Lachung to Katao (Day 4)
View from the window of Hotel Deezong
Next morning our breakfast at Hotel Deezong (Lachung) was as usual wonderful, and they have a very good collection
of tea leaves. I sipped a few cups, packed everything and then started for Katao.
Actually, Katao was not there in the itinerary. We had Yumthang valley and Zero point instead. But dry Chopta Valley on the way to Kala Pather, gave me a red signal and I kept on my query through out my tour and came to know that Zero point was not having snowfall regularly till then and I didn’t want to take chance. I heard about the beauty of Katao before and I firmly decided that though everybody speaks about Yumthang, I will head towards Katao and BKas agreed.
Yumthang and Zero Point would look beautiful from the end of November to May.
Mt.Katao is approx. 28 kms far from Lachung and it takes near about an hour to reach there. Do you remember in our school days we used to draw human digestive system? Try to remember the zigzag pattern of the small intestine, got it? The road from Lachung to Katao looks like that in google satellite map.
The scenery of this path was completely different from that of Gurudongmar. It is a glamorous path running through hamlets bordered with colourful Buddhist prayer flags; within a few minutes it runs through verdurous alpine forests and valley; then again you will find yourself moving through colourful trees of winter on both the sides of the road, abundance of wild colourful flowers and water falls on the way --- a paradise on the earth in reality.
On the way to Katao
on this way to feel the beauty of nature among silence. If you are not a shopaholic tourist, if you love silence and have power to praise nature, then Katao is the destination for your hungry soul.
Katao is almost 13,800 ft higher from the sea level and as we rode higher snow-covered roads became visible. But Indian Army stopped us 10 kms before the peak due to security reasons and convey their concerns. We had a nice chat with them. Weather was clear and panoramic view of the snow cladded Himalayan peaks from that point was magical. Riblu tried his hand to make a snow-man with ice.
We had a wonderful journey through that dream-like road back to Lachung then to Chungthang.
Some pics from the way back to Lachung
Chungthang is an important place in the map of Sikkim. River Lachen -chu and river Lachung -chu comes down respectively from Lachen and Lachung; they meet at Chungthang and is named as Teesta. Sikkim government has built a 1200 (MWt) hydro power project at Chunthang , Chief Minister Pawan Chamling hopes that this project would make his sate self-reliant in electrical pwer as well as help in revenue generation.
Then we reached Mangan. Mangan is a town area and different foods and articles are available here. At Mangan we had veg-momo and chicken thukpa, they also serve a very good chicken thali with rice, rai shak, one veg-dish and chicken with salad. We had that on our way to Lachen.
Mangan has schools for higher secondary education. Students from Lachung and Lachen come here, take rented accommodations and carry on their studies. But there is no college in North Sikkim. Students have to stay at Gangtok for degree courses. So, life is not as beautiful for the north Sikkimese people as the beauty of this area is. But Sikkimese are very sweet and humble by nature.
However, coming back to Gangtok, we spent the night at our hotel. We kept the next day for the side seeing of Gangtok. Though we came here 10 years ago with the two-year-old Riblu and visited all those places, Riblu naturally has no memory of that tour. For him we choose just four points to visit: Rumtek Monastery, Banjhakhari Falls, Tashi View point and M.G Marg with a very special purpose.
(…….To be continued)