I went to Yuksom on impulse. I knew zilch about it. I headed there with a hope of finding tons of natural beauty, which I did. But, I felt more rewarded when I discovered that Yuksom was the original capital of Sikkim and it’s a land of the oldest monastery in the state. It’s known to be a small town, but it’s more of a village. The moment I arrived there, I knew it’s a peaceful place. So, I just succumbed to its simple life and even simpler people.
The strange thing about my sojourn in Yuksom is that I didn’t really do much – I don’t have many photographs to share either. Blame it on rain or on my bad stomach, I had to be confined to my room for a couple of days. Nevertheless, I had enriching experiences in Yuksom.
Befriending my fellow travellers
I met a couple of travellers from Germany at my home stay in Yuksom. We mostly ended up having dinners together, which led to a lot of conversations. The German lady used to be quiet as she didn’t speak much English, but she smiled warmly and conveyed friendly vibes. The guy (her son) and I used to talk a lot. I was amazed to know that he had explored my country more than me. Besides travel, we would also talk about random stuff like Bollywood (he told me that he had acted in a few Bollywood movies, where they needed white faces for an appearance or two).
You will be tempted to stop quite often and spend some moments in the serenity of nature.
Views on the way to Dubdi monastery.
Hiking up to Dubdi Monastery
We (the German guy and his mom) decided to go out for sightseeing together. It was expectedly a scenic way up to the monastery. It takes 40 to 60 minutes to hike up to the very top. I wasn’t feeling very well on that particular morning. I didn’t have breakfast due to my bad stomach. Thus, I was out of breath quite soon. But that old German lady walked way ahead of me. At one point, she even stopped and offered me her hand to help me walk faster. She told me that Germans were used to walking a lot. Although I also walk a lot on my travels, I was intimidated (and inspired) by her energy and spirit.
That's the backyard of the main monastery, which was under restoration.
17th century old monastery - Dubdi Monastery.
When I reached the monastery, I was a bit disappointed to see it under restoration. Anyway, it was still worth the hike. The views from such a height are obviously amazing and the atmosphere at the monastery is something to reckon with. Fortunately, there was a prayer ceremony going on, so we had an opportunity to witness that, too. It was being held as someone from the community had died. The senior monk chanted the mantras while the rest of the monks followed him. Later, the little monks served tea and snacks to the partakers in the ceremony.
Diyas lit at the entrance of Dubdi.
Falling sick and visiting a hospital
As I mentioned earlier, I had bad stomach in Yuksom, which just got worse. Luckily, there was a hospital right across the road where I stayed. My host escorted me there and I was given a few medicines. I would say that was the most "local" thing I ever did on my travels. In retrospect it was a deeper way of knowing the locals of Yuksom. Of course, I didn’t like falling ill on my travel. I also (kind of) lost courage to continue with my journey and thought about cutting it short and returning home. But, it all melted away on its own and I was back to my normal self pretty soon.
That was the view from my balcony.
Finding inspiration from a 70 year old
On one of the evenings after I had recovered a bit, I casually strolled in the garden adjacent to my home stay, while my old German fellow traveller sat on a swing engrossed in a book. After a while, she stood up and turned at me casually to ask if I would be interested in going to the lake nearby. Although I had no plans to go out that day, I was instantly pepped up to go along. I didn’t care to even get my camera or change slippers. I liked the spontaneity of it. We went to Kathok Lake (we had been there earlier also). After spending a few minutes in tranquility, we headed to the coronation site, which is known as the "Throne of Norbugang." The site has been converted into a heritage park where you can take a walk, observe the old and withered prayer flags, and visit the old monastery with a huge prayer bell (about 10 ft tall).
Kathok Lake - one of the best places to soak in the quietude.
Lessons learnt in the natural are seldom forgotten.
Meeting the KCC (Kangchenjunga Conservation Committee) members
It was a new experience for me to meet a committee, which is involved in nature’s conservation in Yuksom. KCC is doing a great job of protecting the environment in Sikkim. They particularly work towards recycling waste products, reducing garbage and maintaining the natural beauty of the state of Sikkim. They have an office in Yuksom, which reflects the kind of work they are doing – reutilising the used products like plastic bottles, Maggie packets and other such stuff. I made it a point to know about their vision and plans, because I support such organisations that work for our environment. Sikkim is a highly conscious state when it comes to nature conservation.
Thus, travelling in Sikkim is a joy.
Yuksom is a little town that birthed Sikkim. It’s DEFINITELY a place for nature lovers as well as for those who have curious eyes for the events recorded in history.
What do you say? Are you curious about Yuksom?