Monday, September 27, 2010

The Best Rock bands from Gangtok.

        Sikkim is a center for western-style music in India, and has been since the rise of bands like Orchids and Naren Rasaily's Flickers, beginning in 1968. This period ended in 1973, though it was revived in 1982 by Shooting Star and Soul Saviour (a reincarnation of Flicker).
The Best Rock Bands of Gangtok are:
·         Girish “n the Chronicles
·         Still Waters


Girish N the Chronicles
 'Girish N The Chronicles' At Suncane Skale Music Competition

July 7, 2010 : A Gangtok based rocked band 'Girish 'n the Chronicles', has become the first Indian band to compete in Suncane Skale a music festival in Herceg Novi, Montenegro. The festival is celebrated every year during the summer.
The five member band, which is now in New Delhi, will participate in this three day festival, starting on 7th July 2010. They are preparing for the prestigious competition and clearing the visa and other travel formalities.

The 'Girish 'n the Chronicles' band will be performing on the final day of the festival on 9th July. The three days of the music festival are categorized in three divisions- 7th July will be 'the night of the "Prince awards', 8th is for 'unknown singers' and the final day i.e. 9th July will be 'the Grand Finale'.

Girish Pradhan is the lead vocalist of the band, who also plays the guitar. Noel Karthak Lepcha can be seen on the bass guitar, Nagen Mangarati on drums, Yogesh Pradhan on keyboards as well as guitar and Suraj Karki is the lead guitarist. Ronald Pradhan is managing the band.

Dr. Janice Darbari, the Honorary Consul General of Montenegro Consulate General Office, sent a letter to inform 'Girish 'n the Chronicles' that they are the first band from India to be invited for this competition round of Montenegro festival. This opportunity has also given a musical recognition to the state Sikkim.

The Honorary Consul Generalof Montenegro in India has informed that the three day festival receives more than 200 hours of live air on Radio and television in Montenegro, which is watched in more than 50 countries of Europe and throughout the world.

The Consulate of Montenegro conducted a nationwide talent hunt in Guwahati a few months back in association with the Eastern Zonal Cultural Committee. The 'Girish 'n the Chronicles' band's 'Angel' won the talent hunt and thus got selected. The number was penned by Girish and arranged by his brother Yogesh. The organizers were very much impressed by the composition and invited the band to compose a fresh song for their performance in Montenegro.

The band is very confident of doing well in Montenegro. Hope they get a good recognition in the international market and come back home after being a success!

Still Waters
These guys from Sikkim did it, becomming the first ever band featured in RSJ magazine, who would have thought? some bunch of guys from gangtok could write so many splendid english songs!?

Below is their story :

 Suman(bass) and Ananth(vocal) came across each other as a batch mates in NIIT institute in Gangtok, somewhere back in July-Aug 2001, both were itching to hammer some serious rock n' roll into an almost dead band scenario in Gangtok, And at this crucial point if time, in walks Sonam(lead guitars), Suman's former bandmate and childhood buddy sharing a parallel rock n' roll history with him. After a few casual jam sessions, the most prominent fact that came to light was, with tonnes of cover-bands and concerts making up their past, what each one wanted was to try stepping into a totally new and unfamiliar terrain of making some good ORIGINAL music together. The song was "Farsighted Woman" and it got some real good reviews and personal reaction(s) from all who heard it. The birth of a whole new full-fledged rock entity was inevitable. And with the recruiting of ol' buddies n' bandmates Netra and Sameer, on drums and rhythm guitars respectively, Still waters was born. One small stint on stage at a local fest and another recording session later, the BIG BIG breakthrough came in the form of their song "Happy Go Lucky" being selected for RSJ's Great Indian Rock fest' (GIR-VI ) in Feb'2002.

Ananth Pradhan - Vocals
Sonam Lachungpa - Lead Guitars
Vishal Luitel - Rhythm Guitars
Netra Kharga - Drums
Suman Karthak - Bass & backing vocals

Sikkimese - alcohol friendly people.

Are you a beer lover?

          If yes than you got to try 'Dansberg blue' and the local beer of Sikkim 'Chaang'.
         The best Indian beer I've tasted would be 'Dansberg Blue' brewed in Sikkim. Expertly Brewed & Bottled to international standards from Sikkim spring water, finest quality ... As "Dansberg Blue Premium Lager Beer" "HIT".


Chaang is a local beer made by fermenting millet using Yeast. It is sipped from a Bamboo receptacle using Bamboo pipe. The receptacle, which has millet in it, is topped with warm water a couple of times until the millet loses its flavour. Chang can sometimes be strong and very intoxicating.

Are you a whisky lover?

