Day 55 & 56 – Gangtok

It was home ministry time today. And to my surprise, the visit to the “Confidential” department within the Home Ministry proved to be a nice visit to a helpful friend rather than a pointless banging of head against the wall. I must say all the government officials I have come across till now in Sikkim have proved to be more than helpful. Full marks from my side.

Anyway, so I apply to the ministry for security clearance (for the places closest to border and under army control) like Gurudongmar Lake and Nathula. The officer says Gurudongmar Lake shouldn’t be difficult but Nathula he couldn’t promise. Well we will see. Unfortunately, I can start only day after. One more day to be wasted in Gangtok.

Anyway, with nothing to do I head to the nearby Rumtek Monsatery. Nice little monastery close to Gangtok with one of the seats of higher learning in the Tibetan study system.

Gangtok city from a distance

From Earning My Quarter Mile
From Earning My Quarter Mile

Scriptures on the monastery walls

From Earning My Quarter Mile

Next day was spent entirely getting the permits done. Both the officers with authority to sign on the permits were out. So I had to find someone who could still sign. Then rush with the permits to the Inspector General of Police. Then rush again with the whole thing to the Army post in-charge of the area. After a few polite but stern directions about do’s and don’ts in the area (very sensitive area, defence-wise), I had the Army’s go too. It was at this point that I realized something. Apparently, Nathula remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance and army officers’ visits. The date I have been granted (18th November) is a Tuesday. To that the Army officer could only say, try your luck!

By the way, GPS and photography not allowed in large areas around Nathula. Part of my briefing.

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