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Old 29th June 2010, 20:58   #1
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Default Memoirs : "LTC" to North East

The VI CPC brought some good news and some good deals for the employees. So, we decide to explore the North-East unanimously during a tour of 20 days. Cutting the story short here are the details of the tour.

Duration : 18 Sep 09 to 03 Oct 09.

Group : Four families with children.

Mode :

New Delhi to NJP : By train Rajdhani Express.
NJP towards Sikkim and Back : Sumo etc
NJP to Guwahati : By train.
Guwahati to Shillong-Cherrapunjee and Back : By Sumo etc.
Guwahati to New Delhi : Indian Airlines

So, it was a complete package of all modes of travel. For most of the people it was the first experience of the mountains. Everybody was excited. The Reservations were made about 2 months prior on internet for trains and air. The hotels were tied up-mostly being guest houses etc from state/PWD /hydropower etc.We did a lot of study about the places and made an itinerary for each day in detail. Finally, we had to make some changes as we went through the tour.

Places of Visit. We intended (and we did ) to cover the following places:-

Gangtok (incl Nathu La)
Rumtek
Darjeeling
Mirik
Kalimpong
Siliguri (for Durga Ashtami)
Shillong
Cherrapunjee
Guwahati

It turned out to be a budget travel as we shared the SUVs for travelling around in the mountains. The luggage was heavy as we had to carry items for 20 days and woolens too.

So, all set to go and we reach at the New Delhi station in afternoon to board the train. My sister tells me that she has lost/forgotten her camera battery. The kids are looking at my face. I know what they want to say. Its about an hour to board the train.

Quick decision....

I take the camera, come out of station board metro to chandni chowk. Missed the first metro. Catch the next metro. Go to bhagirath palace and after some search buy the battery. Half an hour to go....

Start getting calls to leave the battery and return as announcement for the train has been made. Quickly reach the metro station. Again miss the first metro. 5 more mins wait. Board the next metro and after deboarding at New Delhi station, I run to the platform. I see everyone's face turned white (esp wife's) and looking around searching for me. Everyone trying to reach me on my mobile. I had stopped replying to their calls as soon as I had boarded the metro.

As I walk on the platform towards them, the train enters the platform from opposite side.... so, begins the journey to North East.
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Old 29th June 2010, 21:32   #2
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Default New delhi to NJP to Gangtok

The train leaves at the right time and we all are happy and excited. The train reaches NJP in the morning. We go out and hire two sumos to Gangtok. The journey is good with lots of picturesque scenes. The kids are getting tired (we have not yet begun touring around). Finally we make it to Gangtok on 19 Sep evening and settle down in the hotel. We take an early sleep as we are tired after 36 hours journey and we plan to leave early to explore Gangtok next day!!!
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Old 29th June 2010, 21:46   #3
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Hi,

This appears to be a long trip by the first time visitors to northeast.

i am also one such person whenever i visit there in future. hence request you to include the things a first time visitor needs to know.

second, you are 4 families with kids, i am sure it is lot of fun especially on a train journey. please share some funny incidents + photographs it would be an interesting read.
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Old 29th June 2010, 21:46   #4
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Default Gangtok I

We hired two vans for seven points. We begin at about 8.30AM. The first point we cover is Gangtok Ropeway. Here are the views from the ropeway.

River Teesta as it flows through the mountains. Beautiful.

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State Legislative Assembly

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Last edited by TaureanBull : 29th June 2010 at 21:47.
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Old 29th June 2010, 22:38   #5
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Default Do-Drul Chorten Stupa

We next arrive at Do-Drul Chorten Stupa. It is next to Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. In the stupa there is small museum which house some valuable relics and antics. Around the Chorten, there are 108 Mani Lhkar (Prayer wheels).

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1000 Oil Lamps Every evening they are lighted together during the prayers.

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Buddhist Portraits outside the Museum

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Old 29th June 2010, 22:59   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Hi,

This appears to be a long trip by the first time visitors to northeast.

i am also one such person whenever i visit there in future. hence request you to include the things a first time visitor needs to know.

second, you are 4 families with kids, i am sure it is lot of fun especially on a train journey. please share some funny incidents + photographs it would be an interesting read.
yes, I will try and include all those things. I just wish if I could have posted this thread when I was still fresh from the journey!

The advantages of such type of travel are many. Firstly, it is cost effective as everyone shares the expenditure. We had made one person as the treasurer and time to time replenished his "Khazana" as and when it was depleted. For whatever is purchased (except personnel gifts/souvenirs) eg food, entrance tickets, taxi fare etc the treasurer clears it off. If a chocolate is bought for one child then it is bought for all the kids (if they want) so that there are no hard feelings among them.

Secondly, everybody gets their own friend circle. The kids, ladies and gents. A single kid may get bored or create problems in such a long visit.

Thirdly, it provides a sense of security and safety to everyone.

Fourthly, you permanently have someone to click pictures of your entire family.

