Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gangtok and Darjeeling (Part II)



The drive to Darjeeling was lush, and heavenly. The local farmers had set up roadside stalls every few hundred yards loaded with fresh produce. My father, who was travelling with us, was in absolute heaven. He would stop our car every few kilometers and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables from these farmers. Instead of munching on chips and crackers we drove around in the car, munching on carrots and cucumbers and any other fresh vegetable my father could get his hands on laced with chaat masala (spice powder) and lemon juice.
The city of Darjeeling was much more of a tourist center and bigger than Gangtok. The area is surrounded by glorious tea estates, the neat rows of tea plants covering the entire hills giving a very majestic feel.

The tea gardens are a sight to cherish. Being in Darjeeling, you realize how aptly the area was coined as “Queen of the Hills” by the British. We used our car for a day’s worth of sightseeing which included Tensing Mountaineering Institute, Pagoda, Zoo, Tibetan Refugee Center and a few other focal points. Within the town itself, we walked just about everywhere. The walk to Chowrastha, and from there up the hill to the Mahakal Temple makes for a nice walk.

For people who want to experience an Indian monsoon, Darjeeling is a perfect place to be. I loved curling up with a book, sipping chai and munching on pakodas, quaint tea sandwiches and indian-chinese noodles. And when the rain let up, we would go out for nice walking tours within the city. All Indians who grew up in India will know exactly what I am talking about. I think you have to be an Indian at heart to cherish the monsoon. For all others, without a nice book or a large group of friends to keep the entertainment going, the constant rain can get very tiring as it did for my kids.

For anyone planning a future visit to Darjeeling and Gangtok, my advice, go to Darjeeling first and then to Gangtok. A visit to a tea plantation is a must especially if you like to drink tea. Only a few tea plantations are open to public. If you are planning to buy Darjeeling tea, go to any large retailer in town and smell the various tea leaves, ask the retailer to explain the various harvesting seasons and their influence on the flavor, sample the one you like the most and then buy.

12 comments:

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Make You Travel said...

I read your blog. Such a Great Information about Darjeeling ...


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Tulika Sharma said...

Hi.
Darjeeling ' could be a city within the Indian state of province. it's settled within the Mahabharat vary or Lesser Himalaya at a median elevation of half dozen,710 ft . it's noted for its tea trade and therefore the Darjeeling mountain range Railway, a World Heritage website. Darjeeling is that the headquarters of Darjeeling district that includes a part autonomous standing inside the state of province.
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Singapore Malaysia tour packages from India said...

Darjeeling is so beautiful and have untouched natural beauty . monsoon is the best season to visit it .
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anjali gupta said...

Darjeeling is one of the best hill station to explore in summer season. The town boasts of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. For tourist attractions, check out these places to visit in Darjeeling.

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Southern Travels said...

Hey, Thanks for sharing your travelling experience at Darjeeling and Gangtok.

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Gangtok and Darjeeling both destinations have travel rush,lot of travelers come and stay here.Thanks for share nice information.

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It was wonderful to read your blog and it has great information about your travel experience and the way you explained it is really awesome.Darjeeling is one of the beautiful places in India and it has many wonderful places to visit.If any one you are planning to travel to Darjeeling then book your bus tickets in advance from online bus tickets booking portal.