        Sikkim Old Gold Premium Single Malt Whiskey is a well- matured Malt alcohol, Extra Neutral Alcohol and Himalayan Spring water. The whiskey is packaged in a traditional gorkha khukeri shaped bottle.
        Sikkim Corn whisky compares well with America’s Bourbon whisky and produced purely from Corn Alcohol and extra neutral alcohol.
Besides the two Sikkim also has to offer Sikkim special whisky, Sikkim Shangrila Whisky and Red Barrel Nobel Malt Whisky

       The choice of a connoisseur, our Sikkim Fireball Special Brandy, is a premium product and contains fruit based alcohol that has been matured for a long period. Uniquely packaged in a, bright red and brown, with splashes of orange, plastic casing this product is a much sought after memorabilia for the tourists who visit the state of Sikkim.
       Keeping it company on the market shelf is another of our immensely popular brandies - Sikkim Musk Brandy. The very rich oriental taste of Cardamom amongst other spices and the addition of dry fruit and saffron / mace tinctures have made Sikkim Musk Brandy immensely popular with the discerning customer.
      Brandy, a drink, which has been known for its dietical and medical properties, is acknowledged and commemorated by our very own and special Sikkim Doctor Medica Brandy.
      Sikkim Gold Star Brandy is another of our products that has caught the fancy of the local populace.


       The full body and the richness of flavour of our Sikkim Black Cat Rum and Sikkim XXX Prize Rum comes from long maturation, of the harmoniously blended jaggery alcohol, spirit and Himalayan spring water, in selected wooden vats for a period ranging from three to five years. Sikkim Black Cat Rum, a rum developed exclusively for the European and American palate, accounts for more than 50 % of our exports. Our Sikkim XXX Prize Rum has caught the fancy of the New Delhi market and in a span of a year has zoomed to be one of the most popular liquors sold in that territory.
        For the person who prefers a light rum the distillery has on offer Sikkim Snow Lion White Rum, a rum that is a distillate of a well matured dark rum. Sikkim Snow Lion White Rum is a rum that has been redistilled to remove the colouring and some excess flavour, it combines superbly with fruit juices and blends easily with a wide range of flavours to form the perfect base for some divine cocktails.

Luxuries Liquors:

         Sikkim Cherry Brandy Liqueur, Sikkim Paan Liqueur, Sikkim Creme-De-Menthe Liqueur, Sikkim Coffee Liqueur, Sikkim Ginger Liqueur and Sikkim Cardamom Liqueur are, the luxurious liqueurs formulated at our state of the art laboratories and produced in our modern plant. Made from sweetened spirits and flavoured by fruits, herbs, spices, seeds and roots these liqueurs are much sought after as soothingly palatable after-dinner digestifs.
          Sikkim Paan Liqueur, with its heady aroma of paan and attractively bottled in a Paan shaped glass bottle has caught the fancy of many overseas buyers, besides container load supplies to the U.S.A and Canada, the company has received inquiries regarding their availability from places as far as Australia and Europe.


There is a variety of cuisines for the various ethnic groups consisting of the Nepalese, Bhutias and Lepchas.

I have put down a list of mouth watering cuisines .

Momo: Momo, as all of us know steamed dumpling prepared from wheat flour and meat/vegetable is very delicious.

 Thukpa: Thukpa is a typical Tibetan style noodles in soup. I prefer chicken thukpa, works well during cold and bad throat.

Kinema curry: Kinema is a traditional fermented soyabean food having characteristic stringy property with unique flavour, commonly consumed as a main side-dish curry served as meat substitute along with cooked rice in meals. I had tried it once at a friends place and its yummm !

Gundruk & Sinki: My mom is an expert in preparing Gundruk. it is traditional fermented vegetable products prepared during winter when fresh perishable vegetable is plenty. Gundruk is a fermented product of leafy vegetable such as rayo sag (Brasicca rapa spp. campestris variety cuneifolia), leaves of mustard, radish and cauliflower. Sinki is prepared from radish tap root only.
Saelroti: Widely prepared during Nepali festivals, Saelroti is normally eaten with potato curry or non-vegetarian dish. Normally not available in restaurants but Saelroti is prepared from well-mixed fermented rice batter which is deep fried, ring-shaped, spongy, pretzel-like product commonly consume as confectionery bread in festival and special occasions. The batter is fermented by spp. of yeasts and lactic acid bacteria.
Til ko Alu (Potato curry with sesame seeds): Til ko alu is a typical Nepali style potato curry mixed with sesame seeds (Sesame indicum) locally called Til.
Sishnu soup (Nettle leaves soup) : weird to taste but very nutritious.

