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Old 16th August 2010, 16:15   #1
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Cool Darjeeling Gangtok

Been to Darjeeling twice, first with parents then wife and now have to take my child.

Sikkim thrice - Gangtok has special memories of NCC trek and post graduation visit. But this time around Baba mandir & Nathu la was a first time.

Till a fresh visit, would like to share the photographs and experience from last visit.

Photographs start from Rajdhani journey from Guwahati to NJP (Siliguri).
Sumo to Gangtok. Gangtok to Nathu la then Darjeeling. Lastly Darjeeling to Bagdogra.
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Old 16th August 2010, 17:17   #2
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Cool

Well where else would a newly wed with limited resourses from Assam or West Bengal go, the Darjeeling hills ofcourse.

We started off early as the Rajdhani was to leave at around 6 in the morning. The packing up and other works in a hurry the night earlier meant we had little sleep and were happy to get some soup and cookies a few minutes after the train left Guwahati.

The journey was nothing great and we prayed that the train is not late as didn't want to stay in Siliguri overnight. Interestingly tea and breakfast were served but the pentry guy did not serve lunch saying its not for those travelling to upto NJP.

Once we got down at the station, had to take the long march to the front yard where sumo taxis were waiting. Few guys started following us straight from the platform but we found the ticket counter after soem time and took the fron seats of a sumo to Gangtok.

At first we didn't know whom to talk to for the ticket and ended up talking to middleman. So when we came to the waiting sumo the driver said "you should have asked us the drivers why talk to those fellows".

After some time we left the chaos of the station yard and drove off on Sevoke road to the hills.

The pit stop i believe was Rangpo where at the entry gate we were asked where are we from and let go.

Here we had the long awaited lunch finally and dozed off for rest of the journey. We reached Gangtok just before sunset and after some walk up and down stairs and rate cum room checking, checked in at Dzong Hotel at MG Marg which now is totally diffrent.
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Old 16th August 2010, 17:46   #3
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Amazing pics!! North East is so beautiful, will be around there in a few months
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Old 16th August 2010, 18:01   #4
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Default Evening in Gangtok & Nathu la sector:

The Dzong offered us carpeted big rooms for Rs 850 with geyser but no tv. It was facing the main road so we could look outside at a much better scene instead.

My better half waited in the room and i got the bags from a road down with help of a local guy. Then the much needed bath with warm water and tea followed by rest for some time.

It was dinner time soon given that we better have it before 9 as roads looked deserted well before. It was off season so no one kept shutters up late. After a few minutes walk we entered a what but Chinese eatery and had some gravvy chow and chicken.

It was time to take the customery short walk down MG Road then. Sat at a bench in the corner near the tourist office and went back to hotel room for the night.

What a refreshing sight it was in the morning, the air being fresh and cool compared to hometown, we felt energized. We enjoyed the weather too much and woke up late actually to realize that all shared taxi to Nathu la had already left, so said the operators.

On top of that there was the need of permit which need to be made a day earlier. Problem and solution was both at the same place, the tour operators keep ready permits in random name just for this kind of situation. So he offerd us a sumo but told us to keep quiet in check point.

The young driver of the sumo was quiet fun. We also picked up few passengers working for BRO on way to which wife got angry. But i being not new to hills and the frindliness of its people had to offer the lift. But it was wifes way on return trip.

On way we had maggi at 15th mile check post and i picked up some special juice bottle benificial in high altitude.

Changu lake was just another pond unless frozen so i didn't enjoy it much but wife had a yak ride on "Baccha". Then the customery photo shoot and jacket on hire and up we go again.

At the army check post we were told to wait and wait and wait. No convoy came and finally allowed to go through along with a line of vehicles. Here we realized that the operator had lied because so many shared vehicles were behind us. So i should have been patient and searched some more actually.

The santry saw me looking at maps and got qurious, "Kahan se aye ho map chep le kein". We had to mention the location on the papers and did. The driver said few things and our sumo passed.

At the actual border it was raining and foggy so could not make out much and there were too many tourists for comfort. Again the photo session and then tea pakora at the Army stall.

It would be nice only if Indians could cross over to the Chinese side, buy a few thing, eat a few dishes and so on to make the journey worthwhile.

On way back we visited Baba mandir which is revered by the Forces.

Then came a stop to cool off the tyres and the cabby even threw some freezing water on his head as well. We could only imagine! freezing water in this cold that also on top.

Rest of the day was spent moving around town eating this and that and finally we had enough of the high altitude. So next we are moving off to Darjeeling.
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Old 16th August 2010, 18:17   #5
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Arrow Last Sikkim pictures

The missing pictures of Nathu La, Baba mandir and Changu. The sumo is also to be seen cooling off.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 16th August 2010, 18:18   #6
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Will someone please tell me how to write caption along with the photos.

Right now i am putting the snaps as attachments.
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Old 16th August 2010, 18:22   #7
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by fash_1 View Post
Amazing pics!! North East is so beautiful, will be around there in a few months
Most welcome, you will not regret coming this far from down south. More stuff coming on Darjeeling which i like more.
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Old 16th August 2010, 19:14   #8
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Smile Mere Sapno Ki Rani kab aaye gitu

Yes Darjeeling here we come.

