To be honest, when I left Pune, I hadn’t planned on this to be a 15 day trip. All I wanted to do was explore Sikkim in an in-depth manner and do it well enough to be able to return and offer holidays to the State through my company Ease India Travel. In fact, I’d promised the kids I’d be out for about a week or at max, 10 days.
It was while I was in Sikkim that I realised that I wanted to do all that I could, that travelling from one place to another was taking a lot of time and since I wanted to slow travel, I had to wriggle out more days. More days on the road also meant spending more money, but since I wasn’t splurging on hotel rooms etc. I knew I could manage within my budget even if I’d stretched the trip a bit.
But. The fact that I hadn’t booked a return ticket was an indication that I wanted to take it slow, but didn’t want to scare the family off by pre-empting.
What I Did
In 15 days, I travelled to North and West Sikkim from the East (where Gangtok, the capital is located) and explored as much as I could. I travelled mostly by cabs and covered about 1250 kms.
I stayed at homestays as far as possible and I ate local food, albeit vegetarian.
I took the time to chat up the locals and understand about their lives in the hills and I got a much better understanding of their travails. I also talked a lot with my cab drivers that kept changing with every destination.
At the end of the 15 days, I was ready to go home because I felt a tinge of guilt for having left the kids alone for so long, not because I wanted to.
What I Felt On The Trip
On this trip, there were no distractions. I played no music (for some reason my phone had deleted all of it). I didn’t read a book (I wasn’t carrying one this time). I barely wrote (which is a big one because I love writing what I feel).
This time, I felt. With all my senses.
I discovered leisurely. I explored on foot. I sat on the numerous benches that Sikkim has and soaked in the sights. I enjoyed the breeze on my skin and the sun on my face. I chronicled only when I felt the need to. Thats why I came back with no more than 300 odd photographs.
I wasn’t in a hurry, I wasn’t compelled by anything, I was not in a race.
I was falling asleep in an instant without tossing and turning. I was waking up on most days without the alarm because the sun would be out bright and early, and its rays would trickle into my rooms, coaxing me out of bed to just stare at the beauty that lay before me.
Was I lonely? Sometimes.
Did I miss talking to someone? Rarely.
Was I happy? All the time.
At the end of the 15 days, I felt a huge, massive, humungous sense of oneness with myself.
In a nutshell, this is what my 15 day trip looked like –
Day 01 – Landed late at night at Gangtok after a backbreaking 18 hours travel
Day 02 – Did the touristy Gangtok sightseeing bit
Day 03 – Spent substantial time exploring Rumtek Monastery and Gangtok (M G Marg)
Day 04 – Visited Nathu La
Day 05 – Stayed indoors almost all day, working
Days 06 – 08 – Trip to Pelling, Yuksom and back
Day 09 – Attended the Masked Dances at Rumtek, visited Ranka Monastery
Day 10 – 11 – Went to Lachung, Yumthang
Days 12 – 14 – Trip to Phadamchen, Zuluk, Ngathang & Kalimpong sightseeing
Day 15 – Back to Pune via Delhi and a short-ish layover
Would I go back to Sikkim on another unplanned trip, or to another part of the country? Without a doubt!
The takeaways from this trip surpassed everything else. And I would definitely do it again.