Another wild, wild experience is the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in the state of Kerala where in the course of a day’s drive, you can expect to see elephants, gaur, herds of deer and wild pigs, may be a leopard or, if you are lucky, even a tiger. This Sanctuary is a paradise of birdwatching and you can look for the crested hawk eagle, the king vulture, the crested serpent eagle and the Malabar grey hornbill. Ofcourse, you could avail of a jeep safari!
Drive to the border of southern Sikkim and the delightful drive through the foothills to the former capital of Yuksom! From Yuksom, you engage either porters or yak herder’s to carry your loads on the trail. Before doing so, you may spend some time at leisure doing some sight-seeing in this capital, as there are some important locations such as the Dub-di monastery or the hermit’s cell, the coronation throne of Norbugang, and the tiny Katok Lake nearby. The Khecheopalri Lake is a `wishing lake’ and is situated in a bowl-like declivity. The chief attraction of the Tashiding Monastery is its holy chorten, a monolith shaped like a sarcophagus and the most common religious symbol in the region, called Thong-Wa-Rang-Dol, the very view of which is supposed to wash away of sins. You may take a diversion to Gangtok just for a short visit to the Tibetan Buddhism’s most important centres, the magnificent Rumtek Monastery, a repository of countless invaluable artefacts , precious metal statues, gem-studded cenotaphs, exotic ritualistic paraphernalia, stacked within its cavernous portals. The official, though currently vacant, seat of the revered Karmapa Lama, the monastery is especially attractive during the Mahakala Dance in February, when giant figurines of protector deities raise hell in the courtyard and fight off evil demons. Revel in this epitome of adventure on the Beautiful Hilly Vacation Package!
The trek to Bakhim can take several hours so for the first day a packed lunch may be the order of the day. You may follow a well marked forest trail that winds high above the Rathong river. The trail winds through forests of conifer and oaks, mosses and ferns and past frequent side streams that tumble down the hillside. En route there are plenty of opportunities for bathing and some rest as the trail crosses a substantial bridge just upstream of the confluence of the Rathong River and the Prek River. From the bridge, it is a further one hour ascent to the small settlement of Bakhim, where a single Lepcha family lives, these being the original inhabitants of Sikkim who moved to the remote regions when large numbers of Tibetans migrated to Sikkim in the century. The Lepcha Heritage Museum has an offbeat collection of Lepcha treasures and is best likened to rummaging through the attic of a grandfather’s house, if he were their tribal elder. A guide will explain Lepcha creation myths, while pointing out the religious texts, sacred porcupine quill hat and several old pangolin skins. Although there is a Rest House in Bakhim, you normally camp in the forest immediately below the village.
From Bakhim, you ascend the meadows above before reaching the village of Tsoska. Tibetans who were granted this tract of land by the Sikkim government founded the village about a generation ago. From Tsoska the trail ascends steeply through magnificent rhododendron forests to the grazing meadow at Pethang, and enjoy the cold and calm weather enwrapping yourselves in the bliss of nature’s sparkling environs! A short stage, but necessary for acclimatisation before continuing to Dzongri. After some rest, an early start is imperative, the trail ascends steeply for an hour before you gain your first uninterrupted views of the peak of Kangchenjunga and Pandim . From the vantage point it is a further two to three kilometers, across the open meadows to the camp at Dzongri. Here you gain views of the main peaks of Khangchendzonga for sunrise views along the Singali Ridge, the impressive divide between Nepal and Sikkim. The panorama includes Kokthang , Rathong and Kabru. A more strenuous option is to descend on down to the Rathong Valley and from there complete a circular trek!