Monday, February 25, 2013

A PRIVATE VISIT TO GANGTOK ,SIKKIM ..


                                                                        

Autar Mota visited Gangtok ( Sikkim ) in  2011. This land of Lepachas , Bhutias and other migratory population essentially Nepalis( Mostly Hindus . Nepalis  with small but powerful Trading communities from Bihar , Rajasthan , UP and West Bengal) is presently the most preferred destination by tourists to escape summer heat and dust of the plains . It rains almost every day. You also enjoy sunshine almost every day. You see clouds every day . Sometimes dancing in the main Bazar of the Town . Sometimes near the Hills and quite often over the vast skyline. With maximum daytime temperature hovering around 24 degrees Celsius ,we could feel the cold climate even during peak summer season . Yes cold breeze makes you to pull out a shawl or a cardigan from the suitcase especially during morning and evening time.





                                                                                        

Beautiful Assembly building on hill top Gangtok approached by a cable car as well. There are 32 MLAs in Sikkim Legislative Assembly .Sikkim State has a population of about 6 lakhs and almost entire state is hilly. River Teesta is considered as lifeline of Sikkim.. Sikkim has about 75 monasteries, the oldest dating back to the late sixteenth centaury . The per capita income stands at Rs 11,356, which is one of the highest in the country. Literacy in Sikkim is 69.68%, which breaks down into 76.73% for males and 61.46% for females.Sikkim has the third highest per capita alcoholism rate amongst all Indian states, behind Punjab and Haryana. Nepali is the lingua franca of Sikkim. There has never been any communal violence in this part of the country.

                                                                               
                                                                      
                                                                                        

 Roughly 30 kms from Silliguri on Silliguri - Gangtok highway , lies an important bridge across Teesta river known as CORONATION  BRIDGE. The road from   this bridge goes  to  Bhutan, Assam , Manipur and Nagaland etc. . John Chambers, the last British executive Engineer of the Darjeeling Division Public Works Department (PWD), carried out the design, drawing and planning of the bridge. It was named to commemorate the coronation of  KING GEORGE VI in 1937 and was completed in 1941 . The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by JOHN ANDERSON the then Governor of Bengal in 1937. The bridge has been built on the CANTILEVER system. Since it was not possible to obtain support from the Teesta river bed due to the depth and current of water, the entire bridge was supported by a fixed arch, which had its two ends fixed on rock layers on either side of the river.   




                                                                       
 Isn’t this like the kashmiri Bread ( Kaandhur Tseot ) ? The man came at 5 AM and kept calling PHALLEY! PHALLEY ! . I asked the Hotel waiter what does he sell. “ Sahib Phalley ! Nepali Bread " With sizeable presence of Nepalis in the state , Locals too have adopted to various traits of Nepali way of life. Pawan Chamling present CM has also a Nepali. Buddhist influence is visible every where predominantly in construction of Buildings and religious places. You have the day break at 4.30 AM in north east . People sleep at 10 PM and get up at 4.30AM . It is all visible at4.30 AM...




                                                                        
Nepali style of Rangoli to welcome guests .kashmiri Pandits too make Rangolis on auspicious occasions . They call it  as Vyoog .


                                                                                                                                            
 Prayer wheels form an integral part of the Budhist Worship . Lama Lendup at LINGDUM Monastery Sikkim informed me that Mantra recitation is the essence of Budhist meditation hence mantras are also written on wheels that are moved by hand , water and wind. Mantras are also written on cloth displayed as Prayer Flags atop buildings . The Prayer wheels or MANI WHEELS usually contain the Mantra OM MANI PADME HUM. It is believed that when the wheel is turned or rotated , the effect of the Mantra spreads in the environment . I had seen the hand held Prayer wheels . I had also seen the fixed Prayer wheels rotated by worshippers . Just 10 Kms from Gangtok enroute to the famous View point, I saw this Prayer wheel run continuously by water of a streamlet



                                                                               

 O! Kanchenchunga! Yes one has to wait for the Glimpse of the Mount Kanchenchunga to emerge clear from clouds . Sometimes for a week’s time . We too had to wait for two days . Clouds cleared it for just half an hour and then again eclipsed it . Every body from the Hotel rooms started clicking the magnificent view. I am told that more clear view can be captured from Darjeeling . Kanchenchunga is the third highest mountain in the world ( Height 28,000 feet)

                                                                       

LINGDUM MONASTERY ABOUT 25 KMS FROM GANGTOK SIKKIM.

  It was a great experience to visit and be in the monastery for about three hours ."Om Mani Padme Hum", "Om Bajrasatwa Hum" and such other prayers are inscribed everywhere in tis monastery . yes on the walls, over the doorways, along the beams .




                                                                         

Lingdum is just an hour's drive from Gangtok.Stepping inside the monastery grounds, you are simply awestruck to see the Main Building's architecture , Murals , paintings , statues , adornments and of course the location of the sprawling complex set in the background of green hills.
I can only add a couplet of  Hazrat Shah Niaz , a sufi saint poet from Punjab.

Soorat e Gul Mein Khil -khilaa ke hansaa
Shakl e Bulbul Mein Chah -Chahaa Dekhaa…
Kahin Hai Baadshaah e Takht Nashin
Kahin Kaasa Liye Gadaa Dekhaa.
Dekhtaa aap Hai sunay Hai Aap
Na Koyee uskaa Ma sivaa dekhaa ……….
Yaar Ko Hum Ne Ja Ba Ja Dekhaa……………………………

( *Hazrat Shah Niaz )


Amidst flowers in bloom , saw him laughing merrily ,
And again Saw him like a Nightingale singing melodiously…….
At times appearing like a monarch in power
And at times a mendicant with a begging bowl.
He alone is the onlooker and also the listener ,
saw none other than him all over here …..
 In every arrangement I saw that beloved only .

(Autar Mota ..25th Feb 2013..Time 11.45 PM .... Good Night 


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