Saturday, 7 December 2013

Darjeeling Part 1: The Nauseous Journey From Bagdogra To Darjeeling.

There is no airport in Darjeeling and it is very obvious why. Darjeeling which stands at 7407 feet above sea level is built on the mountains of East Himalayas. It is literally carved out from steep mountain slopes so even to provide a piece of flat land the size of a football field is a privilege Darjeeling can ill afford to give its people.
I thought flying into Bagdogra from Kolkata would save me the pain of long distance travelling as Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport to Darjeeling - only less than 100 km away. I didn't know I was about to experience one of the most nauseous journey, one that made me lose my appetite for days.
Bagdogra airport is under heavy surveillance as army personnels stood guard at almost every corner.
It was nice to be presented a bouquet upon arrival at the airport by my tour guide, Sailendra.
Sailendra (left hand side) grew up in Sikkim and so does his co-driver. These are the two guys that took us around the mountains. 
Trishaws at Bagdogra.
A toll we passed through along the way.
The road up was narrow, winding and along many stretches, badly damaged.The scenery was however pretty. Never have I seen sunflowers growing wild and aplenty, covering entire mountains.
Our guide stopped to have lunch along the way. We peeped into the kitchen which did not meet our hygiene standard so we abstained.
Just outside two young men were preparing "momos", or what we would call dumpling here.
We didn't mind trying some momos as they were steamed and piping hot.
  4 pieces for 20INR (approx RM1). The cost of living is still low in this part of India. The momos tasted OK.
We stopped at the town of Kurseong to fill up some diesel.
The diesel station in Kurseong.
The railway track runs parallel to the road and is just a few steps away from the shops. It looks hazardous but this is unavoidably the lifestyle of the mountain people.
Our driver was hooting and honking every other minute to avoid oncoming cars as visibility on the winding roads was bad. The incessant honks, the endless winding, bumping, rattling and the pressure on my ears soon took the toil on me. The flu I caught earlier on from home has left me with a weakened body and I was hardly able to take this stressful journey. Sick as I was, I am glad I could still snap all these photos.
After 100km and four nauseous hours we finally reached our hotel in Darjeeling. It was such a relief to see this beautiful property on the hill.

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Unknown said...

Thanks for the photos, very rarely do we get to see such scenery.

Lily... said...

Before my trip I searched everywhere on the internet to see what the journey should look like but not even one blog about it. Guess I am the first then and glad people like you appreciate it. Thanks.

Yvonne said...

Hi there! I'm interested to go tour Darjeeling and Sikkim. Can I know which tour agency you hired for your trip and what was the approximate expenditure ? Thank you!!!

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