Friday, November 18, 2011

Gorkhaland or Sumoland?

On my way out and down from Sikkim, via Darjeeling,  stuck in this jam, I wondered aloud, until the demand for Gorkhaland is met, why not name the hill-city Sumoland, at least three Gorkha taxi driver agreed heartily.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The land of the Lepchas


After a hard day's hike up and down Lingthem to document the damage done by the Himalayan earthquake, I had almost packed up for the day when I was presented this picture postcard scene of Dzongu, the land of the Lepchas.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sipping Tongba in Dzongu


Tongba better known as Chaang, the preferred drink of the Yetis according to the legends of the mountain people, is a bamboo cup full of fermented finger millet served in a large wooden glass, to which you add warm water and sip it slowly with a bamboo straw called Pipsings.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gangtok city - a planner's nightmare

Characterless, crowded, even claustrophobic, is how a Sikkimese friend describes it, I see just another shining example of the poor urban planning, terrible construction standards and no sense or aesthetics of architecture or of culture of safety that is the blight of rest of Indian urban centers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chhath Puja in Gangtok

First day in Gangtok, I discovered that half the town was shutting down after lunch to allow the migrant workers from the plains of Bihar and Nepal terai region to perform the sun-worship rituals of Chhath Puja. I joined the festivities to watch the wonderful women of Bihar,  far away from their homes and villages, in sub zero temperature, celebrated the festival with great style.