This Motorcycle Adventure commences from Kathmandu, Capital City of Nepal and proceeds through the Terai (The southern plains) to the eastern border. Crossing over the border into India, we visit SIKKIM – a small but beautiful land that lies almost hidden in the eastern Himalayas. Nestled between Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Darjeeling, Sikkim is a paradise of natural beauty believed to be the abode of Gods, Mount Kangchendzonga also written as Kangchendzonga (8686 meters- Third highest mountain of the world) is revered by the Sikkimese as their protective deity. Religion forms an integral part of the daily lives of the Sikkimese. Until its official merge with India on 26th April 1975 Sikkim was a Buddhist Kingdom under the Nyingmapa rule for over 300 years. In witness to this fact, more that 200 monasteries can be found around this tiny Himalayan State. Even on the remotest hamlet, the fluttering of prayer flags constantly reminds one of the teachings of Lord Buddha.
Before the migration of the Tibetans, the Lepcha’s were among the first settlers in Sikkim. However in the 17th century the struggle between the followers of “Yellow Hats” and “Red Hats” in Tibet forced the later to seek refuge in Sikkim where they attained the status of aristocracy and gradually dominated the state. However in 1973 the growing agitation against the monarchy led to the administrations collapse and the Indian troops stepped in, which was followed by political arm wrestling. Then in 1975 Sikkim become the 22nd state of India.
Sikkim state being a part of the inner mountain ranges of Himalayas is hilly, having varied elevation from 300 meters to 8686 meters. But the habitable areas are only up to the altitude of 2100 meters. With over 454 types of Orchid, over 600 species of butterflies, 500 species of birds, red pandas, snow leopards and other mammals in Sikkim is indeed a nature’s paradise.
We also have an opportunity to visit Darjeeling – The queen of the hills. Situated at an altitude of 2134 meters, Darjeeling has been a popular hill station ever since the British Raj days established it as a rest and recreation center for their troops over a hundred and fifty years ago. Blessed with a cool climate, it has, perhaps, the most stunning view of the Kangchendzonga range. With about 1, 00,000 inhabitants, it has a mixed population of various races and religions living in perfect harmony. This is vividly reflected at the shrine atop observatory Hill where Hindus and Buddhists pray together. Gorkhas, Tibetans, Lepchas and migrants from the plains have made Darjeeling their home. Though Gorkhali, Hindi and Bengali are widely spoken, almost everyone understands English.