Right now I am sitting down at my study, slightly gibberish and trying to round up a few memories together. That’s what I do for a living, yes.. I live in contradictions and fictions. That’s what actors and writers are made up of! They live in parallel worlds. At least I would like to believe so.
From today I want to take you out on a journey.. Hundreds of miles away from where I live.
Sikkim. That’s the destination.
Before this, I have never been to North East. I do have many post cards in mind. They might all turn out to be the same or much more. I can’t wait to find out !
After a long shooting schedule in Kerala,I reached my Bangalore home and packed some woollen clothes and sweaters to catch the next day flight to Bagdogra, which is in West Bengal and from there four hours of drive to Gangtok. Gangtok is going to be my first destination in Sikkim.
It was a cold Christmas evening and the long drive never felt tiring. Was it the excitement or because I was seeing the very first bits of beautiful Sikkim..? I don’t know 🙂
Reaching Sikkim, we checked into Summit Golden Cresent Resort and spa. Now, this is the first time we are going to stay with a hotel group for the entire trip throughout a state. My partner was repeatedly saying that’s going to be a wise decision. Rather than spending time in discovering each property and talking to innumerable staff, it’s always better to go with single point of contacts if you are going to travel for a long time and there is no long breaks during the journey. This is something we learned in Rajasthan. And I am glad that even after a couple of months, I still feel we made the right decision.
The staff at Summit are so welcoming and we always felt happy around those peaceful faces.
Summit group has many properties across India, I think they brilliantly cover Sikkim in the best possible manner. The hotel group have both budget friendly and luxurious properties which we can choose from. Gangtok is one fine example, where they have three properties, each of them provide different customer experiences. I visited all three, stayed in two !
To my surprise, Gangtok was fairly crowded even in the times of Corona. All my college wallpapers came to realities. One can tell it’s an old city,the moment you get there. The streets, old buildings, hotels and roadside shops,markets. Everything there screams old stories!
Like everywhere we visit, we started walking around the city. You need to have a loaded breakfast because you end up walking a lot in Gangtok city. There are a lot of climbing and and down too! If you want to experience local cuisine, yes there are many options in MG marg.
I still have no clue how much we walked that day, I only know the day went very fast. By the time we reached back to the hotel it was really late. We had a delicious dinner at the hotel itself. Weather was beautiful, we slept in 8 degree Celsius. I had dreams of fairies and mountains,I told my partner the next morning:)
You need to have at least three days to see Gangtok. I might also be wrong here, because if you go to any ancient city, or any place with an impeccable history, you need to spend time there not counting days or weeks. I personally take all the places like a book. Ready to unfold but you really need to be ready for the story to unravel. You need to meet people.. May be sit somewhere you feel connected or even make beautiful friendships with the old generation. Those places, nature and people are the best ways to understand a new place.
In Gangtok, at first I saw tourists, and later, the people of Gangtok. Those who have been living there all their lives. Their livelihoods, jobs, families, dreams. Some are having trouble understanding the new pace of life. Some try to dream a new life abroad. Some proudly follow their family occupation.
Apart from those majestic mountains and lakes around, Gangtok is similar to any old city trying to change and evolve.
Last six months felt like a thriller movie for which we all were hesitant to sign up. And when I got a chance to come out of my home, I gladly did!
I have been to Madikeri couple of times, but never stayed there for long. This time, it was a road trip from Bangalore and we reached the place on a lovely rainy evening.
“Heritage Resort Coorg” was our home for the next few days. The moment we passed the gate, I knew the place was going to be memorable. I saw the front office building merging into the trees around and not standing out, unlike other luxury resorts. In some time, we saw similar camouflaged cottages with thatched roofs drenched in cold rain.
The entire property, as if there was no boundary wall, merged into the hills around as we checked in. The very sight of twilight from the balcony just got etched in my mind forever. The chirping of birds faded and then the sound of crickets slowly crawled in. I wished that evening was longer!
I got up early the next morning to see the veil of clouds all around the hills. We had our morning tea amidst all the glory and gloom. Since the property itself is large enough for a long morning walk, I decided to explore the place. From the man-made pond to the yellow flowers climbing the walls, I gazed as I walked around .. all the cottages stood in silence, with an old world charm. I felt the warmth of nature on every step of my walk. Best thing during that day was the spotting of several birds of the region. You know what, most of them will not fly away.. the squirrels aren’t scared of you.. birds are always around.. singing and chirping. After finding numerous reading spots for myself.. I went out of the resort and walked through the Galibeedu village streets. Plucked wild roses and sunflowers.. met with villagers.. stopped at a natural water stream. I could see life uninhibited. I felt connected all along!
In life, at times you need to take a step back and just observe the energy around. It only helps you to move forward. Despite all the general notion of Coorg being a fancy tourist destination, I found it endearingly close to heart and healingly spiritual.
I spent the day reading in woods and then on a wooden bench near the resort’s bonfire place. Even though they have a huge recreation centre.. I chose other unusual pretty places to open my books. One amazing thing I found inside the resort was how committed they are towards nature. You will find concrete dustbins all over the property. No plastic can be seen used or littered. It was also wonderful to know that they are recycling almost all used glass bottles.
On one of the evenings at Heritage Resort Coorg, I went for their Heritage Special Ayurveda Treatment. Miss Sarasu was the masseuse and I will recommend the treatment for anyone who goes for long walks and trekking. Especially, the kizhi (potli) massage works like magic.
Food was exceptionally good. They serve a pan India menu and special Coorg delicacies. Chef Sivakumar was really helpful throughout our stay. They also served us two specially curated meals by the infinity pool which was all very fancy.
I saw magical evening skies every day. Sometimes it rained throughout the night which kept me awake, but I would sit in the balcony sipping my coffee and listening to nature’s blissful rhythm.
I wish I stayed longer. Because one can never get bored of both Coorg and Heritage Resort Coorg. I am taking all the nice memories and moments I had there. I shall wish them the very best in bringing joy to their guests. Thank you so much for having me over and keeping me sane and supremely happy throughout my time there.