TOURISM IN DARJEELING

Most people fly to Bagdogra airport from Calcutta or Delhi.Convenient train connections are also available to New Jalpaiguri railway station. Taxis are available for the three hour journey to Darjeeling.

For the adventureous we recommened the train, with a miniature stream engine, bright blue and sparkling with polished brass, hauling four or five little coaches with large windows.It chugs bravely up the hillside, following the Hill Cart Road, running along side, crossing it,recrossing it, "looping the loop" at sharp bends, taking back and-forth zig-zag ascents when the climb is steep. The "Toy Train" -as the narrow-gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is fondly nicknamed - is frequently the transport of choice for the first time travellers to Darjeeling. It is however, a day-long journey and many travellers prefer shorter joy trips.

The foothills greet you with a wealth of vegetation and teak clothed in moss, festooned by lianas, the trunks themselves forests of fern and orchid.You are passing through the Mahanadi wildlife sanctuary; a treasureland of flora and fauna for the
nature enthusiast.

A Buddhist monastery in Darjeeling.

The train starts its climb.You can lean and touch the strange plants that cover the rocky outcrops as the train chugs slowly by.Tindharia is a composition of red and black tin roofs of the railway yard buildings. As you go higher, the vegetation changes. You are entering Darjeeling Tea country.

Gayabari.Mahanadi. Picturesque stations, flanked by tea gardens, with robust bushes clinging to the steep slopes, shrouded by mists that roll up and down the mountains, curling through CRYPTOMERIA forests. These mists moisten the tea bushes, and stimulate the mountain soil to import the muscatel flavour to Darjelling Tea. Climate and soil, the cool of the Darjeeling heights - they can never be matched anywhere else on earth.

Further on, the train enters a busy town. Kurseong,lined with shops that serve the tea estates, the boarding schools and the oldest Forestry College in India. Kurseong is the wettest place in Darjeeling hills. The name stands for the "Land of the White Orchid".

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