5 AM in Gangtok


Words: Animesh Gautam
Visuals: Tshulthrim Norbu Wangdi
Edit: Priyanka Sutaria

5 AM in Gangtok,
There is something about it –
The air travels all the way from Khangchendzonga,
The five repositories of great snow
Gently kiss Tsho Lhamu,
Bringing Gurudongmar to life,
And caressing bodies like mine lost deep in their dreams,
Activating all elements and senses
bringing Denjong alive
we are all awake.

I see the morning sun slowly advancing towards Tadong,
While The Dharma Chakra shines.
I observe pigeons flying above the Rey valley.
Sometimes the house across adds the chorus of the lamas chanting.
Sometimes it’s the Durga mandir, spreading its chants in Tadong.
I watch the hillock of Rumtek-Ranka,
Trees outlining the rise and fall,
Morphing into shapes and impressions
Resembling my ancestors hiking for miles with their belongings;
Arriving in the Valley of Rice,
Greeted by the Bhutias and the Lepchas and the Tsongs,
Marking the creation of a harmonious land
And harmonious 5 AMs.

I look at the gompa,
Shining and peacefully existing around the forests of Ranka.

It tells me
That the Teesta is going to be alright,
That the glaciers are going to be just fine,
That the trees are going to stay,
And witness generations of harmony;
It tells me
That it will still be the same 5 AM
When somebody takes a taxi to Gangtok from Tadong in the winters,
That they will be captivated
By the sight of the Khangchendzonga
Playing hide and seek with the commuters of Gangtok
As they climb their way up to town,
At 5 AM.


Tshulthrim is a professional photographer. He thrives in the wilderness.



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