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Please Ask for Permission for Photographs!
Many of us get tempted to photographs of local babies and woman but sometimes these innocent people feel the photographs taken by the plain landers may not be auspicious for their babies. So please ask for permission before taking photographs of babies. They understand little bit of English but that sign language is universally understandable. In Sikkim, everybody understands Nepali, you may ask like " Bahini ( my sister), may I take your/ baby's picture"? "Bahini for young woman" or " Didi"for older woman and "Daju"for men are respectful words in Nepali or Bhutia language. If you use, there is a 100% chance that he or she will talk to you and become friend.
Look at this poor Road onstruction Labour woman, she was very shy to see the camera, but I was tempted to take picture of thebaby, he was so beautiful. So I asked her in broken & wrong Nepali, "Bahini baby ko lagi ekta photo khichaunus? " ( Sister may I take a photograph of the baby?). She obliged me more than I expected.
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Drinking of Chaang or Tumba with the Bhutias.
In Sikkim and not tasted Channg??? Oh yeah, how can I allow that to happen? I did taste the famous drink twice at Lachung at Keysang hotel. It was really very refreshing and energetic drink. I was little bit down at Gurudongmar and on way so on my return at the suggestion of our driver Baichung Bhutia ( who also owns the hotel , his wife and mom in law runs it) I tried the famed drink. He poured the fermented millet in the pot added hot water and after 10mts it was ready. I was feeling warm again. Though, I thought it will be highly intoxicating and was drinking very carefully but I was wrong. It refreshed me and I was feeling well again. I also had sound sleep at Lachung. I had it again next day after returning from Yumthang.
Fermented alcoholic beverages have strong ritual importance among the various ethnic groups of people of the Sikkim Himalayas. The social activities in these regions require provision and consumption of appreciable amount of alcoholic beverages. Traditionally prepared alcoholic beverages are commonly served in main meals among the alcohol-drinker communities as a part of dietary culture. Jaanr/Chaang is a mild alcoholic and sweet-sour fermented cereal-based beverage. It is sipped from a bamboo receptacle using bamboo pipe. The receptacle which has millet in it is topped with warm water a couple of times until the millet loses its flavour. Chang can sometimes be strong and very intoxicating. Depending upon the substrates used, Jaanr/Chaang may be as follows:
Kodo ko jaanr fermented finger millet beverage
Bhaate Jaanr fermented rice beverage
Makai ko Jaanr fermented maize beverage
Gahun ko Jaanr fermented wheat beverage
Jahun ko Jaanr fermented barley beverage
Simal tarul ko Jaanr fermented cassava root beverage
Kodo ko Jaanr is consumed in a decorated bamboo vessel locally called "toongbaa". Fermented mass of finger millet is put into the "toongbaa", little amount of warm water is added upto the edge, after 10-12 min, liquor is sipped through a narrow bamboo straw called "pipsing" having a hole in a side near the bottom to avoid passing of grits. Jaanr is believed to be a tonic for ailing persons and postnatal women. After consumption, grits of finger millets are used as fodder for pigs and cattle.
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I dont know much about how it is supposed to be enjoyed but i did try sipping few gulps.
Tongba is prepared by cooking and fermenting whole grain millet. The millet is then dried; traditionally it is stored under a roof for about six months. It is consumed in a unique way: the fermented millet is put in a container, also traditionally called a Tongba, and boiled water is poured in it to the brim. It is then left undisturbed for about five minutes. Once the five minutes has passed it is ready to drink; a fine bamboo straw with a blind end, but perforated on the side to act as a filter, is inserted into the container to suck out the warm water and alcohol from the millet grains. More hot water is added as the tongba becomes dry, and the process is repeated until the alcohol is exhausted.
Tongba is the traditional and indigenous drink of the Limbu people of eastern Nepal. To the Limbu, Tongba is analogous to what Vodka is to Russians, Wine to French, Guiness to Irish and Saké to Japanese
Around these parts its very cold so people drink lots of tea,most people who have not heard of any other tea accept that tea can be with milk and sugar might not like the taste of the buttered tea.But i find it very refreshing the salted tea coz it does not leave the sticky sugary taster afterwards.You can see the gur gur where they churn the tea.....churn!! its not butter but they do so...
Local Traditional Kitchen Tools 
This was another form of a grinder.
Again, for grinding maize, corn, millet etc.
They needed 4 men to carry that huge stone base you see in the picture. The men brought it out of the shed on the left. As it is so heavy, it is not usually moved around.
We all had a go at this stone machinery. Pretty hard & heavy stuff!Related to:
- Budget Travel
Local traditional Kitchen tools 
This area, KEHDI was about 1.5 hrs east of Gangtok. Here we saw this village being coordinated by the organisation (KEHDI) with the locals also holding office. They are interested in building a successful ecotourism plan for the village to get the villagers to become more active in their day to day activities.
Used from a long time ago, this corn grinder works on a simple principle of placing corn kernels between these two huge stone slabs and with the help of a strong vertical level (what is being held by the human hand in pic) you are able to grind the corn into corn flour, for bread etc. By the way, it was extremely heavy to grind the blessed thing! We had to use both hands.
Tailors at the Lallmarket in Gangtok.
At the open air Lallmarket in Gangtok the tailors can make costumes and other clothes on demand.
The market is in the centre of Gangtok south of the big Mahatma Ghandi Marg.
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