STUDY TOUR IN NOVEMBER 1996.
As scheduled a team of exited architecture students left CST station at 9.30 pm by 1015 Down-Kushinagar Express to Gorakpur on the 13th of November. The train was scheduled to reach Gorakpur at 8.10 am on the 15th.But we reached Gorakpur at 8.00pm. We were 12 hours late.As a result the buses which were going to pick us up and leave us at the Sonuali Border had already left the station due to the delay.Finally we managed another buses and reached Sonuali border at about mid night. We walked our way into Nepal.
Crossing the border was really exiciting.We walked through the no mans land, the feeling was great.On crossing the border there were buses which were waiting for us. We started our journey to Kathmandu. We reached Kathmandu on the 16th morning. It was a little chilly. The most pleasent sight was when I layed my eyes on the snow capped mountains ,I just could not stopping looking at them.
On the 16th we visited the Pashupatinath Temple. Pashupatinath is the most important Hindu temple in Nepal. It's located at the Bagmati River, 5km east of Kathmandu. At Shivarati (Shiva's birthday, new moon in the month Fagun, Feb.-March) many pilgrims come to this holi place. An excellent example of the elaborate carving done on the Hindu temples that can be found all over the Kathmandu valley.These doors are carved from very hard wood and here are some doors which are hundreds of years old.There is a typical style of the windows , they are all carved from hard wood as said earlier. Carving are done on gold too. Use of gold is done in the decoration of the temples. This makes them look rich and ever enlightened.Photography inside the temple complex is prohibited.
The imposing Stupa of Boudhanath is about 500 years old.It is a unique representation of Lord Buddha's teachings in three dimensions. It is largest stuppa in Nepal.BUDDHANIL KANTHA Here the lord is in a resting position and is immersed in water.
BALAJI WATER GARDEN This garden has various types of flowers and fountains.
SWAYAMBHUNATH TEMPLE. This is the famous Swayambhunath temple decorated with the watchful eyes of Buddha. Wild monkeys live at this temple, which is located a few kilometers outside of Kathmandu, so watch out!There is a small section of the market area where many stalls can be found. Nepalese women love shiny beads and buy many strings of them.There are these black and red bands which are braided into women's hair for special occasions.
We reached Pokhara on the 17th morning. We were a little tired as we were travelling the whole night.But when we layed our eyes on the most pleasent sight that is of the snow capped mountains , we were all again a team of enthusiatic students. I just could not get my eyes of the snow capped mountains. Pokhara is a very beautiful place. It is full of waterfalls. One can call it as the LAND OF WATERFALLS.We visited the DEVIíS WATER-FALLS,here we all put our hands in cool water and posed for photographs. Next we went to THE SHIVAíS CAVE.Here we had to pass through a cave ,it was pitch dark,the only way of seeing was with the help of torches ,the caves had a waterfall over, as a result the water was dripping all the way through the cave. The best moment in this dark cave is when one sees the shiv-ling of lord Shiva at the furthest end. That night we had camp fire. It was chilly, all were rapped up in woolen clothes.
On the 19th morning we left at 3.30 am to see the sun-rise.The most peculiar thing about the sun rise in Pokhra is the golden effect (the first rays of the sun falls on the snow capped mountains which cause of the the reflection gives the golden effect to the snow capped mountains.)We had to climb atleast two kilometers to reach our destination from where we could see this effect. We could see frozen streams on the Annapurna mountain ranges. I have no words to describe how beautiful it was.............
We went on a boat ride on the RIVER SETTI.In the centre of the river there is island on which there is a temple. Later we visited a temple of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesh. We were happy to see Lord Ganesh , in the sense that all this time we were only seeing Lord Buddha and Lord Shiva.
The same day we left Pokhara, Nepal. We entered back into INDIA through the Kakarvitta border. We had to pass through the customs. There were about five to six check posts, this time We did feel we were crossing borders .*heheh*.... not like the Sonuali border where we just walked through. When we finally crossed the borders ,I felt I was bac home, it did give a homely welcome , the soil and the breeze was very welcoming. It was no more a place which was a just a place which I have come to visit, but it was like coming back home.
Darjeeling is situated on a ridge at 7000' in the eastern Himalayas. The road from the Indian plains up to Darjeeling climbs 7000' and follows the railway line used by the Toy Train. The railway often zig-zags its way up the mountains and crosses the road many times. It takes you from Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling through the steep mountain sides. On a clear day Kangchenjunga is visible, The mixture of British, Tibetan and mountaineering history makes this an interesting place to visit. Darjeeling , centre of India's most celebrated tea growing district,has possibly the most picturesque views among all Indian hill resorts.Outside the monsoon season (June to September), the views across the snowy peak of Kanchenjunga and other mountains down to the swollen rivers in the valley are, simply magnificent.
Darjeeling is a fascinating place, where the tourist can see Buddhist monasteries, visit a tea plantation, see how the tea is processed, go for a ride on the chairlift, go shopping in the colourful markets or go trekking to high altitude spots, near the border with Sikkim.
