Celebration of Holi in Kolkata

After a hectic season of celebrations finally spring came with its  own charm and a wedding photographer has got some time to write a new blog post 🙂

Though I chose wedding and event photography as my profession, travel and street photography is my passion. The street is the actual stage for the life , enacted in different form and obviously the same scene never gets repeated. This is the secret of my love towards street.

Kolkata holds different stories from different part of it and this time of the year is the time for celebrating colors, The Spring Festival.

COLOR represents love, ecstasy, madness, youth and after all celebration of Life. And when the place is Kolkata, it reveals all the elements of color. But today I am not here to show you only the picturesque moments of the celebration but the behind the scene stories are equally interesting.

In Kolkata Holi (another name of spring festival) / basantotsav is celebrated in different form in different place. It is started few days before the actual calendar date as well as on the day.

Jorasanko Thakurbari/ Rabindrabharati University:

Basant Utsav literally means the ‘celebration of spring’. The beautiful tradition of welcoming spring in Bengal was first started by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, at Vishwabharati Shantiniketan, the University founded by him. Actually, Basant Utsav is no different from Holi, except for the gracefulness with which it is celebrated. The former is celebrated in a much dignified manner, compared to the boisterous Holi witnessed in most parts of India.

On the day the students  dressed in yellow (basanti) color, welcome spring – the season of hope, in a very elegant manner. They greet spring not only with colors, but also with songs, music and poetry of Rabindranath Tagore. For the Bengalis like me/us the festival is incomplete without  listening some of the songs of him and throughout the year whether it’s winter or monsoon these songs always reminds the essence of the festival.

Here color means love,affection ; a really pleasant celebration to welcome the Spring.

Venue: Jorasanko thakurbari

Nearest metro station : Girish Park

2017 Dates: 7th March,2017

The same group performed in the B T road campus of Rabindrabharati, on the next to next day , this year it’s 9th December, 2017

Same kind of program held on the Golf Green On the day of Holi during early morning.

Holi at Sudder street:

Sudder street is the adjacent locality of Newmarket, Esplanade, Kolkata. The place is famous for cheap hotels and foreign tourists often prefer the living places in this street during their stay in Kolkata.

Here COLOR means madness, excitement, energy, ecstasy.. Here color bridges the gap between locales and foreigners. Both celebrate the festival together. The celebration is totally different than the previous one.

The celebration starts from the early morning on the day.

Nearest metro station: Esplanade

2017 date: 12th March,2017

Holi at Burrabazar, Kolkata:

Burrabazar is a neighbourhood in central Kolkata. – It is expanded from a yarn and textile market into the commercial nucleus of Kolkata and one of the largest wholesale markets in Asia and deals in all kinds of garments and textile and commodities.

Here Holi is celebrated in vibrant way from Prayer in the temple to craziness on the road.

Here celebration starts before the actual day, interested persons have to collect information from the local people.

Nandgaon, Barsana is famous for this festival but in Kolkata burrabazar is the only place where you can get the pinch of the essence. Few years back when I went there to collect information I really got astonished to see  peacock in a temple there, the mood inside the temple is totally different as of rest of the city.

On the specific day the priest started the festival by spraying water color and color powder to lord Radha-Krishna and then to the devotees.  The devotees believe this as blessings which will protect them against disease throughout the year.. The temple persons and devotees sing various religious song throughout the celebration. It looks magnificent when the priest throws different colors of gulaal ( powdered color) towards the devotee.

One should get prior permission from temple authority to take pictures on the specific day.

Note: Photographers are expected to maintain silence inside the temple and are not allowed to take photos of the idol.

The local people celebrated the festival on the calendar date. To photograph their celebration was so much fun that you will remember it for a long time.

Here COLOR means craziness with full of  zeal.
Composition/ frames are just happened here, no perceived idea won’t work .
Every time when I figured out something and decided to click something happened and the composition got totally changed. Moments are just created in every bit of second.
They not only play with their own group but forced to join the people passing the lanes.
Lanes within the lanes become colorful on the day.

