Along The Old Silk Route #1: Trip plan
The captivating journey along the jig-jag roads of the old silk route of Sikkim is not only an exciting encounter but its awe-inspiring Himalayan beauty with the wide ranges of Mount Kangchenjunga is also a lifetime experience. The old silk route covers the eastern part of Sikkim. This is not a conventional tourist spot where you may lose yourself in the crowd of tourists. I always prefer to visit the offbeat and fewer traffic locations as I hate crowd very much. Many people love an eventful trip where they can see multiple spots, can do a whole day sightseeing without any rest. And at the end of the trip, they can say their friends and relatives that how many spots and how many things they have visited through the trip. I’m not blaming them. This is a typical tourist mentality.
But, those, who have a traveler’s heart, they know travel is not counting the spots and doing sightseeing by restless traveling. Travels is discovering oneself as well exploring the place. A Restless travel neither can refresh one’s mind nor can give such peace that one needs for. Moreover, the memories of that type of trip cannot stay for a while. But, the travel, which helps you to explore the place and yourself as well, stays forever in your mind. And anytime you can refresh your mind with the memories of that awe-inspiring travel because it refreshes your mind completely.
I’m sure that, you are thinking why am I saying so much about the traveler and tourist. This has a reason, my friend. I mentioned earlier that the places of old silk route are not the typical tourist spots where your whole day will pass to do multiple sightseeing. It is the place of silence and peace. It is the place that reconnects you to yourself. It is the place that’s beauty makes you more beautiful. The silence of cloud covered cold mountain valley takes all your worries away from your mind and makes you more mindful to enjoy the enchanting beauty of nature.
So, you can only enjoy this trip if you come here by throwing all your notions and expectations of conventional tourism. The old silk route constitutes with numbers of villages. Hence, in your journey along the old silk route, you have to stay at the homestays of those villages. Don’t expect all the modern amenities in those small homestays. Each village comprises with only 15 to 30 families. Their economical standard is not so good. Their living depends on the tourism and making or repairing the roads in the hilly areas. Hence, they provide only the basic amenities to the tourists. But, the foods, they provide, are really awesome. Quality, quantity and cooking standard are beyond the expectations. In this trip, you don’t have to spend much money for food and lodging. But, the cost of this trip increases due to the car rental. If you travel by your own car or own bike, the cost will decrease 2-3 times.
What is the silk route?
The old silk route is the ancient trade network of Asia, Africa, and Europe. In Sikkim, it connects India to China. The 6500Km extending silk road was used to trade Chinese silk to Europe through the Central Asia. The Chinese silk and different trade items, those come from Chiana through the silk route, were taken to the port Tamluk ( Tamralipta according to Historical language) of West Bengal to pass those items to the Central Asia and Europe through the sea-route. The silk route is not only important for trading Chinese silk, but it also has a great historical significance in India. The Buddhism came to India from Tibet through this route and spread all over the world. In the same way, the greek art from Europe flowed into India following this route. The Chinese traveler, Fa Hein (Faxian), Hiuen Tsang (Xuanxang) also came to India through the silk road. For more details, you can visit this page.
We made this trip from Kolkata. It was a family trip. We boarded the train (Darjeeling mail) from Sealdah Railway station at the night and reached Siliguri on the next day morning. We were attached to a travel agency who booked our homestays for food and lodging and rented a car for the trip. Generally, We don’t prefer to travel through the travel agency. But, in this case, we have to do this as it is quite impossible to find the contact numbers and addresses of the homestays through the internet and we don’t have any idea about the conditions of the villages. Moreover, the time we choose to travel Sikkim, was a critical time, when the political condition of Siliguri and on the connecting road of Siliguri to Gangtok (Sikkim) was not good. The crisis can end one’s travel at any time and any moment. So, We didn’t take the risk to travel alone as a single family with a child. We booked a travel agency through the Hello Travel, which is trustworthy and secure. There are a number of vendors under Hello Travel, who can guide your trip well. We followed the trip plan of Hello Travel and we have a great experience with them.
We started our journey to the silk-route from Rishikhola and ended it at Gangtok. It was a 7 days trip and maintained the following schedule.
Rishikhola- 1 night
Mankhim- 1 night
Dzuluk/Zuluk- 1 night
Gangtok- 2 night
2 nights were for our to and fro train journey. From Gangtok, we have visited 2 more significant places in South Sikkim. Those are Ravangla and Namchi.
It’s being nearly a month, we returned from the trip. But, the mesmerizing beauty of Himalaya still engrossed me so much. Even, the first two weeks after returning, I couldn’t process any photos of the tour and write a single line at my blog about the trip. I just felt that my body was in the land of Kolkata and my soul was wondering on the hilly regions of Himalaya. Two weeks later, I somehow managed myself to get together my soul and my body. LOL! When I did it finally, I couldn’t wait to share my experience of such mesmerizing journey with the world. So, please, Keep your eye here to know more about the places and the travel experiences of a passionate traveler. I will come with more stories and photos of Rishikhola at my next post.