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TUKLA VALLEY

The true beauty of the Tibetan Highlands can be experienced at Tukla Valley. Located at an altitude of around 12500 feet above sea level, Tukla Valley in Sikkim offers a majestic panoramic view of Mt. Kanchenjungha and its allied peaks.

You would also find a war memorial built in memory of the British soldiers who fell at the Battle of Tukla. The Tukla Valley is covered in snow during winter and in September-October, the whole valley becomes red due to the growth of a local flowers. Tukla Valley is around 16 kms from Kupup Lake. The Jelepla Pass is also located nearby.

At a distance of 60 km from the majestic Gangtok city towards the legendary Nathula, you will find a road leading towards the Kupup valley up to Tukla. A bifurcated road from Tukla would connect to the Old Baba Mandir (Bunker). At this place; the samadhi of Baba Harbhajan, famously known, as Old Baba Mandir has been built.

Harbhajan Singh was born in the Sadrana village of Gujranwala district (Presently in Pakistan) into a Sikh family on August 30, 1946. On 9th February 1966 he got enrolled into the Punjab Regiment of Indian army as a sepoy. The year 1968 brought havoc misfortune for the states of Sikkim and North Bengal, as they were under the fury of natural disaster. Floods, landslides and heavy rainfall claimed thousands of lives in the two states. Sepoy Harbhajan Singh made an immense contribution during this time in helping the sufferers to sustain. On October 4, 1968, while he was escorting a mule column from Tuku La, his battalion headquarters to Donguchui La, Harbhajan Singh suddenly slipped and fell into a fast flowing nullah and unfortunately drowned. Strong water current carried his body for about 2 kms from the site of the accident. He was searched with all efforts, but his body went missing. On the fifth day of his missing, his fellow Pritam Singh had a dream, where Harbhajan Singh himself informed him of his tragic death and he also mentioned that his body is lying underneath the heap of snows. Harbhajan Singh also expressed the strong desire to have a samadhi made after him. However, Pritam Singh did not pay much importance to his dream. But later, when Harbhajan Singh’s body was discovered at the very place, which he had mentioned in the dream, all were taken aback. And, to honor his wish, a samadhi was built near Chhokya Chho at an elevation of around 4,000 meters, which gained popularity as the Old Baba Mandir. This samadhi is less visited by tourists. Visitors need to climb 50 stairs to reach the bunker, the site where the samadhi has been built. This was the place where Baba was posted during his service period in Indian army.

However, for the tourists’ convenience, the samadhi of Baba Harbhajan Singh has been reconstructed at the junction of Kupup Gnathang road and the trail leading to Menmecho Lake, on November 11, 1982. And this shrine is popularly recognized by tourists as New Baba Mandir. Located at nearly 13500 feet above sea level,Just between Gnathang and Tukla Valley, the Strawberry Lake has an uncanny similarity to the shape of a strawberry. Though much smaller in size than its nearby cousins like the Kupup Lake or Hangu Lake, its unique shape has made it one of the most popular lakes in this circuit. However, the shape of the strawberry can only be made out when you move at a distance and at a particular angle.Fed by glacial waters from nearby streams and rivulets, the Strawberry Lake stays completely frozen in winter.

 

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