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arifismyname

Hyderabad to Sikkim travelogue.

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Exploring the Splendours of Sikkim

 

Wanting to explore the unexplored India, Sikkim had been on my bucket list for a while. Sikkim might be one of the smallest states in India but it offers a wide enough range of destinations and activities to launch a thousand trips. On 5th of April, I finally got to see the dreamy landscape of the state.

 

I landed in Bagdogra but Gangtok was still approx. 125km away. There are prepaid taxi services that can be availed at the airport itself. You can either hire an exclusive one or go on a sharing basis.

Unlike rest of India, reaching North Sikkim requires a proper permissions.

Because of close proximity to China and Tibet Border, Inner Line Permits are required to visit North Sikkim. Permits were quite specific to the traveller here which I had obtained in Gangtok after reaching there.

You need to submit copies of your photo ID and two recent photographs at the tourism office. You can also submit these at any authorized tour agency and they will get your work done.

 

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I am here sharing with you my 10 day Itinerary which might help you plan your trip to this beautiful state. For this suggested Itinerary, Gangtok will act as the base station. :)

 

April 5 Hyderabad- Bagdogra flight, same day to Gangtok

             Night stay at Powring Guest House, Gangtok             

April 6 Gangtok to Lachen

             Night stay at Lachen Paradise, Lachen.  

April 7 Lachen to Gurudongmar lake and back to Lachung.

            Night stay at Apple Valley Inn, Lachung.

April 8 Lachung to Gangtok

             Night stay at Mintokling Guest House, Gangtok

April 9 Sightseeing in Gangtok

             Night stay at Mintokling Guest House, Gangtok

April 10 Gangtok to Tsogmo lake aka Changu lake

               Night stay at Mintokling Guest House, Gangtok

April 11 Gangtok to Pelling via Ravangla

               Night stay at Delight hotels touristo, Pelling

April 12 Sightseeing in Pelling

               Night stay at Delight hotels touristo, Pelling

April 13 Pelling to Bagdogra

               Night stay at Marinas Motel, Bagdogra.

April 14 Back to Hyderabad

 

Follows up a short Photolog of my whole trip :D

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Hyderabad to Bagdogra flight

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Bagdogra to Gangtok was about a 5 hours drive through the beautiful mountains by bus.

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I have reached Gangtok by the evening to get ready for the next day.

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A short hike into the market streets of Gangtok :)

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The weather was cold and the sky turned darker by the cloud cover before the sunset.

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M.G road Gangtok in rain.

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Next day, I reached Lachen from Gangtok for an over night which was about 7 hour drive including breaks for 100 kms. The road from Gangtok to Lachen is rugged yet beautiful.

We have encountered many waterfalls in every 500 metres crossing the roads in thundering speed. The drive through this route was nothing but a visual treat to eyes.

We reached Lachen a small remote village in North Sikkim by 7 PM.

 

My day 3 started off with a drive from Lachen to Gurudongmar lake & Chopta Valley and ended up with a drive back to Lachung. It was a 70 kms drive to reach the splendid Gurudongmar lake.

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After the last Army check post, both road conditions and scenic beauty changed drastically.

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While the roads were so smooth for last 14 Kms, the green Sikkim has vanished turning into a mountain dessert with different shades of colours.

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We started our journey from Lachen at 4 30 AM in the morning and reached Thangu village at 8 30 AM for breakfast. Thangu is the last village on the way to Gurudongmar where we had maggie and masala tea to keep us warm. After this village, you will not find any civilisation except the Army bases.

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It felt like a road leading to heaven, and at last we reached heaven ‘the Gurudongmar Lake’.

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Gurudongmar Lake had left me mesmerized with its barren beauty.

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The surreal beauty of this lake is beyond any description. Crystal clear blue water surrounded by snow laden mountains on one side and barren mountains hugging the lake from another side is one beautiful scene 

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As oxygen level is low here, it is not recommended to exhaust yourself. Keep calm and enjoy the beauty of nature!

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Because of the freezing temperature, low oxygen pressure and high wind velocity, it is better to leave the unparalleled beauty of nature early and not to stay here for more than 30 to 45 mins.

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After visiting Gurudongmar Lake, we headed back to Lachung for the night.

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Next day's plan was to explore Lachung and Yumthang and get back to Gangtok. Early in morning at 6 am, we started our journey to Yumthang Valley.

Lachung is another picture perfect village of North Sikkim. Any random click here will give you a perfect snapshot.

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A lovely road side waterfall while driving to Yumthang in Sikkim

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Yumthang is situated at an elevation of 11800 feet which is a beautiful valley and we spent almost an hour there taking pictures and hiking.

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Don't  forget to take a day trip up to Yumthang Valley, an inherent part of things to do in Sikkim, from Lachung it takes roughly about 2 hours.

Book an SUV in advance (approximately Rs. 2000 for a round trip). Permits are essential.

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We covered the 7 sisters waterfall on our way back to Gangtok which is distanced about 32 kms from Gangtok.

