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.
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.
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.
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.
Post lunch we again went to the monastery but this time through another route ofBuddha Park where there was a big statue of Buddha amidst the conglomeration of clouds to surprise us.
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.
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.
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).
The next destination was Dubdi Monastery but our driver told us that its not easy to go there as there are 1000ft where its 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.
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. Kanchendzongas 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.
The guardian deity is portrayed by the masked Lama daces as a fiery red faced deity with with a crown of five skulls.
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.
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.
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.
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