Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kanchan Calling...

"Kanchan Calling" was the buzz phrase.....Hype that promised much - especially with regards to the "horizontal limit" to Kangchenjunga, finally delivered its promise on the morning of 2nd December. The curtain of clouds (and mists of doubt) were finally lifted - and this is the sight that greeted me as I stepped out on to balcony first thing in the morning -

We, of course, had gone to Deolo Hills (at about 5500 feet) near Kalimpong. We started on the night of 30th November, a gang of about 15 IBM colleagues and their families.

The next day we reached Siliguri - but that was a day when Bengal's Lady Peter Pan decided to throw yet another of her "Oh-I-want-a-lollipop" tantrums and call a bandh. So the day was essentially wasted as we had to wait in Siliguri itself. It was not until late afternoon that we started for Kalimpong and reached there at night.

We of course had lost a day, so the next day was anticipated to be hectic - and it was...We first went to nearby Pedong to pickup our guide. We then took us to a place called Ramithey. The distance from Pedong to Ramithey is merely 6 miles or so - but we climbed from a distance of 4800 feet at Pedong to 6400 feet at Ramithey in that short distance. The "road" was steep, bumpy, wet and tested our Chevrolet Taveras to their nuts&bolts.

One is supposed to get a almost 360 degree view of peaks from the top of Ramithey - the only things we managed to see, however, were clouds and haze (and a few photographs that promised much). On the way back to a hearty lunch at Pedong we had a short stop at Silence Valley. The day ended with a long drive to Aritar Lake in Sikkim and a bonfire back at the Deolo Tourist Lodge.

Here are the photos from the first two days.

Of course the last day was vastly different. The morning was glorious and the backdrop of Kangchenjunga majestic. Justice was finally done to the SLR's and the megapixels we had carried along.

However, soon it was time to say goodbye to 'Kanchan' and return to the mundane world. We took a bit of a detour and came down to Siliguri via Gorubathan.

Photos from the last day

Another aspect of this tour worth remembering was of course the food - our beloved Phalguni-da, needless to say laid down very high standards and went all the way to ensure 'demanding customers' like Gairik-da and yours truly were satisfied. 'Kanchan' may not have made an appearance on the first two days, but the chicken legs certainly did (and disappeared equally quickly).