How to reach
World’s highest Dosa point is not so easy to reach, you need to take atleast two night halts from the nearest airport or railway station to reach this area.
First stop will be Gangtok, the capital and biggest city in Sikkim, where you need to stay the night and start next morning for Lachen, which is 112 km away from Gangtok by car. The drive takes about 8 hours and covers some of the most scenic routes in the state.
After staying for another night in Lachen, you need to stay early in the morning and reach Thangu Valley check post which is another 25 KM. Dosa By the way, is situated at this checkpost. This is the usual route taken by tourists who wish to visit Gurudongmar Lake, the highest fresh water lakes in the world.
The nearest Airport is Pakyong, in Gangtok, but due to unpredictable weather conditions, most flights prefer to operate from Bagdogra Airport, which is 121 Km from Gangtok.
The nearest Railway station is New Jalpaiguri, which is 118 KM from Gangtok.
The nearest Interstate Bus terminus is in Siliguri, which is also 112 KM from Gangtok.
Where to stay:
There are a few homestays in Thangu valley, but it is recommended to stay at Lachen, which is the nearest village with all modern amenities.
The village of Lachen sits at 9022 ft above sea level and is flush with multiple accommodations options. Literally every house here is either a homestay, hotel or BnB. You can easily book hotels here using any travel aggregators.
Points to note:
Our cab reached Thangu Valley check post around 8 AM in the morning, on route to Gurudongmar lake, the highest fresh water lake in the world. November was nearing its end, the winter was getting stronger, sending the temperature in whole of North Sikkim to single digits, both positive and negative. For coastal people like us, a warmer and a jacket seemed sufficient when we left Bhubaneswar, but as soon as we stepped out of the cab, we realized how badly unprepared we really were.
The sun had been out since a few hours now, but it wasn’t enough. As long as we were in the sun, it was better, the moment we got under a shade, we froze. The drains had frozen solid over the night, and it didn’t look to meltdown any time soon. A chilly light wind was blowing from the east, which felt like needles being poked in the exposed skin of our faces and hands.
Tourists start early from Lachen for Gurudongmar and by those standards, we were late by atleast an hour. By the time we reached the restaurant, they had already served bulk of their prospective customers. Its unreal how army personnel work in such low temperatures, early in the morning to serve common tourists like us.
A short flight of steps lead to this humble shack, built of prefab walls and roof. It had a small window in the entry, which had two army men, taking down orders and payment of the food. On the side, it had small seating area having a few tables and chairs, which were all full. The menu was painted on the wall and the prices were one of the lowest we found across Sikkim, with a Dosa costing Rs. 50 and tea Rs. 10.
Apart from dosa, the Dosa point also serves Uttapam, Poova, Aloo Paratha, Idli, Upma, Dal Vada, Rasam, Maggi, tea, coffee and momos. Masal Dosa, Momos and Tea are however the best sellers. Unfortunately, since we were late, momos had already vanished from the list of available dishes for the day.
We ordered but didn’t move from the window, the reason, a small room heater stationed in front of the window. The warmth of the heater was so soothing, that all 4 of us flocked in front of it, with our palms facing the red hot coils of the heater.
It took a few minutes for our order to arrive, and we had to finally move away from the heater. The thought of looking for a seat in the seating area crossed our minds, but the insides were much colder than the outside, which had the sunlight shining bright. Hence we stayed out and dug into our food.
The hot Dosa and steaming Sambhar was all we needed at that point to satiate our hunger. As I dug into my first bite, I simply couldn’t believe how good it really was. To be honest, my expectations were not very high, but the Dosa turned out to be much better than most of the dosas I have had not only in my city, but also in South Indian cities like Vishakapatnam, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
The outside was crisp, laden with ghee. The insides were soft, with the smeared potato mash and onion filling. The Sambhar and Garlic chutney were plain and simple, but with high spice content. All in all a very satiating breakfast.
I usually eat very quickly, but this time I was eating slow, taking in all the flavors of the tantalizing Dosa. With every bite I was thanking the Indian Army for providing such good soul touching food in such an inhospitable terrain.
The Dosa point is operated by the Madras regiment, comprising of soldiers from across the country, who have made Sikkim their own. The fact that someone woke up early in the day to make food for strangers, in sub zero temperatures is a testament to the amazing hospitality the Indian Army and the Sikkimese culture.
With gratitude in our hearts for the Army Men, who serve us not only with Guns, but also with Food.