Sunday, 13 December 2015
An Old World Charm!
And I took the one less travelled by.
The one classic line from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost always finds relevance in various walks of life. What if we were to take it on face value, quite literally?
Any avid traveller would prefer to take the offbeat and unseen path to embark on an adventurous journey. I am no different. However, the destinations which fascinate me on home turf in India are the ones which are yet to be visited by me!
Not aplenty, I must say as only the acclaimed 'Seven Sisters' and the 'Western Frontier' lie unexplored on the Indian map by Yours Truly.
If I were to choose my most fascinating city from among the picturesque Seven Sisters, it would have to be Darjeeling hands-down!
If I were to elucidate my most favorite characteristics of the city, I would classify it under the parameters of Design, Drive, and Connect.
Design: Given a chance, who would choose to discard the luring sight of snow-laden peaks overlooking a quaint hill town? Add to that the ever-expansive tea gardens sloping on rolling hills, orchids, pine cones, rhododendrons, and a cute Himalayan toy train whistling, while earmarking its way through the mountains. Bliss, right?
Drive: Road trips are always amazing and the one from Bagdogra to Darjeeling, known as the trip over Hill Cart Road (NH 55) is no exception. It is as scenic as can be and the three-and-a-half hours long journey is sheer pleasure. From a township and market area to a University campus to a tranquil river flowing below a bridge to the vastness of green fields and the snow caps of mountains to a few shrines and cottages at a distance to a well-guarded military area to being in the middle of an unmindful herd of cattle left on their own on the road, grazing to their heart's content - this route has it all and is said to leave one craving for more.
The rustic village area then makes way for a vast green stretch of tea gardens running parallel to the road for miles on both sides, complemented by sky-high peaks, which makes for an impressionable sight. After one has driven uphill for a while, there is a point towards the right from where one is able to witness a breathtaking view of the Siliguri plains below. The sight of two rivers, Teesta, to the left and Balasun to the right - flowing side by side at a distance - is soothing, to say the least.
Connect: At the mention of this parameter, I can think of nothing, but the Toy Train as it is lovingly christened and which has been the romantic heart of Darjeeling that has touched everybody who has witnessed this paradise. Introduced in 1881, connecting Siliguri with Darjeeling through a narrow gauge line, it helped cut down the time it took to for commuters by bullock cart and horse carriages along the Hill Cart Road. Of course, the city is well connected to the other six of its 'siblings' - the other six states of the East and it goes without saying that the East is a jewel in the Indian crown.
This post has been written for #madeofgreat Zonal War in association with IndiBlogger.