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Sikkim Diaries – day 4

Woke up at 5 am again .. It has become a routine now – early to bed, and very early to rise. Might get used to it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Long day ahead of us .. but first breakfast!

After a hearty breakfast we set off .. the first stop was Khecheopalri Lake. This lake is in the shape of a foot, and is considered to be a wish granting lake, and hence a sacred place. It is said that the birds in that area help in keeping the lake clean – they pick up any leaves that fall into the lake. We did not see any leaves or branches floating in the water – must be true ๐Ÿ™‚

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The path leading to the lake was full of prayer flags – such a common sight all over Sikkim. Saw some people praying. Spent some time at the lake – so peaceful. so calm. Bought some postcards here, and then proceeded towards Kanchenjunga waterfalls. No idea why it’s called Kanchenjunga waterfall – no views of the mountain from here. The waterfall was .. well, a waterfall ๐Ÿ˜€ Nothing spectacular. Lots of people to see the falls though. I didn’t go right to the base of the falls but took the opportunity to click some slow shutter waterfall pics (they’re not that great though)

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slow shutter experiments ๐Ÿ˜€

Next up was Pemayangtse Monastery and we wanted to reach there around 3-3:30 pm – because that’s the daily prayers time. Reached the monsatery and were clicking pics when we heard sounds of chanting from one of the upper rooms – the prayer room probably. We followed the sound and went upstairs… There was a prayer room and we saw lot of monks praying – chanting, beating the drums. Trance music! We sat there – mesmerized by the praying. Sat there till the end of prayers. While the prayers were on, the monks were being served tea and samosas. Not one stopped midway to have tea or eat. Will power!

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Pemayangtse Monastery – prayer wheel at the entrance

From the monastery we could see the Rabdentse ruins – that was supposed to be our next (and probably the last) stop for the day. It was almost sunset when we reached Rabdentse. It’s a short (~30 min), uphill hike to the ruins.. and we reached when the sun was just setting. What a wonderful sight – ruins of the ancient palace and the golden hour light.

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Rabdentse ruins

It’s a beautiful place – all ruins are in some way beautiful. Quiet place to sit and think – about all the things you’re not going to do once you’re back in Mumbai ๐Ÿ˜‰ (like uploading photos immediately)

The ASI has put up signs encouraging people to not give up and carry on trekking till they reach the ruins.

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Don’t Give Up!

On the way back to the homestay we stopped at a cute bakery and had some yummy pastries and meh! coffee. The coffee was a disappointment – it was the machine coffee. The brown syrup that I have at office everyday.

Back at the homestay, and I found they had managed to get a tv screen for the karaoke – aargh!. Throughout dinner time my brain was working overtime – thinking of all the excuses I could make to get out of this singing thing. Come on.. I didn’t want to scare anyone … my singing gives people nightmares ๐Ÿ˜‰

The monastery and Rabdentse was definitely the highlight of the day – specially the ruins, that some of us decided to visit again the next morning before we left for Kewzing.

 

 

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Sikkim Diaries – day 3

Previous evening’s memories still fresh in my mind .. what an event that was. Day 3 sees us move from Okhrey and proceed to Pelling – our next stop. Instead of starting immediately we have an option to explore a monastery in Okhrey. Why not! We’re here to see new places, to explore. So yeah .. let’s go!

A special mention for the breakfast – our last meal in Okhrey. In addition to the yummy sheera, we had a super delicious methi sabzi with chapatthi. Those who know me well will know how much I love veggies ๐Ÿ˜‰ – notice the bold font. But this methi sabzi was totally out of this world. So yum!!

We set off to explore the monastery immediately after breakfast – the plan was to visit the monastery, and then start for Pelling.

It was a short -ish trek to the monastery. An uphill climb mostly, but the pleasant climate at Okhrey made it easier to climb. Oh, and a cute puppy followed us all the way to the monastery – that made the walk even more pleasant.

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my trek buddy

We reached the monastery -walked at an easy pace – admiring the pretty houses with pretty flowers along the way. It’s a very small monastery – but very neat. Spent some time here, and started for our base at Okhrey. We had to move out, and drive to Pelling.

So .. with some amazing memories from Okhrey we set off for Pelling. We were supposed to visit a heritage house somewhere along the way. This is a 300+ year old house belonging to a Lepcha family. It’s a pretty structure – looked strong too. Had to – if the house has stood for ~300 years. Brick walls, wooden floor – pretty interiors. Lunch was a simple meal – we had lunch in the garden. Too many dogs in the garden ๐Ÿ™‚ Not complaining. Dogs – more the merrier.

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300 year old house

I wish I could stay here and play with the dogs in the garden — but we have to move on. There’s a visit to a cheese factory next. That is music to my ears – CHEESE. โ™ฅ

The factory was closed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ but we found a shop window open, and also discovered they had ice cream. ICE CREAM! Who says no to Ice cream, right? Bought some Sikkim Alpine Cheese – which is yum btw.

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the cheese factory

Mild disappointment – really wanted to see the factory and how cheese is made. On route to our Pelling stay, we stopped at the Singshore suspension bridge. This is the second highest bridge in Asia. We walked across it – had tea/momos/maggi (the default snack) and walked back. Heart in the mouth moment while crossing – we saw a man welding the bridge joints. Should we be worried? ๐Ÿ˜€ But in a way I think it’s good – they’re maintaining the bridge regularly ๐Ÿ˜‰

Reached Pelling around 6pm .. it was pitch dark when we reached. Early sunrise, early sunset. Saw a karaoke set – time to chicken out ๐Ÿ˜‰ But immediately discovered there was no tv to connect the set – relief! Will have to make up some excuse tomorrow if they manage to get a tv ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s not as cold as Okhrey .. but still cold enough for someone who is used to living in the furnace that is Mumbai. Some spicy dinner and it is time for zzzย  .. really looking forward to tomorrow – a visit to the Pemayangtse Monastery is on the agenda.

This trip is memorable – not just because of the superb company – but also there’s a huge learning curve for me. I am learning to click a selfie in which my face is 100% visible (yeah, go on .. snicker). I have a collection of horrible “selfies”. You can use them to play “find me in this picture” game.

Plus the music. There’s a amazing collection of retro songs in the car. I don’t recognize 90% of the songs though .. might have heard some of them on the radio.