Getting high - Darjeeling
I awoke to light streaming on my face through a heavily tinted car. On drawing the windows down I realized what a stunning drive this was! Crisp cool morning air that steals all remaining sleep, passing through flat rice fields, teak and tea plantations the road starts to climb into the foothills of the Himalaya. The thickly forested land was originally acquired by the British who introduced tea growing to this awesome scenic land and eventually Darjeeling developed into a hill station.
Darjeeling ( from Dorje Ling - The place of the Thunderbolt ) sits pretty with the gigantic Himalayas; a typical hill station, displaying interconnected steep stairways, trails to walk on, Gothic architecture, home to many Tibetans in exile. There is a large and thriving Buddhist community along with the predominant population of Nepalese descendants, Lepchas and refugee Tibetans – all of them sporting smiles brighter than the sun. I felt so poor compared to them. And shamed. Such happiness with so little.
Given we had a very short time here in Darjeeling, we tried to pack in lots. But could not venture to its outer limits -the Shangri-la called Sikkim. These places will always be there and will be kept for a future journey for us to enjoy fully. This trip was a flirtatious tryst with time. Soaking in the splendid views - balm for the city tired spirit.
Some of the world’s best teas are produced here in the East. I was privileged to see quality teas of which one was priced at Rs.55k /kg! Now that was definitely some select picking. The food was typical Tibetan - we munched into soup noodles 'thukpa' and steamed dumplings 'momos'. The only thing I could not bring myself to have was the 'yak butter coffee' - I pined for the very least, an Udipi coffee.
Higher altitude Darjeeling offered a wonderful Himalayan panorama. Mountain views surrounded me with Kanchenjunga at 8580m towering on the horizon. We visited 2 tea gardens, the Dali Monastery, the seat of the Drukchen Rimpoche ( head lama of the Drukpa Kaygu sect) which had a huge Buddha Statue and offered stunning views of the rolling hills. Of course the camera worked over time here. And this visit certainly took me back to the time I was in Bhutan amidst pure untouched nature
Despite not being a mountain person – being high in the hills and mountains brought with it tranquility, balance and a sense of calm. Or perhaps it was the influence of all those deep red robed monks and monasteries:)
Posted by Mee at 01:14