Note: Police postings are there in every lane or nearby, if faced any misbehavior or problem please ask for help.

Nearest metro station: M G Road
2017 Date: 13th March,2017

In another celebration in Burrabazar a procession came with Radha-Krishna in a rolls royce car. The devotees took the lord to the Laxmi-Narayan temple of Kalakar Street.
Mainly the businessmen are associated with this procession.
The lanes turned colorful during their celebration.
There is no exact date for this celebration, you have to inquire beforehand.

Note: Please take care of yourself and your gadget while taking photos in colors..
Happy Holi

For more photos please check  http://www.sandipamalakar.com/

Keep in touch and feel free to revert for more details if any.

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The Journey to A Flower Village of Himachal and Others

h21After a long gap since I have returned from Darjeeling in last June  its so painful to be at home almost one year for a die-hard traveler soul like me & from my experience of hill town I only visited two places i.e. Sikkim and Darjeeling. So this time it’s my husband’s (Suvro)plan to show me something different and he planned for Himachal Pradesh.
As I am so restless for mountains, he surprised me on our 1st anniversary with two tickets to Chandigarh and this is undoubtedly the best gift I’ve ever got.

As soon as I came to know about the trip I started researching about the place to be visited and most importantly the places that are seldom being visited. My husband booked the flight tickets and left rest of the responsibilities of booking hotels and planning the trip up to me as I am mastering this skill with every trip of mine.

As our plan is to visit the place is in March we have to plan for the route Shimla-Manali-Dharamshala instead of Kinnar Kalpa due to road blockage at those places  at that time.

Finally the long wait is over and we started our journey on 4th March’16. As a result of restlessness I spent the sleepless night before the journey date and woke him up in the morning for a change . (Generally I am a late riser and always he woke me up every morning)

Our flight was an early morning one and the flight started before the time as all members were on board.

We reached Chandigarh on time around 12pm and the pre booked car took us around 12:30pm.
The road to Shimla is really more than awesome to me (because my experience is restricted to only North Bengal) . I am so surprised to see the development of the roads and surroundings over there and its 1st time I found Audi, BMW as well as TATA Nano in a hilly road.  The city is clean like a mirror, I must admit.  I wish to see my city in this frame someday.

After 3hrs of journey we reached Shimla. Our hotel is just near to Shimla lift (2minutes walk, the hotel name is Shingar). Generally I booked the hotels with great view to surroundings but sometimes I failed.
But this time stepping in to the room I was really awestruck to see the view from the window and it really wiped out the weariness.
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Shimla Mall Road:

After taking our lunch we went for a walk to the Mall and surrounding places.  One thing I forgot to tell that  throughout our journey I irritated my husband with my memories of Darjeeling and compare every single thing with Darjeeling , finally he got fed up and told me “you are in deeply love with Darjeeling, don’t compare just enjoy the beauty as it is”

The mall is so spacious and really in a different mood than in Darjeeing (P.S: I couldn’t stop myself thinking of Darjeeling) As the mall is so popular there is no description needed except my few photographs  i.e my view of mall. Till it remains dark we were roaming  around the mall and lakkar bazaar .
The mall is so full of activities with the vendors selling selfie sticks, hats, candy floss , the photographers taking photos of the tourists with the traditional dresses , the horse riders , children playing with bubbles and most of the people  taking selfies with the newly  bought selfie sticks, honeymoon couples were also busy posing for the cozy cozy photos.

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We, two wandering souls with the sip of hot coffee enjoyed the sunset and the lighting up the whole city as seen from the mall.
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While returning to the hotel we met the receptionist and shared our plan details as they offered private car from the hotel. We booked a car for the whole tour ending back to Chandigarh.

The Village of Flowers, (Mahog):

On the next day at 9am the driver recieved us for the sightseeing. After the introduction session with the driver (his name is Rahul from Chail) we tried to convince him to take us to any village or other than the tourists’ spot .  He is very loyal to the hotel person and didn’t agree with our ideas but after sometime ( when I dropped down from the car to a unknown place to take some photographs) he came to know from my husband about my interest to photography and agreed to take us to a village near Chail. After knowing us he took the full charge to guide us into the village where everyone knows him.

