Ever since my chilhood, I have always felt mesmerized by the sublime presence of those mighty mountains. I wanted to feel the cold air on my face; breath in the fresh nature and get rejuvenated with the balmy greeneries all around. It was a much coveted and never-to-be-had dream to spend some days in the some hill stations and have a wonderful holiday. I used to listen to my friends in school after Summer vacation that they may have visited Shimla or Sikkim and used to envy them seeing the pictures. So when this chance for visiting Gangtok came, it was like a million dollar offer to me and I immediately accepted or rather was almost on my knees in gratefulness before my parents as they accepted 😉 .
“Gangtok”, the queen of Sikkim. It was also the first hill station that I ever set foot in. So the experience of first encounter to a different world within our world was something that till date enthrall me without fail. It was so ethereal that I can hardly scratch out the exact word to describe my feelings!!! Now I would like to skip the boring details of the bus journey to Siliguri; but one thing I remember and must share here – it was the speechless expression I gave to my parents seeing the bus!!! It’s called Rocket bus for its speed and I expected some fancy bus for my fantastic journey….n what came in front of us was enough to wring out a huge drop of sweat from my head (like those in Japanese animation :D)…So I would like to drop a blanket over this episode and let us directly reach to the jeep that carried us to Gangtok, my heaven… 🙂
So here comes the journey to Gangtok…the hilly road winding along the the sprightly river Tista all the way from Siliguri to Ganngtok; small residential areas, roadside dhabas, digging in smoking hot noodle soup, happy smiling people….it was as if I am inside a movie!!! Tista surely infected us with its cheerfulness. The river itself was like a happy prologue to a never forgettable experience of holidaying in hilly area.
It was a long four hours journey from Siliguri to Gangtok in a shared jeep; and we had to travel overnight to reach Siliguri also. But the excitement was such, that nothing mattered. It was just the expectation of a dream like holiday destination that kept me wide awake. And then ultimately we reached there in Gangtok. My feeling was as if I have just awoken from my sleep and have opened my eyes to a new realm. I remember the weather was a bit cloudy, but refreshingly cold and it was the charm of that weather which took away the last sign of tiredness. A boy rom the lodge we stayde, was already there to show us the way and led us to a picture perfect lodge; Subhas Lodge. It was small but very well arranged with its ever-smiling manager and home-away-from-home hospitality. We got a room where there were one double bed and one single; just perfect for me!!! That room also had a wide window without any grill and opened towards the slopping valley outside. I was in a dream like state with everything so perfect. I wish i had the picture of that lodge and its manager.
Enthusiasm took time to sink in and after a light meal we retired to our rooms and had a sound sleep for some hours. Then started our Gangtok trip in the real sense. We started exploring the market area and surroundings in evening. And just like a child wondering expressing wonder at everything it sees, my heart was getting filled with everything I saw, smelled, touched…Coming back to home it was another ethereal scene that was awaiting us. We opened the window, and the first thought was – has the starlit sky descended down on the valley!!!!!! In every stair of that slopping valley there were residencies and the light looked just like the stars in the sky; only this time they were in the valley down there…with a heart full of happiness, peace and expectation for more wonders, I went to sleep the first night i
From the next day we started on our site-seeing trips. We visited the flower exhibition with its variegated flowers and orchids; the museum with its rich collection and somber ambience; the highest point in the city and the vibrant local markets – bringing back with us lots of souvenirs and rich memories. But it was the Tshangu Lake next day that was the icing on the cake for me. With a temperature that is freezing for the plane-living people like us, this lake presents breath-taking beauty and unfailingly charms every single visitor there. However, apart from beauty, there had been funny moments enough to keep us entertained (though it was at my and my sister’s cost 😦 )… When jumping into the cab I wore just a regular sweater on my dress and the driver and some others advised me to put on something more…But as u know, we are the hot blooded teenagers n not supposed to feel that cold (at least that was my idea!!!), so didn’t listen to them…now ultimately the scene was, with every turn that our cab started to take after sometime, I also started covering me…first with another jacket…next turn – a muffler…next turn – my gloves…next turn – nothing left and I was feeling my nose falling off in cold!!! But the entire incident gave other good chance to laugh (sigh) … 😀
On the way home that day I took the memories in heart which are still alive. Evey time I feel like going away somewhere, it’s these places in Gangtok that I feel like visit again and again. Another memorable place I visited in my Gangtok trip was the Rumtek Monastery.
No matter how many times I visit each of these destinations within Gangtok, it will never be enough. Their surprising freshness and enigmatic charms keep me ever thirsty for visiting this hill-station again and again.