Monday, 18 May 2015

Music of the Mountains - The Art of Sikkim

Apart from it's magnificent and scenic Landscapes, Mountains are known for it's soulful and mellifluous music. Sikkim, a tranquil hill station in Eastern Himalayas is known for it's beautiful blend of music and dance forms of three communities - Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali. Folk dances and songs have been ingrained in the culture of Sikkim. The music and dance forms of Sikkim have the ability to transport the audience to another world and leave them spell-bound like it's snow-caped mountain ranges, fast-flowing rivers, flora and fauna. 

It is often believed that in order to know the people of any region, it is better to know about their songs, dances and other forms of entertainment. If you are in Sikkim, I would suggest you to discover the melodious music and elegant dance forms. If you are lucky enough, you will get to watch dancing and singing performances of local artists, while roaming around M G Road. During my stay at Sikkim, i got to witness many wonderful performances, some of which, i still remember.

Here, I have attempted to present some Bhutia and Nepali songs, which are immensely popular in the hilly state. I hope, you will enjoy listening these folk songs.

Music of Himachal and Uttarakhand does also fascinates me, though i have not heard much. If you would like to share your thoughts on music of the hills, you are most welcome. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

An Unforgettable Trip to Tiger Hills, Darjeeling!

In our sojourn to Darjeeling, the first day was spent on travelling from Gangtok to Darjeeling and roaming around Mall Road of the city. On 2nd day, we had to visit Tiger Hills in the early morning to catch glimpse of Sunrise in the Mountains. It is said that if you are in Darjeeling, you must visit Tiger Hills. We had also heard numerous times from our friends in Sikkim that the views of snow-caped ranges of Mt. Kanchanjangha and Mt. Everest at sunrise from this spot were breathtaking and worth-watching, so we were quite eager to visit the place. 

We had to start at 3:00 AM from our hotel in order to reach Tiger Hills before the sunrise, as the place is around 15 km away from the main city and secondly, the sun rises as early as 04:00 AM in the Mountains.Tiger Hill is nothing, but a sunrise point in Darjeeling from where whole range of Mt. Kanchanjangha can be seen bathing in the golden rays of the sun.

We started at 03:00 in the morning, sacrificing our best hours of sleep. As the vehicle was hired in advance, we reached at the spot well before the sunrise, thinking that we were the only early birds. However, after walking some distance towards the hilltop, we realized that we were wrong, as a huge gathering was already present at the venue, wrestling for occupying the front seats. All the seats in the building erected at the sunrise point were occupied by the time, we reached there. It was a chilly winter night and we were shivering with cold, being in an open space at the highest point in Darjeeling area (altitude of 8482 ft). All including me were waiting eagerly for the sun to rise and hoping for a clear sunny day, so that the snow-laden mountain peaks can be seen in the most beautiful form.

Tiger Hill Pavilion

It was around 04:15 AM, when the sun rays dawned upon us and a long agonizing wait came to an end. Suddenly, people started running to find a good view-point, from where both the rising sun and the giant Himalayan ranges could be captured in cameras.

The view of sunrise making everything look orange was spectacular and it's reflection on snow-white mountain ranges turning them into a giant gold heap left us completely spell-bound.

Sunrise as seen from Tiger Hills

Though the mountain peaks were covered by the clouds, we managed to capture some good images of those peaks. Just being there itself was a wonderful experience.

Mt. Kanchanjangha ranges

In the next post, we will explore famous Batasia Loop, Tea Gardens and other tourist spots of Darjeeling. Till then Sayonara!