Friday, 5 December 2014

Back to Gangtok - After Zero Point it's Rumtek Monastery!!

DAY 6 – LACHUNG MONASTERY, RUMTEK MONASTERY, HANUMAN TOK AND GANESH TOK

Rumtek Monastery was our mission today. If we wanted to see Gangtok, today was the only day. After having our breakfast at the hotel, we started our way back to Gangtok at 7:00 am sharp. We had already spoken to Sher Khan (our driver) to show us three points in Gangtok – Rumtek Monastery, Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok. Though we wanted to see Enchey Monastery, Banjhakari waterfall, Lingdum Monastery and Dro Dul Chorten also but due to time constraints we had to be satisfied with three points.


Rumtek Monastery
Rumtek Monastery
Lachung Monastery

It has been 5 days that we have been in Sikkim but we had not been to a single monastery till now. So the first thing we did was to drive to Lachung Monastery. When we entered the monastery we were in for a delight. Today was a special day as per Buddhist calendar and we were lucky to see a group of monks praying, reading from their spiritual books in perfect harmony. It sounds as if they are reading shloks together.


Lachung Monastery
Monks praying at Lachung Monastery

Lachung Monastery
Lachung Monastery
Lachung monastery was small but beautiful. Just when you enter the main building of the monastery you will find two huge prayer wheels on either side. The Prayer wheels are huge and beautifully painted in red and golden.  We were not allowed to take pictures inside the monastery.


Prayer Wheel at Lachung Monastery
Prayer Wheel at Lachung Monastery
Being a special day today we got an opportunity to light few wax lamps in the monastery. 


Wax Lamps
Lightning of wax lamps
On our way from Lachung to Gangtok we stopped en route to see Beema waterfall.


Bhima Waterfall
Bhima Waterfall
While heading back to Gangtok you will see numerous waterfalls, cross beautiful prayer flags decorated bridges, drive through the curvy roads; drive through water streams and on rough terrains.


Enroute Gangtok
Enroute Gangtok
We again stopped over at the same place for lunch at 11:00 where we had lunch enroute our way from Gangtok to Lachen.


HIT Sikkim Local Beer
HIT - Sikkim Local Beer
The drive from Mangan to Rumtek was charming and peaceful.

Rumtek Monastery

Around 4:00 pm we reached Rumtek Monastery which is around an hour drive from Gangtok. Rumtek monastery is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Gangtok. The monastery is a 1 km steep walk from the parking lot. Inside the monastery you will find numerous books and manuscripts, few drums, big and small statues of Buddha, beautifully decorated interior and a huge red coloured door.


Rumtek Monastery Entrance
Rumtek Monastery - Entrance


Rumtek Monastery
Rumtek Monastery
In the courtyard, you will find the dormitories for the monks and various monks in their red clothes doing their usual work. 


Rumtek Monastery Monk
Monk at Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery Prayer Wheels
Prayer wheels at Rumtek Monastery
Hanuman Tok & Ganesh Tok

After the Rumtek Monastery we were on our way to Hanuman Tok. It is on the same route which we take for Nathula Pass. Located on the top of a mountain, is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The place is very simple and extremely neat and tidy. Inside the temple there is a separate temple of Lord Hanuman depicted very elaborately. Another temple here has Lord Krishna, Lord Ram, Lord Laxman, Godess Sita, Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva and Sai Baba.

Fog has set in by the time we reached here and the temperature has dropped suddenly. The view from here would have been magnificent if there was no fog.


Shadows
Shadows
Our last stop of the day was Ganesh Tok, which is not very far from Hanuman Tok. As the name suggests it is a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh. Nothing fancy, this is again a temple which is very neat and tidy. You can find few stalls at the base of the temple selling pretty looking crafts at reasonable rates. There are also shops where you can wear traditional sikkimese dress and get yourself clicked. By now the sun had set bringing along with it a wave of chilliness.

Post this we headed to our hotel Nettle & Fern located at the Development Area of Gangtok. We had booked two deluxe rooms here, but the hotel was kind enough to upgrade us to a family suite. The family suite was on the 5th floor (top floor) with a million dollar view. The room was warm and cozy, with beautiful polished wooden interiors.


Souvenir Shop
Souvenir Shop
The whole mountain landscape of Gangtok is filled with lights during the night. After resting in the room for an hour and sipping in tea we headed to M.G. Road. The walk to M.G. Road was of 15 mins. Shopping at M.G. Road is fun and you can easily buy warm clothes at throw away prices.

After strolling for some time we took a cab and headed to our hotel for dinner. The dinner at the hotel was delicious and the restaurant was very warm.

Points to remember:
  • As the sun sets early here start your day early.
  • You can take a Gangtok sightseeing trip which includes Rumtek Monastery, Enchey Monastry, Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok etc. depending on the time you have at your disposal.
  • For sightseeing in Gangtok, SUVs are not compulsory.
  • Although the distance between places is not far because of the rough terrain it takes a considerable time to go from one place to another. So plan accordingly.
  • Gangtok is not very cold but still carry warm clothes including sweater, jacket, cap, mufflers, socks and gloves. It gets windy at Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok as they are located at the top of a mountain. Wear shoes and not sandals or chappals.
  • Be easy on steps and avoid brisk walk or running at high altitudes.
  • Sikkim is plastic free zone. Please don’t litter and maintain the beauty of nature.
  • Please remain quiet, maintain the discipline and follow the rules at Monasteries and other religious places.