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Travelling Along The Silken Trail: Silk Route, Sikkim

BY SOMREETA MUKHERJEE

‘I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference’

The zig zag road, Zuluk

The zig zag road, Zuluk

These lines not only form the fitting conclusion to Robert Frost’s well-known poem- ‘The Road Not Taken’, but it is also an apt way to describe my experience while travelling along the silken trail of East Sikkim. The Silk Route, Sikkim is a virgin terrain, not traversed along by many travellers in the conventional sense of the term. I am a lover of Nature. I fall in love with the beauty of Nature, each time I hear the silent monologues being echoed through the hills and the valleys. We decided to visit this offbeat destination in Sikkim last year, in the month of October.

Kanchenjunga range as seen from Mankhim

Kanchenjunga range as seen from Mankhim

Wish to taste paradise on Earth? Visit the Silk Route, East Sikkim.

 

SILK ROUTE, EAST SIKKIM: GEOGRAPHICAL FACTS

The silk route actually refers to the ancient trade route circuit that connected Asia, Africa and Europe. The Silk Route in Sikkim is also a derivative of the ancient trade route that came from Lhasa, crossed the Chumbi Valley, moved across Nathula Pass and ultimately, reached Tamralipta (Tamluk, West Bengal). The old silk route of East Sikkim is now slowly emerging as a tourist destination for Nature lovers.

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HOW TO REACH EAST SIKKIM?

Board a flight to Bagdogra or take a train to NJP station. It is best to get your vehicle (and home-stays) booked before you visit East Sikkim. Your vehicle will pick you up from station or airport. Otherwise, you will find it difficult to get a taxi or car to take you to your desired location. In fact, most of the Silk Route packages operate on an NJP-to-NJP or Bagdogra-to-Bagdogra basis. We booked our Silk Route package from Weekend Destinations, Kolkata.

Memencho Lake, 13000 feet

Memencho Lake, 13000 feet

TRAVELLING ALONG SIKKIM SILK ROUTE

If you are visiting the place as a tourist and you wish to make the most of your trip within a preferred budget, your itinerary should ideally be of 6 Nights and 7 days, and consist of the beautiful places nestled in the lap of Nature. You may also have to stay at Gangtok for a night.

Nathang Valley, 13500 feet

Nathang Valley, 13500 feet

Lingtam is a tiny hamlet that offers you relaxation and grand view of Nature. Rishikhola, named after the river- Rishi, is yet another favourite spot appreciated by nature lovers. Enjoy the warm hospitality of the simple and honest village people who run home-stays here and indeed, you would love the way they would try to cater to your needs and comfort. Zuluk is famous for its pristine scenic beauty. Zuluk, located midway between Rishikhola and Gnathang /NathangValley, is a perfect place for unwinding. Zuluk can be divided into lower, middle and upper Zuluk. We stayed in a place called Padamchen. Put up in zuluk for a night for rest and leisure. Next day, head for Nathang Valley, which is an area under the Indian Army cantonment, maintained and monitored by the Army. The weather is chilling and even in the month of October, it was almost freezing. The next destination is Mankhim after a night’s stay at Nathang valley. Weather at Mankhim is pleasantly cool and you would feel the vibrant greenery of nature’s landscapes and mountains at every step. Stay at Sillery Gaon or Icchey Gaon for a night after your stay at Mankhim.

Mankhim

Mankhim

Throughout your journey, you will be able to enjoy the clear view of the Kanchenjunga range. The color of the range changes with the change of light of the sun. It is charismatic! the zig-zag roads along the mountains look like sketches drawn by Mother Nature with such perfection that everything else seems unreal. The chimes of the tingling bells tied around the yaks’ necks are the soothing music that you get to enjoy during your trip; what else can you ask for? The clear blue sky, the immaculate mountains, the quiet atmosphere and the simplicity that pervades make you feel close to God!

The Kanchenjunga range, sun rise, as seen from Zuluk

The Kanchenjunga range, sun rise, as seen from Zuluk

NECESSARY ITEMS THAT YOU MUST CARRY

Silk Route consists of solitary destinations surrounded by the grandeur of hills and the depth of valleys. It is quite cold, throughout the year. It is chilling especially during the months of November, December and January. Pack sufficient woolen clothes to keep you warm. Carry enough medicines because you will hardly get medicine shops and physicians in the desolate terrains. Moreover, you need to carry passport size photographs, photocopies and original identity proof because you need to get special permit (at Rongli) to explore the Silk Route.

 

Since Silk Route is a trail ‘less travelled by’, here you wouldn’t find luxurious resorts, hotels and restaurants. In fact, the options of delicacies being served at meal time are also limited. Rice/Roti, eggs, chicken, potato and instant noodles (like Maggi and Wai Wai) form the staple diet. However, the beauty and joy of living in the lap of nature is unlimited. Trust me, each moment I spent sojourning across the zig-zag roads and the mountains of East Sikkim will forever be etched in my memories.

 

 

By Somreeta Mukherjee

Picture courtesy: Siddhartha Mukherjee (my brother)

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11 Responses

  1. Kinkinee Kinkinee says:

    The pictures are just mind blowing :In-Love:

  2. Divya Thapa says:

    Wow! Amazing. 🙂

  3. Sanjoy Mukherjee says:

    Pagol ami o rup dekha sangay lekhao

  4. Sanjoy Mukherjee says:

    Pagol ami o rup dekha sangay leka darun grt

  1. July 31, 2015

    […] a remote valley. It is the top most part where you can stay during your trip along the East Sikkim- Silk Route.  A tiny village located in the lap of nature, Nathang is a beautiful place flanked by mountains on […]

  2. September 16, 2015

    […] away from the din of city life. We stayed for a day at Mankhim while traversing along the Silk Route Sikkim. We drove to Mankhim from Nathang […]

  3. November 2, 2015

    […] up with. Lose yourself in the beautiful and luxuriant valleys of Araku or the magnificent range of Kanchenjunga; it helps you forget those deadlines at office or complications of relationships like never […]

  4. January 24, 2016

    […] visit to the Old Baba Mandir during my Silk Route Sikkim tour has been quite memorable. Not even once did I feel that I was paying a visit to the bunker (room) […]

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