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.