The travel bloggers’ trip took us this year to the beautiful state of Sikkim, perched amidst the Himalayas. The expectations were high as I had read about the place several times before; the narrations often romanticized adding to the charm and mystique of the place. I was also excited that we would be staying at the luxurious Royal Demazong resort, which has one of the best views of the hills of Gangtok from the rooms.
The only caveat was that it was a very short trip, just 3 days which isn’t enough when you are traveling to a place like Sikkim. But that wasn’t going to dim my spirits as we were a lively bunch of travelers.
The journey to the resort started from Bhagdogra where all the travelers convened from different parts of the country ready to embark on a long journey. There isn’t an airport in Sikkim (though there is one believed to be in the reckoning), so you still need to take the route via Siliguri, often through bad roads until you reach the borders of Sikkim. Fortunately, we had two Scorpios to ferry us along the route.
After about 30 minutes along Sevok Road, we reached Baag Pool and met River Teesta at Sevok . Here is the point where you see the hills beckoning you to reach various hill stations like Darjeeling, Kalempong etc.
“It’s not the destination, but the journey”, it is said and the more I travel the more I’m convinced of that. The journey had me mesmerized with the view outside, as we traversed tea plantations, winding along the raging river Teesta and opening up into wild orchid groves slithering up giant tropical trees, before making the slipping, sliding trail up the Himalayan foothills. Quite a joy ride! But for those of us who were prone to motion sickness, it wasn’t a pleasant experience and it took a while before regaining composure.
Sky transitioned into magical hues of blue as we entered Sikkim; It was almost as though we were entering the fabled “Shangri la”
As night fell, we were nearer to the Sikkim borders and the higher altitude made for a very pleasant climate prompting us to stop for steaming hot cup of tea and some banter (we were quite for most part of our journey thanks to the view outside).
Further ahead, the landscape changed, the roads were flanked with a beautiful array of foliage and the sky transitioned into magical hues of blue as we entered Sikkim; It was almost as though we were entering the fabled “Shangri la”. Our journey on road had now clocked over 6 hours and we were a little weary from the travel and bad driving (an over enthusiastic driver) but the atmosphere was just the respite we needed.
The last mile to the resort was a bit of an adventure as we snaked through narrow roads and thanks to our Schumacher of a driver.
We were relieved when we reached our destination, and more than relieved by the sight of the Club Mahindra Royal Demazong resort. The resort façade and interiors are adorned with Sikkimese motif, splashed with royal colours reminiscent of a royal dwelling; gladly, this would be our abode for the night and the next couple of days.
Though sleep was definitely on our minds, the shutterbugs and bird lovers in us had us scrambling out of the bed at 5 in the morning and it was well worth every minute of the sleep deprived.
Here is a snapshot of a view from my room early in the morning…
The next couple of days were hectic, where we tried to pack in as much as sightseeing as possible including the customary trip to Nathu la pass. But through the trip I realized that the beauty and bounties of Sikkim cannot be explored in a few days, you need at least a week.
This was my first trip to Sikkim and I fell in love with the place instantly. My next trip, sometime next year will take me west closer and in view of the mighty Khangchendzonga mountain, to Yuksom and Pelling. Until then the memories of this lovely land, rightly called the last Shangri la lingers.