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Nov 2016

Rabdense Ruins

Rabdentse was the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Gurkha army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now. This monument has been declared as of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India.

You get there by a 20min walk throughout the rainforest from the carpark. Then suddently the ruins appear and give away a brilliant view at the surrounding landscape. It reminds you slightly of the maya ruins.


Buddha Park & Ralang Monstery

In Ravingly s a newly built Buddha park. Key is a 130foot high statue The statue was consecrated on 25 March 2013 by the 14th Dalai Lama . Inside the life of Buddha is displayed via large paintings.

About 5km west lies the Ralang Monastery. During my visit there was a 4 week education even start the 24th of October. It was a lively place and somewhat surprising for Buddhist monastery. Of course the praying the, ceremonies, the Tibetans ... all the same... but then there were ones fully quipped with the lasted camera and TV / Video stuff, then they where joking all around, some high fives as well and all really mixed. Never experienced this before.



Sikkim - Until 1975 it was a monarchy and not really part of India. And it still feels not part of India. You cannot enter without a permit and if you want to go to the north or east of Gangtok, the Capital, your need even more permits. You are not allowed to drive alone and you must be a group of two at least. Sikkim has a reach landscape from jungles, rainforest like places, rivers, waterfalls and the Himalayas in the north with the third highes peak. Ant like Ladakh it is a Buddhism place . There are monastery everywhere, shame as prayer flags. Many tibtitans escaped from china to this place.


Darjeelings Backroads

Once your leave the main city your are greeted by and awesome scenery. The tea plantations are perfectly nestled alongside the hills and there are small road everwhere you pass along. If your think the city has already the heritage flair, then a drive through the tea plantations is just another level. Simply amazing.



Darjeeling - the other major English Hilton to the East. At about 2000m it is located in a area of natural beauty. Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, sets the horizon and from Tiger Hill if your are lucky and the weather is really good your can even see the top of Mount Everest.

The City itself is rundown but if your walk a bit your still can see a glimpse of the heritage and the glorious past. There are some good places to see such as the Tibet Museum, the Mall, the Mountaineering Institute, the St Andrews Church and places like the Joey’s pub or if you send it enjoy a stay at the 125 year old Elgin Heritage Hotel and experience some britishness. And of course there is also tea. A lot of. and the tea plantations are just everywhere around.


Road to Darjeeling

From Bhaktapur onwards my next major Destination was Darjeeling. But first I went alongside the BP and Manhendra Highway. Such scenic route and not much traffic. A Joyride.



Bhaktapur has the best preserved palace courtyards and old city center in Nepal, and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was the largest of the three Newar kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley, and was the capital of Nepal during the great 'Malla Kingdom' until the second half of the 15th century.

It’s the best destination in the Kathmandu valley. Not just for quality of the historic buildings but also for the market, the atmosphere, the beauty and there aren’t really cars in the city centre and only some bikes. So it is welcoming change to the noise Kathmandu.

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© 2016 Tim Afken Contact