Darjeeling Diaries

The change from a remotely located Sandakphu to an ever-colorful Darjeeling was baffling. Several layers of clothes found their way back to the backpacks. Everyone was eager to have a good shower and find a comfortable stay. After three days of tiring treks and travel, we finally landed in Darjeeling. Glad that we booked Ramada by Wyndham on Darjeeling Gandhi Road besides Keventers. The room allotment consumed an hour or so, which was quite exhausting. The rooms were neat, and the view was relaxing.

We set out to take a stroll for dinner. The atmosphere was buzzing with small shops and food stalls. The aroma from the food stalls made us longing for an early dinner. Though the food was good in Sandakphu, most of us couldn’t grab a bite due to extreme weather. We were at the mall road, dazzled by the mild breeze and warm smokes from the meats that made us drool. The chat items from the street foods were worth mentioning.

Good food and good company are two of the life’s simplest yet greatest pleasures.

Without much adieu, we ordered Bengali food. I am not an explorer when it comes to food. I always prefer to stick on to my favorite and trusted cuisines. Bengali cuisine was never my forte as the mustard oil was unchartered territory. One of the take away from this trip was my newfound interest in Bengali food. I was petrified by mustard oil until I took the first bite.

You just cant eat good food, you have to talk about it too..

The fish gravy and the one deep-fried were flavor-packed and tempting. The Bhetki fish fry is a must-try as it was well marinated and deep-fried to give a unique taste. With good food in our belly, we strolled along the mall road and wrapped up the day with a night of good sleep.

We started the next day with a 10 mins drive to West Point. West point is a peaceful hilly area known for Buddhist monasteries and temples. The Peace Pagoda is one of the 70 temples built by the Japanese Buddhist Nipponzan Myohoji organization around the globe. Its main objective is for people of all races and creeds to unite for world peace. The time spent there was sublime and peaceful.

After discovering our inner peace, we headed to the Rangeet Valley Cable Car. The ropeway is 5 KM long as it trails through various tea plantations and provides a mesmerizing aerial view. Sometimes it’s good to change position and look from a bird’s eye point of view. The challenges that appear to be monumental look bleak when there is a change in the way we view them. For example, we perceived the cable car as a tourist attraction, and the inhabitants noticed it as a means of communication for their daily routines.

What you see depends not only on what you look at, but also , on where you look from.

– James Deacon

While discussing our pasts and spending quality time, we did not miss out on capturing some astonishing views.

Our next stop was at Batasia Loop, a war memorial and scenic location. This loop is one of the engineering marvels which made it possible for the toy train to handle a 140 feet fall. The large circumference of the track here ensures that there is enough space for a botanic garden. In the center of the loop is a war memorial. A quick change in weather transformed the place into an eye-candy location for some epic photos.

The next day we stopped by the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, the only zoo in the country for breeding Red Pandas. Apart from Red Pandas, we also witnessed the majestic Snow leopard, Tibetian wolf, and many other species.

One can’t depart from Darjeeling without grabbing a bite at Keventers. The rich heritage associated with its history makes it an impeccable location to have an English breakfast.

Glenary’s is another buzzing place with some of the finest chocolates and puddings. The trip would be incomplete without takeaways from Glenary.

These five days was a roller coaster ride. The paths we took, the songs we sang, the joyous moments shared, the adventures we endured. Nothing can comprehend those days. It was an experience that will remain etched forever.

What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything

Aaron Siskind

It was so hard to leave, but all good things must end. Until next time, peace out.

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