Travel Diary Sikkim, India <<back
12.11.2005 06:51:28 AM - nic
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12.11.2005 06:55:08 AM - nic
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12.11.2005 06:56:23 AM - nicole

Sikkim was our trekking destination. For five days we walked (trekked, hiked, strolled, roamed, tramped, wandered - whatever... pick one) from village to village. During these walks we had a great glimpse of the life of the local people, the Lepchas, another hill people. They inhabit the steep hills of Sikkim; the main source of income is agriculture. They live in simple huts, surroundend by terraced gardens where they grow rice and vegetables. There is always a cow or two, some goats. The setting is always on a steep hill, seemingly in the middle of nowhere you come across one of these homes. The people are friendly and very sweet, sitting around the house chatting or working in their fields. Often you hear them singing. They carry heavy loads on their backs, baskets full of wood or grass, up and down the slippery hills. Some smile at the sight of us, others look rather confused. With the greeting "Namaste" they always bring their palms together in front of the face. The kids come running, yelling from far "Namaste, hello tourist, hello photo, hello rupees, hello chocolate...", sometimes acting quite crazy, especially if there is a whole bunch of them.

During these days we visited many buddhist monasteries (gompas). Buddhism is the state religion of Sikkim. The gompas are always built on top of a hill with great views and giving a peaceful, serene atmosphere. Buddhism is very old and well established. There are many very old and important gompas in the state. It is nice to see a place/country where Buddhism was around for a long time and hasn't been tampered with, not like in China or Tibet.
We are both very fond of these gompas, the colourful houses with Tibetan architecture, the detailed patterns on the walls, ceilings and pillars, the many prayer flags around the whole compound, the stupas; often you hear the humming of the praying monks, sometimes accompanied by the beat of a drum. Together with the surrounding nature it leaves you in a very harmonic mood and makes you not want to leave. So far we have visited many of these monastery compounds, but it seems that everyone has a little surprise waiting...

All in all we did quite a bit of walking. The first two days we had to remind ourselves that nobody forced us to do this; the constant up and down on very slippery ground, with hundreds of stones to stumble over; having no view at all because we're walking through a seep forested hill and constantly having to watch the ground to prevent falling - we asked ourselves why exactly are we doing this?? Wasn't really enjoyable. But then the situation improved, sometimes we walked along the road, there wasn't much traffic at all, very pleasent. And when we walked along the small paths - still damn steep, but nothing in Sikkim is straight, better get used to it - they weren't as slippery and not through dense forest, so we could appreciate the great views of the endless valleys, hills and the mountains, and that makes walking (climbing!) a lot more fun.
12.11.2005 07:02:55 AM - nicole
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12.11.2005 07:03:01 AM - nicole
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12.11.2005 07:09:41 AM - nicole
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12.11.2005 07:11:08 AM - nicole
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12.11.2005 07:14:32 AM - nicole
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12.11.2005 07:14:43 AM - nicole
India-Sikkim-DSCF6776.JPG   Hier ueben die jungen Moenche eines tibetischen Institutes einen Chaam-Tanz, der Ende November in Rangla aufgefuehrt wird.
12.11.2005 07:21:39 AM - nicole
India-Sikkim-DSCF6833.JPG   Diese Himalaya-Bergkette ist von fast ueberall in Sikkim sichtbar. Diese Sicht ist von Pelling, der rechteste Spitz ist Mt. Kangchenjunga.
12.11.2005 07:31:55 AM - nicole
Mt. Kangchenjunga, 8586 Meter hoch, der 3. hoechste Berg der Welt   India-Sikkim-DSCF68301.JPG
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