Uttarey, Sikkim – A Blissful Day in a Beautiful Village

by Sagarneel Sengupta

This post is in continuation with a previous one and a part of my Sikkim travelogue. We reached New Jalpaiguri from Delhi by train and then Ravangla by road. From Ravangla, we went to Borong and then to the small village of Uttarey. Our 5th day of the trip was spent relaxing in Uttarey, details of which are described in the post below. To read the previous parts of the travelogue, please click on the links below.

The journey so Far:

The memory of the previous moonlit night had painted my dreams in silver tones. When I woke up the next day, at the wee hours in the morning, the picture of the pristine land that featured in my dream, still lingered in my mind.

Someone sitting high above, with a mischievous smile on his face, wanted to reveal more of his magical creations. I went out, and this time the valley looked entirely different.

Day 05 – Uttarey: A Blissful Day

If it bathed in white the previous night, the day had brought a metamorphosis with the morning sun rendering its crimson hues all across the valley.

The giant hills that looked beautiful but frighteningly dark the previous night looked like a smiling playful child. A child who had just shed their black blanket and put on a green jacket with ornate golden embroidery. The weather was perfect and hills far off along with the ridge that borders Nepal were visible.

Not a single human soul was to be seen anywhere. Scores of birds chirped. The flowers, with the morning hues dripping from them, looked as happy as a baby in his mother’s arm. The hills were of different colors. The ones close by were apparently greener, whereas the ones far off had a smoky bluish haze.

As the morning light touched and caressed the foliage, the faint moon on the blue sky faded only to return with a promise of another magical night.

Enjoying the Peace & Natural Beauty

We had the entire day at our disposal. It was our first rest day after 3 continuous days of traveling on ugly roads. We planned to enjoy every moment of priceless leisure; just the way a classical music lover enjoys a thumri with eyes half-closed and his body moving slowly with the tune of his favorite piece.

Our breakfast was ready. Instead of having it in our room, we went out in the morning sun and enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast on the garden chairs. All elements of nature, the flowers, the plants, the innumerable insects seemed to have their own share of fun amidst this blissful and bright day.

Uttarey with its valleys dazzling in gold had won our hearts and seemed to welcome us with its bright and beautiful smile. I guess nature has a profound effect on human behavior, and that’s why Vijay, the all in all of the hotel had an ever-smiling face.

Although his Hindi, blended with pure Nepali, was out of our comprehension, his smile told a thousand untold stories. He was always eager to serve and make sure that we contended. Guess the purity of nature around and above all that of the human soul had infected our inner beings too.

There was plenty of time life left for the day, and we took a stroll to visit the main Uttarey village, half a mile from our resort.

A Walk through the Village

During the planning phase of my trip, I had contacted Mr. Purna Subba. Although I could not stay at his hotel (Sawdens) due to his prior bookings he kept on calling me intermittently merely to ask how I was doing. I don’t regret staying at his hotel though. If I consider the ambiance of the two resorts and compare Sawdens with Nagbeli, the latter is far ahead in terms of mere looks and grandeur. I just LOVED it.

But his calls had nothing to with his business. It was just simple straight out-of-the-heart calls to check on me. Calls from someone whom he had only known over the phone. I must say, we city mortals hardly meet such people, and I had promised him that I would definitely pay him a visit while I was in Uttarey.

Our stroll took us to hotel Sawdens, and we learned that Mr. Subba had gone to Pelling due to some urgent work! Unfortunately, our Airtel networks did not work in Uttarey and we could not contact him after reaching there. Hence, he didn’t have any idea that we were traveling during that time.

Although we could not meet Mr. Subba, we took a stroll on the road that overlooked the lush green hills. My personal opinion is – the view of the valley is better from Nagbeli, probably the best in all of Uttarey. Although all the hotels in Uttarey are located near the main market area in a series.

It’s hard to describe how Uttarey really is. It’s all about a few odd grocery stores, a couple of default liquor shops, a few hotels, and nothing else apart from eternal bliss and calmness.

Innocence and Mischief

As we strolled, we came across the cutest child of Uttarey, an inconspicuous but utterly mischievous-looking kid who crawled on the courtyard of Hotel Lake view. On spotting us, he let out a scream of joy as if he knew us for long.

As I pointed my camera, he was proved his worth as a future model by posing in various styles. Innocence personified loitered in the valley of innocence. The kid with his smiling face and childish antiques seemed to be one of the many scattered parts of nature’s jigsaw puzzle.

The sun was a little uncomfortably bright by then and we felt our guts buzzing the inbuilt alarm clock to remind us that it was lunchtime. My wife who was tired after this long Uttarey march, panted while we hiked up to Nagbeli.

Although it was not a steep ascent, it was stressful for her to make it to our resort. She let out a sigh after we finally reached. The sigh was so dramatic and portrayed such peace, relief, and containment that my guess is – even the summit of Mt. Everest had not heard such a sigh after Hillary and Norgay first conquered it.

The lunch was awesome as usual. I took a post-meal walk towards the local monastery. My wife was too scared at the prospect of another climb and preferred to stay back.

Uttarey Monastery

The trail towards the monastery, a rocky unpaved track passing thru dense woods on both sides, was a delight to walk upon. I walked slowly for about half an hour encountering gleeful school kids en route and reached the monastery which had a young lama and fierce-looking black dog and plenty of wildflowers as symbols of life.

There was no other tourist around and the complex was an epitome of bliss and serenity. A white Chorten stood proudly in front of the gompa, which although small, had its own serene grandeur.

I happily took a few photos of the flowers and the monastery and sensing that it would get dark in an hour, retraced my footsteps. During my return, I met an extremely playful kid, who was ready to pose in every possible manner and blessed my lens with his mischiefs.

Below are a few pictures from the trip.

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Return to the Hotel

It had started to get dark as I returned, and rain clouds had started to accumulate. I briskly walked and while I was sipping my evening tea, it had already started to drizzle.

The wet air brought the smell of the woods from far off. It would not be wise to stay out for long in the rain, and we ordered for a quick dinner to be served at our room. It was raining hard and as I gradually fell asleep. I could feel the music of the raindrops playing all around me.

My next day’s plan included a short trek to Laminey Pokhri, a small lake known for the views of Mt. Kanchenjungha it offers. Vijay had agreed to guide me to the lake and confirmed that he would be ready by early next morning. Please click on the link above to continue reading the next part of the travelogue.

Uttarey Village – Conclusion

I hope the travelogue and information on Uttarey Village were of help. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below, or at our Community Forum, and I will be happy to answer.

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