The name of the village is Mahog, Dist: Solan(H.P) and the village is known for the floriculture. We met an old  person who owns of the maximum floriculture and greenhouse in the village. Luckily he is the relative of one of the school friends of Rahul . He agreed to guide us with the information needed.

His name is Omprakash Namberdar and he is a silver medalist from President and used to send flowers to presidents house in the time of K.R Narayanan.

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The Magician with his dynasty

There are Six  families with Eighty Two total members in the village and all are engaged to floriculture. The use natural organic method to cultivate different flowers,vegetables etc. There are hundred and Six bigha of cultivated land throughout the village.
He showed us how he channelize the cow dung and urine to make the organic fertilizer for the cultivation. They rely on sustainable techniques to enhance the natural fertility of a farm, including crop rotation, companion planting, biological pest control, and naturally-sourced fertilizers such as compost, manure, green manure.fl5

There we have seen different flowers and vegetables and also tasted pudina, coriander etc and seen the proud smile in his face.

With Suvro  he discussed every little thing of their livelihood what I overhear mostly and came to know that they are not addicted to anything ,they believe in healthy life ,to them it means  only food and shelter.

 

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With Suvro he is discussing every details of his livelihood

When he came to know that we are from Bengal he told us that there are many labors in his firm who are from Bengal and Nepal. This is really a surprising to meet a Bengali labor there from north bengal because really we didn’t have any idea that from Bengal one can go to that interior village in Chail to work in a floriculture firm whereas Bengal is known for its farming lands.
There is no proper road towards the village except muddy roads which is just an impression of the walking path. We were not able to go down to the center of the village as already the color of the sky became grey and it started raining. Rahul alerted us that after the rain there will be no road for us to go back and following his saying/advice we went back to the car.

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Going back to the car

There they started a new hotel there. The details are given below.They invited us to stay there for the next time and provided with the details.

On our way back to Shimla we had our lunch at Chail Palace, the lunch is really relishable . we didn’t know but staying facility is there into the palace with their own kitchen and this is really GRAND.

From Chail palace we directly returned to Shimla by evening and again it was mall road time as that was our last day in Shimla, on the next day we started for MANALI.

Manali through Mandi:

6hrs journey from Shimla. Nothing to describe as the road is quite well-known to the tourist. Enjoyed the journey with Rahul’s experience with different tourists and also his knowledge about different culture of Himachal.

h22On the way to Manali beside the river Biyas (Bipasha)

On the way to Manali at mandi we saw several colorful rallies with the idol, asking about that we came to know from Rahul that Mandi is famous for Shivratri celebration. People from surrounding places came to Mandi with their respective “Kul-Devta” on the occasion of Shivratri.
Rahul told us on the way we will took a hault at Kullu ,there we can see the  shawl weaving machines and people weaving shawls. I expected something like carpet weaving which I saw in the Tibetan refugee camp in Darjeeling (again the memory of Darjeeling :D) which I can photograpgh but alas those are shawl selling shops and a demo machine for the tourists, there is no activity and no photography this time. In the mean time again rain and after this disappointment we decided not to stop anywhere but the final destination Manali.

When we reached Manali it was almost dark outside and this time a little difficulty to spot the pre booked hotels and I became worried that hotel might not be in a proper place. After searching for 10 minutes or so we met a driver who was eventually Rahul’s friend and he was also going to that same hotel.

And yes as we stepped into the room again a great view of valley… and what a satisfaction of selecting a right place (yes I have an inclination to WINDOW and BALCONY)IMG_9371

On the next morning we went for the sightseeing which includes snow point, Kangra valley, Bashisth temple, a small monastery near the mall & the mallroad of Manali.
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Next morning’s sightseeing includes Hadimba devi temple,Clubhouse,Banbihar and back to mall road.
In these sightseeing only most of the places are so commercialized and not up to the expectation except snow point  & Hadimba devi temple. Specially the environment of Hadimba temple is very peaceful.h20

And yes the snow capped mountain from anywhere from the Manali is it’s sole beauty. The nature here is so pristine .

