Kala Pathar ( Day -3)
( Read my experience at Gurudongmar before this )
I read some blogs while was planning for the trip and came to know about Kala Pathar from there only. You know, tour operators in India are not as romantic as you and me. They will never mention the name of Kala Pathar and if by chance you mention it, they will of course charge some Rs.1500 -2000/- extra. I somehow negotiated about this with my operator before and he was a nice person to include it within our itinerary.
It is a de tour on the way back from Gurudongmar. Come some kilometres down from the lake then take a sharp right turn and you are on the way to Kala Pathar. This Kala Pathar is not Kala Patthar, the base camp for Everest Summit, thar is in Nepal though. This Kala Pathar is on the way to Muguthang Valley, a half an hour drive from Thangu, 30 kms above Lachen in Sikkim. Trekkers begin their journey from Chopta Valley towards Muguthang at an altitude of 15,500 ft, Muguthang Valley offers an unparalleled view of Tibetan plateau intersected by numerous snow-fed mountain streams. Kala Pathar means “Black Stone” in Nepali, a group of snow-clad black mountains will suffice your wish of ice/snow during any time of the year.
However, on the way we found the Chopta Valley on our left below, it was dry and grey at the end of October and was preparing itself to invite snow very soon.
The road towards kala Pathar is, I am afraid, not good at all, but these drivers are so capable that you can surely relax keeping your eyes to the Kala Pathar on the left while moving high. We reached our second dream destination soon and ran towards the world of snow. Poor souls, with not-well-equipped shoe soles slipped for numerous times. It was really hard to take out hands from the gloves to click the camera, but bloggers are sacrificed souls!!
It is a world of ice and if you wish to come here, come prepared with proper woollen dress, gloves, and shoes.
“Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink.”
When we grow up and people look at us as a man or a woman, we lose the freedom of being a child.We are judged for each and every action by the outer world. Every day we somehow repeat the same routine may be in a different way to prove that we are no nonsense type. Travelling is the only means to give your soul liberty, it is the only time when you can emancipate the child within you and sometimes you realise that you are being “Wondered” like a child again. I took a handful of ice and was enthralled as after many years I got the opportunity to feel something new, something long waited for.
Arindam and I became the dart board for Riblu. Wearing proper gloves, he was making ice balls and was throwing at us and was happy like anything. Probably he was trying to lend a vent to all his protests against parental oppressions. Self-declared most oppressed creatures on this earth are…...ahem... Thanks God, Arindam (my husband) forgot to wear gloves!!
We again reached Thangu ( altitude 13500 ft) coming back from Kala Pathar. It was about around 12 in the noon. Chilly wind was blowing all around. We sat at a shack for tea. But I stood some 5-7 minutes outside devouring the beautiful nature and it brought a tremendous shiver which penetrated my muscles and reached my bones. I was shivering like a patient of convulsion and tried to hold the lighted and hot oven inside the shack. This shiver accompanied me in decreasing degree to Lachung. So, the moral of this paragraph is --- don’t stand out in the chilly wind at this high altitude.
We returned to our hotel at Lachen around 3.30 pm, had our lunch, packed our things and left for Lachung at 4.30 pm. You can stay one night to see the Lachen Monastery, the oldest monastery of Sikkim.
Lachung is almost 47 kms away from Lachen via Chungthang and takes more than 2.30 hrs to reach. Long drive in a meandering road with frequent friendship of frivolous fountains fermented a feeling of freedom within a fine person like fe ooops, sorry, me!!
Well, we reached our hotel at Lachung, Hotel Deezong around 7 pm. I mentioned its name just because of its food. We are strictly non-vegetarians and my son is a staunch Non-Vegan, but this hotel has a truly vegetarian restaurant. Just imagine how we looked coming to know of this devilish fact.
Lachung was colder than Lachen and I was still shivering, so took refuge under two blankets. Arindam and Riblu had several talks with the manager and finally at 10 O’clock (as we requested for a late dinner but usually, they serve a buffet in their restaurant) they served all the foods in proper hot boxes in our room.
At 10.30 pm we had piping hot crispy butter nuns, thick tasty daal (pulses), twangy Aloo masala, heavenly Matar Paneer, Roasted Papad and Gulab Jamun. Riblu was too happy with his dinner and I released a sigh of relief. He has declared after that night,” The food at Hotel Deezong can get an honour mark even though it is veg.”
I retired to bed just after dinner but couldn’t sleep early. Because --
Today my dream came true, I had the blessing of Guru Padmasambhava and met my long-yearned lover SNOW. A few lines came to my sleepy memory again and again that night before I lost myself in the land of sleep-
feet disperse the powdery snow,
That rises up like smoke.
The storm came on before its time,
She wander'd up and down,
And many a hill did Lucy climb
But never reach'd the Town.
(Next day we will start for Katao, Keep reading my North Sikkim Tour blogs ) …. to be continued.