Gangtok, Sikkim

Wreathed in clouds, Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim is located on a ridge at a height of 5500 feet. It has a spectacular view of the Khangchendzonga, the highest peak in India.
Gangtok - Sikkim 2010 088
Travel Info: We took a 2 hour flight from Delhi to Bagdogra. Its a 6 hours drive from Bagdogra airport to Gangtok. There are cabbies waiting outside the airport who may give a good bargain, though the rates are fixed. Only one road connects Sikkim to the rest of the country. And it’s not in very good shape. The National Highway 31 connects Gangtok to Siliguri (in West Bengal).

Stay: We were booked in Club Mahindra, Royal Demazong Resort. It is situated at quiet a distance from the Gangtok market. Thus, the cabbies charge extra to reach you there. The resort gives an authentic feel of the Eastern culture, the moment you step in. They have an array of rooms to select. We were lucky to have got one with a spectacular view of the mountains. There are also wide range of pocket-friendly hotels in the M. G. Market area.

Gangtok - Sikkim 2010 136The soft white, slightly visible peak in the picture below is Mt. Khanchendzonga. This was the view from Hanuman Tok. You get a glimpse of this peak only if you are in luck. Mt. Khanchendzonga is much more than a mountain to the Sikkimese. It’s a deity which the locals believe watches over them. Literally!Gangtok - Sikkim 2010 150Gangtok is synonymous with the famous Enchey and Rumtek Monasteries. The Enchey Monastery was established in 1909 and the locals here believe that the protecting deities of Khangchendzonga and Yabdean reside in this monastery.
Gangtok - Sikkim 2010 240Rumtek monastry, also called the Dharmachakra Centre,  is one of the most important gompas for Tibetan Buddhism and is located 24 km from Gangtok.
Rumtek Monastry

After scaling the Nathula, i.e. the India-China border which is at a good 14,000 ft, we came down to Tsomgo lake. The water is almost freezing. Here you have an option of riding a Yak or having just a photo-op. We chose the latter.
Gangtok lake

No trip to Gantok is complete without visiting the M. G. Market. The streets here are spic-n-span boasting of the gothic style street lamps and fountains that actually work!
Mahatma-Gandhi-Road-Gangtok
Food:
A popular food in Gangtok is the momo a steamed dumpling containing pork, beef or vegetables cooked in a paper-thin dough wrapping and served with watery soup. Restaurants offer a wide variety of traditional Indian, continental and Chinese cuisines to cater to the tourists.  Churpee, a kind of hard cheese made from cow’s or yak’s milk is sometimes chewed. Chhang is a local frothy millet beer traditionally served in bamboo tankards and drunk through bamboo or cane straws.

India

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Warm welcome to BitesandPlaces!
My humble little blog has its own story to tell… my story… I’m gregarious being, vagabond at heart and have a monstrous appetite for food. I used to be a Human Resource professional until few years ago. To be among, with and for people was the reason I’d chosen this field.
Being in HR, I could only accomplish the ‘people’ part. I still yearned to be in those places I saw on TV and travel magazines and craved to eat all kinds of food that lulls you into coma. I didn’t want to be just a spectator anymore. I wanted to be in those pictures.
Luck smiled at me and I fell sick with an awful heart, lungs and liver disorder. Family said stay home. Rest.
Rest? Were they crazy? I grabbed this opportunity and quit my job; to pursue my passion – people, places and food.

Being on my own gave me lot of spare time for all the three.
I’m not a professional cook, but I’m mighty passionate about cooking. Although Indian, BitesandPlaces does not restrict itself to just the dishes of my country, which are toothsome beyond doubt. I’ve also tried to put together a bunch of mouth-watering and eye-pleasing recipes scattered from all parts the world. A lot of them are a tribute to my mum’s kitchen, the ones I grew up with. Few of them are a result of my experimentation and few others, borrowed from my generous friends 🙂

I religiously follow Andrew Zimmern’s favorite quote – what looks good to your eyes, EAT IT!! After all food is something that follows no boundaries, isn’t it.

Travel, I believe, is about exploring new places, meeting new people, building new relations, soaking in their culture, gorging on their cuisines, discovering their stories and of course, capturing all of these in my teeny-tiny camera.

After having been there and done that, I was inspired to share my travelogues with you, encourage you to travel and in some way find a bit of your happiness through me.
Thus BitesandPlaces was born!

Life’s a journey and people, places and food are all a part of it. So, come along with me and eat your way through this journey called Life…

I like staying connected. And it’ll be a frosting on my cake if you drop a line or two at natasha@bitesandplaces.com.

Celebrate Life!!!
Natasha Gracious

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