Just after Rongpo, the Teesta started accompanying us on the right. And then came the much talked-about view point on this road – Lovers’ point – where the Rangit from the west Sikkim has met the Teesta, which is coming all the way from north Sikkim.
The two distinct colours of the rivers are easily identifiable, the Rangit having a darker shade. A hotel is being built by DGHC at this prime location on the bank of the Rangit.
We then crossed the Teesta and started moving up where another view point has been built for watching the confluence. As it’s much higher up, it provides a really long view of the rivers.
However we had to leave these two lovers as the queen was waiting for us – Darjeeling.
We had the afternoon free and so at first decided to walk leisurely along the mall road. Then we came to know that the tickets for the famous toy train have to be booked in advance and there was hardly any time left. Rakesh, the manager at our hotel, showed me a short-cut road that led directly to the Darjeeling station. So I started running literally, down the hill, and reached the booking counter just in time. However all the rides next day were fully booked, but three tickets were available for the only ride left in that very afternoon – and we needed only three! Once again, it was ensured that we could enjoy our tour to the fullest.
Thus started our ride in the Darjeeling Himalayan railway which is on the UNESCO world heritage list. It really gave us a feeling of traveling in a time machine, back to the old days.
We stopped briefly at the Batasia loop where a war memorial has been built.
It’s really very nice, landscaped with beautiful flower gardens, and offers a good view of the Darjeeling town.
Then we were taken to Ghum where a rail museum has been opened.
Very old Palanquins
Ghum railway station
The hill station got dressed in beautiful lights as evening descended when we reached Darjeeling station.
We didn’t even think of visiting Tiger hill for the sunrise as we knew that what we had seen at Zuluk would remain unmatched. It had been raining since night and those who made an attempt to see the elusive were disappointed – so we didn’t really miss anything. We started the day with Japanese temple and the adjoining peace pagoda, which were covered in mist.
Next to them was Lal Kothi – red bungalow – but it is now painted in white and nobody can enter there.
Then we went to the rock garden, aka Chunnu summer falls.
It is very nicely designed and requires a lot of time to see it all. However we saw a major portion and gave the rest a miss as the rain somewhat played a spoilsport.
The road to the rock garden is in bad shape. Our car was finding it difficult to maneuver the ascending road. Next we stopped at Ava art Gallery that has some amazing embroidery work on display. However sale has been stopped after the death of the artist.