Friday photo: Windows

As Bangalore reels under the vicious attack of an early summer, my thoughts are in the cool, cool hills. Sikkim, Ladakh, Himachal, anywhere at all in the Himalayas is where I would rather be right now. So this Friday, a photo from Sikkim: a young girl looking out of the window at Pemayangtse monastery at…

The perfect Sikkim itinerary

The small northeastern state of Sikkim was once rightly dubbed ‘the hidden kingdom’ after a book (1971) by the same name by Alice Kandell. The mighty Kanchenjunga, considered a benevolent protector, dominates the region, making itself visible from various points within the state. Take a tour around the highlights of Sikkim. Begin at Gangtok What…

Friday photo: Sikkim

At Pemayangtse Monastery near Pelling, one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim, dating back to the 17th century. Pelling and its surrounds are famous for magnificent views of the Kanchenjunga. Unfortunately, in the few days that we were there, it rained and rained and the entire mountain range remained covered in a cloud of mist….

Stranger in my country

Published in Mint Lounge (September 04) as Stranger in a strange land… *** Nancy is the local school teacher at Lachung village in North Sikkim and has recently returned home after some years outside the state. She has been chatting non-stop with me in the darkness of the late evening about her school and students….

Sikkim’s valley of flowers

The trip planned for the day is to Yumthang valley and we have moved to Lachung village from Lachen the earlier evening in preparation. After that nerve-wracking ride to Gurudongmar Lake and all the discomfort caused by high altitude, we are sure that this drive is going to be easy. And so it is, comparatively…

…and popcorn at 17000 feet

Continued from: Breakfast at 14000 feet… And so duly momoed, Maggied and acclimatized, we begin the second part of the drive towards Gurudongmar lake. Just in case we imagine that the rest of this drive is going to be as easy as it has been so far, our driver warns us to brace ourselves for…

Breakfast at 14000 feet

4.30 a.m. and it is bright outside our tiny hotel room in Lachen. At just less than 9000 feet, Lachen feels pleasant; my teeth are already chattering but I choose to ignore that and focus instead on the dozens of families already up and about, children shouting to get on to their jeeps first. You…

For a glimpse of the Kanchengunja

“Why do you want to go to Yuksam? There is nothing there”. I have lost count of the number of times we hear this in Gangtok. Travel agents, cab drivers, even perfect strangers earnestly advise us against Yuksam. Some of them go on to elaborate, “no sight-seeing”, and suggest we go instead to Pelling where…