Naggar Castle:

Finally the day comes to leave manali ,towards Dharamshala. On the way to Dharamshala  we visted the last spot in Manali, I,e Naggar palace, “Located in Naggar Town, amidst breathtaking forested hills, the Naggar Castle is a magnificent historical edifice. Made of stone and wood, this palace served as the residence of Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu. It was built in AD 1460 in an impressive amalgamation of European and Himalayan architecture. Fireplaces, fitting staircases, and magnificent stone and wood works grace the castle’s interiors. There are three small shrines within the premises, each holding immense religious importance. It is is just 22 K.M. drive from Manali. From there its almost 2:30 hrs drive  to Dharamshala.

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Dharamshala:

Dharamsala can be approached by air from Delhi. The nearest airport is at Gaggal, 13 km away. Pathankot, the nearest broad gauge railway station is 85 km away and the toy train station is 17 km at Kangra. Taxis and Buses for Dharamsala are available at both places. From Pathankot the drive takes about three hours or you can drive from Delhi (526 km) via Chandigarh, Kiratpur and Bilaspur and takes 12 hours. From Delhi and Shimla luxury buses ply to Dharamsala. HPTDC operates a regular Luxury coach from Delhi to Dharamsala.

After entering Dharamshala there are plenty of tea & coffee plantation. The snow clad Dhauladhar ranges form a magnificent backdrop to the tea garden, Tea gardens here are not as wide spread as Assam or other North-East states, but they surely are nice enough. The tea gardens appear on either side of the road well before you enter Palampur, giving you a sense of entering into a dreamland. Since Palampur is called the Tea Capital of northern India, it is famous for its lush tea gardens sprawling over vast acres of land.
We reached to our hotel in the late evening, the weather is pleasant but not so cold like Shimla or Manali, Dharamshala welcome us with a heavy rain. Our hotel is 15 minutes from the road which turns to Dharamshala Cricket Stadium. On that day there was a match between Afganisthan and Oman.

Next morning we started our journey towards Mc leodgunj which also named as “Little Lhasa” as a Tibetan community along with Dalai Lama stays there. Our 1st  destination was “Dalai Lama’s Temple”

While entering a rally stopped us before we reached the main gate , certainly I remembered it’s 10th March, The Tibetan National Uprising Day. On 10 March 1959, tens of thousands of Tibetans took to the streets of Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, rising up against China’s illegal invasion and occupation of their homeland.
Every year thousands of Tibetans and their supporters take to the streets across the world to mark the anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day.h14

We are really lucky to get a rally on that day as it’s a great opportunity to photograph the people over there and their culture.
After visiting Dalai Lama’s temple we went for shopping to adjacent market as my one of the hobbies is collecting mask from different regions and also some Tibetan handcrafted jewellery .

Our next destination is Gyuto  Monastery but our driver told us that there is no spot like that the only monastery tourists visited is Dalai Lama’s temple. But I was quite sure about the monastery and open map in my mobile but while driving towards that the roads turned in a way which took us in a different monastery named as Norbulingka, is located in Sidhpur, a suburb of Dharamsala, about 30 minutes from McLeod Ganj


Losel Doll Museum


The Losel Doll Museum houses a collection of over 150 dolls dressed in traditional costumes from various regions of Tibet. The costumes, meticulously researched, and made from the same materials as the originals would have been, show the richness and diversity of life on the Tibetan Plateau. They are displayed in stunning dioramas depicting traditional life. The Losel Dolls were created by a group of artist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery as a project to support their monastery. Entrance to this museum is 5 Rps. for locals and 20 for tourists. I cannot show you the museum as photography is prohibited there.

