If you grew up in the 90s and in Bengal, then you would have undoubtedly heard of the music of Anjan Dutta! If you haven’t, then you need to! His earlier music career is scattered with references from his childhood and adolescence spent amidst the willowing winding Darjeeling roads and hills and the beauty of it! What is perhaps so poignant about Darjeeling is, it is not just a hill station, it’s a way of life. And I don’t mean it in the literal sense of the word.
However, you know how there are places which inspire you? Compel you to let go of yourself and just go with the flow, discover what life is all about, Darjeeling does that. It triggers emotions in you, that you feel long after you have left the place and gone back to your day to day life. But isn’t all destinations like that? Aren’t they supposed to make you forget everything? Precisely, but yet I would still harp on how Darjeeling, a municipal town just three hours from Siliguri town, is a whole other story in itself.
Elevated at 6,700 ft from the sea level, it is noted for its tea gardens (Darjeeling tea is considered one of the best in the world) and the breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga, seen splendidly from tiger hill and the toy-train or the Himalayan railways which was deemed a world heritage site by UNESCO.
While you are at Darjeeling even if you don’t do much except eat, sleep and repeat, get up one day. Just one day. Rather dawn and drag your very angry self to tiger hill and watch the sunrise. Yes you watch it every day maybe in the city, and you can’t understand what the big deal is after all, but my friend, remember what Carlos Santana said? He said, “there’s never one sunrise the same or one sunset the same” so believe me for once, and if you don’t like it… then the concept of heaven is just not for you.
Now Glenary’s and Keventer’s, they are not simply cafes and breakfast places, they are cult worshipped places around this region. Imagine the Indian film industry without Amitabh Bachchan or Rajnikanth! Can you do that? No! Likewise Darjeeling wouldn’t just be Darjeeling without these two places. They are standing witnesses of the time gone past, of simpler times and the country’s progression. Do not for a while think that you have to like history to appreciate these places, you simply have to let your taste buds and your eyes take in the magnificent beauty that is the food and the view.
Enjoy a sumptuous English breakfast with bae (bacon and eggs silly!) and grabbing a table at the terrace in Keventer’s, whizz away the hours in idle reverence of the scenic beauty. Exit one colonial building and head over to the Glenery’s bakery and cafe, and in between enjoying breads and croissants and coffee and tea, don’t forget to take your phone out and pose and pout by that red English telephone booth.
Instead of being a tourist, live like a local even if it is for a few days. And if planning the itinerary puzzles you, head over to http://www.prefertrip.com and select from the list of hotels to make your stay easier.
Come, fall in love with Darjeeling… the Darjeeling of the hills, the crevices, the sunshine, the sunset, the milkshake and the bakery by the legendary Edwards family. Fall in love with it all. Discover a piece of indigenous culture just tucked away yet so blatantly exploited in the hills of Bengal.