Tagged: Darjeeling

Road Trip to North East from Chennai – Part VII (Dec ’16)

Route Taken: Guwahati – Nalbari – Bongaigaon – Alipurduar – Coronation Bridge – Khalijora – Melli (Sikkim) – Tista Bazzar – Sixth Mile – Darjeeling

As we saved a day while coming, we wanted to take a chance to do to either PURI/KONARK or my personal favorite DARJEELING and we verified the possibilities with Adithya, who also seemed so encouraging all the way from Day 1. He gave us the route plan and possibilities and time limitations in case we go for it. All of us agreed.

We ensured to make it fast to Darjeeling, as we knew it would be up the hill and that we cannot move fast after sunset. So, we finished our breakfast at the hotel itself (not to miss a mark about the tastiest complimentary breakfast we had, in fact even the bread sandwich tasted too good over the poori subji, I had my tastiest tea, while the men opted for fresh juice)

The route was all scenic all the way till Coronation Bridge, saw the beautiful, huge, mesmerizing beauty of the Teesta river. We kept moving, and sudden plan change to see if SIKKIM could be possible (Thanks for tempting us enough all the way Adithya). Sikkim came with a price of 20+km one way in traffic and so we requested for any other option. Adithya suggested us to just take alternate route via Triveni Sangamam to touch the border and come back, that would just be a 2+km detour. We agreed and did.

My God, while going we saw Triveni Sangamam but didn’t stop as we didn’t want to click pics on Sikkim border post sunset, as it gets too dark. I was counting every minute to not miss both, and yes we did them both! Sikkim border had all police officials near the border gate, and we were clueless how to stop and click pics and return asap, but they were very friendly and as usual wondering on enquiries as to how we made from Chennai all the way. They even helped us park our vehicle near the gate and allowed us to click a few pics and gave us a very warm send off.

We rushed our way back to Triveni Sangamam point where Teesta River and Rangeet River joins. It was beautiful to see two color mix in a point. Thank God, we did not miss and we thanked Adithya for suggesting us the 2km detour.
Time up and we had to make it fast to Darjeeling before it got too dark after sunset. We were about to make it to Darjeeling but took some time to find the hotel, as the streets were all busy, crowded, not a place to park the car and enquire, poor signal in mobile to update the hotel people. Finally we made it and just dropped our luggage, and went to shopping. We found a shop which had all the woolen items, couldn’t bargain, bought what was essential, but definitely cheaper to buy stuff. Hari booked us the toy train for the next day at 10.30 AM and we had a little more time than usual the next morning.

We kept hunting for hotels, didn’t find big ones, stopped in a small hotel, had roti, which wasn’t that good. Mohan wanted to try garlic bread and kept walking to order in dominos, as it was already 10 PM. We had a tasty garlic bread sticks. As we were the last group of customers and the mall was already closed, it was really a moment of adventure to hunt for a way out, which took some time.

We walked back to the hotel all the way for more than 2 kms, as we had no choice and almost exhausted, we knew we definitely had sound sleep. We were a little unfortunate for missing out to find a shop to buy Darjeeling Tea packets or taste one from the local shop. But, it was Christmas Eve, and there were colorful lights all the way, and big musical instruments, speakers were transported around the city by different groups. I am sure it would have been a big celebration time, treat for photographers, had we come a couple of days later.

We got up late, and packed everything in the car, segregated what was scattered, ensured our cycle was fit/tied well. Parked the car in the hotel and planned to get it in return. We kept walking to the railway station and saw the beautiful steam toy train with two compartments instead of one.
Thank God, we made it by 10.15 AM itself for 10.45 AM train time, as they combined two trains into one for some reasons. Then started some confusions for someone who booked a coach fully vs those who had made it early taking seats of their numbers in both the coaches.

Train started 15 minutes late than the usual start time for the same reasons. Everyone was equally excited to see the train move after the long quarrel. It went to GHUM station, then to a park (10-minute parking), then to a museum, where it stopped for 30 minutes. We had options to visit the museum or stay and click shots in the train, with the train / engine. We opted for clicking pics. We then realized it was the steam engine moving in front with the help of electrical engine compartment pushing from behind. That was funny though. We had a feel of visiting almost all the streets of Darjeeling.

With no energy to walk back to the hotel, we took a taxi up to the hotel, took the car and started driving down from Darjeeling.