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New Year's Eve - Sikkim

INDIA | Thursday, 31 December 2015 | Views [318]

Had someone told me last year I would be in Gangtok this new year's eve,  I would probably have replied that I should doubt I'd be in Thailand.

Well, this evening I shall be in Gangtok, Sikkim, sharing my new year (I hope and unless things go horribly wrong) with fellow travellers staying at the New Modern Central Lodge on Tibet Road. The plan is to have dinner, play some games including maybe Indian Monopoly and Uno, and then go see a Nepalese band at 'Live and Loud'. I've just discovered that this will cost 500 rupees which may throw a spanner in the proverbials.

So far today I've done the usual chi gung routine, meditated, breakfasted on omelette and toast (tsampa - a Tibetan porridge - not being available) and then visited the Royal palace and grounds with Karma, Dia and Gotham (an Indian name I have probably spelt wrong but at least find easy to memorise) who are here promoting their company which combines a project in the slums of Calcutta with a Touring organisation. 

The royal palace is reached via another steep climb but it was well worth the effort. The main shrine room contained beautiful Tibetan Buddhist iconography with a particluarly fine Tibetan Wheel of Life. Unfortunately photography was not allowed. The grounds themselves carried a peaceful atmosphere and even though run down were still spacious, green and beautiful. 

From the Palace we went around in an up and down circle, involving sneaking into another Buddhist shrine, before capitulating and getting a taxi down to MG Mart (MG standing for Mohatma Ghandi) for another Nepalese thali. I didn't even bother to try eating with my hands. Afterwards a cup of coffee and for me a continued read of the introduction to the Bodhicaryavatara by Paul Williams, which I am finding inspiring, whilst listening to country and western music over the speaker system. Very nice.

So, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that you have an enjoyable time and a great new year ahead. We are five and one half hours ahead here so if I am still up when you are raising your glasses (or the equivalent) I hope I'm having a good time. As importantly, I hope you are too.

Lots of love,


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