After two long years of the pandemic, we were looking for a long excursion. Long in terms of the number of days and distance from Mumbai; but short in terms of degrees in Celcius. We shortlisted North-East, neither explored by us nor by our family members before. The plan was simple – plain black box type, book two-way tickets, and everything in-between as we approach the dates. Few hotels we booked in advance and few on the spot; realized one thing – there is always space for last-minute check-ins for travelers like us!

Day 1 – Mumbai to Bagdogra airport, a car ride to Darjeeling. There are three routes to take this journey, the best in my opinion is from Mirik which touches the Nepal border. Although we took the Kurseong way, reached a little early and strolled around the Chowrasta at Darjeeling.

Can’t wait to board the flying machine – Even the Lounge couldn’t hold them for long
Now every town and village has this…I Love…

Day 2 – After taking the English breakfast at the hotel, we went for local sightseeing which includes – Peace Pagoda, Zoo, HMI, Tibetan Help/Refugee Center, Dali Monastery, Rock Garden, and Tea Gardens – one thing to make a note of – please don’t buy tea from the outlets just outside the tea garden. The market is comparatively a better place for shopping.

English Breakfast at Darjeeling + Puri Bhaji to fill the stomach 🙂
Traditional Dress – Chaubandi choli with gunui cholo and Lepcha/Gorkha Daura Sarwal
Remember – Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay – 1953 Everest

Day 3 – We had a morning Toy Train Ride and then the scenic ride to Kalimpong, Lamahatta, and Teesta River Rafting.

Toy Train at Darjeeling
River Rafting at Teesta or Rangeet
The tall Pine Trees of Lamahatta and the track to the sacred pond – Just Mesmerising!

Day 4 – Kalimpong Sightseeing – Cactus Garden, Monastery, Army Golf Course, Dr. Graham’s Homes School, we tried our luck for paragliding but the weather had other plans.

A school founded by a Scottish missionary John Anderson Graham known as the “children’s village in the Himalayas”
Durpin Monastery
The Army Golf Course – The best place to have South Indian food at Kalimpong

Day 5 – Night at Gangtok and then off to North Sikkim (Lachen), it’s a beautiful but scary roadway to Lachen. Only locals can drive to the ghats on one-way roads with a lot of waterfalls in between.

Nepali Thali – Pure Organic Veg!
Contour plowing and Terrace Farming
Excited to reach North Sikkim

Day 6 – Lachen, the climax of our journey when we experienced snowfall, rainfall, and snow. Oh, not to forget the Army Canteen serving Dosa at 14000 feet high, thick snow at Kala Patthar, and the Gurudongmar lake (anomalous behavior of water) at 17800 feet.

Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world at 17800 feet high.
Time to throw the snowballs!
No doubt, only Army can serve us at that height – No entry after 11:30 am at Gurudongmar (By Order!)
Three States of Matter
Life at ZERO degrees Celcius along with a wind speed of 15kms per hour
Meet – The Himalayan Yak Herder
Temi Tea in Yak’s Milk
Kala Patthar

Day 7 – Lachung, heavy rains didn’t take us to Zero Point, none the less we went to Yumthang Valley and local sight-seeing at Gangtok.

The Yumthang Valley or Sikkim Valley of Flowers sanctuary, is a nature sanctuary with a river, hot springs, yaks, and grazing pasture on rolling meadows
The Yumthang Valley – Tundra Vegetation
Gangtok Ropeway – Cable car linking Deorali Bazaar with Tashiling Secretariat, offering views of mountains & the city.
Found, living dead creatures inside this Spooky House 🙂
What a coincidence – In the Capital of Sikkim on its State Day (16th May)

Day 8 – From Gangtok to NJP (New Jalpaiguri Junction) and then to Kolkata

A 414 km long river flowing in Eastern Himalayas and ending at Bay of Bengal – Teesta River

Day 9 – Victoria Memorial (on the occasion of International Museum Day – 18th May), shopping at New Market, and experiencing local transport of Kolkata right from hand rickshaw, Tam-Tam, Tram, Train, Metro, and the yellow Ambassador Taxis.

The Victoria Memorial – With the Victoria of our family Babita Aunty

Day 10 – Fun time with Family and back to Mumbai via Duranto

Metro Ride with Rahul and Rohan Chachu
As we say – Everything good ends with Food 😛