The trekking path was very narrow and at times it was getting lost between the shrubs and bushes. Pusai chopped off the shrubs with his sharp kukri and made way for me.
I had to stay very cautious as I was not getting adequate grip with my shoes and one wrong step would take me down to some few hundred feet below in the Singalila sanctuary. Pusai cut down a bamboo tree and made a walking stick for me. It was a steep downhill trek and the slope was probably around sixty degrees at some point. The trekking experience to Buriakhop was beautiful. The tall mossy trees all around really gives you a feel of the Jurassic age only to remind you of a classic scene from the Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park”.
We reached Buriakhop at around 2:30 PM. I was hungry and my legs were tired by then. I put my luggage at Pusai’s home. Pusai lives with her wife and daughter. The lunch menu was simple. It had rice, dal, potato fries and omelette. I ate the food and then took some rest. In the afternoon Pusai took me to see the local monastery. It was a small monastery and I could hardly spot any tourist or local person. The head Lama was pleased to see Pusai and also welcomed me. I took few photographs of them. Pusai then told me about his family and his livelihood. I was surprised to learn that he was 64 years old or perhaps I should say 64-years ‘young’. He seemed to be fit enough like a 30-years-old person. His daughter studies in the high school. Besides tourism, agriculture is serves as a source of income for most of the people living here. They all live a very simple life with an ever smiling face.
As the sun set, we returned to Pusai’s home. I was staying in her daughter’s room. It was a small wooden room. Though it’s a small place situated in the mountains, Buriakhop has electricity. I charged my phone and camera battery fully. Also it was amazing that I could find both Vodafone and Airtel network connectivity there. After having another cup of hot tea served with spicy hot onion pakora, I came out of my room. It was dark outside and a bit chilling cold. After my eyes got adjusted to the darkness, I experienced another surreal thing. I looked up to the sky and found it had filled up with stars. It was all scattered across the sky. “Is this really the milky way?” I wondered. I took out my camera and clicked some photographs of the starry landscape. I didn’t realize how quickly two hours passed. I went to bed after having my dinner. Next morning, I came down a few hundred feet to a place from where shared cab could be availed for Jorethang. My trip was coming to its end and it left me very happy at the end. Last night was like a beautiful farewell gift from nature.
I had gathered a lot of beautiful memories during my trip. This solo trip made me rich with more experiences and gave me a chance to see life from a different perspective. It is true that happiness can often be found in smallest of things.And there is always a lesson to learn from these simple and humble people living in the mountains. They teach you how to be simple and happy and also how to make others happy.
An excerpt of my Barsey solo travel itinerary –
- Day 1 – Reached NJP at morning by train.
- Took a shared cab to Jorethang (Sikkim), had breakfast.
- Took another shared cab to Okhrey Latyetar. Stayed for overnight.
- Day 2 – Next morning reserved a cab and visited Hilley.
- Trekked through Singalila National Park to Barsey. Distance 5 KM around. Altitude 10,000 Ft.
- Stayed at Barsey overnight at Forrest Barrack.
- Day 3 – Next morning trekked down to Buriakhop. Distance 6 KM around. Altitude 8,000 Ft.
- Stayed overnight at Buriakhop and enjoyed beautiful milkyway view.
- Day 4 – Next morning took shared cab to Jorethang and another cab to NJP.
Wait for my next blog post. There are more stories to tell, more experiences to share. Meanwhile you can follow me on Instagram Or Facebook for more updates. Feel free to share this article on social platform. All photographs are copyrighted to © Koustav Ghosh