Elegant Young Ladies of Sikkim
Preservation of the environment comes naturally to the Sikkimese people. Conservation is a part of their tradition; it's as old as the hills. They worship lakes and mountain peaks. On every visit to Gangtok, we have headed to the nearby peaks of Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok and Tashi View Point. The last named has a little cafeteria at the base of the hill, and a steep, short climb -- over stairs -- to the peak. I have often seen a Sikkimese man or woman leave a little heap of smouldering dried pine leaves at the hilltop, as a gesture of worship. When we visited last weekend, it was after a gap of a few years. I was horrified to find the peak 'occupied' by a large, three-storied polygonal building with a glass-fronted top floor. What an ugly piece of unnecessary construction! It completely took away the charm of the little peak. We expected the same developments at Ganesh Tok, and sure enough, that peak,too, which once housed the tiniest and simplest of shrines, had been built up in a big way.
...Cooling off at Tashi View Point Cafe!