Sikkim, the Last Shangri La

Gurudongmar Lake

View across lake Gurudongmar. Image: flickr/soumyajit pramanick

Sikkim is the 22nd state of India. It is the least populous state and second smallest state of country. It borders Nepal in the west, Tibet to the north and the east and Bhutan in the southeast while West Bengal borders it to the south. The thumb-shaped state is wholly mountainous terrain with an elevation ranging from 280 m to 8585 meters. Continue reading

Darjeeling, the Queen of the Hills

Darjeeling Tea Garden

Darjeeling Tea Garden. Image: Jishnu Chakraborty

Darjeeling, also called the ‘Queen of the Hill Stations’, is celebrated for its tea and its toy train, a World Heritage Site. The fabulous Kanchenjunga Himal (8582 m), the third highest peak in the world, is a familiar backdrop to the town. Darjeeling town is the headquarters of Darjeeling District in West Bengal of India. Continue reading

Skilled Hands at Work, Nepal’s Top 5 Handicrafts

Nepali Pashmina

Pashminas displayed in a local shop. Image: flickr/Patrick Gage Kelley

1997 to 2000 were boom years for the pashmina industry in Nepal. Markets in the West were so enamored by the elegance of Nepali pashmina that they just couldn’t have enough. According to a leading manufacturer then, orders were doubling and quadrupling every other month. Continue reading

Gangtok—Paradise Regained

Gangtok Town. Image: flickr/Amit

The man behind the reception desk at the Tourism Information Center on MG Road, Gangtok, asks me, “Do you have an ILP?” Seeing my confusion, he elaborates, “Do you have an Inner Line Permit?” “I didn’t know that I needed one,” I answer. “Well, then that makes your visit illegal,” he says. Continue reading

Kalimpong—Nature’s Retreat

On the last week of one November, I landed in Kathmandu after a six-month stay in the United States of America. The very next day, I took a flight to Bhadrapur, from where I drove down to Kakarvita on the Indo-Nepal border, and then to Siliguri on the other side. Continue reading

Scintillating Silver Jewelry of Nepal

A long time back, a friend had the opportunity to visit Copenhagen in Denmark. He took along a score or so of Nepali silver jewelry with him and showed them around in some shops on Stroget (the city’s famous pedestrian street). To his pleasant surprise, almost all of the pieces were snapped up immediately. Continue reading

Getting inked up in Kathmandu

tattoo in nepalAlways wanted a tattoo but never knew what to get, or where? That problem was solved when my girlfriend gave me the smallest Christmas present ever. I looked at the wrapped up gift, which was about the size of a playing card, with utter disappointment. I unwrapped it to find a business card showing the receipt of money paid for a tattoo, and my appointment date: the 11th of January. Continue reading

Organic Food in Nepal

A review by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded that organic food does not have any significant advantage over normal food. However, this holds no water with millions of health conscious people around the globe including in Nepal where interest in organic food is growing stronger every other day. Continue reading