Our trip dates were from 18th of May till 26th of May starting and ending point being Bagdogra and NJP.
We were a group of 6. 2 had reached to Siliguri early morning, one member was coming by flight to Bagdogra and 3 of us were at NJP.
Day 1 Siliguri to Gangtok
Day 1 of the trip started with us arriving at NJP. Vehicle picked Aarti from Bagdogra Airport and came to NJP to pick us up. Having hopped on to the vehicle we stared for Gangtok, still to pick 2 members from Siliguri. Siliguri is a major town of West Bengal and also a major hub as it acts as a connecting town to Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim in India.
Our destination for tonight was Gangtok and it takes roughly about 5 hrs to reach Gangtok depending on the traffic conditions from Siliguri. The route from Siliguri to Gangtok is scenic with most parts being along with the river Teesta. Weather is pleasant during the months of April to July and it felt like a much needed break from the scorching heat of Delhi and other parts of India.
We stayed at a homestay in forest lane Gangtok, run by the native family members. We were welcomed with Chai- Pakoras. After few of hours of introductions and knowledge sharing sessions, we all tugged into our rooms thinking about the days to follow.
- NO permit is required for Indian citizens traveling to Gangtok
Day 2 Gangtok to Lachen
Today we were all set to travel to Lachen, which is one of the famous locations in North Sikkim. Lachen acts as a midpoint for tourists traveling to Gurdongmar lake.
We had our breakfast at the Homestay and started at around 9 from Gangtok. Distance is not much but considering the terrain and so many waterfalls in between we were ready for a long ride. Our 1st stop was at Seven Sisters Fall, a huge waterfall with seven steps and hence the name.
After a round of Maggi close to the fall we started. This route being through tropical forests , we saw several waterfalls , few of them across the valley, but they were all huge. We stopped at a place for Lunch
The roads were with twists and turns and the last part was little bumpy as well and we reached Lachen by 6 in the evening. Almost all the properties in Lachen are run by the local people and even we stayed at a similar one, a Homestay, run by a lady and her son. Lachen was cold compared to Gangtok but all of us were in mood of a stroll across the town. Sat in a café for some time, had our dinner at the homestay and went to bed. We had to leave at 4:30 in the morning , as post noon weather at Gurdingmar Lake starts getting bad. So we had to return in due time.
Starting early is always the mantra!
Day 3 Lachen to Gurudonmar Lake , Chopta Valley, Kala Patthar
Our day started early as all of us were ready by 4:30. We took our packed lunch as it was too early to have anything and decided to have it at Thangu.
The distance is not much ( 70 Kms) but it is completely off-roading with mud and small stones laid on the path and took us almost 5 hrs to reach Gurudongmar Lake. Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest high altitude lakes at 5183 mts. The view of the peaks surrounding the lake is beyond words, a lake in the barren land of North Sikkim and surrounded by snow clad mountains is a rare sight.
As the altitude is such, you are not advised to stay for long at the lake. But as none of the members showed any sign of AMS and having taken a dose of Diamox we spend a good half an hour at the lake. Click and just sitting beside the shoreline. We were just soaking in the views, the feelings and talking random things about life.
On our way back we had to cover more points, Chopta Valley and Kala Patthar. Both the places were a treat. Kala Patthar, a black wall, huge mountain. Chopta Valley leads us to Kaala Patthar, a valley covered with huge mountains on 3 sides.
We returned to Lachen for our Lunch by 3 pm as there are not many food options available during this patch so this is how tours are planned in this region. All three meals at the homestay.
… to be continued