Humans of Sikkim

Humans! If you were to ask me, what really defines a  place, the first thought that would come to my mind is the -Humans! It’s the humans, who stay, breathe, eat, sleep and live that make a particular spot on the earth so special. It’s their habits, their customs, little pearls of traditions that actually make up a city, town, village or simply put a mountain! Therefore, it was no wonder when I was first drawn to Sikkim- popularly hailed as the ‘lost kingdom’ of India, in particular because of its citizens.

Sikkim is a small wonderland, surrounded by Himalayas of Nepal in the West, Tibet occupied China in the east and north and Bhutan to the west. It is therefore but natural for travellers to find an amalgamation of different cultures and a riot of varied languages, castes, traditions and off course the food! 🙂 Without much ado, here’s  a quick photo-story of the interesting people @Srinistuff and I met in Sikkim!

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This lady was the first woman we met on our Sikkim trails. The aunty, whom we can call the 10,000 feet Cafe aunty (Since that’s the name of her cafe), was full of hospitable mood and made our day with a full bowl of Maggi and Nescafe coffee (the only things that can help you survive up in the Himalayas) 😉 

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Sikkim, East Sikkim, Himalayas

These cute little girls were in their full glory and enjoying a game of snowball with their friends when we arrived in the cold freezing temperatures of the Nathula Pass in East Sikkim. There’s some child like quality in their smiles, that made it such a memento for me 🙂

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This uncle I would call the ‘Sherpa’ uncle. He was the first guy who accompanied us on our drive through the Nathula Pass. While he didn’t interact much with us, he was very warm. His pride about his hometown was evident from the way he kept on asking us “You have never experienced cold. Your city isn’t this cold!” 

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Sikkim, Feet on the map, Himalayas, Nathula

Meet ‘Tika.’ She owns a cafe  at 12,000 feet in the Gurudongmar Circuit. We met her on our way to Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim. While most of my co-travellers struggled to get out of our comfortable cars in the dreaded cold, Tika just wore a sweater and smiled with red lips. When I asked her about her name and I couldn’t get it, she chided “What does tika mean.. It means tika.” Suddenly a flash of light dawned on me! It means a vermilion on the forehead! Oh, BTW, her Maggi was too yum!

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Feet on the map, Sikkim, Himalayas, Gangtok

Another post card moment was capturing this monk in front of a Buddhist Stupa in Gangtok. It’s such an enlightening moment for me to realize that even the Buddhist monks  are way too progressive these days, inspiring people to lead an enlightened life without sacrificing world’s biggest gifts! 🙂

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Feet on the map, Rumtek, Gangtok, SIkkim, HimalayasThe sweetest lady I perhaps met on this trip. A Tibetan woman, she is an old-timer at Rumtek Monastery in Gangtok.  All she could say was “Ram-ram”, meaning hello in Hindi. She was amazed at us clicking her pictures and just offered “Namaste” in gesture.

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Feet on the map, Germany, Sikkim, Football, Himalayas, Nepali

Meet Shekhar bhai. This cool dude, loves football and off course the Germany team (Notice the flag in his car!) He steadily kept us company for 48 hours , driving us through some of the treacherous and most beautiful roads of North Sikkim! But his only disillusionment? People who can’t drive on Mountain Roads! They should be just banned, he laments! 😐

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Feet on the map, Gangtok, Tibet, Bhutan, Himalayas, Tashi Tagey

This one’s another lifelong memory I will ever have! On the last day of our stay in Gangtok, we happened to be lucky and got placed in a Tibetan Homestay. The couple- Nyima aunty and Dorji uncle are originally from Tibet but met in Bhutan. They got married and came to India 27 years back. From that moment, Tashi Tagey –  meaning “8 lucky sings” was born!

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I remember the last time, @Srinistuff reminded me of a quote- “On your travels, you meet real people.”  I can’t stop but wonder about all these beautiful people away from the hustle bustle of a city life. They perhaps have the most toughest of lives, but they don’t forget to smile at any given moment!

Have you met any such wonderful people on your travels? What’s  your experience been like? 🙂

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