Darjeeling - Sikkim - Feel the Magical Aroma of Nature


Whenever I travel solo, People have different perception about Indian woman travelling whereas if they find any foreign female backpacker, they’re quite fine with it. However it doesn’t bother me anymore. Despite of crashing with skeptical questions & opinions every time, my 5th solo trip had to happen.

I am a bad planner or would say, late planner. I planned my 10 days trip to Darjeeling – Sikkim before 10 days from the trip. This time, it was my wish listed destination since childhood. It was Darjeeling – Sikkim. I had always seen Darjeeling & its magical views only in Bollywood movies before. When I was planning my Darjeeling – Sikkim trip, There was no questions about the place & people rather there was a different sort of a joy in my eyes. I knew that I’m planning the best vacation for myself.

Photo of Darjeeling - Sikkim - Feel the Magical Aroma of Nature 1/6 by Priti Raman Vishwakarma
When I stepped into my train from Kolkata to New Jalpaigudi , I saw no one in my chair coach compartment. I went ahead to see two, three more compartments &there was no one. I was scared to travel alone in the whole empty chair coach. I asked for a help from few police people, standing outside the compartment. They sifted me into a compartment where there were only 5 men. It was an overnight train however they gave me an assurance saying we’re here only so if you face any issues then let us know. I was awake all night &slept only after I felt comfortable. Morning when I reached Jalpaigudi , I got to know that there are no direct public bus from Jalpaigudi to Darjeeling except shared Sumo. In one Sumo, They accommodate 10 people along with the driver. They charge 200/- per person & the seat allotment is on first come, first basis. I was the 8th one so I had no option but to seat behind. Luckily, I saw two foreigners & I asked my driver to ask them as I wanted few females around me in the Sumo full of men.

All three of us sat behind & started the journey while discussing about our favorite places in India. Those females were on 6 months backpacking tour to India. It was their last destination in India. We decided to explore Darjeeling together. After the bumpy ride to Darjeeling from Jalpaigudi, we reached Darjeeling. The aroma of Darjeeling tea in every café of Darjeeling was the first thing we explored. A roof top café, India’s finest tea & a beautiful sunset amidst of mountains, that’s all we needed to, relax after a tiring journey. We decided to visit Happy valley tea garden & Tiger hills after analyzing the lonely planet guide book for India. It’s always good to meet new people as you can share your expenses as well because all the tourist places are very expensive when it comes to sightseeing. Tiger hills is a major tourist destination as you can see whole Kanchenjunga ranges if the weather is clear. However you have to leave by 3-4 am to reach Tiger hills. We had hired a private cab for three of us but on the way I saw so many women asking for lift. Yes, they take lift to reach Tiger hills to sell tea/coffee to tourist so that they can earn some money. I feel that government should at least provide them the facilities of mini bus as Darjeeling contributes heavily towards Indian tourism. Comparatively I found Himachal better in terms of facilities given by government.

Photo of Darjeeling - Sikkim - Feel the Magical Aroma of Nature 2/6 by Priti Raman Vishwakarma
Darjeeling View from a cafe

As soon as we reached Tiger hills, it was extremely cold but somehow Darjeeling coffee saved us. It was full of tourist during off season also. I guess whole Kolkata had come to witness Kanchenjunga. Who cares, I had got the best place as we arrived early. After 1 hour, around 5.15 am, Sun started blooming & spreading its warm rays on Kanchenjunga. We were lucky as the weather was so clear; we could see India’s highest & World’s third highest mountain peak. Sunrise is always beautiful but Sunrise at tiger hills was unusual as it totally transforms Kanchenjunga in golden color. The combination of Kanchenjunga & sunrise created a magical moment altogether. We were there looking at the peak point wondering how it feels to reach on the top. That moment, our thoughts & saffron sky were nurturing our soul. Later on, we decided to move towards Happy valley tea estate as we had only one day in our hand.

Photo of Darjeeling - Sikkim - Feel the Magical Aroma of Nature 3/6 by Priti Raman Vishwakarma
Kanchenjunga - Tiger Hills

Darjeeling has 86 tea gardens but we chose Happy valley because it has a tea factory where you can explore the tea making process. On the way, you can see Ghoom monastery & toy train station. Happy valley tea estate is the smallest tea garden of Darjeeling. We went through the whole tea making process & understood the difference between various teas. The sad part of the tea factory was that they only pay 132/- per day to tea garden workers who pluck the best leafs to make the finest tea of India. Happy valley is purely ravishing if you’re taking a walk in the tea garden. After visiting these two places, it was the time to say bye to each other as I had to go to Sikkim. Now I was alone again for my journey from Darjeeling to Sikkim.

Photo of Darjeeling - Sikkim - Feel the Magical Aroma of Nature 4/6 by Priti Raman Vishwakarma
Happy Valley Tea Garden

The distance between Darjeeling to Sikkim is another 3 hours journey. You will get shared sumo for the same as well. The whole route between Darjeeling to Sikkim is so alluring & refreshing. It doesn’t make you feel tired at all. After 3 hours, I was at Gangtok bus stand. If you have taken West Bengal taxi that it will only drop you till bus stand. From there you have to take another taxi of Sikkim state. Somehow I reached at M.G marg. I first thought that it would be like Mall road of Manali but it was so beautiful & clean. I just took a cup of tea & sat on one bench. I would say go there in the morning during monsoon & winter. The best morning you can gift to yourself.

Photo of Darjeeling - Sikkim - Feel the Magical Aroma of Nature 5/6 by Priti Raman Vishwakarma

Sikkim is expensive though if you want to explore it alone. Whole Sikkim is beautiful whether you talk about west Sikkim, north Sikkim, south Sikkim or east Sikkim. Every corner has its own beauty & culture. However if you have limited days, then you can explore north Sikkim such as lachen, lachung, yumnthang valley & gurudongmar lake. You must visit Nathula pass & Chango Lake as you can see the Indo-China border from Nathula pass. You need permission to visit the same.

Photo of Darjeeling - Sikkim - Feel the Magical Aroma of Nature 6/6 by Priti Raman Vishwakarma

So here my story ended on a good note! I made a travel journey video of my day excursion in Darjeeling. Please watch it, like it & subscribe it for more videos.

The article was originally appeared on www.conversegirl.com. you can follow us on womaniya on roadtrips on facebook.

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