As I told this visit was planned as a budget travel. Else a 20 days trip to include food, hotel, purchases and tickets can run very costly. Of course here GOI supported the train and air fares.
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Old 29th June 2010, 23:12   #7
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Default Kyongnosla Water Falls

Now we move on Gangtok-NathuLa highway (not to Nathu La this time). The next stop is at Kyongnosla Water Falls right on the highway. The waterfall is not very high but it is very picturesque. Kids want to get into water but when they touch it, they change their mind. The water is ice cold!

Kid Staring at the Waterfall

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Old 30th June 2010, 14:48   #8
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Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
I see everyone's face turned white (esp wife's) and looking around searching for me.
Can imagine the situation. It happened to me once enroute to Bangalore and wifey was waiting in the coach inches from the chain in case the train starts.
IMO, these budget trips are the best for reasons you already pointed out. I would any day prefer going in a group of 15-20 people.
Nice writeup BTW. Waiting for more photos!

Last edited by ExtremeTorque : 30th June 2010 at 14:52.
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Old 30th June 2010, 20:06   #9
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Default Enchey Monastery

The next point is the Enchy Monastery enroute to Tashi View point. Its a small monastery with some beautiful flowers and an excellent view of the valley. We attended the prayers for some time and then proceeded ahead.

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Old 30th June 2010, 22:18   #10
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Default Tashi View Point

We proceed to Tashi view point. There is a little bit of climb. At the base there is a restaurant. We decide to grab some food. Kids can not wait any longer. For serving such a big group and anxious kids the manager and the waiters start gasping for breath very soon. It was almost like taking full control of the restaurant.

It starts drizzling and what a weather!!! Few of the ladies decide against going to the view point (its first day of visit ). On top there was a souvenir shop.. and a view point.

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My daughter tries her hand at the camera.

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Old 30th June 2010, 23:26   #11
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Default Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok & Botanical Garden

These are two famous temples located at a height of approx 7000 ft. Hanuman Tok is maintained by the Army personnels. The temples are engulfed in clouds. We offer prayers and leave the temples. Its getting dark. We leave for the botanical garden. It turns out to be closed. We catch few quick snaps near the hedge and head for the MG road.

Well.. I have not seen a single market like this in India anywhere. On this approx 1km stretch no vehicles are allowed. So, one has to get down at one of the ends of the road. There are fountains, big dome lights at the centre of the street with benches to sit and watch the crowd. There are some good eating joints and souvenir shops.

View from Ganesh Tok

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Evening Shot at Botanical Garden

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Old 30th June 2010, 23:53   #12
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Default Nathu La & Tchangu Lake

Nathu La was on top of our list and our journey could not have been complete without a visit there. The kids were excited to see the China border.

I had tied up for the permit to Nathu La before hand. With everyone at MG road (20 Sep) in the evening I leave to collect the permit so that we can start to Nathu La early morning. I catch a maruti van (the popular public transport there). I told him to wait outside as I go to collect the permit from a friend (some walk upstairs in mountains). It starts pouring cats and dogs. It takes me some time to locate the house (as the taxi driver waits down) and collect the permit. I decline the offer for a hot tea/coffee (though very tempted as the weather had become cold) and dash towards the taxi to avoid getting drenched.

The taxi is nowhere in scene . He has not taken his fare . I walk in the heavy rain towards the highway and to tell you the truth I am a child again. I am drenched and I am playing in the rains. No camera of course. Permit wrapped in a polythene. I reach a petrol pump and stop there. Now I am shivering. No traffic. After 20 mins I see a van, I jump on the road to stop it. I return to MG road ( mobile has gone dead) and find no one there. I head for the hotel, thankfully I had the van waiting for me.

Finally reach hotel to see everyone draped in rajai and looking at the rain from a philospher's point of view. Everyone congratulates me on being lucky to be in the rain. err.... who stopped you all?

"Where is the permit? Have you got it?" squeaks the children.

"I had but its of no use as its been spoiled in the rain when I was LUCKY" .

I loved their looks of despair-come on tell us that this is not the truth. I am sure the coffee adults were sipping turned cold as they heard this.

"why did n't you wait for the rain to stop?"

"Well I was hungry and wanted to see you all too soon"

We had tied up Sumo for the trip. He was very apprehensive of the permit. I call him and tell him that I have the permit with me. The kids shout with enjoyment and somebody is lugging at my leg and some one on my shoulder. The coffee is hot again and everybody starts sipping.

Not the end of the start. Taxi driver tells me that there has been a landslide and road is blocked. The chances are not very high of it opening up next day. Secondly, the permit was required before 4pm to register it for next day. We will have to do it next day (in case we intend to move) and thats why we can not move before 9-9.30 AM.

So we wait for a long day to begin and go off to sleep.
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Old 1st July 2010, 01:41   #13
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That's a funny sign; Chungthang is situated below the earth's crust? Is it underworld?
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Old 1st July 2010, 07:00   #14
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This reminds of my visit 5 years back. Stayed there for a week. Whats more, there was old cinema hall. Ended up watching a movie as well!
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Old 1st July 2010, 12:18   #15
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That's a funny sign; Chungthang is situated below the earth's crust? Is it underworld?
Well, I clicked initially thinking the same. But IMO what it implies is that NathuLa to left, Siliguri/Gangtok to right and Chungthang to front but down the hill. Probably they could not think of any way to depict that.
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