Hello people! Continuing my travelogue to the Queen of Hills, today’s post will be the final chapter of the trip. ?
Bidding adieu to Darjeeling, we reached the small town of Mirik after around 2.5 hours of drive. On the way we also came across the Indo-Nepal border and kids who’d play across the line never realizing it’s two different countries. The sight was as heartwarming as could be: Indians and Nepalese families living a familiar life of next-door neighbors…
We made a stop at the famous Pashupatinagar in Nepal. This place is known for its cheap market, but I didn’t find anything very interesting to pick up. So I’d say you could always keep it optional while planning your itinerary.
The Gopaldhara Tea Estate and Golpahar View Point, Mirik:
Mirik is at an altitude of 1495 metres above the sea level, more than 500 metres downhill from Darjeeling. So the drive was mainly down winding roads, passing forests and small settlements. Our destination was the Gopaldhara Tea Estate, at the Golpahar View Point, around 10 kms from the main town of Mirik.
Staying at a tea estate was something I always had in mind. Thanks to the Shiromanis back in Little Singamari, we discovered this place and made an impromptu decision to book a stay at the Gopaldhara Tea Estate.?
When we reached the place we got an immensely warm welcome from the tea estate manager, who also owned a newly constructed cottage just on the other side of the road. The ground floor was nothing but a tea and crockery shop, that brewed fresh, hot teas for it’s customers. The quaint little corner had the crockery shop. It contained beautiful dainty bone China tea sets and accessories. Another corner hung tea-planters’ costumes. They would be rented out to visitors who’d want to click a few poses in the adjoining lush tea garden.
The second storey had two small rooms with basic amenities. The rooms had an all-in-all wooden makeup: the walls, floors, and ceilings. It also had a verandah which served as a lounge area as well. The woody dark ambience felt weirdly comforting.
It was late afternoon by the time we reached Gopaldhara Tea Estate, and we had our train back to Kolkata the next evening. I was really delighted to be spending ample time amidst the beautiful tea gardens.
The exhaustion of waking up at three in the morning and the ascent to the Tiger Hill summit, along with the enthralling experience of having witnessed the majestic Kanchenjunga had now started to catch up with us. We slept like logs only to wake up after sunset. Nevertheless we couldn’t fight the urge to stroll in the ravishing tea gardens in the faint light of the evening. And how could we resist a cup of the flavorful Darjeeling tea? The number of visitors had reduced by this time and we had a hearty talk with our homestay owner over cups of streaming black tea.
The tea was so delectable that we immediately packed some for ourselves. I had also been eyeing the crockery corner ever since I arrived at this place, given my fascination for bone China and melamine. The shop had so many varieties of tea cups, soccers, complete sets and accessories.
Dinner was served quick. The simple but delicious meal not only filled our stomachs, but also our hearts with contentment. The strolls on the lanes beneath clear skies shining with stars — a sight I rather missed in my urban living — are the best of the memories that I have from Mirik…
The next day morning we walked the nooks and cranies of the tea garden, enjoying the breathtaking views of the lower Himalayas. The mountain air mixed with the aroma of lush greenery and moist soils felt so energizing. I felt so alive and fresh, my heart sparked emotions hidden in some corner inside. The breathtaking beauty left me spellbound, and I shuddered with ecstasy as chilly winds brushed across my skin…
I couldn’t deny the pangs of that tugged at my heart strings. I never wanted to leave the place. The tour was memorable beyond words, and with a heavy heart we set out for Siliguri to catch our train from NJP. The dear man at Gopaldhara Tea Estate gifted us with some more second- flush teas and it was also the first time I came across one of my favorite herbs – Rosemary. The aroma of the leaves was invigorating and I couldn’t help but keep a small piece of it in my bag.
We made a small stop at the Mirik Lake as well. It took us around 1.5 hours to reach Siliguri. If you have ample time in your hand, don’t forget to check out the Siliguri Market for some super affordable and high quality melamine crockery, or even bone China ones. Siliguri has the next best market after Kolkata in the state. But it is important to sort it out with the driver of your car at first. Otherwise they tend to make excuses.
I really hope to have given you a detailed insight into the Darjeeling trip, with snippets from my own personal experiences. So did you pack your bags yet? ?
P.S.: all pictures are taken with Google Pixel 2.
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