Shop:

Norbulingka’s flagship shop offers the complete range of products created within ourfrom thangkas to hand-carved furniture to Norbulingka’s soft and elegant line of clothing. The quality of the materials and craftsmanship is unmatchable. By purchasing from Norbulingka, not only are you investing in a one-of-a-kind work of art, but also supporting their institute so that they may continue to pursue their mission for generations to come.

Except the museum and café there is a café called Hummingbird Café. They serve serve all vegetarian international cuisine, ranging from Tibetan thukpa to cheese pizza to hummus and fresh-baked pita bread. We also have a wide variety of seasonal juices and smoothies, as well as specialty coffee drinks. For dessert, our homemade cakes are a real treat.
The environment of the monastery is so serene and peaceful , there is no sound except water stream which keeps the prayer wheels rolling all the while.

Gyuto monastery:

Taking information from that monastery we were finally able to find out the Gyuto monastery, the monastery is quite big .
Though It took a lot of time to find this place but once I was there, it was worth the effort. Tibetan monasteries beauty and craft is at best. The colorful and well maintained exterior with snow clad mountains as backdrop were a eye candy.
There we have seen the little monks doing their regular work including  exercising, reading ,bathing, washing their clothes, playing.h4 There I captured some moments of their football match with the backdrop of Dhawalgiri . There are no of residential buildings for their students.
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It was almost late afternoon while we left this place with lots of memories and a mourning soul as that was the last day of our vacation.

Rahul is really a knowledgeable driver and an honest peson to travel with. He has an ETIOS and an INNOVA , to travel with him book his car according to your requirement . His mobile no is +91-9816934842

last photo in this tour (Suvro and Rahul in front of the car
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Apart from North Bengal, the beauty of Himachal is really mind boggling and the hospitality of the people too .Previously I was busy comparing everything of this place with Darjeeling and Sikkim but while leaving it I understood that every place has its own beautiful identity. I am still trapped in a trans of the memories of HP even after returning to Kolkata and also thinking of hitting that state once again soon.

 

 

Kumortuli ~ The Names Behind the Art

Kumartuli is a traditional potters’ den in NorthKolkata. These people who are blessed with such creativity just not only supply clay idols of hindu gods and goddesses to barowari pujas in Kolkata and neighborhood , but a good no of idols are exported too.

Kumortuli
Kumortuli

Every year at the time of durga puja thousands of idols are made in kumortuli but the icon artisan mostly dwell in poor living conditions.

A naked child is playing in front of the Deity
A naked child is playing in front of the Deity
A small tea shop in Kumortuli
A small tea shop in Kumortuli
Relaxing session
Relaxing session
Potters are chit chatting
Break time

This place is the hot spot for every photographer (both amateur n professional) before the puja. Sometimes the newspaper headings are like “due to amateur photographers hand of lord kartick and trunk of lord Gnesha is broken down” . From this one can easily understand the rush in this period of time.

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Everyone is busy in taking photographs of the idol, the face of the idols from different angle , sometimes they became amicable to the potters also but hardly anyone ask their names or remember their names while talking to them.

My this series of photographs are dedicated to all those potters whose artistry make our festival so beautiful n colorful too.

Tapas Paul
Tapas Paul
Gobinda Paul
Gobinda Paul
Samir Paul
Samir Paul
Asit Kumar Paul & Sisir Kumar Paul
Asit Kumar Paul & Sisir Kumar Paul
Mala Paul
Mala Paul
Madhuri Shilpalay_Asit Kumar Mukhopadhyay
Madhuri Shilpalay_Asit Kumar Mukhopadhyay
K C Paul & Debojyoti Paul
K C Paul & Debojyoti Paul
Ganesh Chandra Paul
Ganesh Chandra Paul & Sons
Asim Kumar Paul

Ram Chandra Pal

Idols are available for sell
Idols are available for sell

When the puja is started no one even bother to go to the kumortuli as all the idols are already in the puja pandals.

