Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sillery Gaon

Sillery Gaon is a quaint little village in West Bengal. For the past few years this quaint little hamlet has become a sought after tourist destination as it offers a splendid view of Kanchenjunga ranges. During our recent visit to East Sikkim, Sillery Gaon was our first stay spot. Distance of Sillery Gaon from New Jalpaigudi is approximately 100 Kms. It took us about four hours to reach there.We reached there somewhere between 1 to 2 P.M.
Sky was overcast with thick blanket of grey clouds. It was mid-day but evening seemed to be in great rush to engulf us in its embrace. Green, blue, pink paints on wooden balcony of our home stay added cheers to otherwise sombre atmosphere. From the balcony we could see the village rolling down in the valley---- low thatched roofs, wooden cabins, small green patches of fields of the  vegetables, kids playing in the backyards, people working in the fields and the football field at the farthest corner of the village. From our balcony we could see the small red, yellow figures running in the ground and occasional burst of shouts reaching us filled the air with life.
Beyond were layers and layers of clouds merging in the sky overhead, nothing was visible..... no hills, no trees, no villages scattered on the hills beyond the valley. Somewhere there behind the thick tapestry of grey clouds was hiding the majestic range of Kanchenjunga. Clouds faced us smugly like ferocious guards protecting the treasure. Unruffled by the furrow in their brow we stood there, our gazes fixed on the clouds, an expectant flutter in our heart...... will the clouds suddenly roll apart offering us a glimpse of snow covered peaks ! Well, that didn't happen but at one moment shifting clouds unveiled green of a hill and pink radiance simmered briefly on the sky sitting on it's tip. Then the hanging clouds in front of us curled up and the hills beyond could be seen. Gradually specks of lights started shining like far off starry dots. Homes and hearths were getting ready to announce closure of one more day. The way gathering, shifting, floating of clouds changed the scenes within batting of eyelids filled the heart with wonder and amazement.
After evening tea accompanied by crisp pakodas we set out to have a leisurely walk through village. Just before dinner clouds thundered, with an uproar lightening struck and the village plunged into darkness. After the rains stopped we enjoyed our fresh, hot dinner. The group of tourists in the homestay across the lane danced on the tune of popular bollywood numbers coming out of their mobile phones, We retired for night as we planned to be up very early in the morning. Our host Sailang had told us about the view point near the village and we intended to meet Sun there when it stepped into the sky with it's fresh vigour and energy.
Kanchenjunga ranges eluded us in next day morning too. Though it rained in the night in the village area but  may be in the far way lands of peaks and mountains it didn't. As we started walking towards the view point, the village dogs curled up in the middle of lane got up and started walking with us, Infact they walked with us all the way to view point rather they led us to the spot. They sensed where were we heading to. Entire village was under the spell of peaceful slumber. We crossed the village and entered the forest. Smell of anonymous wet vegetation in a dense, silent jungle always creates a magical charm over me. It floats in with breath and gradually spread inside entire of my being. I feel almost weightless and closing my eyes I imagine myself flying back to the eras of dense forests, colorful wild flowers, gurgling streams, butterflies, birds.... the time when our earth was green. During our walk when I stopped in the mid to live the feel and others moved forward, one of the dogs came back to find me. It stood silently by my side as if harmonizing with my mood. How sensitive and loving these creatures are!
Walking through narrow, winding path hemmed by tall stately trees standing on rocks we reached our destination. The clearing with rows of  stately trees on east side while on other side the hills plunged straight way into valley, welcomed us with open arms. The view from that point was mesmerizing. Faraway in the valley, deep down the green waters of Teesta lay quietly as if waiting for first rays sun to tingle it to come out of it's sleep. The green hills, the floating clouds, tiny colourful roofs of homes in the valley and above all the peace, the serenity calmed our taut urban nerves. These are the moments I look forward too....doing nothing, thinking nothing...just being, surrendering to the unknown.
The hills encircling the valley stood in sombre silence ready to present guard of honour to the mighty Sun God and the sun stepped on the vast blue stage slowly, gradually, majestically infusing life in every particle by its magical radiant touch. The golden warmth made the heart tune in with chirping of birds and the songs of love filled the air. We were ready for another day.

     All pictures by..... sunder Iyer.

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