It was another holiday after only two working days. The previous night was very chilly, night temperature having plummeted to four degree Celsius. One did not expect a clear day after having experienced inclement weather, the previous evening. However, it was a pleasant surprise to see the blue sky when I pulled aside the curtains of the bedroom. Upon finishing morning exercises followed by a somewhat relaxed breakfast, I contacted ‘Sonam Agya’ and explored the possibility of making it to one of the holy scenic sights in the vicinity of the city.
We embarked upon the journey by 3 p.m. in the afternoon. It was a seven kilometer drive by a hardy Gypsy on the road falling in the historic trade route through Nathu-la to Tibet. One came across extremely beautiful pine trees in the area surrounding Chandmari village as also the attempts of the human beings to disturb nature by way of erecting concrete jungles in order to make a fast buck. There were some sinking stretches of land, nevertheless. The road wore an empty look as it was a holiday. Possibly, people at large were basking in sun in their courtyards or terraces. Having crossed four kilometres, we saw a diversion for Ganesh Tok. A drive of another kilometer through tall, attractive pine trees took us to the first Sikkim Police Check-post for Nathu-la. Before we turned left on the road leading to Hanuman Tok, we got a panoramic view of the Rongyek Jail, located roundabout thousand feet below the check-post. Despite being a cold day, tourists would be seen in the vehicles every now and then.
We were treated to a breathtaking, delightful and fantastic sight as we began somewhat steep two kilometer climb from the check-post to the famous temple. It was an extremely clear day with Mediterranean blue sky. The whole scenario was not only stunning but inspiring as well. As we climb, we get closer to the lap of the beautiful nature. Apart from the tall pine trees and streams, large number of mountain ranges appear on the horizon. The Almighty Sun was not only shining but reaching every where. Very soon we reached a cluster of Army barracks next to the
Luksyama, the royal cremation ground. A drive ahead finally took us to the parking area (altitude-7200 ft.) for the Hanuman Tok Temple. It was a large flat piece of land having thick grass cover. One was tempted to take a round before proceeding to the steps leading to the temple. A statue of Lord Hanuman built by the efforts of a former M.P. of Sikkim greets us at the entrance. From the parking place to the steps and finally to the shoe take off point, it was spic and span. The whole pathway was spotlessly clean so as to create right kind of mood to see, appreciate and meditate. A very well kept lawn at the base of the temple was next to draw our attention.
Prior to our entry, the Army priest informs that the temple was originally built in 1953 by the efforts of Sri Appa B. Pant, the former Political Officer of Sikkim. It was subsequently renovated, expanded and inaugurated by the present Chief Minister of Sikkim in September 1998. One was in a different world upon getting a spectacular view of the Mount Kanchenjunga and surrounding peaks. A large number of snow clad peaks were visible even when we stepped into the temple. Upon paying obeisance to the Lord Hanuman, the presiding deity, we read the Hanuman Chalisa and one Aarati. The temple like its surroundings was spotlessly clean and had a different aura. We took four to five rounds of the deity, paid our regards, took some vows and prayed for blessings of the God in order to fulfill some of our wishes and aspirations.
Adjacent to the main temple, a Sai Baba Temple has been constructed two to three years ago. It has sufficient space for singing hymns and performing kirtans. When we came out, we found a few Bengali tourists thronging the place. Most of them carried cameras to take the sweet memories of the place back home. In addition to the beauty, it was so quiet that one felt like spending the whole evening at the temple. However, there were certain other things in store to follow.
With a certain degree of reluctance and upon resisting the temptation, we finally get down to the parking place and begin driving down the hill in a quiet but highly satisfying mode. A visit to this famous tourist spot after more than a decade was going to be a rewarding and unforgettable experience. Memories of this blissfully calm and quiet hilltop may, perhaps, be cherished for a long time to come.