- Sikkim Diaries – Way to Pelling
- Pelling – Pemayangtse, Sanga Choling Monastery and Rabdentse Sanctuary
- Pelling – Darap Village, Kanchendjonga Falls and Khecheopalri Lake
- Yuksom- Coronation Stone and Norbugang Chorten
- Yuksom – Dubdi Monastery Trek
- Trailer of ‘Yuksom- Tsokha’ Trail
- Initiation into Birding @Bliss Resort, Biksthang, Sikkim
- Day Trek to ‘Kah-do Sang Phu-the cave of the Dakinis(Occult fairies)’
- Buddhism: Fluttering Flags and Floating Blessings
“The four great caves of Sikkim”:
Considering our inclination towards walking,the hotel manager at Bliss Resort, Bikisthang,West Sikkim, suggested us a trek from the resort that first climbs up through a bamboo forest, then climbs down through maize farms and then further down through a village,leading to Kahdo Sang Phu caves and then again climbing up to the resort at Bikisthang.
During the 8th C.E., Guru Rinpoche warned the great Tibetan King, Trisong Detsan, that Tibet’s sovereignty would be subjugated in the near future. The King requested Guru Rinpoche to leave Tibet and search for a secure place for the Dharma. After crossing the Himalayas, Guru Rinpoche reached the kingdom of Sikkim and found it to be the perfect place. While Tashiding was the main centre of his activities, he also meditated in four caves in the four cardinals to Tashiding.
These four sacred caves are: The Hidden Cave (Shar-chok Be Phu) in the East, The Secret Cave of the Dakinis (Lho Kahdo Sang Phu) in the South, The Cave of Great Happiness (nub bde chen phu) in the West. And to the North, is the Cave of God’s Precious Heart (byang lha ri rinchen nying phu).
The Secret cave of Dakinis( Occult Fairies) is associated with longevity and knowledge.
It was our third day in Bliss and eighth in Sikkim. It rained quite good a day before, rendering our trekking plan unsure. But Dorjee (hotel manager) assured us that it would start clearing.
As it had rained, I was apprehensive of leeches, which for sure would come out from beneath dried leaves. More dangerous would be those which will follow Newton’s gravitational law, falling from those big trees and landing straight on us. They are really nasty. They just don’t get plucked out, you have to rub salt to get rid of them. And Rachit? If he got “Leeched” he will not move a single step even if I apply all of my “साम, दाम, दंड, भेद”. Dorjee and others assured us that there will not be any leeches falling from trees as it has rained just a day or two.
The first thing we did was to tuck our trousers in our socks.A young boy named Furden accompanied us as our guide. Trek started right behind the hotel. We climbed some steep stairs and found ourselves in a thick forest. Gyurmee had told us that if we kept on walking, there would be less “leech” attack.
The path was carpeted with dried leaves. Leaches remain hidden beneath these leaves and when it rains they come out. And they were there, many of them! We did not stop much anywhere for photographs else leeches will get hold of us. We had to keep an eye continuously on Rachit’s feet for any leech attack. As soon as we spotted any on his shoes, we would stop, remove leech and move ahead. In this process, we got leeches on our shoes and sometimes up to our socks, but it could not reach to our skin as our thick cargos were inside the socks to protect us. Still two leeches somehow reached my feet. One time Manish and another time I myself, duly spotted it on time and simply pulled it out. That was enough to cause little oozing of blood and continuous itching.
Now and then, either I was bending to itch or lifting my foot up to itch. If I was not doing that, I was bending down to remove Rachit’s leech or lifting him up so Manish could pull it out. In the mean time I was continuously doing left-right, left-right to save myself from another leech attack. This endless functionality of all my limbs must have made me look funny. Rachit was laughing and laughing. He said “Mamma you are doing it like Mr. Bean”. For a moment this comment broke my mind’s continuous engagement with leeches.
Good God! These beasts were attacking only from the ground. What would it had been like if they started falling from trees as well? Even the thought of it, made me shiver. Somehow we crossed that dense, leech-infected forests and were now walking on a flattened but narrow top of an elongated hill chain. So it was like a long pebbled, rocked road flanked on both sides by deep valleys.
Big mountains again flanked these valleys. On our right ride were the mountains of Namchi- another small city of Sikkim that we could easily locate. Then Furdeen pointed towards left side mountains trying to explain us that there behind that hill was Baichung Bhutia’s village. Once again we were standing there trying to figure out behind which mountain. After failing for second time in just six days, we gave up and moved on. A little further we found a rock protruding out of the road into the valley. It would definitely be safe from Leech and so we settled down there. So we were practically sitting on a rock protruding in the deep valley.
Soon we resumed trekking, climbing up for a while and then climbing down through step farms. The farming was mainly of ginger and maize.
Rachit and Furden were leading us.
Furden took us to a priest who was having his lunch. He finished his lunch quickly and took us to the cave.
The priest invited Manish inside and after performing prayers asked Manish to give paisa (coin). My beloved husband took the request literally and looked for a coin in all his pockets, finally found a five Rs coin, handed it over to the priest and came outside. He heard priest speaking something loudly that he could not decipher, but for sure he was not blessing him. He asked Furdeen what the priest was speaking (cribbing)? Furdeen a shy boy said it was nothing.
Sometimes Manish is really very cute! Or ignorant! Or innocent! Or not-so-street-smart! Well! It depends on my mood at that time!!
From there, we further descended down, crossing terraced farms on hills and finally found ourselves on a tar-road. A Tar-road! There was no way to keep Rachit going on a tar road. He could walk entire day but not more than few minutes on tar. It had been around four-five hours since we started to trek and now it was a climb up of some 3-4 km. Luckily a bus arrived which was going to Mangalbarey. We boarded the bus and reached Bliss around two pm.
At the resort Manish congratulated me that among us only I had the unique experience of leech sting? I wished, may God enrich his experience too!