I was walking up to a monastery in Dzongu, Sikkim, when rain met me. Yes, that’s how rain comes in Sikkim. No lightning, no thunderbolts. It’ll meet you like a friend who has been waiting for you just around the corner, rushing to meet as soon as you take a turn.

A gorgeously sunny day was soon smelling of freshly moist soil. I waited for the rain to stop, soon losing myself in the gorgeous vista. The Himalayas were standing lofty on the horizon in the front, while a dense forest of pines stretched at the mountain in the back. River Teesta was gregariously flowing somewhere down the cliffs; I could hear the sound of it, swirling through the high Himalayas. Before I start writing of the scene in poetry, I would put it in a few words – Dzongu is a magical place.

I’ll not be using a watermark on any of the images in the “Photo of the Day” series as they mar the entire visual. Sincerely hoping that you would report if you find the images copied anywhere else! If you’re fascinated by the vista above and wondering about the location of this magical place, here’s the info.

Where is Dzongu?

Dzongu is a village in the North Sikkim, India. It’s wedged between the wildly flowing River Teesta and the Himalayas. Home to the Lepcha tribe, Dzongu is completely off the tourist circuit and has a few homestays for accommodation. It’s around 70 km from Gangtok (check out this list of the best things to do in Gangtok).

Surprisingly beautiful, Dzongu is one of the place where you’ll find it hard to differentiate between truth and make-believe.

Rain drops dancing on a thatched stopover in Dzongu, Sikkim

Rain drops dancing on a thatched rain shield (if that’s a word) in Dzongu, Sikkim

How to reach Dzongu?

Dzongu can be accessed via Mangan. A drive of around 2 hours from Gangtok is all it takes for you to reach Dzongu. You can either drive yourself, get a taxi or hop on a shared jeep that plies from Mangan to Gangtok and other places around. From Mangan, you’ll need to hire a vehicle to reach Dzongu.

I would advise you not to drive to Dzongu unless you are well-versed with driving on roads that look more like mud patches! Hire a local cab driver and you would be go.

I used the taxi service of Mr Lepcha (phone no +91-96098-63602); he knows the roads well and has the best playlist on the car stereo!

What are the things to do in Dzongu?

Dzongu is more for nature lovers, who can roam around in the mist that comes sweeping around. Or else, engage in a football match with the locals, visit the tiny monastery that’s just a trek away, arrange a picnic by the side of Teesta, learn how to make a great stew out of fiddlehead ferns, try the homemade millet beer – Chi, laze around in the hot water geysers, take a 2 day trek to a Buddhist monastery, trek up to Lingthem and hope for a gorgeous view of Mt Kanchendzonga, go for a splash in the waterfalls, run the length of hanging bridges (which might just break from anywhere) over Teesta! Remember that not more then one person is allowed to cross at a time on some of those bridges!

On top of this all, you get a chance to stay with the Lepchas, some of the most amazing, warm and happy people I’ve met on my trips. And then, as I said, Dzongu is magical. Visit it if you’re a Peter Pan believer or to turn into one.

Dzongu might soon become a lost city owing to the proposed power projects on River Teesta. A biosphere reserve, the region needs to be protected rather than destructed. Please join hands with the Affected Citizens of Teesta to raise your voice against the projects. They need more people to make their voices heard.

Plan a trip to Dozngu with me in the Nomad Scribblings Tour; send in your inquiries at shikha@nomadscribblings.com

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