STRETCHING THE RUPEE

  AND GOING THE DISTANCE

 

Backpacking the N/East : 3 months / 4 States and a limited budget!!

 

NORTH EAST JOURNALS – PART 2 of5

DARJEELING “Place of Thunderbolts

PLACES VISITED : Ghoom, Yiga Choling / Samten Choling / Dali monasteries, Batasia Loop, Lloyd’s Botanical garden, Mall/Chowrasta

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

 

The primary reason of coming to Darjeeling was to attend the Basic mountaineering course conducted by Himalayan mountaineering Institute. The course was for a period of 28 days :

 

7 days – Acclimatization, theory and practical Rock craft in Darjeeling.

 

7 days – Trekking (Approach to Chaurikhang, Sikkim. At an altitude of 14600 feet at the base of Kabru dome.

 

11 days – Field training of ice and snow craft on Rathong Glacier at base camp.

 

3 days – Final administration and graduation certificate.

 

FOR FULL POST FOLLOW LINK :  HMI, BASIC COURSE

On completion of my course stayed at an amazing family run place called Andy’s Guesthouse (Rs.450/- for room with mountain view and hot water), with a 360 viewing deck on the terrace, spotless clean rooms and absolute peace and surroundings,

As we were here only for two days, we tried to cover as much ground as possible in one day.

 

Did not get a seat the toy train as bookings need to be done a month in advance during tourist season. Rather we trekked it out to all these places on our newly strengthened “mountain legs”.

 

Starting from the town area, we first visited the Dali monastery (Thupten Sanga Choeling), inaugurated by Dalai Lama, housing nearly 300 monks. The huge meditation hall is richly decorated with exquisite murals and ceiling mandalas.

 

 

 

 

 

After this stopped at the Batasia Loop, a section of the toy train track which forms a figure of eight loop. There is a War memorial and a small park in the centre of this loop and one can get stupendous views of Darjeeling town and the mountains beyond.

Stepped into the small but colorful Samten Choling monastery situated on the main road.

Ghoom (Elev.-2438m) station is about 7 kms. from Darjeeling town. Out here we visited the Yiga Choling monestary. Built in the 1850’s by a renowned astrologer, it consists of a single chambered.

 

 

temple, with few residential buildings and an outhouse. Inside the prayer hall is a huge figure of Maitreya (The Buddha of the future).

 

 

temple, with few residential buildings and an outhouse. Inside the prayer hall is a huge figure of Maitreya (The Buddha of the future).

 

Took a shared cab back to Darjeeling town and walked along the market area to Lloyd’s botanical garden (Sundays closed).
Situated just below the market motor stand, and built on a 40 acre of land by Mr. W. Lloyd in 1878, it contains a vast collection of rare Himalayan plants, flowers, orchids and many more flora species.

 

Apart from the local momos I really enjoyed my breakfast of sausages and ham at Keventer’s roof top, beer and steak at Glenary’s and coffee at Fiesta.

 

 

Overall, I got the feeling that this town was too crowded and the heavy influx of local noisy tourists is straining the already minimal resources. Especially irking is the density of vehicles and associated noise and air pollution caused in this once quiet town. I would recommend a visit to this town towards the end of the tourism season (Peak season being March to mid June and Oct to Dec) to really enjoy the sights.

It is also advisable to check up the current security situation as this town is affected with frequent bandhs due to the ongoing fight for independent Gorkhaland.

 

NOTE (BACKPACKING NORTH EAST INDIA AND BASIC MOUNTAINEERING COURSE) (06.APR.2010 TO 26.JUN.2010):

MY SEQUENCE OF TRAVEL WAS AS FOLLOWS : DARJEELING – HMI BASIC MOUNTAINEERING COURSE – DARJEELING – ARUNACHAL PRADESH – MEGHALAYA – SIKKIM

 

ALSO CHECK OUT FOLLOWING POSTS AS A CONTINUATION OF MY ENTIRE N.EAST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE  –

 

1) PROLOGUE TO NORTH EAST JOURNALS

 

2) ARUNACHAL PRADESH

 

3) MEGHALAYA

 

4) SIKKIM

 

5) HMI, BASIC COURSE

 

Next destination : Arunachal Pradesh (FOLLOW LINK ABOVE)

 


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This