Adventure: Gangtok Trip – Tsongo Lake and Baba Mandir

I wrote about the travel and other logistics of my trip to Gangtok. They were details to just get me started on writing of this trip. The real fun began on 14th of February, when we started early morning (8 A.M. is early for the likes of me, people!) for our day of adventure! We were ready to go by 8 as guided by the receptionist at our hotel. And the day started with a hilarious confusion.  We had ordered breakfast from room service to save us time. We ordered at about 7:40 A.M. and then we waited. And then we waited some more. And then some more. When my hunger pangs were no more soothed by the mere promise of delicious food (Those who know me well, know this – I can NOT tolerate hunger), I went to the reception to inquire. He told us to wait. And we waited. Some more. And some more. OK fine, I will cut the chase and come to the point where the awesome guy bringing our food served it to some other room and those people were praising the nice management to include breakfast in their holiday package without any additional cost!  Anyways, since we were on a schedule, we walked to the taxi stand (a 2 minute walk from our hotel) and then upon confirmation of our cab, gorged on some food nearby. Heartily eaten and packed with chewing gums and water bottles and all sorts of junk possible, we started.

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Scenery on the route was breathtaking. Our driver told us about 40 minutes after we had started that it has started to snow. My husband was super excited as he was seeing snow fall for the first time. (And I was being all – hey I have already “been there, done that”, while in Pittsburgh for my Masters :D) We were very excited and enjoying the sights when we stopped at some waterfall (frozen and non-existent though). There were small shops selling woollens, socks, muffler, gloves, souvenirs, tea and Maggi! We grabbed a cup each. The steaming cups were soon cold. And it was SNOWING! Sipping hot tea standing amidst mountains during snow fall – AMAZING! We clicked a few pictures and then moved forward. We stopped a little while later, again, on the insistence of the driver. There was another small place selling the same items here too. With an addition that, they were renting out jackets and gum boots and what not too. Now here I must mention that despite being told of the weather conditions, my brave heart husband had decided not to wear shoes. And there he was, toes freezing, in his chappals. Thank God for that shop where he rented a jacket and gum boots. We sipped some more tea, had noodles and then clicked some more pictures.

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I love the bright green of my duppata against the snowy white background here!

And oh, I must (I don’t know why, but I must) mention that this place was a break stop. And the water in the tin containers in the wash-room was FROZEN. Yes, you read that right – frozen.  While we had reached the Tsongo (Changu) lake, our driver said we will continue towards the Baba Mandir (temple) and stop at the lake on our way back, as there were chances of the route being closed due to heavy snowfall. A little farther off, almost near the Baba Mandir, we were told that the vehicle can go no further, and if we want to go, we must do so on foot. Walking there on the slippery ice, I was missing my snow boots terribly! There I spotted this sign.

IMG_0083 We were only ten kilometres or so away from the border!

I was so tempted for a cross-country walk. But alas, no VISA. (And the fact that the road was blocked further). We were told that it might be dangerous to go further and had to return. Sigh! But we enjoyed the nature in its full glory. There was this rock with colorful writing on it. I couldn’t understand any of it, but it looked pretty. And then there was this small ice-cave kind of structure.

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The leaves and the trees were all covered in snow and I licked some off them. And then just marvelled at the beauty! Oh I could stand there with the wind blowing across on my face, forever!

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Since the roads were getting blocked, we were told to head back. And back we came, to the Tsongo lake, partly frozen! It was a sight to behold. There were a number of Yaks and there owners were drawing tourists’ attention, what with the Yaks being dressed in such pretty colours. We tried a ride, but it was too cold and we had to be content by just sitting on them for a while. It was brilliant!

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And then we headed back, to our hotel, above the clouds (quite literally!).

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Words don’t do justice to the experience we had and pictures only allow a part of the sensory experience to be shared. But to feel what we did, you have to be there! In the misty mountains in the north-east India, the adventure beckons you!

More on local sightseeing coming up! Enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “Adventure: Gangtok Trip – Tsongo Lake and Baba Mandir

    1. I know, its brilliant. Must visit! Please feel free to contact me should you need any help planning. And though people say the best time to visit would be spring or Autumn, I say go for it in the winters. Nothing beats the thrill of extremities for me 🙂

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