Saturday, December 19, 2015

Following the Old Silk Route, Sikkim

It was a very cold day of November. There was mist all over, visibility was very low and bone-chilling wind was blowing. We checked out inner line permites, confirmed the home stay and started for the journey that I will remember all my life. We were at Rongli the previous night. Rongli is a beautiful little town with lovely people and all, almost all houses full of flowers. It was an uphill drive with a local driver, Roshan who seemed to know almost very single soul. So our journey started with Roshan waiving and smiling at everyone.

Rongli to Zuluk

Driving uphill cutting through the fog we reached Zuluk. A small village at the altitude of 10,100ft. located in lower Himalayas of Eastern Sikkim on the historical old Silk Route which once connected India with Tibet. Till the first half of 20th century before the Chinese invaded Tibet, this old Silk Route was used heavily to trade silk, fur and wool between Tibet and India. But since 1962, Jelepla Pass has been closed. Now the official corridor between India and China in this area is Nathula Pass which is not far away.

It was still foggy when we were driving on a zig zag road post Zuluk. Just after a point weather got clear and we found ourselves above the clouds. As they say above the clouds it is all clear. We seemed to have passed through the clouds and reached the height where its just the blue sky and sunshine. I was amazed to find myself between the sky and the clouds. Further we could see the snow clad Kanchenjunga - the third highest peak of the Himalayas. The whole scenario seemed out of this world - like we have stepped into paradise.

And to reach this paradise we have drove uphill on 32 loops that are called Zuluk loops.

Kanchenjunga peaks from Thambi View Point:

Point where you get the first feel of being above the clouds. You get a breathtaking sun rise view from here and also a perfect view of the Zuluk loops and the Kanchenjunga range, so do come early morning here if you are staying at Zuluk or Nathang. 

Standing here looking down at the clouds, the Kanchenjunga peaks in front and deep blue sky above I felt like a bird. How I wish I had wings to fly across these clouds, touch those peaks that I can only see now and go farther beyond the peaks in the blue sky. Such a beautiful world it is that we live in, I wonder why we have created ugly concrete jungles. Anyways I don't even want to think about them while I am in this heaven.

We further continued our drive along the old silk route towards Gangtok and were amazed to see the beauty.

Hathpokhari Or Elephant Lake, Kupup:

A beautiful lake shaped like an elephant in the lap of mountains is no less than a wonder.

We reached Old Baba Mandir just when we wanted to take a short break. Maintained by Indian Army, you get excellent hospitality from Indian Jawans, Hot cup of tea, some chat chat and lots of smiles will refresh you for the further journey.

Sorethang (The China Market):  One can get woolen cloths, jackets at a very reasonable price here. The goods are brought from China and this market is the first point in Indian Territory where these goods are sold and supplied further in Gangtok city and other markets.

Meme Yen Cho Lake: 

There is no free access to the lake because it is in a prohibited area. You can get an amazing aerial view of the lake while going along the Silk Route,

Nathula Pass

Permit is required to can visit this India-China border that can be obtained from Gangtok. 

There are many ways to explore this wonderland, I did it the #ChaloLetsGo_Way!

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