I have never visited Switzerland.
You must be thinking now, why am I even mentioning it here? And who the hell cares whether I have visited it or not?
With due respect to everyone’s thought the reason I mentioned it is because I never felt the need to visit the place. Ha ha…Silly reason right?
Actually the fact is that the place I come from holds such a charm within itself that it’s impossible to escape from the claws of its aesthetic beauty- “DARJEELING”;“The one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once-by even a glimpse would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the world combined”– Mark Twain.
Yeah, I am utterly proud and happy to say that I come from a town that attracts thousands of visitors worldwide every a day and moreover makes me fall in love with it each passing second.
I may be exaggerating it a bit but I’m sure if you happen to visit here, you would definitely take my side.
The Hilly town [rather mentioned as “Queen of the Hills” by the visitors]of West Bengal is situated at an altitude of 6,710 ft from the sea level-filled with the aroma of fresh air and is surrounded by Green Pine trees- bejeweled by the majestic Kanchenjunga Mountain as its crown.
The cold climatic conditions and its serene natural beauty make it one of the most sought out holiday destinations among travelers, especially during summers- a place which is close to nature, with birds chirping and cool breeze making musical notations; I’m sure a visit to Darjeeling would really be worthwhile and an experience you would reminiscence lifelong.
Quick tips before you visit the town:
*Make sure to carry some woolen clothes (It’s mildly cold during summers but extreme during winters)
*Book a hotel prior to your visit especially during peak seasons from March-June
* Buckle up your shoes for extreme adventure
Once you reach the city Siliguri, you can board a bus, mini car, taxis as they are available aplenty that will connect you to the town.
There are a set of things you can’t miss during your stay here:
1) The sunrise view from “Tiger Hill”: The early morning view of the rising sun bathing in pink and the majestic Kanchenjunga at the backdrop would steal the heart of any spectator. People wake up early in the morning just to witness the sunrise as it is such a marvelous sight to see the White Mountains change its color as the sun comes out of the horizon. No wonder, numerous poets and artists have portrayed the beauty in their works.
2) A visit to the “Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park”: Established on 14th August, 1958, the zoo falls under the “small zoo” category as per Central Zoo Authority’s clarification but is the highest altitude zoo in the country. Animals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Snow leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Yak are housed here. The authorities are also running numerous projects to protect endangered species like the RED PANDA.
3) A walk around “Chowrastha and Lover’s Road”: Chowrastha as the name suggests- links four roads on all directions to connect you to other parts of the town and is right at the Heart of Darjeeling. There are benches for the visitors where astray minds can find peace, young people can involve in gossips, and old souls can spend a moment in tranquility. Walking along the lover’s road or rather called as Love road, you could witness couples lost in love with dreams and hopes of their life and yes I am not suggesting you to pry on them but walking along the path gives you a feeling which only the walkers can explain.
4) A joyride on the “Toy-Train”: Oh yes, you can’t miss the fun of this tiny ride that would enthrall you with its magical ride. The Himalayan Railway that started more than a decade ago was declared a world Heritage site at 1999. The ride takes a spiral turn around itself through a tunnel and over a hilltop at the Batasia Loop which is 5 km away from the town. A war memorial for martyrs of the Independence struggle of the country that is built here attracts people from near and far. Along the way you can sing “Kasto maza hai relaima, ramailo ukaali oraali”(Movie Parineeta).
5) A ride through the “Ropeway”: The ride that was started in 1968 by the forest department connects Singamari at a height of 7,001 ft to Singla down the hill at a height of 801 ft on the banks of Ramman River which stops at Tukver, Burnesbag and Singla Tea Estates. Travelling over the dense forest, waterfalls and flowing river gives you the feeling of flying and hence enthralls your mind with excitement and joy.
6) “White water Rafting”: During your stay take some time off and drive down 1 and half hour to “Teesta Bazaar” and have some adventure time with your hands on in Rafting along the Teesta River with experienced trainers to guide you on the way.
7) Experience the “HMI”: HMI or rather termed as Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was established in Darjeeling in the year 1954 with the sole purpose of encouraging people into Mountaineering. The institute provides regular training and conducts Advance and Basic level of Mountaineering courses to the enthusiasts and certificate that is recognized globally is provided as well after you complete the training.
Apart from the list above I would recommend you to visit some of the other well known towns namely: Mirik which is famous for its serene Lake and the boat ride. Towns as Kalimpong and Kurseong have their own importance and beauty and visiting them would accomplish the purpose of visiting Darjeeling. Everywhere you go, you will be welcomed by nature and greenery and off course smiling faces.
You cannot miss out the street side shopping experience, tasting the mouth watering “Momos”[various other local cuisines and delicacies], Visiting the local gardens and park, taking a sip of Hot coffee at Kaventers, experiencing the bollywood moment at St.pauls (Shooting of “Main Hoon Naa”, ”Barfi” commenced here), visiting the local temples, Buddhist monasteries and wide-tall churches, strolling along the narrow lanes, riding on the horses back at Chowrastha and several other tiny moments that would make your visit an everlasting experience.
If you are lucky enough then you may also witness snowfall during winters.
The friendly locales will make you feel at home and when you finally bade goodbye, you heart will have an everlasting imprint in it-an imprint of Love, Memories and Joy –the thoughts resonating in your heart “I will visit you again, I will definitely visit you again”