[India] Neora Valley – Pelling, Sikkim

After a wonderful day at Kolbung Primary School, we had to move off early in order to get to Pelling at dusk. After our morning tea call and a puffy potato paratha breakfast, we left behind the beautiful village and people of Kolakham and headed North West to Pelling in the Kindom of Sikkim.

Sunrise on Kolakham

Transport to the market once a week!

A road trip isn’t a road trip if we didn’t have un-scheduled stops and detours on the way. We stopped at a small waterfall, took a moment to smell the pine trees surrounding us, while Raj gave us a lesson on the unique eco-system and climate in Neora Valley, and an introduction to medicinal and practical uses of Himalayan plants and fruit .

en route

This region enjoys climates from tropical to alpine.

Shot just before we left in the morning. I do miss the violet hair.

Art in nature

Can’t remember the name of this fruit and its uses. If anyone knows, please drop me a comment.

Upon reaching the town of Lava to replace car tyres and a toilet break, we took that opportunity to visit the monastery Kagyu ThekChengLing Institute.

Welcome to the town of Lava

Little girl trying to open the front door of her house.

Entrance to the monastery

From outside

Large prayer wheel

Small mani wheels – Om mani padme hum

Stupas

Inside the prayer room

Monastery guard dogs!

And their friend

art

Always wondered where their parents were

Fish monger at Lava market

Fresh produce

That leaf on the top right is made into disposable plates. Eco-friendly!

From the hills to the market

Candied coconut shavings! Cheap and good.

Convenience store

There is a ban on usage of plastic bags in shops in this region! Think it’s a great initiative to reduce plastic waste.

We were suppose to go via the town of Kalimpong but roads were closed/jammed in anticipation of the arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, so we had to take a detour. Another reason why having local guides and contacts are a bonus.

The roads got quieter and the air cooled down as we climbed to higher altitudes. We stopped at the Sikkim Tourist Centre to process our Inner Line border permits.

Getting our Inner Line Permits done. Approximately 30mins.

In the car

Doesn’t this dog look like a little fox!!!

Beautiful flowers en route

Dusk in Sikkim

By the time we reached The Elgin Mount Pelling, it was pitch dark. I couldn’t really make out what mountain stood in front of my window, but from the map, it was Moutn Kanchengzonga. Couldn’t wait to fall asleep and wake up to the view.

Lobby of the Elgin Mount Pelling

Good night! Can’t wait to show you what the morning looks like!

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