Saturday, July 11, 2009

Guwahati to Gangtok

Sikkim is a very small hilly state of India and is one of the 18 bio diversity hot spots of the world.The world's third highest mountain Mount Kanchenjunga is regarded as the guardian deity of Sikkim.Sikkim is a very popular tourist destination owing to its culture,scenic beauty and bio diversity.It is approx.590 km. away from Guwahati.We decided to travel by train as for my kids specially my daughter really wanted to travel by train.Rajdhani Express (ghy-delhi) was the obvious choice .....we boarded the train at 6.45 as departure time was 7.05 am.It was a beautiful and exciting 6 hr. journey till NJP(new jalpai guri-West Bengal).....morning tea,breakfast,soup,lunch everything was provided by the train pantry(free ofcourse....).These pics are from moving train.This pic is showing JUTE-PLANTATION.We crossed miles and miles of tea-gardens.
It was a cloudy day with little drizzling......the gardens looked lush and very fresh.On reaching NJP we hired cars ,though GANGTOK(Sikkim's capital)is only125 km.away from NJP .....it takes nearly 4 hrs to cover this distance .
The road is very narrow and serpentine but offers you some real breathtaking views....to capture them from a moving car is tough and you can't stop your car as it effects the traffic flow.....i got some angry looks from drivers of the other cars following us...teehee.This is river TISTA....it almost flows right across the length of Sikkim-it originates from from Lake Cholamu where it is hardly a stream.
During monsoons TISTA becomes swift,muddy and dangerous......we witnessed many landslides on our way because it was raining continuously for last few days......people were busy clearing the road
I was sitting on the right hand side and while crossing these landslide areas i was avoiding looking at the river side of the road..one mistake and down you go......and our driver was very kind too ...telling us about all the accidents which happened in recent past......still the journey was fun......driver played a great collection of Nepali songs....it was alltogether a very different experience.
It took us nearly four and half hrs. to reach Gangtok because of the poor condition of the road.
It is off-season now because of monsoon .....but a large influx of tourists this year was surprising to even local people.