Whatever has been written so far about the tea town of India- Darjeeling, one thing that truly touches your heart is the unadulterated beauty. There are no big malls here like the other hill stations, no brand coffee shops and moreover even the houses aren’t the one with the lavish interiors. However what adds to its natural beauty are the beautiful mountain ranges, the land of the rising sun of India and the tea plantations.
A colourful town of the Indian state of West Bengal, it is nestled in the lap of North-eastern Himalayas. It has everything in it to charm the residents and tourists alike. The locals have painted their houses with the rainbow colours and every home was a pleasure to see on the way to Darjeeling. Fledged with tea gardens all across, it provides the splendiferous view to the natural ecstasy and relaxes all the bruised souls due to the fast paced life of the metro cities and start their life afresh. The fresh air and the innocent people give it a different perspective to view life through the lenses.
The moment you step down into Siliguri and take a bus or toy train, every breath of yours will be taken away by enchanting landscapes that keeps you tingling and thinking till the end. If one is boarding a train, the nearest station is Jalpaiguri which is 88kms from Darjeeling. It is well connected to all major cities in India and most of them have stoppages at this junction. One can hire a taxi from there or take it from Siliguri and it takes nearly 3 to 4 hours to reach the destination. You can even take a flight to the Deobgarh which is close to Siliguri and then hire a taxi for Darjeeling.
If you are not in a hurry to visit the place and want to enjoy every moment with the passing scenic beauty, boarding the beautiful yet slow ‘toy train’ is the right decision. It passes through the beautiful mountains making each moment memorable and it takes nearly six hours to reach by it. One can even hymn the beautiful song Kasto Mazza hai Lelaima from ‘Parineeta’ with their soulmate.
Darjeeling has an impact of Tibet, Nepal and China in its culture. There are different monasteries to visit like Bhutia Busty Monastry and Ghum Monastry. Besides, Tiger Hill is a must visit for all the morning lovers as it showcases the beautiful sunrise in India. You can enjoy it along with the small Darjeeling tea cups provided by the local vendors but to watch this amazing natural happening, one has to be lucky enough to have a clear sky day as most of the time it is interrupted by heavy dark clouds that burst into heavy downpour. Once you have seen it, I bet most of the non early wakers like me, won’t regret it at all.
A bollywood freak can see the shooting destination of the successful movie, Main Hoon Na which was picturised in St. Joseph’s College (School Dept.) which is located 3km north from downtown, Darjeeling. Another must watch is the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which encourages mountaineering as a sport in India. It also houses a zoo which homes the state animal of Sikkim- Red Panda along with other animals and birds. You will surely fall in love with this beautiful yet naughty red animal. Besides, you are surely missing things if you don’t visit the tea plantations and buying tea is a must. One of the most popular dishes of the hilly areas is momos, a steamed roll made of either vegetables or pork or beef.
Darjeeling can be visited throughout the year except the rainy season which sees heavy downpour from June start till August that sometimes keeps it disconnected from the rest of India as of landslides. Visiting Darjeeling at the end of December can be a boon to watch the colourful Darjeeling festival.
The city is as simple as its people. And yes you might like to settle down to this place after taking break from the domestic chores. The more you discover Darjeeling, no matter how many days you have thought of spending here, it won’t be just enough. Who knows a little later, a poet takes a birth in you.