Sikkim is a unique state, it shares its borders with Bhutan, Nepal, China and almost shares it with Bangladesh. It is surrounded by foreign land on all its sides. ‘Small but beautiful’ is the tagline of Sikkim tourism, and quite apt too. It is a small state and is doing pretty well with its tourism. Gangtok, the capital of the state is a city which adorns one side of a mountain, overseeing a valley and always looking at the Kanchenjunga peak. You can see the snow-capped Kanchenjunga from almost all the places in Gangtok. Gangtok tourism circuit includes Enchey Monastery, Handicrafts Museum, a Chorten, Institute of Tibetology, Flower show and the famous Rumtek Monastery. You can cover all these in less than a day. Everything except Rumtek is in the city and quite close to each other. Baba Mandir is located close to Nathula Pass which is the gateway for Indo-China trade. About 17 km’s before Nathula pass and 12,400 ft above sea level is Tsomgo lake. Which was frozen when I visited in mid-March. This was the first time I had ever seen a frozen lake. So it was quite an experience for me. You can go around the lake riding on Yaks, who walk effortlessly on snow. You can climb the snow-laden hill around the lake and play in the snow. It is hilarious when you see people losing their balance and slipping on snow. And it feels quite on the contrary when you slip and shout. Believe me, almost everyone slips and falls. There is must do one day trip to Tsomgo or Changu lake and Baba Mandir. As far as I could gather the only way to travel there is to use the shared taxis. Which take a permit to enter the area every morning and then pick up the various tourists, take them around and bring them back by the end of the day. Unfortunately, due to heavy snow, I could not go to Baba Mandir. Which is supposed to be a temple dedicated to an army man who died in that area while rescuing some other people? There is a mythical story around how he directed people to his own dead body by appearing in their dreams. People there believe that he protects the China border and takes care of the people there. It’s quite an interesting story. ...
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