I had always wanted to visit Darjeeling and the North East. There have been too many wonderful stories about nature springing up delightful surprises in this part of India. The fact that North East isn't connected too well with rest of the country dissuades tourists from distant parts within the country to explore it. In the past we made several plans to visit Darjeeling but somehow it didn't materialise. For the summer vacation of 2014 we did a thorough research and after many discussions with several tour operators, we finally zeroed in on a plan to combine a North East holiday with our stopovers in Darjeeling (West Bengal), Pelling and Gangtok (Both in Sikkim).
We boarded an early morning flight to Kolkata and then a connecting flight to Bagdogra which is the closest airport to Darjeeling, Gangtok or Kalimpong, the hill stations people frequent. Taxi from Bagdogra took around 3 hours (90 Kms) to reach Darjeeling (6700 Feet). As the plains of Bagdogra snaked its way to the winding hilly terrain, the temperature dropped and the monstrously beautiful hills enveloped the scenery. Beautiful flowers dotted the road and then the toy train railway tracks swamped the view till we finally reached our hotel in Darjeeling. The toy train runs from Siliguri till Darjeeling and has been anointed the World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The weather is cold in Darjeeling and it's such a welcome departure from the heat and humidity of Mumbai. We were told that it rained here yesterday. We start our excursions from tomorrow. Hope it doesn't rain and we get to explore Darjeeling to the fullest including a joyride in the Toy Train (we paid extra for getting confirmed booking since it's the peak season out here).
Several movies have been shot in Darjeeling, the most recent and the big one being Barrfi! Our cab driver gave an interesting piece of information as to how Barrfi! Director Anurag Basu got into a scuffle with the locals during the shooting of his film in Darjeeling as he was upset with some locals in the crowd. This piece of information never reached the Mumbai gossip tables and there's no way to establish if such an incident really happened.
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