14th March 2016, Monday…Day (24) Gangtok 76 km
After a fabulous sleep inside the car, got up to a fantastic morning in Gangtok. Kazi road seems to be in a posh area. A number of well dressed men and women were walking, jogging and exercising on the road. I joined them too and had a nice morning walk.
After freshening up at a guesthouse, I drove to Ford service station for general check up. On knowing that I have driven all the way from Amritsar, the manager and the staff at the service station took real good care of the car and assured that the car was in good condition, no issues and I can confidently go ahead with my trip.
From Ford service station I drove to Rumtek Monastery. Situated at a height of 4900 ft ASL, the monastery was originally built in the 17th century. Since it was in ruins, it was rebuilt by the 16th Karmapa after fleeing Tibet in 1959. The monastery is 24 kilometers away from Gangtok and is the largest in Sikkim.
Took a little break at a viewpoint near the Monastery and enjoyed wonderful momos. The view of Gangtok city and surroundings was wonderful from that point. A little nursery nearby was oozing with riot of colors as thousands of flowers were blooming in its premises.
There was lot of security at Rumtek, I came to know later that it is at the centre of a controversy. A lengthy battle is being played out in the Indian courts regarding its control.
Like any other Buddhist monasteries, this monastery was again kept very well. The premises was neat, clean, brightly painted, had a number of idols and statues. Despite the presence of security forces, the atmosphere at the monastery was peaceful and uplifting.
From the monastery I drove to Vajra Cinema Hall premises and met Mr Karma Tenzing, whom I had known through a travel site. He met me very warmly and promised to help in getting permit for North Sikkim. He introduced me to Manoj, a shop in front of Vajra Cinema and also to use their spare wash room for bathing.
After parking the car I walked down to MG Road and met Ms Kanupriya Raniwala, a Sr Architect and an avid traveller whom also I had known through a traveller’s forum. She gave me very useful tips and helped me in preparing itinerary for Sikkim trip.
After parking the car outside Manoj’s shop in front of Vajra Cinema, I Walked down to MG Road in the evening. Like last night MG Road was neat, clean, colorful and buzzing with tourist activity.
Had nice time walking the whole length of the road and then sat down on a bench specially arranged for tourists on both side of the road and watched happy tourists enjoying with their families and friends. It is these times that I miss my wife and children, how dearly I wanted them to be with me during these times.
Like the previous night enjoyed chicken egg roll from Khan Uncle’s and walked back to Vajra Cinema Complex where my car was parked and slept inside………….!!!