The Trip- Day 3 and Day 4


The next day we visited Tsongmo Lake, the holy lake in Gangtok, about 12,400ft above sea level. As the roads wound upwards, I found myself a bit bored because of the rain that poured insistently. It seemed like we were more on a mission to a gory work than the happy, tourist times. The condition of the roads was bad. We drove on the potholes ridden roads and it was scary because the driver drove perilously on the edge. But as we ascended, we saw huge waterfalls cutting roads and thundering and descending downwards to an apparent nothingness.  I say that because the visibility was so poor that one could not see beyond a meter. I could see a marked difference between the heights in Uttarakhand and Sikkim. The chill becomes cutting and unforgiving in Uttarakhand, whereas it seems as if the heights are calling to you in Sikkim. As we went up higher, there were notice boards informing us of being under Chinese observation. We stayed at the lake for a while. It was here that I saw a yak for the first time. They are adorable ox like animals with curly white or black hair. Their horns and torso was covered with decorative clothes to attract customers to ride on them. It was afternoon as we started descending. It has been and will be the most strikingly beautiful thing I have ever seen. On one side, blindingly bright clouds shielded the sight of what lay below them and on the other, waterfalls cascading down on the moss ridden surface of the mountains. The view was so overwhelming that all thoughts of boring monotony and restlessness to reach the hotel room fled and were replaced by awe. It was exactly what children imagine heaven to be- fluffy bright white clouds to jump on and sleep in, and beautiful scenery at your disposal all the time. As I slept that night, flashes of the scenery haunted me and filled me with yearning to see it one more time.


The next day we visited the famous monastery. The walls that led us to the main worshipping place were adorned with praying rolls till the top of the mountain, where the monastery was situated. Unlike the Hindu temples, red, blue, green colors dominated the building. The walls were awash with a very different style of painting, depicting the folklores. The sanctum sanctorum of the worshiping area was quiet and calm. And the same feeling rushed into me as I entered it. Intricately woven scrolls hung down from the ceiling and lamps flickered as wind rushed in. the most enchanting part of the sanctorum was the gigantic idol of Buddha, serenely sitting cross-legged. As we walked down the mountain to the car, we came across a very amusing scene. Generally, one expects cats to scamper away as soon as they see humans. Here, a cat sat stoically as children tried to bother it. Some other cats slept without cares, and some rolled along with dogs.

DSC05222DSC05273DSC05413As we rested in our hotel room that night, I knew the coming days were going to be as good as the past four days had been and I was certainly looking forward to what all delights the east had in store for me.