Saturday, August 04, 2007

the magic of Darjeeling

One of the best places that i've visited, is Darjeeling. We went there in 1998, during the winter. I was waiting eagerly to get started. Excitement ruled M and me.

We alighted at Siliguri, and caught a bus to Darjeeling. I guess, that was the first time when i liked to feel the cold wind kiss my cheeks. Everytime, i sense the chill breezes lapping my cheeks, i'm transported back to Darjeeling.

We stopped at a roadside dhaba for tea. H uncle had suggested us to try momos'. We did, and we felt in love with them. So much so that i ate them day after day, for a week. They are steamed rice dumplings, with vegetables(especially cabbage), stuffed inside. Shaped like onions, they are served with hot and sweet-sour chutneys.

The nights were cold. We threw quilts on ourselves and shivered under them untill the desired warmth spread over us. During the daytime, a light woollen pullover was sufficient. Darjeeling is a beautiful town. Unspoilt then, i hope the same holds true as i speak.


Tiger Hill is the place to be, to witness a pristine sunrise. Provided, a clear sky beckons you. We were anxious the previous night. Dark clouds loomed around. However, the green signal was given, after much speculation.

Having woken at 4:30, we left our guest house wrapped in warm clothes. Each one of us had three if not two windcheaters, cardigans... Even with caps pulled over our ears, our teeth chattered and our bones ached. We had hired jeeps which took us there. On the way we were stopped by a young lady who carried a flask of coffee. She climbed in. When we did reach our destination, we found many women selling coffee.



A splendid sunrise awaited us. Soft orange light to spread. The Kanchenjhunga, other seemingly nearby peaks were bathed in a surreal pink glow. Beautiful! Words simply cannot describe the beauty of the moment. While cameras clicked amidst us, asking us to stand here and there, we stared at the eastern sky. A telescope provided a better view. I remember we scrambled to use it.

On walking back to our jeep, the elders' decided to buy coffee from one of those many women who buzzed around the place. They drank the beverage with a grim look on their face. When questioned, they declared the coffee bad, that one cannot get south-indian coffee prepared in the south-indian fashion anywhere else!

On our way back from Tiger Hill, we stopped at Ghoom. Ghoom has a monastery, bang on the main road. The paintings on it depict the Buddha, in dominant reds and oranges.

Another spot that i remember is Rock Garden. It is quite far from the town. And the roads went up and down. The drivers' there are really careful. We drank Darjeeling tea there, and packed some to be taken home.

The native ladies were really pretty. With red lips adorning fair skin. Dressed in their traditional attire, we saw them work in tea gardens. They walked with ease, heavy loads et al. With nimble footsteps.

What made the stay awesome was the accommodating nature of our hostess. Mrs. Chetri provided us delicious, sumptous meals. We bombarded her living room with our shouts, squeals, fights, laughter... fighting for the remote control every now and then. Loud music could be heard on the last day. All were dancing. Pictures were captured to preserve those joyous moments. She must have sighed in relief when we bid good-bye.

I want to visit Darjeeling again. I know i will.

ps: tdna suggested that some photos would add charm to this post. Hence, the addition. One can find a lot more on Kalyan's photoblog on Darjeeling.

Pictures' courtsey: www.trekearth.com, www.travel-westbengal.com

7 comments:

Twisted DNA said...

Wonderful! Felt like going there reading your narrative!

"We stopped at a roadside dhaba for tea"
Just imagining the roadside hot tea, in the misty chilly weather is like heaven. I can imagine how much fun you had! How about a few pictures?

Kalyan said...

You writing really made me nostalgic. Darjeeling is one place very close to my heart and I don't know how many times I have been there and still every time I go there, it gives me a fresh new feeling, maybe because of the atmosphere there. You might have seen in my profile a photoblog entirely dedicated to Darjeeling. I believe this place has a special charm and your very nice description about this place has increased the charm manifold.

mouna said...

tdna,
yes, they have been added! thanks for the suggestion :)

kalyan,
charm yes. lucky you, you can visit the place often. for people like us, way down in the south, i guess it's a one time opportunity. btw we've got amazing hill stations down south tto.

Arun said...

oops.. how nice! I go this link of Kalyan's blog and I end up seeing one of my images posted there, un-acknowledged! How flattering.. :)

Decemebr Stud said...

I ahve always wanted to go there...some day I guess...nice writeup

Srik said...

sakattagide :-)

mouna said...

ds,
try to go there atleast once, it's mindblowing!

srik,
thank u so very much! :)

actually, i have special associations with this word. it was a favourite word of mine when i was in college, and it later became incorporated in the vocabulary of my friends as well. it took me back to those days :D *sigh*