"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 rest of the world combined."
Mark Twain said this for Darjeeling as there is no other foothill from where one can see series of summit (including the highest one in the world) from such a close proximity .
Here are three of my most favorite places (in random order) in Darjeeling (district) where I can relax and enjoy peacefully .
Gumbadara View Point :
" Sitting here once is in my daily routine" chirps this young lady.
Gumbadara view point falls in Tinchuley and is surrounded by vast stretches of tea gardens on both sides of a narrow metaled road. The view point gives a clear view of Kanchenjunga range. On a bright cloudless day one can even see river Teesta flowing into Sikkim . From under this concrete shade, one can admire Kanchenjunga on the right and green valley covering the rest against a background of cobalt blue sky.
Here is a list of things that I would do to spend my day in Gumbadara:- Read a few travelogues and plan for my next visit back here.
- Take a small walk in the tea garden and soak myself in pin drop silence.
- Watch vehicles from the view point taking hair-pin turns.
- Listen to music while gazing the magical white of Kachenjunga.
Sun rays passing through the Dhupi forest.A small hamlet, recently introduced to tourists by West Bengal government . It has a park well maintained and decorated by locals. But that is not the end, a steep trek from the park for a kilometer and half leads to Jorephokri (In Nepali "Jore" means two and "Phokri" means lake) . The trail is covered with high pine trees (locally Dhupi) and one can trek upto Takdah .The way to lake is so densely populated with dhupi trees that only lucky few beams can touch the ground. A serpentine gravel road will take you to the pokhri after climbing around 700 ft. Locals take the shortcut instead. They climb vertically gripping roots of the trees. I tried their method, it is easy (not that easy) while you climb up but difficult (very difficult) while coming down.The lakes are natural and considered to be sacred by locals. Out of the two, one has dried up recently , taking away the prefix 'jore' from its name.
Sacred lake of Jorephokri reflecting shadows.Here is a list of things that I would do to spend my day in Lamahatta:
- Trek upto Takdah from here .
- Carry a hot-case of Maggi and bottle of guava juice to have in between the walk.
- Sit on a bench for sometime to watch changing shades of the pokhri as the Sun changes its position.
- Would also spend time on the watch tower (Machan), looking west towards Kanchenjunga and letting cool breeze brush my skin.
Kanchenjunga after sunrise from my hut.
That's true, if you are in Tonglu, you are that close to Kanchenjunga. From here the valley unbolts itself. The sea of cloud flakes fill the hollow. The cloud here are lighter than cotton and whiter than milk. The Kanchenjunga range is visible along with Kumbhakarna (Jano), Simvo and Pandim giving it a shape of "Sleeping Buddha". As the Sun rises it nibbles on Buddha's belly ( Kanchenjunga peak) with his first ray. And then it swaddles his entire body (Kumbhakarna (Jano), Simvo and Pandim ) with golden beams. Other than a few trekkers the place is home to only two families. One can also trek to an adjacent slope that falls in Nepal for a bird's eye view of this place. Neither pollution nor electricity have reached here.
District Magistrate Bungalow in Tonglu.
Here is a list of things that I would do to spend my day in Tonglu :
- Small walk to Tumling.
- Watch Kanchenjunga till zero visibility.
- Have ginger tea while keeping my favorite songs in loop.