Darjeeling in Pictures

by leelefever ( | | | | )

We had so many expectations about Darjeeling- a cool mountain town inhabited by Tibetan and Nepalese people with awesome scenery and even better tea.  Our expectations were partially fulfilled.

I was most looking forward to the scenery- the Mount Kanchenjunga
range of the Himalayas specifically.  In this respect, we were a bit disappointed. We did see it for a bit one morning, but for the rest of the time, the town was shrouded in a mist/fog, obscuring any view.  Apparently this is the norm except April/May and October/November.

We did enjoy the daily life aspects of the town. The people were very friendly and it was MUCH less of a hassle than Delhi or Mumbai. Here are some photos to tell the story.

One ofthe most famous things in Darjeeling is the "toy train" on the Darjeeling Himilayan Railway- a train that runs on a narrow gauge track (about 2 feet wide) that has been designated a World Heritage Monument by UNESCO. 

 There seemed to be school kids everywhere, all in their very neat uniforms, complete with vests, ties and even sport coats. Here are a couple of small ones on their way home.


 Tibetan prayer flags are also very pervasive in the area, being that Darjeeling has a high population of Tibetan refugees.  Here is Sachi at the monastary on Observation Hill.

We found the people od Darjeeling to be the most friendly and curious that we've met in India.  The Tibetans have a very soft and peaceful manner that is in sharp contrast to the touts in Dehli.  Here is a nice couple we met- though I'm not sure about their ethnicity.

India is filled with contrasts. The Lloyd Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful, peaceful and quiet places in the town- a nice place to get away. Yet, each grove of trees is surrounded by rusty, tangled, barbed-wire.  The wire's don't even encircle- they just block. We were left wondering about the reasoning.

 We had experienced enough squalor inthe cities and hoped that Darjeeling would be different. It was less polluted, but unfortunately, still pretty sickening for us Seattleites. 


 But in the end, it was worth the trip to Darjeeling. I want to go back sometime in better health and do a multi-day trek into the woods.

Waiting It Out at the Darjeeling Roadblock

by sachilefever ( | | | | | )

I am feeling better! Finally. It's been too many days - though not unexpected here. On our way up to this mountaintop town of Darjeeling, I had some time to recover a little from the rattling jeep ride (Lee mentioned the strike). The word was out that at 6:00 the road would be opened, so we waited it out below the road block on the side of the road with hundreds of others.

I'm getting used to all the stares and Indian men trying to bump into me all the time (bumpers up - I say). But yesterday one man who looked intent and unfriendly walked by our sitting Jeep a few times after Lee had gotten out to stretch his legs. The man stared the entire time. I had sunglasses on and ignored him. He walked to the front of the jeep obviously looking for the driver, then into a storefront door to find him, all the while making sure I was still there. Then he began talking to the timid teenager in the front seat that spoke almost no English. He was obviously asking about me - the kid kept saying I don't know - I don't know. I made sure my door was locked and then Lee leaned in on his door. "He's asking about me." I said. Lee looked over at him across the Jeep and scowled and shook his head saying NO. The man shook his head back and walked away from the vehicle. Yay Lee! I was in no shape to deal with that situation. If the driver had been around, I'm sure he would have told me to get out of the jeep and at least take a picture with the guy - and he would have tried to receive a pretty rupee from it. Not that I would do it.

I was never in any danger or felt unsafe at any time. It was just the ridiculousness of the situation and my low tolerance of it feeling so ill. We laughed about it for a while afterwards. When you feel healthy you have so much more confidence to be assertive and handle any situation that may arise. I think I might just climb a small mountain today!

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