Adventure, India, Offbeat, Photo Essays, Sikkim, West Bengal
Comments 45

In Photos: Hiking from Darjeeling to Sikkim!

Two weeks ago, I impulsively decided to venture into the remote north-eastern Himalayas of India.  Staying on an organic tea farm an hour’s ride from Darjeeling, I sipped the finest hand-rolled tea, drank the local thomba brewed from fermented millets on chilly nights, got a first hand perspective on the separatist Gorkhaland movement, and reminisced with the hill folk about the times gone by. Then I hiked in the mountains, through dense forests, past charming hill villages, along tea estates that dotted the landscape, and barefoot across the Rangeet River, to Sikkim.

I’ll let the pictures tell you that story.

***

1. STARTING THE WALK ALONG THE TEA ESTATES OF DARJEELING
organized by my hosts at Tathgata Farm. Carpets of green stretched into the horizon, as far as the eyes could see.

Darjeeling tea estates, Darjeeling photos

***

2. FOLLOWING TEA PLUCKERS AS THEY START THEIR DAY 
plucking the finest tea in India with their nimble fingers.

Darjeeling tea estates, Darjeeling photos

***

3. PASSING BY CHARMING HILL VILLAGES
precariously perched, and often isolated on hill slopes far from the nearest road. The adults and kids both walk long hours to work and school, on hill terrain that can tire any experienced walker.

Eastern Himalayas, Darjeeling villages

***

4. BEING LED THROUGH NARROW, SIGNLESS PATHS
in the mountains by our local guide Dhuraj, who grew up in these mountains and knows them like the back of his hand.

Indian Himalayas, Darjeeling to Sikkim

***

5. SPOTTING A MAN SMUGGLING LOCAL BEER FROM SIKKIM
which isn’t permitted to be sold elsewhere in India. I would soon find out that the Sikkimese Hit Beer, made in Danny Denzongpa’s brewery, is possibly India’s finest beer. It’s a pity that his lobbying with the government isn’t as powerful as Vijay Mallya’s, so the rest of the country is deprived of such high quality (and cheap, at 60 rupees a bottle) beer.

Darjeeling to Sikkim, Himalayas walks

***

6. PLEASURES OF THE WILD – A JUNGLE TATTOO 
on my arm, textured from the leaves of a wild plant.

India villages, India tatoo, Himalayas

***

7. WALKING ALONG THE BAMBOO FOREST
our feet making music on fallen dried leaves and bamboo branches.

Darjeeling to Sikkim, Indian himalayas

***

8. COOLING OFF IN THE RANGEET RIVER
four hours into the walk; the cool pure water a balm for my tired feet.

Rangeet river, Darjeeling to Sikkim

***

9. CROSSING THE SHALLOW RIVER BED BAREFEET
from the base of one mountain to another, feeling the rocks, soft sands and cool water on our feet, and watching boys trying to catch fish with their bare hands!

Darjeeling river, Darjeeling pictures

***

10. THE FIRST GLIMPSE OF SIKKIM
after 5 hours of walking – the southern industrial village of Majhitar, which has more immigrant workers from Bihar than Sikkimese people, and more alcohol shops than I could have imagined.

Majhitar Sikkim, Darjeeling to sikkim

***

11. A RICKETY SUSPENSION BRIDGE THAT CONNECTS DARJEELING TO SIKKIM
over the Rangeet River, with wooden planks on the base, some of which have already fallen off! It feels more like crossing into another country.

Rangeet river, Darjeeling to Sikkim

***

12. THE FIRST TASTE OF MOMOS AND THE LOCAL HIT BEER IN SIKKIM
which made the 5 hours of hiking totally worthwhile! The beer was downed before I could take a picture ;)

Sikkim momos

***

This hike and other truly local experiences in Darjeeling and Sikkim can be booked on India Untravelled.

***

Have you ever hiked from one state in India to another? 

***

Join The Shooting Star on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for more offbeat travel stories.

Any contributions to my travel fund (in kind or otherwise) will be highly appreciated!

***

ALSO SEE:

In Photos: Majuli Island, Assam
In Photos: Jaisalmer in The Monsoons
In Photos: Bhap Village, Rajasthan

*** ***

About these ads

45 Comments

  1. Loved it! Beautiful pictures. Would be going to Darj for a mountaineering course in few days time… I’m all jittery and excited but this post reminded me how much I’m really looking forward to it!.. In love with the place already! :D

    Like

    • Wow, that sounds so exciting, Tanmayi! I’m sure you’ll love the majesty and serenity of these mountains. Tell me how it goes :)

      Like

  2. bladenomics says

    Wow! refreshing pictures!! I’ve been meaning to go to North east India for a long time!

    Like

    • Haha, thanks Mani! The nature tattoo faded away too soon though ;) Hope you get to make this journey soon.

      Like

    • I didn’t go to Jorethang, near enough though. This walk ended at the border town of Majhitar in South Sikkim. Took shared taxis further into the state.

      Like

  3. Reminded me of my recent visit to Sikkim. Once you visit a place then you get a better perspective of problem there like Gorakhaland in Darleeling.

    Like

    • I agree Makrand. Same with Sikkim. Before I went, I read about how the incumbent party was doing such great work in sustainable tourism. Turns out that’s not the case at all. Only some individuals trying to do things differently.

      Like

    • You can get in touch with Pravin/Navin from Tathagata Farm. Better still, stay with them :) Shall be writing all about that experience soon too.

      Like

  4. Simply Wow girl!! Mesmerizing our East is…I have yet to go! This was a fantastic photo journey. Thanks! :)

    Like

    • Thanks Aditi! Plan a trip soon. They say October / November are the best times to see the snow-capped peaks :)

      Like

  5. krit92 says

    Lovely post.. Put a smile on my face .. and sure need to try out this beer very soon :D

    Like

  6. Life is about travel says

    Lovely write-up and pictures. Especially love the imprint of the leaves of the wild plant on your hand!

    Like

  7. Pingback: Looking Back: My Worst Travel Memories. | The Shooting Star

  8. Pingback: Eat, Pray, Love in Gangtok. | The Shooting Star

  9. krit92 says

    Hey i need to ask.. Ist darjeeling and sikkim like quite far.. So what sections did u exactly treck from?!

    Regards!

    Like

  10. Pingback: In Photos: Hiking from Darjeeling to Sikkim! | The Talking Sloth - Asia

  11. Pingback: Sikkim: The Lost Kingdom. | The Shooting Star

  12. Hi Shivya,
    This is so beautiful. I’m going to Sikkim this weekend and would love to start my trip with this hike.
    Could you please shed some light on how to go about this? What are the starting & ending points? I’m on a budget and cannot afford to stay in Tathagata farm and use their resources for the hike. Was wondering if the hike could be done without a guide?

    Awaiting your reply.
    Cheers.

    Like

    • Thanks Vinay! Unfortunately it can’t be done without a guide since it’s a signless mountain path that only the locals know. You could try contacting Tathagata farm to arrange only the hike for you.

      Like

      • Thank you so much for the reply Shivya. I’m going to call them and see if they can arrange only the hike. Your posts on Sikkim are one of the prime inspirations for me to travel there.

        Cheers.

        Like

I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s