Darjeeling has the Tiger Hill. It is the highest spot in the area at a height of 2590 metres,about 11 km from Darjeeling. The hill is famous for its magnificent dawn view over the Kanchenjunga peak. On a clear day, Mount Everest is also visible. Close to Tiger Hill is Senchal Lake, a popular picnic spot.
Ghoom Buddhist Monastery is the most famous monastery in Darjeeling and is about eight km from town. It enshrines an image of Maitreya Buddha (the coming Buddha). Natural History Museum, Ropeway, Botanical gardens and The Zoological Park are some other attractions.We saw the SHERPA TENSINGH ROCK (where he had practised before climbing the Mount Everest) and the Botasia Loop.
We stayed at The Palace Mahakal, Cooch Behar Road, Darjeeling. The reason for mentioning the name of the hotel is cause it was the most beautiful, different,.......place. The planning of this place was really magnificient.This place was built on the hill slopes of Darjeeling. The entry to this structure was from the middle story of the structure and not from the groundfloor. Doesnít this sound interesting....My room was the finest room here, it had bunker beds , a balcony which overlooked Darjeeling....I loved staying here. To go to my room one had to go two floor down from the main entrance of the hotel.It gave the feeling as one was going underground but actually we were very much above the ground. It was really exciting.The temperature was -2 C . We were stuffed with the maximum woolen clothes as one can see in the photographs clicked. We left this heaven on earth on the 22nd and headed for a four hour drive in a jeep to sikkim , the other heaven on earth. These places are real so... cool , take all the meaning of cool *hehe*.
Sikkim isnít just a state, itís a state of mind. A world where monastries flourish on the hills and trade thrives on the streets in Sunday markets in every town. Itís a cool, tranquil world in every sense of the world.The easiest way to get there is by driving up from New Jalpaiguri or siliguri in West Bengal. Although Gantok, the capital of Sikkim, is only a 100 kilometers from Siliguri, be prepared for a long drive. A thin sliver of road clings to the hill-side, providing breath taking views of the valley below as you ascend to 5,000 feet above sea level to Gangtok, a town that clings tenuosly to the hill-side, seemingly defying the forces of gravity. Thereís not too much to see in Gangtok, but its environs hold a treasure-trove of surprises. Like Changu Lake, for example situated at a height of 11,500 feet, Changu Lake is frozen almost all year round. Nevertheless, the sheer beauty and serenity of the place is enough to make you forget about the chilly climate, And if youíre still feeling cold, let a friendly yak warm your hands for you.
Ruminating about Rumtek.If nature has its own peaceful attractions around Gangtok, can man be far behind? Just four kilometers from Gangtok lies one of the worldís most important monastries, Rumtek Pennants with Buddhaís teaching flutter on giant bamboo poles, welcoming you to the monastery complex which consists of a prayer hall, monks quarters and a centre for Buddhist studies. All the buildings are adorned with elaborate religious paintings on the walls and intricate carvings on the wooden facades. The monastery also houses a golden altar, crafted with utmost delicacy, The Buddha, is surrounded with smaller golden statues of Buddha, representing his avatars in previous lives.
We visited a flower exhition which was put up during that time . We saw flowers that we had never seen in our lifes. Nature is so beautiful. It has its own limitations as to the shape, colour, and size of the different flowers, shrubs and trees. Cuisine available is extensive, though Sikkim has no cuisine of its own. The local food is an interesting potpourri of Tibetan, Chinese, Thai and Burmese influences.:)) On the 24th we started for Siliguri , the way from Gantok and Siliguri was astonishing, We were accompanied by the free flowing river and several streams.We were leaving the heaven and proceeding towards the earth *heheheh*. Doesnt it sound funny.!!!!!!
Then a fifteen hour drive from Siliguri brought us to Calcutta. We reached Calcutta the capital of WestBengal on the 25th. As any other city, it had heavy traffic,all our woolen closes were packed into the bays, as it was hot, we were bac into the noisy world with the vehicals honking all the way.*sob* We were missing the snow capped mountains and the chi...lly climate.
We saw Eden Gardens , that day the match of INDIA vs SOUTH AFRICA was to be held, we looked around the stadium if we could get a glance of any of the SOUTH AFRICAN players especially that of JONTY RONDES.*.hehehhhe*....... We dinít do any sight seeing in Calcutta,*sob*...On our way to the HOWRA station, on the 26th , we went through the Howra bridge. It has a lovely composition of the trusses.It is a magnificient bridge.
Here we come to the end of our fun filled , educative, adventurous ,.....study trip.Now the only one thing all were craving for was to be bac home in BOMBAY. Our train journey was of two complete days , we all tried to make the best use of this time by playing, fooling and possing for photographs and sleeping too.*heheheh* *lol*..... Now we were all proceeding to the LIFE OF SUBMISSIONS , the end of masti..which was to such a large scale ......`
We reached BOMBAY on the 28th, we all were a little tired and sad too but when we saw our parents and friends at the Kurla terminus station egarly waiting for us.. ,at that very next moment we all were happy....to be home bac.
All the DYPCANíS took leave from each other by shouting out the slogans that had bond them together under a single title of the DYPCANíS for fifteen days and which will always ......................................