Early morning pack up, pay bill and few steps down we were at the Gangtok taxi stand. Asked the rate at the counter and went for a sumo again.

The cabby was a senior man who drove slow and even stopped for me to take the close up rafting shot on Teesta even without me saying a word.
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Old 16th August 2010, 19:25   #9
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Great pics, buddy. Please continue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by San Phrangmung View Post
Will someone please tell me how to write caption along with the photos.

Right now i am putting the snaps as attachments.
First upload all your required photos, then write your caption, press enter and attach the required photo. Repeat the same. Hope you got it.

If still confused, please check http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...tml#post976063 (Uploading photographs directly to Team-BHP)

Regards
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Old 16th August 2010, 19:33   #10
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Great snaps. But where the coronation bridge?
The customary entry snap to Gangtok!

Had been there four years back. It is still fresh.
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Old 16th August 2010, 19:45   #11
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Normally, permits to go to Nathu la are issued at 8 am, and taxi guys prefer to return before 3 pm to Gangtok under the pretext that weather conditions deteriorate after noon. I also believe that no vehicles are allowed towards Nathu La from the Hanuman Tok check post after 10 am, but I may be wrong.
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Old 16th August 2010, 19:49   #12
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@ Joy

Thanks i will try it out.

@ Ampere

Well i had seen the bridge so many times that did not feel like stopping there for the snap. And it was a shared cab so they don't stop there usually. I think we visited the place same year.
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Old 16th August 2010, 19:56   #13
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@hvkumar

Yes i remember the operator guy saying something about not being allowed to go after a certain time. But he told me permits are to be made a day early.

Have you been to the nothern side, Yumthang, Lachen and beyond.
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Old 16th August 2010, 21:15   #14
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Thumbs up Best drive of life

Yes this was the best journey of my life so far even if short. The road from Gangtok to Darjeeling was not in extreme height nor too low. Just perfect to give one the feel of floating in the cloud. Tea gardens, jungles, uninhabitated area, tiny hamlet, even tiner house and tea stalls it had it all.

Best part the driver was a gentleman, moving slow all the way letting us enjoy the scenery and even bought my wife a choclate of short made of yak milk.

The sumo made its way taking curves winding up and down. With the sunlight becoming bright to non existent, wife went off to sleep in the cool foggy morning air of the peaceful hills.

And i was dreaming eyes wide open. Yes lovely road it was.

I have to drive on this road myself some day.

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Old 17th August 2010, 20:57   #15
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Smile Ayo Gorkhali

Darjeeling is one place that no traveller from the eatern sector has not visited.

If one wants to hit the shores its always Digha or Puri and for hills they take the over-night train to NJP (New Jalpai Guri) and hit the road towards Kanchenjunga.

Bengalis love Darjeeling as much as their mishti doi & rosogulla if not more. And Kollywood had hit it even in the black and white projection era with movies like "Kacher Sworgo". While Anjan Dutta and other singers have songs after songs on the Darjeeling experience.

The rest of India got to know the place through Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore with their toy train & jeep song. And since than tourist flock to the area be it season off season rain or hail.

The former British hill station was however unable to cope with the huge tourist inflow and its infrastrure collapsed. Now it's all but dirty roads and unplanned construction everywhere which is a eyeshore.

The Windamere heritage property is an exception though that has been able to keep the old structures intact and well maintained to give us a feel of Raj days for a price.

It was way out of my budget, so once the chaos of approaching Darjeeling destroyed our "wow" feeling of the journey left behind, we took the tiring steep walk to Chaurasta.

Looking at our face & size a fellow whom we had asked for direction said "kya hua beg cheg lein ke aa geya". No one seem to believe we were a married couple.

Once in ground zero i saw only two hotels in a position of my liking. The Chalet and the Bellevue. Chalet was undergoing renovaton and the rooms were on a smaller side plus on the road almost.

So walked up the lane to Bellevue, checked a few rooms and chose one on the second floor facing the Chourasta. The rooms were not well maintained, but was huge and had ample furniture. Checked the electrics and found bulbs to be fuse or missing, which was taken care of by the staff as they brought for us some tea. One bad point was there were no room heater or geyser but the official told me it shall be available at particular times as per request. He was not lying next morning the tape had warm water even at 5 in the morning.

I had to go down once to do the formalities and get the luggage which we had left in Chalet instead of carrying around during room search. The hotels first floor was a diffrent world altogether as the owner had kept it as if their own house and sitting room. The walls had picture of old Darjeeling from British era and family portraits. It was more a guest house feeling than a professionaly managed hotel.

We went out after an hour or so looking for food after freshning up. And there were too many restaurents around to choose from. Finally settled for some soup, momos and chow.

Rest of the day was spent going down the lanes and exploring the market. By the time we came back it was dark and very few people on Chowrasta. We came to the room not worring much for dinner, only to discover later the early closure time of restaurents.

All the restaurents in the vincity were closed but we maneged to request one to give something and they could manage two aloo parathas. We were tired and sleepy from the up and down walks that day being a plainsman. So dosed off as soon as we hit the bed. I had a tough time sleeping though as it was too cold and we had not brought along much woolens, it was July after all. But this is the Himalayan foothills, i should have known better.

Last edited by San Phrangmung : 17th August 2010 at 21:03.
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