Idols are transferring to the Pamdal
Idols are transferring to the Pamdal
Idols are transferring to the Pamdal
Idols are transferring to the Pamdal
Only three idols are lefft for the year
Only three idols are lefft for the year
The Beautiful Idol In the Pandal
The Beautiful Idol In the Pandal

Tour to Ravangla n Pelling covering Phang Lhasbol Festival

Magnificent Sikkim
Magnificent Sikkim

Sikkim, yes that is the name which has put a full stop to all my restlessness I was experiencing for last few months. This time specially to cover the festival n the beauty of the nature of course. Our 1st destination was Ravangla, “Dzongri” hotel.
After reaching NJP it took 6hrs to reach Ravangla. it was 4:30pm when we reached our hotel, Dzongri. As soon as I freed myself with the lugagges, I went up to the window and was amazed to see the awesome view of adjacent hills.

#hotel, #window_view, #hills, #clouds, #sky, #landscape, #greenery, West sikkim, # ravangla, #dzongri
View from Hotel Window

When I was busy in taking photos of the beautiful view of clouds and hills suddenly I got a call from one of my friends from who told me to visit a monastery named “Karma Theckhling Monastery” nearby.
As soon as I disconnected the call and , me n my friend started to search for the monastery though we both were damn tired after the overnight train journey. N when we found the monastery it came up with a shock of climbing 350 stairs to reach there. But me and my friends made to it and reached there at the dusk. it was literally a tiring affair but fun-filled.
As soon as we reached what we saw was a monastery bathed in the moonlight . It worked as an energy booster and we started taking photos using the pillars n tombs as our natural tripod. At that time in the moon light the monastery was looking like a haunted house.

#monastery, #Karma Theckhling Monastery, #gompa, #west sikkim, #moonligt, #moon #sky,#ravangla
Karma Theckhling Monastery in the moonlight
#monastery, #ravangla#Karma Theckhling Monastery, #gompa, #west sikkim, #moonligt, #moon #sky
Karma Theckhling Monastery in the moonlight
#monastery, #ravangla, #Karma Theckhling Monastery, #gompa, #west sikkim, #moonligt, #moon #sky
Karma Theckhling Monastery in the moonlight

After taking few snaps we had a talk with a lama from whom we came to know that during morning hours they offer prayer n we decided to come again the next morning.

On the next day at 6:30am we woke up and from the window we got a glimpse of Kanchenjunga n to get the better view again we went to monastery after crossing 350stairs again n got beautiful view of Kanchenjunga as the monastery was in the top most place of Ravangla.

#kanchedzongha, #snow, #Hills, #ravangla, #west sikkim, #clouds, #skyline
Kanchendzonga

In the monastery we also witnessed the daily work of the lamas. At that time we also came to know that the festival “Phang Lhasbol” will be taken place on that day itself.

#monastery, Karma Theckhling Monastery , #lama, #west sikkim, #ravangla, Morning, #sweeping
A lama is sweeping the monastery floor

#monastery, Karma Theckhling Monastery , #lama, #west sikkim, #ravangla, Morning, #yawn, #little lamas, #prayer
Little lamas are yawning during prayer
#monastery, #Karma Theckhling Monastery, #gompa, #west sikkim, #ravangla
Daily prayer inside Monastery

#Karma Theckhling Monastery , #gompa, #west Sikkim, #smoke, #lama# daily routine
A child lama is doing his regular work of producing smoke from leaves to control mosquitoes in the monastery area

Post lunch we again went to the monastery but this time through another route of“Buddha Park” where there was a big statue of Buddha amidst the conglomeration of clouds to surprise us.

Buddha In the midst of clouds in the "Buddha Park"
Buddha In the midst of clouds in the “Buddha Park”

In the monastery for few hrs we enjoyed the cultural program n also took photos of people who came to celebrate the festival. Students of different schools n colleges performed folk dances there.

Phang Lhasbol Celebration with cultural folks
School Children are performing folk dances
Folk dance performed by the College Students
Folk dance performed by the College Students
Folk dance performed by the school children
Folk dance performed by the school children
School students are performing folk dances
School students are performing folk dances
An old lady was praying in front of the prayer wheels
An old lady was praying in front of the prayer wheels

From there we started for our 2nd destination “Pelling”. It was charcoal dark when we reached pelling , it took more than 3 hrs to reach Pelling from Ravangla.
On the way there were some spectacular views of nature.. The nature preserves its raw beauty here n due to the monsoon, the clouds added some extra charm to it.

