The Frozen lake in Gangtok!
After a wonderful tour to Lachung, we reached Gangtok by 9 pm. He dropped us near Mall road so we looked for a good restaurant to eat as most of the shops were closed by then. I was very tired by then and our hotel was a little away from Mall road. We hired a taxi (who charged Rs.250 for a mere 2.5 km). The drivers, though they charge high, are nice and welcoming in nature. We checked in and the day was very well spent.
The next day in Gangtok, we had to visit Tsomgo (Changu) lake; again in the mountains. This trip has made me confident enough that I can travel anywhere and for a long time. We had puri aalu in breakfast and headed towards Changu lake. Entry passes are needed prior to the entry of the route. By this time, we were fully enjoying the ghats as we had been traveling in ghats every day. At one point, there was a road which was almost 70 degrees straight. The driver asked four of us to get down because it might get risky to carry 10 people. Also, the previous day, a major accident had occurred wherein the driver wasn’t able to drive in that road and hence the car fell on the road and one person lost his life. So, we got down at once and, I love walking in such a heavenly place, rather than sitting inside! Though we had seen the snow in Lachung, as we approached Changu lake, it was as if we were going to heaven; which had vanilla ice cream with chocolate toppings. There was a traffic jam because the roads were narrow, plus snow on roads made it risky to drive fast. Anyhow, we managed to reach that heaven and I was awestruck! Never in my life, had I seen so much fresh snow. The lake was all frozen but it was so beautiful.
I was still unable to figure out whether I was in a dream or was it for real! Both Nathula Pass and Harbhajan Singh Mandir are situated at a higher altitude than Changu lake (the distance is approx 20 km); we didn’t get to go there as the roads were closed due to heavy rainfall. These two are the major attraction in Gangtok but it is very difficult to visit there during winter.
The weather conditions were changing and the army officers asked everyone to vacate the place. So we got to click only some photos and we left. On our way back, the driver took us to a small home, where we were served delicious dinner (we had to pay for it). We left with our stomach happy. On our way back we could see the weather condition getting worse. There was fog all of a sudden and there was a traffic jam again. We did not get out of the car because it was chilly outside and after having a heavy lunch, we were a little bit sleepy too. Finally, the traffic moved; but after a few moment, we weren’t able to see anything in front of us. The driver was habituated to drive in such weather but we were scared. That ride was an adventurous but scary ride for us.
We reached Gangtok at around 4.00 pm. After then, we explored the Mall road. It is a nice place to walk; no vehicles are allowed there. I tried some Jalebi and momos (weird combination but the jalebi was fantastic) and sat in a corner quietly watching people and recollecting my journey so far. My friends wanted to try out Biryani so we went to a nice restaurant; we were not able to finish it hence we packed it and started to walk towards our hotel(It is very necessary to walk after having so heavy dinner).
The next morning was our last day in Gangtok. We decided to see the ropeway as its a famous tourist attraction.
We reached the bus stand where we got the taxi to Siliguri and, we bid goodbye to Gangtok heavy heartedly. But, the journey was not over yet. We had booked the train from Siliguri to Kolkata and from Kolkata, we had a flight till Pune at 7.30 pm. Yes! It meant we were going to explore some parts of Kolkata too. A piece of my heart was still in the journey done so far and I was quite upset.
Roshogollas in Kolkata!
The next morning, at around 7.00 am, we arrived at Sildha station of Kolkata. We freshened up at the waiting room, had our breakfast in the canteen, kept all our luggage in the locker room and set our journey to explore Kolkata. Back in train, my genius friend had done friendship with a TT uncle who belonged to Kolkata; so he told us all the good places to visit and to eat. So we did as he said. Firstly, we caught a local and went to Dakshineshwar Kali Maa Mandir. The weather was pleasant and it was drizzling. Kolkata is the cheapest city I have ever visited. The mandir is beautiful and it has Gangaghat on its back, which makes it even more wonderful.
From there ,we decided to take a ferry ride in Gangaji! It was so calm to sit in a ferry and watch the calm river and that too, in just Rs.11.
We got down at Swami Vivekanand Math and from there, we went in search of local food and “Roshogollas”. After heavy lunch in Rs.30 and pasta, we went to buy ragulla, and guess what! there were so many varieties of rasgulla. We tried each type and each cost of Rs.5.If I were in Kolkata, I would’ve definitely weighed 100 kg because I am a foodie!
We caught the local bus till the railway station again as we had to pick our luggage and then headed to the airport. We reached there by 5.00 pm and still had plenty of time. It is so hard to say goodbye to such a wonderful journey; it feels like the journey should never end. But that’s how life goes. This was the best experience till now.
I would like to convey this message to every reader that “the world is a book, and those who don’t travel, read only one page.”