The fog itself seemed sleepy. The imposing snow capped mountains glistened in the golden rays of the rising sun as if wishing us good morning. It wasn’t everyday that one could enjoy the experience of living in the clouds. Perhaps it was a holiday destination the Gods favour when they want a break from our selfish prayers wanting money, and more money. Whether it was because the four hut township merged seamlessly into the woods or was it because the innocence of the inhabitants were yet not contaminated by the neon lights of the city, I do not know. But one thing is for certain, I believe-the huge fire which was lit every evening certainly kept their hearts very warm.
This quaint little township located in West Bengal is tucked away in the hills between Kalimpong and Darjeeling and is called Rishyap. It is still relatively unknown to a lot of people. However, it is advisable to take the train till Jalpaiguri and hire a jeep till Darjeeling. One can thereon trek the remaining distance or take a jeep. The journey is a photographer’s paradise. The sudden bends and banks of the road threw up scenes which can leave any visitor gasping for more. The lazy wintry sun was peeking through the clouds and colouring the sky in hues which could be described as Divine Red, Peaceful Blue and many more. The Kanchenjanga mountain range seemed to accompany us wherever we went extending a hand of friendship, and occasionally smiling at us as it glistened in the mellow rays of the sun.
Whether it was because of the cool breeze or the winding Teesta River seen as a long necklace of water worn by the hills, trekking the distance from Darjeeling to Rishyap via Ghoom seemed an exciting proposition. Following the metalled road one instant and slipping over fungus covered pebbles in the next, the two hour trek threw up moments which will always be captured in my memory. The ebullient characteristic of nature was never so palpable. The time period between November to February is the best time to visit the place. The winter season begins to set in, the orchids bloom, and one can literally touch the clouds.
Ghoom as the name literally means in Bengali is “sleep”. It is truly a dreamy hill station. It has one of the highest railway stations in the world. The lifestyle seems to defy the frenetic pace of the city. Perhaps the clouds have something to do with it. The clouds here would come into your homes play hide and seek, cheer you up.
The journey thus far had been wonderful. Finally Rishyap welcomed us half an hour from Ghoom. Hope Tourism in conjunction with the West Bengal Tourism has set up little wooden two bedded lodges adorned with a cosy bed, reading table, fireplace and a toilet above which hung a board which said ‘’Please do not waste a single drop of water‘’. The lodges are taken care of by two very warm and caring families. The food served is also quite delectable.
Next dawn we were woken up as the chirping of birds danced into our ears, I drowsily opened an eye and looked out of the window and saw……”The fog still seemed sleepy”..
… and I began to imagine if things are better in the Heaven…