Among the snowy peaks of Nepal and Tibet, stories tell of a mysterious ape-like creature called the Yeti. Purported to be a towering human-like figure covered in shaggy fur, the Yeti continues to excite dedicated believers still hoping for evidence that the mythical creature is real. The lack of hard evidence despite decades of searches doesn’t deter true believers; the fact that these mysterious creatures haven’t been found is not taken as evidence that they don’t exist, but instead how rare, reclusive, and elusive they are.
Lachung and Yumthang are the two most picturesque places in the whole of Sikkim. The bounty of the nature, sky-kissing mountains, green meadows, flowing river, hot spring make Yumthang valley a tourist’s dream place to visit and to enjoy the beauty without any sort of infringement. Yumthang Valley also embraces the renowned Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary with 24 species of Rhododendron.
Gurudongmar lake is located at a surface elevation of 17,800 ft (5,430 m) and covers an area of 290 acres making it the largest lake in the whole of Sikkim. The India-China border is just a few kilometres away from the lake. This lake is considered very sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus. Guru Padmasambhava (8th century) and Guru Nanak (15th century) had blessed this lake.
Sikkim is a land of exotic waterfalls. The Dzongu area and the road between Lachung and Mangan in North Sikkim are blessed with the maximum numbers of waterfalls in Sikkim. Numerous waterfalls astride the main road make the trip to North Sikkim extremely picturesque.
The Teesta River originates in the Himalayas and flows through the Indian States of Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh, where it flows into the Brahmaputra. Flowing through the length of Sikkim, the Teesta River is considered to be the lifeline of the state. The Teesta valley in Sikkim is rich in biodiversity, and the river provides livelihoods for the residents along its entire length of 393 km.
The Rumtek monastery, a replica of the Tsurphu monastery of Kham region of Tibet belongs to the Kagyu lineage. Rumtek is the largest monastery in the Eastern Himalaya. It was built by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje during the reign of the fourth Chogyal in 1740 in the East District, at an altitude of about 1,550 m (5,100 ft).
Malana is an ancient Indian village in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Much before going to Malana village, I had read quite a lot about it. This solitary village in the Malana Nala, a side valley of the Parvati Valley to the north-east of Kullu Valley, is isolated from the rest of the world. The peaks of Chanderkhani and Deo Tibba shadow the village. It is situated on a remote plateau by the side of the torrential Malana river, at a height of around 10,000 feet above sea level. Malana has its own lifestyle and social structure and people are strict in following their customs.
The Buddha Park of Ravangla, also known as Tathagata Tsal, is situated near Rabong (Ravangla) in South Sikkim district, Sikkim, India. Tathagata is Sanskrit and Pali word. It’s used to refer to Lord Buddha. The term is often thought to mean either “one who has thus gone” (tathā-gata) or “one who has thus come” (tathā-āgata). This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathagata is beyond all coming and going — beyond all transitory phenomena.
On our way to Char Dham, we went to Samdruptse, near Namchi. Samdruptse is situated at around 75 km from Gangtok. Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the Bhutia language. It is also said that the Samdruptse hill is actually a Dormant Volcano. Painted in shimmering copper, pink and bronze, the awe-inspiring and gigantic 45 metre-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, a.k.a. Guru Rinpoche, lords over the forested Samdruptse ridge and is visible for miles around.