Wow…..it feels so great to write about Darjeeling, my favorite hill station in my home state, Bengal in India….always happy to do this….:)
This is a looking back to my visit there last year…….and I hope you will do so soon like thousands of tourists coming from all over the world to this British built hill station for tourism or for further journeys into trekking and more further to mountaineering journeys……….but in whichever form, Darjeeling is just paradise for me…….:)
Yes, the huge massif of the third highest peak in the world, Kanchenjunga is the primary attraction that one draws towards Darjeeling from the world over……….and if you get a clear sky for the view, then you will have nothing to complain about……..as this grand view will welcome you all throughout your stay there. This epic view fills one with respect for the mountains and the awe-inspiring beauty as the Himalayan peak stands tall against the clear blue sky in its full glory………..you will never have enough satisfaction of capturing this view and will want to come back over and over again……:)
Darjeeling Himalayan Railways
Another big attraction of this colonial hill town is the World Heritage Himalayan Railways, the Toy train……and trust me, you will feel nostalgic taking a ride on this railways for a pleasure trip from Darjeeling station to Ghoom and back……the steam and diesel engines with their hooters, the very old and experienced working force, the rails over the hilly terrain, the breathtaking scenery, and the awe-struck company of your truly international and varied co passengers will leave in a dream world……you will never have enough of it……same with me….:)
I remember to have boarded the train in the morning, around 9.15 am on a beautiful cold winter day in November. My coach was full of tourists consisting of a big team from Germany, and in interaction with a few of them told of the awe they were in on this first visit to the hill station.
As the train started on its journey leaving Darjeeling station, I got lost into that journey through the hill town, within the sound of the hooter, within the constant flow of traffic on the adjacent road carrying locals and tourists to and fro, within the scenic beauty on offer, and the constant journey of the white snow capped peaks of Kanchenjunga along with our train……….as we reached Ghoom for a break and for the return journey…….Ghoom is another engineering marvel as the rail lines are built-in a loop technique around the hills so that the journey becomes smoother on this hilly terrain…….really, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways will always remain a star attraction for generations to come.
This hill town has so much to offer……that it cannot be really covered in one post. It will have to be explored to really sink into the experience. I will give you a much more personal view from my own experiences.
Darjeeling’s charm is in everything, it’s very friendly and hospitable people, its beautiful lanes and by lanes, all carved within the hills, its colonial buildings, famous public schools, its heritage shops, even famous eateries, it’s monasteries, beautiful houses on the slopes, it’s undulating tea gardens, its famous view point of Tiger Hill from where you can enjoy the morning sunrise over the Himalayan ranges and take my word for it, it is something that you can’t miss, and if you are lucky enough to have a completely clear sky like I got, you can catch a glimpse of the summit of the highest peak of the world, the mighty Everest…………..:)
Darjeeling’s weather is very friendly particularly after the monsoons are over, the peak tourist season starts almost after the rains leave the hills, and the weather becomes cooler and very enjoyable for those lovely walks down to the Mall area which is basically the lazy hanging out place for locals as well as tourists…….I just love that place……..everyone just having their own ways of enjoyment in the mall area, where you will be spoiled with choices of food, shopping, horse riding, cultural shows, concerts and just simple lazing and having a good time…….that’s the Mall…….
Even though rains occur in hills at regular intervals, particularly in Darjeeling, it is basically an all-weather visit place. The monsoon season from June to September should be avoided if possible.
This is one of the delicacies of this hill area which has worldwide recognition, and a connection has to be made in whichever way you want if you are visiting Darjeeling. As a visit to the various tea estates there will be part of your sight-seeing, your best connection will be buying the famous leaves in ample quantities for back home and also sipping few cuppa during your stay there.
Just some examples of this amazing brew which is a must try…….:)
A must visit
In all its charms, Darjeeling is a much visit…….it is also closer to some other breathtaking beautiful hill stations like Mirik, Kurseong……..and it is also the getaway for further travel to Sikkim and Nepal……..as the mighty Himalayan range surrounds this breathtaking landscape, many mountaineers proceeding towards their final adventures do come to these hill stations to take all the necessary fuels and the energies…….as you will be able to meet many of them during your stay here……….and ultimately for tourists the world over, Darjeeling will always remain as the Queen of the hills in this north-eastern part of India…….it is a childhood fantasy place for me, and will try to visit it as many times I can in this lifetime…..:)