When you visit Gangtok you will usually be first directed to M.G. marg, the main town area that will fulfil all your needs from all kinds of shopping, to money withdrawal or exchange, to beauty parlours and spas to various kinds of eateries. This is the main hub of urban Gangtok life. However, it can get a little overwhelming when all the tourists come flooding in during season time.
When you come to the hills, its usually for some peace and quiet and some escape, preferably among familiar comforts like a comfortable couch, a mug of steaming beverage and some mellow music. In today’s world of capitalist speed, of making the most of any space by cramming it in with the standard tables and chairs, you can find yourself craving for a spot where you can just “be”. A comforting home in an alien landscape.
This sort of unique world can be found in Gangtok, but to find it you will have to stray a little outside the crowded spaces of the capital. Located on the sloping road going to Development Area is a space that has many names – Rachna Books, Cafe Fiction or Bookman’s BnB. Best known as Rachna, this establishment has slowly become the centre of creative and artistic development in Sikkim.
Rachna has hosted all sorts of events – book and magazine launches, photography club meetings, poetry readings, interesting lectures, film festivals, bake sales, small gigs by local musicians – you name it and they’ve probably done it. It has been able to maintain a very nurturing environment that recognises the importance of individuality, creativity and inspiration that can come from conversations with other kindred wanderers. One can be surprised by the types of people who choose to make Rachna their sanctuary.
What started as a simple book store in 1979 has developed into something much more. The book store today houses a carefully curated collection of interesting and intelligent reads that may surprise even the most cynical readers. Books by local writers have also been hand picked and placed on the shelves. Besides being a propagator of reading, one will find that Rachna also supports local businesses by advertising and selling their products in it’s Cafe area.
The special coffee that has been blended and roasted by the Rachna family
The fresh bakes that keep changing everyday [no preservatives. yay!]
The outdoor seating on the first floor complete with curtains of green creepers and the sound of flowing water over the wall
The vast varieties of teas for sale
So if you’re feeling a bit down, lost or frustrated and in dire need for some comfort, head over to Rachna – a place that feels like the home of a warm friend. Get lost in the world of a good book, of your own imagination, or in the conversation of some good company. Enjoy the cosiness, the calm and the ambience of a most unique space. In fact, take a room in the BnB on the second floor and never leave.
post contributed by Sonam Gaychen Wangdi