Today’s day started at a disappointing note. We crossed the 3rd mile checkpost at 9.30 am this morning. We travelled 15 minutes further and saw a traffic jam on the road. There had been a landslide further up on the muddy road. A few vehicles were stuck in the mud. We waited for 3 hours for the road to be cleared. The JCBs were employed to clear the mud off the road and this whole process continued till 2 pm. Now we are not going any further. Since the tourists are asked to return from there by 2.30 pm, we won’t be able to go to Nathu La, Changu Lake, Baba Temple, etc now. I am very disappointed at this turn of events. Another point of disappointment for me is that I spent so much time seeking official permission for videography at these places, and now we cannot use that permission. Now, I can do this leg of journey tomorrow but if go for that, I would have to miss my trip to the North. You can see the map here. We want to go to Lachung and Lachen in the North and spent a night at each location. After that, we will go to the West part of Sikkim and then to South. In South, we will spend at least 2 days in Namchi. Right now, we are standing at the 3rd Mile, as you can see in the map in front. I had paid Rs. 8000/- to the taxi for our journey to Nathu La today. So, since we cannot go there, we are going for a local temple visit to Hanuman Tok. The historical significance of this temple is based on an ancient lore regarding Lord Hanuman. When Lord Hanuman was on his way back from picking up the Sanjivani booti (medicinal herb), it is believed, he spent some time here at this spot to rest himself. Devotees have been paying obeisance here since historical times. The Indian Army handles the administration of this temple. Along with the temple visit, you can even spot the Kanchenjunga peak from this spot. However, to have a clear view of the peak, you need to come here when the weather is clear, for instance in the months of October-November. Since it is monsoon season right now, the weather is cloudy. I saw a lot of medicinal herbs being grown here in the temple garden. I loved visiting this temple. We have come to the Handloom & Handicraft Emporium. The first thing that I noticed here was these women weaving this carpet with their hands on this loom. They also have a sales counter from where you can purchase these carpets. Host: “Sir, what is the price of this carpet?” Man: “This is a 4×4 carpet and its price is Rs. 8700. These are car seat carpets. These carpets are handwoven from pure wool.” Host: “Alright. What is the price of these?” Man: “The price is Rs. 4480 for this whole set of 3 pieces.” Students come here to learn the art of Thanka painting too. Afterwards, they can also pursue that as a professional career. Host: “What are you painting?” Boy: “Eight lucky signs.” Host: “Eight lucky signs!” Host: “Very nice! So you are learning this?” Boy: “Yes.” Host: “Very nice! Wish you good luck.” This is the wood carving section inside this complex. You can see beautiful designs being carved on wood pieces. There is the handloom section right next to the wood carving section. They also paint these beautiful traditional masks and sell them as well. It was a good visit. The timings of visit are from 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays are holidays. Take a look – it is just 3 pm right now and the visibility is so low. This doesn’t look like an afternoon at all. There are clouds everywhere. The rainfall has stopped just now but it feels like it is still raining. We are traveling from one point to another within Gangtok. Quite a beautiful weather! Although, monsoon is not the right time to visit Sikkim but still we are enjoying it. Right now, we have come to Ganesh Tok Temple, where a small statue of Lord Ganesha was established in 1950. This larger statue was later established in 2007. Tourists come here often to pay obeisance. Outside, the view from the temple complex is pretty despite the fact that the fog has reduced visibility. If the weather is clear, the view would be even better, I’m sure. We enjoyed our visit here. Woman: “We are at the Ganesh Temple in Sikkim. We are from Chhattisgarh. We had heard a lot about the Sikkim Tourism and it is really a beautiful place. You can see there is fog here. The weather is so beautiful. We’ve just reached Ganesh Tok. Host: “Panditji, can you please tell us something about this temple?” Panditji: “Yes Sir. This temple was established in 1950 by a man in whose dream Lord Ganesha appeared in the form of this small statue. In 2007, another larger statue was established here. Due to the efforts of the last government, the number of tourists to this place has gone up.” Host: “Okay. Thank you!” Panditji: “Jai Ganesh.” Host: “Jai Ganesh!” Whenever you come to Gangtok, you will definitely be asked to visit this flower exhibition. Look at all these beautiful flowers here. I feel like stopping in front of every plant and watch it at leisure and try to learn more about it. You can visit here between 8 am and 5 pm and 7 days a week. I was checking out this flower named Alastromeria. Let us go a bit further. This flower is named Hydrangea. What a beautiful flower! Beautiful! We can also see Sikkim’s State Flower here, which is Orchid. I think it is right there! This is the flower of this state – Orchid. These round flowers right beneath the Orchid are called Football Lily. I loved coming here and watching all these flowers. There is this shop selling local food right outside the exhibition complex. They gave me this Typhoo to eat. This looks like a combination of at least 4-5 single momos. Look at its size! How big it is! They gave me some soup with it as well as this red chutney, which is served at every table. I can feel that a rainfall is imminent. This is called Typhoo here and they have added a boiled egg inside as well. Hmmm! Nice keema (mincemeat)! I will need to eat this Typhoo in small bites obviously, because I cannot eat it whole at once. Hmmm! It is good and fresh! Another good thing is eating it here in the open, with slight rain falling around me. I am definitely enjoying it very much at this moment! I noticed this in Gangtok that this red chutney is very hot in terms of the chili factor. There is chili even inside the filling. The taste of this Typhoo is decent. I think I like the stuffing even more than the outer skin. They could’ve improved the outer skin by making it softer but stuffing is good! Again, the spices are at a mild level, which is another remarkable thing I’ve noticed here. Whatever you eat, the spices will be light. This chicken soup is very bland in taste, thus, not very delicious. In the next episode, you will see me traveling from Gangtok to Lachen, in North Sikkim. The most important thing that I learnt from this journey was the reason why it took us 10-12 hours to cover a distance that should have taken us 5 hours. This is because the journey is really beautiful. If you have visited the Nathu La pass or Baba Temple, do share your experiences with us in your comments. I will look forward to your comments. We will meet soon with a new and exciting journey. Till then, goodbye! See you soon!