FYI – The post this week is a bit shorter because we only stayed in Gavangla for one night and there wasn’t a whole lot to do there. I was going to pair it up with the next city we visited, but it would have been WAY too long. Without further ado…
On the fourth day of our trip we took a shared jeep from Gangtok to Gavangla (also pronounced Ravangla or Rabang). I don’t have a photo of the jeeps in this batch of photos (look at the first photo of the Gangtok post), but I will do my best to try to explain what they are. The jeeps look like vehicles you would take on a safari, but without an extended ceiling. There are three rows of seats that would normally fit 3 people in each row; however, since it’s India they cram as many people as possible into each jeep. For this particular ride, Luke and I were in the first row, which thankfully only had 3 of us in it (all of the other rows had 4 people…I think one may have even had 4 adults and a child). I was originally going to sit in the middle, but quickly found out that the gear stick was right between my legs meaning the guy would have to reach between my legs to shift gears while driving in the mountains. Luke obviously would have none of that, so he switched with me right away. The trip was about a 3-hour ride on a mountain road with several hairpin turns. The roads are about 1.5 cars wide, so each time we came close to a turn the driver honked his horn to let anyone on the other side of the turn know we were coming.
After our 3 hour, car-sickening ride, we finally arrived in Gavangla. If you are planning to travel here, I would only stay for a day, not overnight. It’s a super small town with not a whole lot to do. However, if you do decide to stay overnight Hotel 10zing has cheap rooms and great veggie momos and chomein to eat!
In the early afternoon we decided to take a hike to the Sakyamuni Complex – the main site in Gavangla. We knew the general direction of where the complex was, so we decided to just start walking. There were many times on our search for the complex that we were unsure of where to go, but figured as long as we were going up and continuing to walk in the right direction we would run into it eventually. We were right…we turned a corner and there it was! The complex has a 41-meter high massive Buddha statue. If you look closely you will see that the eyes of the Buddha are covered. This is because the Buddha was not blessed yet. We were there on March 5th and the Dalai Lama was coming on March 24-26th to bless the statue and remove the blindfold.
After looking around and taking some photos and video, we headed back to the hotel for the rest of the afternoon and night. We relaxed, drank some tea, played cribbage and ate until it was time to go to bed.