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NE-GQ Tour: Day 3– Rafting at Teesta and the drive to kalimpong

Day 3 of our tour started with a drive to kalimpong. The driver who had come to pick us up told us that rafting was being conducted on the Teesta river and we were free to do it if we were interested. I didnt want to miss this chance of doing rafting at a new place, though I had done it back in karnataka. This also gave me an oppurtunity to introduce my wife to a little bit of adventure. I asked her if she was interested in rafting for which she agreed. Told the driver to stop at the rafting place which he did.

The guy was quoting 4.5k for a 12kms which I felt was a little costly. However we were told there was another couple who were interested in joining, we decided to split the cost evenly. After paying the required amount, we were taken to the place where the rafts were being kept. Training was given to new people who were interested in conducted rafting. We had a talk with the other couple while waiting for the rafts to arrive. The instructor gave us the life jackets and asked us to get into the rafts. It was the first time my wife was doing this and she was excited and a bit scared as well.

Instructions were given and we were began rowing, while the girls were sitting at the back. We came across the place where the rivers theesta and rangit join together (sangam), and we saw rafting lessons being held in the current. We bid farewell to the people and continued on our way.

The instructor asked the girls to come forward when we approached the rapids, so that they could enjoy the raft going against the rapids. The fun continued for another hour or so and we reached the end of the rafting route. With the water being too cold, everyone was soaking wet. We were ferried back to the place where our vechiles were parked. After settling the amount, we went our separate ways after saying adieu to our new friends.

A short break for a late lunch and we were in kalimpong by sundown. Evening was spent shopping for some souvenirs for friends and family at the local market.

A couple of snaps of the moon as it was lunar eclipse that night and it was nap time.

Moon as seen from the hotel

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NE-GQ Tour: Day 4 — Day out in kalimpong

Day 4 of our trip was meant to be leisure outing covering a local sightseeing places in kalimpong and we were supposed to drive back to the gangtok the same day. A delayed start saw us first head to the cactus and orchid nursery which was located close to the hotel.

The nursery has thousands of varieties of cactus’s and roses from all over the world. The caretaker at the nursery told us the roses come as far from Austraila, Germany and South America. The cactuses which are grown internally are designed in various shapes and sizes which are put on display. We couldnt get the names of the roses as the caretaker told us about the biological names of the roses. After spending some time at the nursery we headed back to the car.

Roses and Cactuses at nursery

Our next stop was the  durbin dara monastery which was built by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in kalimpong.

Durbin Dara Monastery

As with all monsateries in sikkim the walls of the monastery  contain the paintings of teachings of Buddha and various stories depicting good over evil. A statute of buddha in a different avatar along with his followers is present at the center.

Paintings inside the monastery

Buddha and his disciples

The monks at the monastery were preparing for prayer and I wanted to see how they would do it.

The prayer ritual

The monks take their respective seats and tea is poured to all monks before they start their prayers. The prayers are started by the head monk after having the Tea which is being served. Daily offering of bread are being served to the monks before they being their chants

Monks being served Tea

The monks start with their prayers while the devotees and the general public are allowed to come and offer their prayers while the prayer is in progress

Monks chanting prayers

Devotees offering their prayers to Buddha

The devotees then offer their prayers to the head monk and bow to all the monks asking for blessings. The head monk blesses each person and whispers into their ears. They bow to him and continue to the other monks seated. Once they seek blessings from all the monks, they leave the monastery.

The head monk

Devotees seeking blessings

We too left the prayer area, and went around the monastery. The upper level of the monastery has prayer wheels and another idol present in the buddhism

Prayer Wheels and Idols

    

A couple of rounds of the monastery and we headed back to the car and to deolo hill which contains a park and a couple of view points.  Our stomach’s were rumbling by the time we reached the places. A couple of momos and noodles and we headed to the park .A couple of snaps in the park and we were of to the science museum which was open recently.

Deolo hill park

The view Point

The science museum which had opened only recently contains many scientific instruments. The museum also has large hoardings containing the evolution of all technologies that we use everyday. From the hoardings one can really see how the various revolutions began which has shaped our everyday lives. The place is a must visit for all geeks and for those who are interested in science.

Kalimpong Science Museum

The entrance contains figures of some of the pre-emiment scientists from india and around the world

Scientists from around the world

Scientific Instruments

Cutouts of key technologies

There was a mini park, which contained some scientific games and a map of the kanchendonza range. We roamed around the park before heading back to the car

The park


A couple of hours of driving and we reached the gangtok by sundown. Resting for some time in our room, we headed to the restaurant. The resort had organized a Celebration Sikkim for the week, where the local artists were given an oppurtunity to showcase their skills.

Celebrating Sikkim

The show started of with a traditional nepali song and dance by one of the male artist. The dance was a tribute to the firegod, as explained by the artist who was using a couple of fireplates to perform the dance

Artist performing nepali dance

The audience enjoyed the dance and soon it was time for the second artist to perform was a female who peformed another traditional tibetian dance. This was followed by a lively song and dance routine by another guy.

The show continues

The final act for the evening was a war dance which was the most liked by everyone. Dinner was served after the show. It was time to hit the couch as we had a long drive to pelling the next day

War Dance

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