Never thought that things would fall my way and my mother would give the permission to travel all alone to Sikkim, a small state in the northeastern part of India. Had my yoga teacher not encouraged me to enroll myself for a ten days course on Vipassana Meditation, held at Dhamma Sikkim, I would have never set my foot anywhere from home in ages to come, I believe. But I needed to go, I wanted to spend some time alone with myself, needed to reach closer to myself, needed to settle the turmoil within me, so I was determined that with or without her permission, I would somehow make this trip.
So, on the 31st of September, 11.45 p.m. Kanchanjunga Express, I set out for the beautiful valleys of Sikkim. Reached New Jalpaiguri next morning, took a cab from Siliguri and then headed for Sikkim, and after a journey of 4 hours, I reached my destination.
The drive from Siliguri to Sikkim is simply marvelous, the weather is pleasant throughout the year, with a few months of sunshine only during the winters, and one could expect the rains to pour anytime of the year. The green valleys, the gushing river, cloudy skies-it’s beauty just made me silent. There is something beautiful about silence and you feel that once you’re in touch with nature.
Now here I was, all alone and a totally new place, no friends, no family, all alone. I knew no one, being a barely 5’ gal with a petite frame, one could harbor the notion that I can easily be fooled, but nothing of that sort happened. Instead, I had a nice time mingling with the people out there, be it the founder member of Dhamma Sikkim, or the internet café owner, or the sweet shop owner, almost everybody is polite and fair in their dealings. It is not very populated, so one does not have to struggle with traffic jams, sound or any other sort of pollution. Most of the people are Nepalis, either Hindus or Buddhist. The Chinese food served in the smaller hotels here is slightly different, milder than the ones served in the other parts of India. What really touched my heart was their hospitality. A shopkeeper accepts/returns cash for whatever you purchase only with his right hand; the way a Hindu offers Agarbatti before God. “Atithi Devo Bhava” – is literally practiced only a few would deny having felt so. I am in love with Sikkim, honestly.
Next, for those who are looking for Vipassana centres, (Vipassana is a meditation technique founded by Lord Gautama Buddha, about 25 centuries ago) which are less crowded, offer better service in terms of lodging and food, and if you happen to stay in the North East, you should anyhow go to Dhamma Sikkim. Ten days of absolute silence, no talking to anyone, no disturbance from anyone, the inexpressible beauty of the hills of Sikkim, the natural gardens of Dhamma Sikkim, the stream flowing nearby, the view of the whole of Gangtok City, the iced capped mountains facing Dhamma Sikkim—IT’S MORE THAN ANYTHING ONE COULD ASK FOR TO MEDITATE IN PEACE, ABSOLUTE PEACE. The whole management of Dhamma Sikkim was cheerful and sweet which is very common of the people of Sikkim. Yes, there is self-service to be done; washing your own dishes, clothes, cleaning the rooms before as one’s meditation course comes to an end, but you would come back totally rejuvenated, with a warm smile on your face.
14th October 2013, I was set on my journey back home. It was a national holiday, there were no cabs, somehow managed to get into one, missed my train though, still got a general class ticket and after twisting and twitching for 9 hours in my seat, I finally reached Guwahati-back to the noise, the nosey nosed people, the hustle-bustle, the traffic jams, and the dust—–yet still happy at heart, smiling in the face.
Can’t say from where my spiritual journey began, but my trip to Sikkim, is a milestone in my life, it marks the beginning of a new path in my life, a road to a better me, hopefully. For the first time I set out on a journey totally unguided by my parents, I had to do it all alone, not something easy for girls who have been spoonfed almost all their lives and that is what I wanted to change, to teach myself to step out in the world alone, be confident, overcome my fears, however little it is, be it the fear of talking to someone or of getting outsmarted by people or something worst than that, the thing is, one should learn to be courageous, self-dependent, confident and thus make way for a life of freedom, freedom from fears, and a life full of knowledge; one gets to know life better only when one steps out from their homes and mingle with the world that is real, reality, that is to say, the real world. This journey taught me TO BE ON YOUR OWN-FREE AND HAPPY.
LIVE AND LOVE
Thank you very much for your beautifully articulated description of Vipassana at Dhamma Sikkim. Actually I am going to join the session of May at Dhamma Sikkim and was a bit anxious about it, but now after reading your experience; I am much relieved.
Thank you so much.
It’s our pleasure, we are happy that you found this informative.