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Sunday , December 03 , 2023

A Tour to the lost Kingdom- Sikkim

A Tour to the lost Kingdom- Sikkim

24-10-2023
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I went out on May 25th, 2 days after the fasting Eid to see snow-capped valleys, undulating mountain ranges, eternal trees, destination Sikkim. I went to Burimari Port to see the bright light of the sodium lights of Jamuna Bridge at night and the scenery of corn fields in Patgram of Lalmonirhat. On May 26th, I completed immigration at Chengrabandha port in India.  The group of excited youngsters are excited to travel to another country for the first time.  After a long journey of 16 hours it was evening to reach Siliguri. All stayed at Siliguri for the night to get rid of fatigue and rest. On May 27th, after the Fajr prayer, I hired a jeep to go to Gangtok with our group of 8 people.  Gangtok is 110 km away from Siliguri.  Shal, the car ran over Shegun's chest.  Coming to Sevak, two roads split, one to Darjeeling and the other to Gangtok. On the banks of the Teesta, there are rows of monkeys sitting on the hilly road, on the branches of trees, on the small stones on the side of the road.  The car was moving along the banks of Teesta.  A group of monkeys is looking at someone hoping for food.  The baby is hanging on the mother's stomach.  It looked pretty.  As we humans have destroyed the wild nature, today they have taken to the streets in the hope of food. They did not have that wild form of jealousy.  It was very distressing to see the smiling monkeys.  I reached Sikkim's check post Rangpo by swinging sometimes right or left on a crooked path in the forest. On entering Sikkim the picture changed.  Beautiful, tidy, clean, a charming state. The beauty of Aparupa Sikkim was spreading and the sun shines on the hills far away.

Gangtok part
I reached Gangot, the capital of Sikkim, at an altitude of 5500 feet above sea level after passing hundreds of hilly villages.  It's quite cold now.  I was running a fan in West Bengal this May, but what a change in nature here!  Wrapped in sweater and muffler. Cameras are installed at every point of Gangtok, smoking/drug consumption, littering outside is prohibited here.  Anyone who does this faces huge fines and punishments.  The jeep dropped us at the bus stand, from there we took a small taxi to MG Marg Market. Basically, all the tourists stay here and roam around it. One of the problems of hotels in Gangtok is that there is no water supply at all times. Some times the water supply is cut off, so the tourists have to be in trouble.  We went to a hotel full time water supply with hot water.  Although the distance between Siliguri and Gangtok is 110 km, it takes about 5 hours due to the hilly road.  It is good to know that Gangtok is currently the capital of Sikkim state of India.  The city of Gangtok is located in the eastern Himalayas.  Gangtok is at the heart of Sikkim's tourism industry due to its location within the high peaks of the Himalayas and a mild temperate climate throughout the year.  According to tourism department records, as many as 5 lakh domestic travellers visited the hill state of Sikkim. Gangtok has a total area of 19.2 sq km, population (2011) of 1,00,290.
On reaching Gangtok, we all freshen up and eat at a nearby Muslim hotel. And enjoy the city of Gangtok at night. It seemed like a carbon copy of a European city.  The specialty of MG Marg is that there are various shops on both sides of it with various clothes, shops, toys, cosmetics, food, accessories, beautiful flower trees in the middle of the road and benches for sitting on both sides.  MG means Mahatma Gandhi and Marg means road.  No cars move on this road. This road is for pedestrians.
Interestingly, the people here do not like Indira Gandhi of the Congress party who recaptured this Sikkim, many of them like Modi of the BJP. Because, the Modi government has digitalized their province a lot, giving homes to the homeless among the locals.  Pays huge amount of money to do.  It also provides various facilities to the people there. Entry to North Sikkim and East Sikkim requires permission from the Sikkim Government.  Not applicable for South and West Sikkim.  Another very important thing is to contact the tourist agency to get the tour package to go to those two places. Also they do not allow entry.
On the day we arrived in Gangtok, we talked to the travel agency and took a tour package for Lachung and Yamthang Valley. Everything in the package - 4 meals, 1 night hotel, 5-6 view points, jeep to Yamthang Valley.  0 point is out of the package, if the environment is favourable then permission to go is available. In our group of 8 people with package 0 point deal is done for 19-20 thousand taka.  We give our passport, visa photocopy, photo to the agencies for permission. They will take care of all the permission.ck darkness of the winding mountain road
Breath-taking in Lachung
We reached Lachung on 28th may around 8 pm.  Lachung is a charming hamlet in Sikkim. Lachung is a famous travel destination in India and also locally called as Queen of Northeast. People who visit Lachung will fall in love with the place for its tranquil and scenic beauty of the village. The village offers a spectacular and breath-taking view of which are picture-perfect. It's feeling very cold here. We couldn't see the temperature because the network wasn't working properly.  A local said it would be 4 degrees, it could drop to -5 degrees late at night.  We Bangladeshis were very surprised to hear this and also happy to think that we can live in this winter for the first time.  
After eating at night, the locals burn wood and unused items and make a fire and sing.Although we do not understand the language of their songs.  Besides singing they are drinking light liquor and beer. We Bangladeshis were very shocked to see this.  Almost every shop in Lachung has a separate place to drink liquor and beer. Like we sit in the tong shop and eat tea-coffee, singgara, puri. They also eat liquor-beer, momo, maggi noodles.  One thing I noticed in Gangtok and Lachung is that the girls here are hardworking, strong, pillars of the world. Basically girls do all the work.  Manages the store, does business, provides services as per the demand of the buyers and behaves very well. After drinking coffee, we all fell asleep around 12 o'clock in the night. We did not feel cold at night because of heavy blankets. However, we could not walk in the room without shoes and it was very difficult to use water because it was very cold.
May 29 woke up very early in the morning.  Waking up fresh and laying down a towel, the Fajr prayer was very soothing.  I felt happy thinking that I could pray at 9600 feet above the sea level.  When I opened the window of the room, I was completely amazed. The sun was touching the top of the hill.  The mountain peaks are filled with silvery light above the white snow. On one side is a mountain covered with snow and on the other side is a mountain without snow.  My eyes widened. 
I eat bread and jam for breakfast. Everyone wears hand socks, foot socks, big rubber shoes rented for 70 rupees and heavy winter clothes. Because the winter is more severe where I am going.

