INDIA TOURISM: NORTH EAST INDIA (Part-2)

Posted by By at 29 September, at 22 : 21 PM Print

INDIA TOURISM: NORTH EAST INDIA

(Part-2)

By M.PadmanabhaReddy

We reached Gangtok by 1 P.M. (on 26-10-09) immediately set out for sight seeing.  Sun sets in North East by 5 P.M.  There is a rope way in the town connecting two hills.  We took the rope way and had a birds eye view of the town.  In spite of narrow hilly road there are no traffic jams.  Traffic rules are followed meticulously.  People are law abiding, crime rate is very low with the result central jail at Gangtok is almost vacant.  Mahatma Gandhi road, the main commercial area, is free from vehicular traffic.  On the both ends of the road (about 2 K.M.) in length, barricades are erected allowing only bicycles.  It is a pleasure to watch people leisurely walking with their kids and shopping.  Next day we planned to go to Nathu-La-Pass (a silk route in olden days), for this, permission is required.  The tourism office informed us that 27th October being army day; the army on the boarder will not allow visitors.  As a last resort we approached the Superintendent of police Gangtok.  He received us cordially and issued passes to check point near Nathu-La-Pass, In view of the army day function at Nathula-La-Pass, he expressed his inability to give permission to go beyond the check post.  Next day (27-10-09) morning we proceeded from Gangtok to Nathu-La-Pass.  The road is totally hilly terrain with steep climbing.  At few places there were land slides.  After traveling for about 3 hours on Ghat road we reached Nathy-La-Pass (about 16,000 M.S.L.).  Hawaldar ‘Nathuram Singh’ of Indian army was at check post.  Hearing us speaking in Telugu he approached us and said that he was in Secunderabad cantonment.  He felt sorry for not allowing us to go beyond the check post but gave us tips to view Nathu-La-Pass from nearby view point.  He advised us to come next day so that he can take us round the Nathu-La-Pass and show us the pass.  While thanking him for his good gesture we moved to the spot indicated by him and had a clear view of the Nathu-La-Pass.  Then we precede further 6 K.M. to reach Baba Mandir, a small shrine dedicated in memory of the soldiers who laid their lives in protecting the boarders of India.  By now we were totally exhausted, cold wind and high altitude pressure was telling on us.  We badly needed some refreshments.  On a small raised area a canteen run by families of army was open.  We went in and surprised to see affectionate ladies serving eatables and hot tea, the second surprise in store for us was the low prices – pizza is charged at Rs.20/- and Tea at Rs.5/-.  Reached back Gangtok, totally exhausted but, with thrilling experience of Nathu-La-Pass.

Next day (28-10-09) we started to Bagdogra air port in West Bengal, from Bagdogra we took flight to Guwahati (capital of Assam also called Dispur).  Situated on the banks of mighty river Brahmaputra, Guwahati is the gate way to the North Eastern states of India.  In ancient times, it is said, that the city was full of beetle nut trees rapped by pan creepers.’Gaw’ means beetle nut and ‘Hat’ means market (in Assamese language).  The geographical area of Assam is 78,438 Sq.K.M. with population of 2.66 crores.  The principal language is Assamese.  About 8 K.M. from Guwahati, atop Nilachal hills overlooking Brahmaputra River lays the famous shakti temple of Goddess Kamakhya one of the renowned Shakti Peeths in the country. (Contd..3)

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