The state of Sikkim has been gaining tourist popularity in the recent years and with a growing number of resorts and tourist facilities, the state tourism board advertises Sikkim tourism in a never before kind of commercial style. There are lots of tours, each covering almost all the popular destinations and at super competitive prices. Amidst all the commercial holiday planning, all a simple soul like me wants is to lie back in a cozy hill top room and sip a cup of hot tea. Maybe include some special Sikkimese moments.
1. Pahadi shopping on M.G. Road- Ironic as it feels, the Indo-Chine-Tibetian flavours bring out the best of pahadi colors of Himalayas. Searching and digging through the street markets along M.G. Road of Gangtok gave me access to a whole range of vibrant shawls, caps and sweaters. Most Chinese makes are cheap and if you can discount the tiny flaws, what you have left is bright and cozy winter-holiday wear.
2.Changu lake- A lake at the height of 12000 feet above sea level can create excitement in anyone. Add to it the foothills of Himalayas, surroundings of Buddhist culture and a protected community of villagers. Changu lake is beautiful through the summer months from June-September. Though my visit was in late October, the beginning of winter and off-season for tourists, the sight of multi-colored Buddhist flags around a foggy lake were more exotic than my imagination went. I would put it on my must-see for any visit to Sikkim.
3.Acclimatize with Alu Tikki – If there is one experience I can count as truly Himalayan about Sikkim, it was the drive to Nathu La, the Indian-Chinese border located 14,140 feet about sea level. Getting there meant acclimatizing from the Gangtok’s atlitude of four thousand feet, stopping at regular intervals to breathe, eat and stretch. When the demand is so high, the supply can get no better than Alu Tikki, Momos and piping hot tea at a bunch of local cafes. Kyangnosla Café had no more than an asbestos sheet for roof, a basic Indian toilet and roaring business catering to all basic needs of travelers.
4.Take home Temi Tea- Sikkim’s own Temi Tea garden was established in 1969 and boasts of Organic grown tea. Temi tea and Sikkim tea are of top quality and hold high demand in International markets. The neighbor Darjeeling tea is also sold in Gangtok. Tea estates around this region produce some of India’s finest tea and adding some to your tea collection can never make you regret.
5.The feeling of Patriotism- This a unique feeling you get only when you are seeing one-day cricket match or near India’ s border. Here I mean the latter. BRO or Border Road Organization has done a great job of building and maintaining roads at the high altitude. What’s more amazing is the beauty of Himalayas all along the hair-pin curvy roads and the occasional MERA BHARAT MAHAN painted on the soil of Himalayas. The was the hair-raising climax of my Sikkim holiday.
This is my article published in Club Mahindra Blog