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Encountering a huge Traffic jam which is quite common over there, we reached Gangtok around 5 PM and checked in to our hotel.

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After getting done with the North Sikkim tour, we decided to explore Gangtok and Tsongmo lake for this day.

Located at a staggering altitude of 12,300 feet, Tsongmo or Changu Lake is undoubtedly one of the prettiest attractions in Sikkim.

Lake Tsongmo is a 2 hour drive from Gangtok and it would be wise to book a jeep or an SUV in advance. A round trip should cost you around Rs. 3000 and you should ideally leave early in the morning.

Since this is a protected area, make sure you have a permit from your hotel, your travel agent or the Sikkim Tourism Information Center in Gangtok as I have already mentioned earlier.

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This glacial lake roughly translates into "source of water" as it transforms into a glorious snowfield during winters.

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If something were to be extraordinarily perfect then this was it.E0CD0936-F3D6-4CBE-8F80-7FE42B89DF84.jpeg

 

Riding a yak here is a special thing while you immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Tsongmo .

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Tsongmo lake is otherwise called as the Changu lake. We started heading back to Gangtok after the lake visit.

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We hiked towards the Lhasa falls in Gangtok the same day

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Lhasa Falls is a small waterfall and by that time the sun was up again and it was clear and bright unlike the weather at Tsongmo lake.

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We had left to Pelling via Ravangla for the next 2 days.

Pelling is a quaint hill station snuggly nestled in the hills of West Sikkim. It is a popular destination thanks to its natural scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage.

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A visit to the Pemayangtse Monastery is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Pelling. The peaceful sanctum is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries dating back to the 17th century.

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The place I heard a lot about, did not disappoint. These gigantic architectures with the mountains behind will make you want to believe in the Legends.

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 Here you can watch monks pray with traditional instruments and chant soothing hymns!

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Enroute Yuksom, you will come across the thundering of the Kanchenjunga waterfall. The falls are often a popular stop in most of the Pelling tours because of their sheer beauty.

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It is a perennial fall although the volume increases during monsoons.

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The scenic Khecheopalri Lake holds religious significance to both Buddhists and Hindus and is known to be a wish fulfilling lake. One of its interesting myths is that birds don’t allow any leaves to fall on the lake.

It’s also a great spot for bird watching and photography.

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And with that my longing was calmed. We decided to head back for some souvenirs and left to Bagdogra the next day and catch our flight back to Hyderabad.

The curvy roads, dense forests and pretty faces, Sikkim is one of the best experiences I have had in India. People have preserved the nature, maintained cleanliness (you will find proper clean restrooms everywhere on road and there are high fines if you litter anywhere), honesty (no one will overcharge you) and live a simple and happy life. They also have a great sense of driving.

 

Sikkim entirely as a state fascinated me in a lot of ways and as a tourist I was completely mesmerized by its beauty. With loads of beautiful memories and experiencing divine, we returned back to Hyderabad.

 

I shall soon be back with my next travelogue to Himachal. Cheers!

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Absolutely brilliant pictures @arifismyname. Your post is very informative. Gurudongmar lake looks like heaven on earth. This is one long time pending trip on list and I am hopefully looking forward to do it this year. :D

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Your photography skills are very unique.

Great work man. Very beautiful log.

 

We planned a similar drive but diverted to Chitkul due to self drive permissions.

 

May be this December we will drive down.

 

 

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Your photography skills are very unique.

May be this December we will drive down.
 
 


Are you sure about this?
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14 hours ago, sagar said:

Are you sure about this?

 

If you are ready, I'm game. 

We can plan on the last week of December.

 

Main point to decide is either own car or self drive?

Own car means we need to plan no. of days carefully.

No extensive driving. It is should be a relaxed one. 

 

 

 

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@arifismyname wonderful pictures as always man! how much did the entire trip costed you? can you please provide the break up of costs for Accommodation / Transport / Food / Permits etc., it will be super helpful to other members

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20 hours ago, Sridhar Tandra said:

I hate you @Ranger 

 

Mid November or after Sankranthi please @sagar 🤝

 

Haha.. In December, We usually do a drive during the Christmas weekend considering lesser office commitments and that's the only reason. Why couldn't it be possible for you to make it during that time :O

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2 minutes ago, Sridhar Tandra said:

I will be on Ayyappa Maala starting end of November until Mid January

 

In a group perspective December would be ideal time.

Anyway try to see, If you can make any changes to the dates.

 

On 6/28/2018 at 10:03 AM, Ranger said:

Main point to decide is either own car or self drive?

 

This has to be fixed.

 

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14 minutes ago, Sridhar Tandra said:

I will be on Ayyappa Maala starting end of November until Mid January @sagar 

even if you would on Ayyappa Maala traveling for couple of days should be possible right? Of course provided you are calm,peaceful,clean.

If it is sikkim,himalayas you would get the calmness and peaceful feeling :) ..

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