My Hypnotic And Magical Encounter With West Bengal

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We had finally packed our stuff with our winter clothes, warmers and the stuff we thought we might require. We were driven via a cab to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. From here we caught our flight to Gangtok.

We de-boarded the plane at Gangtok’s Pakyong Airport. As it was a pre-booked holiday, all our arrangements were made in advance. Our cab soon drove us to the hotel where we were put up – the Welcome Heritage Denzong Regency. It had excellent services, a pleasant ambience, and an amazing restaurant with a brilliant spread of buffet (provided rooms are sufficiently occupied). The cost was a bit on the higher side, but was worth every buck spent. We reached the place around 7 in the evening, so we thought of just chilling out a bit in the hotel itself.

Late at night, we loitered around the roads enjoying the soothing scenes and the mesmerizing weather at Gangtok. How serene was this place, away from the humdrum of life.

We woke at about 10 am the next day and decided to visit Hanuman Tok which is a Hindu temple complex which is located in the upper reaches of Gangtok. The temple is dedicated to lord Hanuman, the monkey God, and maintained by the Indian army. Though the temple is beautiful and the idol of Hanumanji is awe-inspiring, I remember Hanuman tok for its excellent view of the Kanchenjunga mountain range. This location is a must see place in Gangtok and offers one of the best views. The landscape is simply breathtaking and to add to its charm the temple, ambience offers the perfect backdrop.

From here we headed to Namgyal Institute of Tibetology which is a Tibet museum in Gangtok. It’s a great place for Tibetan culture and history and I for one, loved this place that came as an unexpected surprise.

After this we headed to a restaurant close by- Parivar Restaurant. The place had good Desi North Indian food. Next on our list was the last destination of our trip which was Rumtek Monastery which is also called the Dharmachakra Centre. Rumtek is situated in a beautiful land surrounded by the Himalayas.

The place is serene, naturally rich. The roads are good and clean. Rumtek is a very well maintained temple. The cleanliness, the neatness also takes you closer to godliness. The Buddha statues and the colors are so very beautiful.

After this we headed back to our hotels. And for the next day of the trip we had the Ganesh Tok and Pemayangtse Monastery. At first we headed to Pemayangtse Monastery which is a Buddhist monastery. From here, we were driven to Ganesh Tok. This place is 10 min away from Hanuman tok by car.

No need to visit this alone. Only plus point is that we got full view of Gangtok on top of Ganesh tok. Otherwise this place was not really worth going to. I wonder that we should have visited it at the time of visiting Hanuman Tok. Even our driver had no knowledge of this. But well, this was how it was now was the time to head towards Darjeeling the next day. Before that I wanted to visit a Casino Bar to try my luck and so marched forward to Timka Casino Lounge. We returned quite late from the casino around 1 am.

The next day we had to travel to Darjeeling, West Bengal. I made some inquiries with the hotel’s manager and asked him about the best route. I did not want to travel via cab, as it would have taken us some 3 hours (96.9 km) via Alipurduar Rd/Rishi Rd and NH 31A route. He finally told me about the helicopter services from Sikkim to West Bengal’s Darjeeling. And so it was that we were travelling by a helicopter. We de-boarded the helicopter at Bagdogra (West Bengal). The ride cost us 3500/- per person.

From here we took a cab to our hotel – Cedar Inn. On our first day in Darjeeling I did not want to visit any place, but just wanted to sit and talk to my wife. Therefore we ordered some pakodas, tea from the hotel’s restaurant and begin savoring them along in the midst of pleasant weather. I have a habit of visiting as many places as I can when on a trip because I am quite an explorer. I love to discover new places, their tradition, culture and practices of a new state.

The next day, we visited Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is also known as the “Toy Train” and is a 2 ft narrow gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. We took both the to and fro train and clicked pictures while on our way back to Darjeeling. We stopped at restaurants, tried different cuisines and reached late at the hotel. For the next day, we at first visited Tiger Hill. Well, I must say that the place is over-hyped. It was just like any other hilltop.

From here we headed towards Peace Pagoda. Darjeeling Peace Pagoda is one of the Peace Pagodas designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds to help unite them in their search for world peace. It was a very serene place. This was our last destination of the holiday. From here, we went back to our hotel, packed our luggage, put it in the cab and started off for Gangtok.

While we were on our way back to Ambala, I made a silent promise to myself to the two states of returning back again very soon!

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