NE-GQ Tour: Sikkim Day 6–Waterfalls, Gardens and the drive to the queen of hills

After a rather tired previous day we decided to take it easy the next day as we just had a couple of waterfalls and a rock garden to visit. We were supposed to drive down to Darjeeling also called queen of the hills after completing our sightseeing in pelling.

Pemayangtse and Sangachoeling Monasteries and Rabdantsey Ruins along with Rimbi and Kachendonza falls are some of the key attractions here. One can also visit Khecheodpalri Lake and Rock garden as part of local sightseeing

I was hoping to see kanchandgonza range early in the morning and hence decided to get up early. The hotel manager told me that the sunrise happens around 6 and I can view the mountain range from outside the room window.Lady luck again played its part as harsh sunlight and cloud cover meant I couldnt view the range. I was a little disappointed as I had missed it for the second time.  The tour co-ordinator had told me the vehicle for today would be coming at 9.

The hotel where I stayed had a nice collection of painting of important buddhist leaders in Tibet through the centuries and the important buddhist sites in Tibet. There were also a nice collection of photos and paintings of Everest , the kanchendzonga range among others.  Spent some time looking at them while taking a few photos.

Buddhism in Tibet through the ages

The monsateries and the Rabdantsey Ruins could not be covered as the driver who had come,said that the places are in the opposite direction and we would be late by the time by the time we reach darjeeling. Though I told the driver I wasnt sure when i’ll be coming back, he was determined to stick to the schedule. Tried to negotiate with the driver, but it was futile. Finally decided to stick with the schedule in the iternary.

The first place we covered was rimbi falls which was a road side falls. The falls in enroute to yuksom. As it was winter I was expecting lot of water, however I was disappointed to see very little water in the falls. A small photo session at the falls and we were of to the rock garden

Rimbi Falls

The rock garden is one of the new attractions in pelling. The place contains some rock carvings and a small garden. The river flowing next to the garden and the distant mountains made for a nice landscape. People can go to the river and spend time playing near the water. Sign boards are put up to prevent people getting into the water. There were quite a few people by the river bank and even we joined them.Spending some time at the river we went back to the parking lot and to the next destination.

Scenary at Rock Garden and river

The next destination we headed was the Khecheodpalri Lake which is one of the sacred lakes in sikkim. Khecheodpalri lake is also known as a wish fulfilling lake. People visiting the lake have been blessed with health and happiness

Khecheodpalri lake

Legend of the Khecheodpalri lake

Legend has it that the Khecheodpalri lake was once a grazing ground abound with singing nettles. One day a Lepcha couple saw a pair of concch shells coming from the sky and entering onto the ground. After that the ground shook violently and immense spring of water engulfed the entire ground which turned into a huge lake. As per Nesol text the lake is considered to be abode of Tshomen Gyalmo or Chief Protective Nymph of Dharma. Native buddhists believe that the shape of the lake is footprint of goddess tara.

Prayer wheels dot the entrance to the lake. As the place is a sacred place one needs to remove their footwear before moving ahead.

Entrance

A few tourists were just leaving the lake when we arrived. Once they we were the only ones present at the lake. The lake is quite big and the one can only see a part of the lake from the ground level.There is a shop at the entrance to the lake and while returning I asked the lady present from where was the photo shown in the ticket was taken. I was told that one has to drive for another 3 hours from the lake to reach the spot where the photo was taken. I knew another visit would be required to get to the location if I was to take the same photo. Small stupas are present close to the lake along with a small buddhist shrine

Stupa

Kanchandzonga falls was the final place we visited before departing to darjeeling. Compared to rimbi falls, there was enough water in this falls. The falls is not visible directly from the road, one has to climb a series of steps to reach the falls. As the falls was in full flow getting close was difficult due to the slippery rocks.

Kanchendzonga Falls

With the local sightseeing done, we took a short lunch break, before starting the drive to darjeeling. The journey was through pristine scenary until we reach darjeeling border. The driver took us through a very narrow road carved between the mountains. It was fun driving on those narrrow roads as there was space for only one vehicle to pass. Passing through some villages we continued onwards.

Reached darjeeling market area by sundown and asked for directions to the hotel and headed off there after a short cuppa break. We reached the hotel and checked in thus concluding another exciting day looking at new places.

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