Perched amidst greenery, Darjeeling’s tea garden landscapes welcome adventure lovers as well as leisure travellers with open arms.
Regardless of what people said, light winters turned out to be a perfect time to visit darjeeling. Its surely was less crowded and therefore exploring it was all the more fun. The only thing I missed was the – the Kangchendzonga that remained shrouded in mist almost the whole time that I was there – except for one brief moment, which I would have missed if someone hadn’t shouted out, “Look, there’s the Kangchendzonga”.
But there were many other compensations. While the weather was decidedly cold, spring was in the air and the ‘first flush’ had begun to appear on the tea bushes. The pink magnolias and camellias were out and the red rhododendrons had begun to appear – as far as I was concerned it was the perfect time to visit Darj, for a visit that was long overdue. The drive through the city was as picturesque as ever. The tea estates were yet to begin harvesting the first spring leaves on the tea bushes. There were no waterfalls to see, but giant ferns covered the mountainside. The rail tracks ran along the road and we passed a freight train along the way. We passed Kurseong, which appeared to have added many more houses and sped towards Ghoom.
The Ghoom Railway Station at 8,000 ft.,is said to be one of the highest in the world and sand is still sprinkled manually on the railway tracks, to stop the train from slipping down as it negotiates the steep climb. I noticed that the fast food movement has reached Darjeeling. Besides the original Keventers’ snack bar, there now seem to be a number of others, selling burgers and pizzas. I realised that Darjeeling had now become a destination where the young and the old can enjoy equally. The young can get comfortable in their culture while the old enjoy the serenity.
source: The Times of India, 05 DEC 2013