! We kept on discussing about football. My wifey had become very bored with our conversation. She changed the topic and asked Lakhan about life in Sikkim. During the course of our journey he explained much more about life in Sikkim. Lakhan told us that women were treated with very high respect and it was a rule that they had to be given free lifts by all taxis. Then came another shocker! He had two wives!!!! And they lived together!

He also told us that Yeti is believed to still exist in the Himalayas of Sikkim. An expedition was also conducted. It seems that there are many local people and porters who still talked about witnessing Yeti in the high trekking areas.

En route to Gangtok, a girl who was standing in a bus stop, asked Lakhan for a lift. He asked our permission and we were only glad to concur! For the rest of the journey, we had a cute little girl to talk to! She was about 15 years old and spoke fluent Hindi. We were quite impressed by the soft-spoken Sikkimese girl and didn’t notice that we already reached Gangtok.

This small town, lies atop a ridge, at an altitude of 5,480 ft., with the world's third tallest peak Kanchenjunga at its east and overlooking the river Ranikhola.

Gangtok meaning 'lofty hill' was said to have been a small village until it gained the status of an important pilgrimage centre with the building of the Enchey Monastery in 1840. In 1975, with the end of the monarchical rule, Sikkim was made an official state of India with its capital at Gangtok.
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Old 27th July 2008, 20:44   #203
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As we approached Gangtok, we realized why it’s called the “Switzerland of the East”. The weather was superb and the city looked so incredibly clean and at peace with itself.

Lakhan dropped us off near the main taxi stand. It was an unwritten rule that long-distance taxis will not take passengers to hotels. So we hired a local Omni taxi from the taxi stand and he took us to a nice little hotel, near MG road. We asked the driver to return by afternoon to take us for a short sightseeing trip.

But we couldn’t waste any time! We checked in, freshened up and immediately started off to explore the city. This had become our practice. Wherever we went, we made it a point to do the first sight seeing by foot!! The weather was awesome. Like Darjeeling, Sikkim is a town for strong legs, with steps joining the streets and the town arranged in layers up and down the hills.

The time was 1 pm. We went straight to MG road and had tasty pork momos and noodles for lunch! Sikkimese cooking was spicy and delicious. The capital is definitely not behind the rest of the world in terms of urbanization - Broad roads, flyovers, posh markets, state-of-the-art hospitals, schools, colleges, fast food outlets, discothèques, and all other modern amenities that the heart can desire for. One imposing manmade landmark of the town is the 200 ft-high TV tower which overlooks the town
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An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-e-tv-tower-gangtok.jpg  

An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-e-tv-tower.jpg  

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Old 27th July 2008, 21:22   #204
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We roamed around MG road for some time. There were so many hotels, restaurants, curios shops and footwear shops on MG road. We also saw lots of shops selling traditional silk clothes and shawls.

We returned back to our hotel after our stroll on MG Road. Our driver, Ram, was waiting for us. We then embarked on the second leg of our tour! He took us first to Government Institute of Cottage Industries, located at zero point, a few kilometers uphill from Gangtok town. It was established with the purpose of promoting the manufacture and sale of local handicrafts like Thangkas, hand carved wooden tables known as Choktsees and delicately woven woolen carpets.

Thangkas is a painted or embroidered Buddhist banner which is hung in a monastery or a family altar and occasionally carried by monks in ceremonial processions.
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Old 29th July 2008, 16:24   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
these pics were all shot on film right? if it was,the budget for photography alone would be more than what a normal trip would cost for most of us.
stunning pics.
Hey Rippergeo, yes. These pics were shot on film. I believe that a film camera is better than a digital camera. The clarity is superb. I use only Kodak Max 400 film.

During the entire trip, I used 18 rolls. And all pics were printed in 5 * 7 size for more quality. I am uploading only some selected photos. The remaining part of the travelouge will continue with some more beautiful and rare pics.
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Old 23rd October 2008, 14:29   #206
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Talking Team, I am back with the last few parts of my travelouge.

After our visit to the Government Institute of Cottage Industries, we got into our hired Omni van, with Ram at the wheels. He was an expert driver and I felt comfortable with him. He talked endlessly about Sikkimese traditions and their peace loving nature.

We then went to the monastery of Enchey, which is about 200 years old. The monastery was very beautiful. We liked the architecture and the beautiful paintings a lot. Photography was restricted in most areas.
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Old 23rd October 2008, 15:15   #207
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Thumbs up The magnificent Rumtek Monastery!

We then travelled about 25 kilometres to Rumtek Monastery, which is by far, the largest monastery in eastern Himalayas!

It was built by Gyalwa Karmapa in the 16th century, strictly according to the designs of the monastery in Tibet. The buildings are a concrete copy of original wooden and stone buildings in Tibet.

Rumtek is home to the community of monks and where they perform the rituals and practices of the Karma Kagyu lineage. A Golden Stupa contains the relics of the 16th Karmapa. Opposite that building is a college, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher Buddhist Studies.
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An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-c-rumtek-monastery-3.jpg  

An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-e-rumtek-2.jpg  

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Old 23rd October 2008, 15:19   #208
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Default Traditional Program in Rumtek

Traditional Program in Rumtek.
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Old 24th October 2008, 00:13   #209
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Default Another view of Rumtek Monastery

The entrance to Rumtek!
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Old 24th October 2008, 00:38   #210
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Thumbs up Hanuman Tok!

We then visited Hanuman Tok, which is a temple devoted to Lord Hanuman. The temple at Hanuman Tok is maintained by a unit of the Indian Army. We also got a bird’s eye view of the Selep waterworks, which supplies drinking water to Gangtok town, a few hundred feet in altitude below Hanuman Tok. There is another temple, Ganesh Tok, nearby. The view of Gangtok from Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok is fantastic.
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An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-e-panoramic-view-gangtok.jpg  

An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-e-tv-tower.jpg  

An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-e-tv-tower-gangtok.jpg  

An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-f-water-purification-plant.jpg  

An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-e-ganesh-tok.jpg  

An incredible journey of a lifetime to Bhutan, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok!-e-ganesh-tok-2.jpg  

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