10 Reasons for a Bong to Visit Darjeeling – At Least Once Every Year

It is usually pretty hard to remember the details of a trip when you are just 5 years old. As a result, I fail to recollect absolutely anything about my first encounter with Darjeeling two decades back. My second visit to this hill station, however, was in September 2014… and after I came back to the plains, I did instantly make a promise to go back at least once every year.

I am a true Bong… and naturally, Darjeeling has been one such place I’ve heard a lot about while growing up. As I was walking up the slope towards the Mall, I started having an immediate connection with Darjeeling and realized that this is one place where I truly belong!

way-to-darjeeling

Despite the negative feedback we get from people about this hill station off late

Its only attraction is the Mall area”… “It used to be great but now it’s just crowded and dirty”… “It’s now a politically disturbed place”… “If you’re in love with mountains so much, why not visit a more serene hill station?

what is left in Darjeeling that anyone should consider it worthy?

Here is a list of 10 reasons why a Bong should visit Darjeeling… at least once every year:

#1. To get excited at the first encounter with mist en route


On-the-way-to-Darjeeling

Darjeeling is calling! That is the message I got when I first spotted the misty mountains cold. And how can we Bongs deny it, we dearly love the chilly sensation just by looking at mist… it makes us get excited for more.

#2. To experience the Old-World Charm at the Windamere Hotel


Windamere Hotel Darjeeling

Touted as one of the finest heritage hotels in the world, a stay at the Windamere is a must in order to experience the British Raj at its glorious best. The perfect view of the lush teagardens and the majestic Kanchenjunga is a bonus. But prior reservation is necessary, as the number of rooms is less than 40.

#3. To have an orgasmic Breakfast at Keventer’s and Glenary’s


Breakfast in Keventers and Glenarys Darjeeling

Even the overhyped English breakfast of Flurys doesn’t come close to beating the ones that get served at Keventer’s and Glenary’s. You may have heard it before, but these two have reached legendary status. Just imagine the craze surrounding the Beef Stake of Olypub (and multiply it with ten).

#4. To take delight in Fiesta, and forget the CCDs and Baristas


Fiesta-Darjeeling

We Bongs do not have our coffee the way we have our tea. Coffee has always been our luxury drink… the one we cherish and savor. And that’s the reason why the CCDs and Baristas never run out of customers. But once you are at Darjeeling… do taste the coffee served at Fiesta (located at the Mall), especially their Café Latte.

#5. To have an awesome Dinner at Sonam’s Kitchen


try-the-coffeeSource

Yes, the food available at The Park (their specialty is Thai cuisine) and Kunga’s (their specialty is Tibetan cuisine) are tasty, no doubt! If I get the chance, however, I’ll make sure to have my dinner at Sonam’s Kitchen (follow the Stable Road and ask anyone) every night. Order anything you want… and you won’t be disappointed. And do try out their breakfast too, especially the porridge and Tibetan bread, if possible.

Sonam's-Kitchen-Darjeeling

Yes, you may say we look almost alike! Nevertheless, Sonam di and her husband are perhaps the simplest and friendliest hosts I’ve ever found. Period!

#6. To feel a Childlike Glee at the very sight of the Red Panda


red pandaSource

Red pandas are adorable creatures, and I intend to hug one someday. But that’s a pretty farfetched dream! You can at least get to see Red Pandas at the Darjeeling Zoo. And coming to the zoo, don’t miss out on the Himalayan Wolves. While the Red Pandas have some serious camera aversion, the wolves are normally happy to pose for the visitors.

#7. To Shiver Down to the Bone at the Tiger Hill, waiting for the Sun to Shine


Sunrise-at-Tiger-Hill

This one never gets old! With such sincere anticipation, perhaps the Sun has never felt so special anywhere on this planet. It too takes its time to rise and shine, and how! Nothing is as pure and pristine like watching the mountain peaks of Kanchenjunga slowly turn reddish gold as the sun rays do their work. And all this while, we subconsciously rub one palm against the other to beat the freezing temperature.

Kanchenjunga-from-Tiger-Hil

Someone who hasn’t been to the Tiger Hill yet, has missed out on a real stunning view. But I’m sorry I don’t have a DSLR, and hence, the picture quality doesn’t do justice to what I saw.

#8. To bask in the Beauty of the Shrubbery Nightingale Park


Shrubbery Nightingale Park darjeelingSource

When in Darjeeling, a visit to Batasia Loop is mandatory. But you must never exclude the Shrubbery Nightingale Park. The park is open from 4 pm to 8 pm every day. A view of the Kanchenjunga from this place is truly a sight to behold! Amidst the tress and the lights in the evening, it also becomes a hotspot to take delight in the Nepali cultural programs during the tourist seasons.

#9. To idly sit at the Mall, and ponder on the Prospect of Buying a House here


Darjeeling Mall and the ChowrastaSource

Away from the humdrums of exhausting city life, it’s quite natural for anybody to consider the idea of buying a house in Darjeeling! Yes, it would have been great if I didn’t have to come back. Life would have been happy and peaceful, that’s for sure!

#10. To enjoy the Toy Train ride back to Siliguri


Darjeeling toy trainSource

When Mark Twain came to Darjeeling via the Toy Train, he commented:”It is the most enjoyable day I have spent on earth.

But while Mark Twain took the ride while coming to Darjeeling, I opted for one while going back. In that way, I felt that I stayed connected with the place a lot longer. The slower the journey back home, the better it is!

 
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