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We are still here! Let us send you tips for travelling through Myanmar and stories from the road …
Inside, butter tea is served and the air is thick with juniper. Novice monks perform ancient rights with diligent insouciance in hypnotic Tibetan, robes drawn against the chill, noses sniffling with a shared cold. A cacophony of chanting rises, crashing cymbals, drums and horns like the sounds of a mountain rousing itself from slumber.
Here in Sikkim, Buddhism is different to the more austere Burmese school. This is Tibetan Buddhism. Louder, brighter, confrontational. The Rainbow Buddha winks. Others can be found in flagrante. Skeletons cavort with naked goddesses; ogres sit on thrones of flame.
At Yuksom is a plinth where the first religious king of Sikkim was crowned in 1641. This, by all accounts, was the start of Sikkimese history. Everything before is uncertain.
Like the fog that envelops, like the bottomless tankards of cloudy thongba millet beer, much of Sikkim, like its history, remains shrouded in mystery. Behind the curtain, beyond the next mountain.
A lovingly restored planter’s bungalow overlooking the hills of Tukdah near to Darjeeling.
Rob Lyman explores the events and ramifications of WW2 in Kolkata, Kohima, Imphal and Shillong.