There are varieties of pickels prepared by the Sikkemese specially the pickels made out of" DALLE KHORSANI "
are the best to taste. Dalles are the hottest chillies ever tasted by any one.

Dalle Khorsani

My favourite destinations in Sikkim.

My favourite destinations in Sikkim are :

              Dzongri, Gurudamba, Yumthang and Pelling.

  Sikkim the land of peace and tranquility is an ideal destination for trekking.
         Higher in the mountain, silence prevail but with sound of bird chirp. Night sky is clear with constellation at a full glow. Silent ambiance take away all the grief.

           Sikkim with an area of just 7096 sq. km, situated in the eastern Himalaya, boasts of rich biodiversity and high mountain ranges. Mt. Khangchendzonga the 3rd highest peak in the world, and the guardian deity of Sikkimese people, lies along it western ramparts.


           Dzongri is known to be one of the best trekking destinations in India. Located in the South Sikkim district, Dzongri is perhaps the place, where you can virtually see the snow-covered mountain peaks touching the skies, but that would take a lot of effort from your side because at the baffling height of 4200 meters, Dzongri can be only reached by trekking. In the recent years, Dzongri has been promoted for the purpose of trekking to increase tourism in Sikkim.

The last view of the peak before the clouds cover it.
              The mystic landscape of Dzongri substantiates that the Heaven is here and nothing could be more beautiful than this place.Many even call it the "Switzerland of East". The snow white peaks encircle Dzongri with their majestic appearance. It is for sure that once seen the beauty of this place, you can never forget the splendor throughout your life. In order to reach here, you might have to take some pains in trekking, but once you reach, all your weariness would be gone at the glimpse of those glittering peaks.


              Gurudamba is also known as Guru dang mar (was give this name after Guru Nanak visited the place on his way to China).

               It is located at a height of 17,500 ft above sea level. The mountains surrounding the lake are of different colours. There are two mountains which are covered with snow throughout the year.

              The gurubamba lake is considered sacred . A mistcal quality about is that  despite of fall in temperature the water never freezes. Since the oxygen level is very low one needs to be careful about many things like no running, taking gulps of water in case you start feeling giddy and out of breath.

                         I have been here three times and all my visits have been different and more exciting from the previous one . Still looking for an opportunity to go there and experience the beauty of the place.


The flower valley
             Yumthang, the rightfully called the Valley of Flowers as in Flowering season there blossoms vivid colours of variety of Rhododendrons, chimals and blue poppies. Yumthang is located on a flat valley and is near the tree line. At a little distance from the flat valley is the hotspring (natural flow of hot water from the mountains), this is considered holy and is good for skin. Well the bad news is that the bath mostly occupied by the local women and only if you are very lucky you will get a chance to experiance the warmth of the water and its healing capabilities.

            The journey from Lachung(base) to Yumthang has a very picturesque landscape and is lined with Rhododendrons & 108 other types of Orchids which bloom in different colours from April to May. April and May promises colourful flowers, where as November end to March usually sees snows.

            Yumthang valley is a mesmerizing scene with yaks grazing on flower - carpeted meadows against a backdrop of towering peaks.  It has breathtaking views where one can become a part of a timeless scene without any kind of intrusions.


khichipiri lake
              The road to pelling is very beautiful. the road extends from the mountain and its outer side is adorned with the trail of trees which are curved towards the outer side, lending a pictourious view, one of the most beautiful sites i have ever seen. Also provides an excellent view of the Kanchenzonga. Other scenic spots around Pelling are Khichipiri lake, gayzing and the singshore bridge which is the third highest bridge in Asia

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Land I Love

I was born in Gangtok the capital of Sikkim and have spent 18 years of my life there. My memories of Sikkim are closest to my heart and i keep hunting for an opportunity to run back home so that i can once again experience the beauty of that place and refill myself with its coolness. For me going home is as good as going on a vacation, people who have visited Sikkim would know what i mean.

              I often come across people who get extremely excited on discovering where i come from and cannot restrain form praising that place.          
          One attribute imbibed in the culture of Sikkim is the love for music and sports.Western rock music and hindi songs  have gained wide acceptance among the Sikkimese. Indigenous Nepali rock and Lepcha music are also popular. Common sports in Sikkim are Football and Basketball.The famous footballer Bhaichung Bhutia is from Sikkim.
        Hang gliding and river rafting have also been introduced in order to promote tourism.
      Additions there are 4000 species of flowering plants, 600 species of birds, 560 species of Orchids, 40 species of Rhododendrons and a large number of other animals are sheltered in this tiny state. Numerous snow-clad peaks, alpine lakes and swirling clouds beautify the area for any adventure lover who comes to Sikkim.