organic gardening

Sikkim Kitchen


Khechapuri Thingling Village
April 2009

A drawing from a series made of and around Khechapuri village in Sikkim, in the Eastern region of India. The village is located above the Khechapuri Lake, also known as the wishing lake. This unusually tranquil lake is surrounded by abundant forest and is considered one of the sacred lakes of Sikkim both by the Buddhist and the Hindus. It is believed that birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake’s surface. Perched on a hilltop above the lake, the village  nestles above the clouds, with majestic views to the remarkable Kanchenjunga mountain range. There is a sense of truly living amongst the Gods.

The village is a small close-knit farming community, at the centre of which is a guesthouse run by Sonam Bhutia and his family, where I stayed for a week in April 2009. Travellers often discover the place inadvertently, intending to stopover briefly but invariably choosing to extend their stay due to the warmth and generosity of the hosts, and the incredible tranquility and  essence of the place. This spirit is reflected in the way the guesthouse is supported by the local farmers in produce and supplies, and the way income is distributed amongst the whole community.

Sonam’s kitchen was at the heart of the guesthouse, and the village. A place for the family and guests to spend time together in preparing meals, sharing food and conversation. Simple, hearty, enriching food grown and prepared locally by the community, and shared amongst it.

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