River Rangit, on the way to Pelling
River Rangit, on the way to Pelling

On the very next day after reaching pelling we were upset as the chances of watching Kanchenjunga became fade due to heavy rainfall.
Around 10:00 am we started for the sightseeing n our 1st destination was yoksom the 1st capital of Sikkim there we also visited the coronation throne of Yuksom the place full of prayer flags (n leeches, too as we experienced the bite of leeches there).

Yuksom
Yuksom

The next destination was Dubdi Monastery but our driver told us that itÂ’s not easy to go there as there are 1000ft where itÂ’s not possible to go by car n we dropped the idea to hit that place.

On the way we visited “Rimbik falls” , “Kanchendzonga falls” n “Rathangchu” river n we ended up with visiting khechuperi lake Lake, for the day.

Rimbik Falls
Rimbik Falls
Kanchendzonga Falls
Kanchendzonga Falls
Rathangchu River
Rathangchu River
khechuperi lake
khechuperi lake

Next day in the early morning we went to Pemayangtse Monastery to capture n experience the essence of the Phang Lhasbol festival. The total environment was quite peaceful n disciplined. The students of local schools n many other special guests were invited in the festival.
Phang Lhasbol festival is an unique festival of Sikkim. It was introduced by the 3rd king of Sikkim Chakdor Namgyal. Mt. KanchendzongaÂ’s deity is worshipped on this day for its unifying power. This festival is also in honor of the brotherhood that was signed between Lepchas n Bhutias– n the local deities that were also invited to witness the occasions. Mask dances n ceremonies are performed in different monasteries in Sikkim including Pemayangtse Monastery.

Mask Dance
Mask Dance

The guardian deity is portrayed by the masked Lama daces as a fiery red faced deity with with a crown of five skulls.

Deity Kanchendzonga
Deity Kanchendzonga

The monks also performed Pang-Toed dance n spectacular warrior dance. before the main festival folk song an dances are also performed that have been witnessed in the Karma Theckhling Monastery in Ravangla.
The festival is pretty colorful with mask dances n all. Till afternoon we were there to capture the color of festival with enchanting dragon dance n warrior dance. I must say the lamas were quite helpful n cooperative.

Warrior Dance
Warrior Dance

Warrior Dance
Warrior Dance
Warrior dance n Masked dance
Warrior dance n Masked dance

Next day, the last day of our tour. During early morning we went to the new Helipad Ground to see the sunrise reflecting in the Kanchendzonga but it was our badluck that the cloud overcast didn’t allow us to see the kanchendzonga on that day.

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N finally the time arrived to say goodbye to Pelling. We checked out from the hotel n started our journey to New Jalpaiguri station to board the train.

On the way we visited the Rabdentse Palace ruins. Tensung Namgyal second chogyal of Sikkim n son of Phuntshog Namgyal shifted the capital of Sikkim from Yuksom to Rabdentse in late 17th century AD. The ruins of this ancient capital surrounded by a rubble fortification are scattered over a conspicuous spur . Within a thickly forested valley on the south west of Pemayangtse Monastery. The main settlement which lies on the highest portion of the spur is divided into two sectors by a dividing wall. The sector to the north constitutes the palace complex whereas the south sector was religious complex probably meant for both the Royal family n the common people. Three chortens fronted by a stone paved open floor n attached to double storeyed palace were probably for religious persuits of the royal family only.

Three chortens
Three chortens

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It is1000mt from the main road which is cluttered with fallen leaves, stones n leeches but when we arrived to the top we really enjoyed the ruins mainly the three chortens inside the cloud.
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Finally after a long drive of 7hrs we reached the NJP station on 7:30pm n board the train.
This time our journey restricted to Ravangla n pelling but hope next time we will explore the rest of the Sikkim