First off I would like to thank Anirban for last March’s fantastic trip along the Silk Route, extraordinary is the only word I have that describes it. The planning necessary, combined with all the other effort this wonderful person went through, led to a virtually stress free trip.
In case you are not familiar with the Silk Route and Memoncho Lake, this is one of the most isolated and foreboding areas you can imagine. Located in a remote part of the East Sikkim Jelep la pass-Pedong-Rishi-Aritar-Zuluk this wondrous is part of what was an ancient road between the continents – and the high Himalayas. With our wonderful guide Anirban to make us feel like true adventurers (without the pain and suffering) we became modern day Marco Polos.
Well, minus the mules and caravans. The image below of another trekker on the way to Sikkim, will give the reader some idea of our journey. This man was stranded by a landslide and took some time for a swim in the Teesta.
The Silk Road here in India used to connect Lhasa in Tibet via the Jelep La Pass to India. Our adventure, as we said, was sans mule caravan (which after walking for miles we regretted) and plus one heck of a lot of plodding and trotting the ancient path – more than a road really. Don’t get me wrong, the blisters were well worth it – as the scenery and solitude of this place is out of this world. n exploring it included (as may previously have been the case) joyful interactions with the locals, greeted by their warm hospitality, and their efforts to promote eco-tourism, the latest craze here too.
Lastly, we visited one of the most isolated of places (of anything is more isolated that the winding curves of the Silk Road, Lake Memencho. This glorious lake, located 20 kms ahead of Changu Lake, is cradled between the mountains below the Jelepla Pass and is source of river Rangpo-Chu. Memoncho Lake is famous for its Trout and a farm to cultivate these fish also exist nearby – gaining is pristine waters from melting snows from the mountains all around. This is an almost sacred place, at least for nature lovers. This place is also the source of the Rangpo-chu River, and for us a good stopping point on a fabulous but draining trek.
As with all such adventures, even with our wonderful guide, the trip back to civilization seemed to take forever. As city folks, I guess we are not physically cut out for Indiana Jones stuff, but our minds are there if that counts. What once was the connecting thread between the British Empire and Tibet, for us is a thing of wonder, beauty, and daunting experiences. If not for Anirban and his preparations, we surely would have ended up beside that long road somewhere. Don’t miss the Silk Route, if ever you have half a chance.