Yumthang and Zero point part
Yumthang Valley offers a magnificent view of Himalayan flowers, twenty-four species. The valley will amaze you with its massive structure.Arrived at Yumtham Valley.  On both banks of the Lachung River, there are rows of rows of simple trees.  We were somewhat deprived of the scenic view of the flowers the time we visited.  The actual flower fair starts later in May. The driver said, both banks of this river are filled with flowers of different colors.  A fair of purple Grimulus is held on both banks of the river. Flowers of various colours burst from the ground.  The locals call it Hayden valley - or Heavenly Garden.  Colourful Buddhist flags tied to the ground with bamboo sticks.  Flying in the wind.  Religious information, advice summary written on colour flags.  White flags are for the dead.  Buddhists believe that as the flag sways in the wind, their souls will find peace.  Therefore, the flags are placed in open spaces where the wind blows.  It hasn't snowed here yet.  In December, January this valley is covered with snow.  Different forms in different seasons are a wonderful addition to this valley. A stormy wind was blowing.  Hands and feet are freezing in the cold.  The body writhes in pain from an unimaginable cold. Light a little fire and make a fire with the Tibetans in the small tea stall.  It is a strange experience.  Now this Yumthang valley is shaking.  Leafless drendrobium fragrant corms and petals - pink to pale purple.  24 varieties of rhododendron are available.  Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary.  A densely muted colour wave of strewn purple primroses.  Far away the stillness of the mountain forest. Sighs touch the wild valley.  We did see some purple flowers though. This valley is an amazing natural wonder.  Now coming back from Yumthang. But what if we don't see that another heavenly place is waiting on top of it? ZERO POINTS!!!  The driver said, "If you want to take it there, you will need an extra 3500 rupees. But this is out of the package. We all agreed. We went. Anyone come so close and go back?"
The journey starts from Yumesamdong/ Zero Point at an altitude of 15,300 feet. We reached the military check post.  When the driver showed the documents, I got the permit. As the car started to climb higher, the vegetation decreased.  Gradually snow is scattered here and there on Nera hill.  The grass is dry in some places and very dry in some places a little touch of green remains.  It seemed as if they were making a last ditch effort to survive.  Oxygen is starting to decrease.  The driver said drink more water. As the day progresses from the top of the big mountain, the snow melts quietly at the foot of the mountain.  It seems that the silent cry of the mountain is trickling down the feet.  15,300 feet height ā€“ standing on China border.  The Himalayan Range ā€“ where the B R O road stops. The car stopped in a row of cars.  Tourists are happily walking here and there.  In the face and eyes, a wave of open dam broke.
I am looking with astonished eyes only snow around, no raw part of frozen ground is seen.  Somewhere one or two rocks are trying to break through the ice.  This is an indescribable ice fantasy.  Fascinated by form, dissolved in joy. Snow-capped mountains being kissed by floating clouds increase our excitement to reach Zero. I also encounter a large number of yaks grazing in pristine grasslands on way. As I approach Zero Point, I may start feeling a bit nauseated but the floating clouds by car window will change my mood. And finally, I reached at the Zero Point.
Thirteen to fifty-year-old man and women are on the cusp of youth. Some are taking pictures, some are throwing deals at their partners with ice, and some are making ice dolls.  This is not a village fair or a bazaar or a picture of a market like Calcutta - this is an ice rink in an icy valley.  Nature is giving its form to the heart and giving it a natural look!  We want to climb to the top of the mountain and enjoy a little more.  I was panting while going up the mountain of snow, so I took a break and went up quite a bit. When I got up, the environment was completely silent, there was no sound, only the sound of the wind.  I was looking at the surrounding mountains from the top of the hill.  I enjoyed this great blessing of Allah with full heart and thanked the owner.
Now time to return, go to Lachung and have lunch at 3 pm.  The food was very bad.  Due to the up and down in such a short time on the winding mountain road, many have become quite weak and sick due to the weather not matching the body. Many are suffering from vomiting and headache.  For this reason, it is very important to keep emergency medicine with chira, muri, jaggery.  The car began to move, taking one last look at the distant mountain peaks of Lachung blending into the blue sky.  Fresh wind, light rain, seeing the waterfall and the longing to return to Gangtok made the mind go wild.  On 29th May again I left Gangtok at night and went to Siliguri in the morning on 30th May. I stayed at Siliguri at night.  On April 1, after completing the immigration of India, I felt a sense of peace and tranquility in my heart as soon as I stepped on the soil of Bangladesh. We arrived in Dhaka by train as it was evening to enter Bangladesh. We arrived in Dhaka at 10 am on April 2.  From Sikkim I have learned the importance of Geopolitics, the idea of developing hilly areas, ensuring the safety of tourist areas, and smart export policies to keep the economy strong.
It is very difficult to write down everything about the total 8-day itinerary here. I have written as much as I felt necessary. If I have given any wrong information, please let me know. Thank you very much to my parents and especially my friend Abdullah Abid for staying with me and helping me.  And prayers to all the members in our group. Finally, thanks to Almighty God for giving us the opportunity to see and understand the people, environment, history, struggles and scenes of Sikkim.
The writer is a student of East West University 
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Salahuddin Shuvo
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