North Tour: Darjeeling: Just an ordinary, everyday beautiful hill station

Friday, 18 March

DARJEELING: I feel like I’ve been here before.

First came Ooty. Then came Munnar. Already on this tour we’ve been to Dharamsala, Manali and Rishikesh. All high in the mountains of different parts of India. From the Ghats to the Himalayas, each hill station we’ve visited has something to offer.

Now I’m in Darjeeling, and I’m getting a strong aura of déjà vu.

The rides to each of these places have generally been the same. From foothill to peak, a long winding road takes us on a journey of at least 100 kilometers that would take about a fifth the distance could our jeeps or buses safely traverse 45 degree inclines. India’s hills and mountains are all home to spectacular panoramas, and the views from our rides up never cease to amaze. We’ve grown accustomed to rickety jeeps on gravel roads, potholes that appear to have come courtesy meteor showers, and turns so sudden, sharp and steep, the intimacy between you and your neighbors is unavoidable and inevitable.

But although today’s car ride dropped our jaws, it wasn’t because of the view. Moreover, our eyes were often closed, and our minds were typically turned off. We weren’t unimpressed by the outside view, just more deprived of sleep than spectacular things to see. The thin clouds below us blocked most of it anyway.

Darjeeling’s familiarity, however, doesn’t make it any less pleasant a hill station to visit. I’ve yet to go to one in India that I don’t like.



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