Today we gave an early start to the day as there is no point spending time inside the hotel rooms and we took the minimum time to get ready and once again out in the mall area. One of the delicacies of Darjeeling is Keventers, a rooftop restaurant, which will serve you the finest English breakfast and a nice view of Kangchenjunga from its red terrace. The breakfast menu will have a lot of items like Sausage, Bacons and eggs with the most delicious flavors of Coffee. Yes, their breakfast supports the saying, "Breakfast should be heavy".
Having a nice food at the Cafe, we booked a cab which will cover the site scenes of Darjeeling. Special mention will be the Ropeway ride, which will sell over the lush green tea estates and the hills. The roads will reveal themselves under you like coiled threads. Although scary, but we had the feeling of being at the top of the world as the cold wind was blowing across our faces. We reached the station after a considerably long flight where to our delight we find a shop selling beer and momo which were grabbed at the utmost haste and then quick on to the tea gardens over which we sailed just now. A lifetime moment and very hard to forget till you live to have the tasty momo and the cold beer sitting among the aroma of the tea garden as the occasional cable car was flying over our head.
Spending a considerable time here till our desires were satisfied we were on the return trip in the cable car and back to our cab, which carried us to the Darjeeling Zoo, the next destination. Although Zoo sounds to be a place for kids, but the Darjeeling Zoo was an amazing place and a must visit for all ages. The occasional peep of the leopard and the barking deer through the clouds and fog, the rapid movement of the snow leopard over the narrow shoulders with the majestic tail wagging to maintain the balance as, the powerful mating call of the tiger orchestrating the place and living a mild vibration on the ground, the wolf giving back a sly look from its den and last but not the least is the bear, which was among his busy and agitated movements going up and down hill to and fro sniffing the trees and bushes. Overall the experience was amazing and we were mesmerized already.
Returning to our hotels we did a quick packing, arranged the same cab for us and started for the Bungalow of Jorpokhri. We had a heavy breakfast today at Keventers and we skipped lunch. We started for Jorpokhri and the road was entirely through the Pine forest partially concealed with clouds here and there and partially revealing itself. It was late noon and the weather was gloomy and fortunately the roads are smooth this time. Here we had nothing to do but enjoying the flavor of the nature there through the window seat of the car. A cold goes down the spine when the driver suddenly will tell you to keep a close eye at the tree tops as there could be the black leopard and the sighting of it is not a very rare incident here. We could not site one this time and hence could not provide you with the photograph of the majestic animal in its natural habitat. We in no time reached the last village market at Pankhabari, just before reaching Jorpokhri. We accessed the market there to get us some fruits as you will not get anything once you reach Jorpokhri apart from the dinner and lunch that is included in the package.
We reached Jorpokhri in the evening and occupied the rooms at the heritage bungalow on the hilltop. The location of the property was excellent and among the pine forest with no major human habilitation around and the fogs around gave it a creepy look, more like the houses that becomes the site of incident in the horror movies of the west.
Let me take the opportunity to introduce my gang here. We were four, Raj, Ranju, San and Joy. I gave the proposal for a short stroll to explore the surroundings as the sun was still leaving the last lights of the day. Raj being the most lethargic person in the World unless you motivated him the right way, straight away declared a denial to my proposal saying he is too tired of the activities throughout the day and he wants some rest. Ranju being Raj's best buddy wasted no time following his footsteps. Not getting enough support I and Saayan decided to go out leaving behind the extended group. We went out of the Bungalow gate and we were immediately among the dark and dense
Pine forest on our both sides. The daylight was almost on the verge of waving us the last goodbye and Saayan wanted an assurance of whether we should really go any further. I who was always in a lust of nature and adventure, replied with an affirmation with the logics that it is the best time to do some low light photography, there is a very rare chance of a wild animal coming close as they are also scared of our presence, we are 2 and not alone and we will not go too far. With all the negotiations done I somehow managed to convince Saayan, who reluctantly accepted and we walked down the forest roads a little more. We were planning to visit the graveyard which was 1 km downhill to check out the ambience.
It was not more than 10 mins that we were walking when suddenly we here some sound very close to the road at the forest on the right. We stopped, tried to here with a keen ear, there were no sounds now, we again resumed our steps and not more than 10-15 yards we went, again we heard the sound among the bushes, Khach.. Khach.. Khach.. it goes again, but, this time more prominent. We again stopped and waited a little longer this time, when suddenly in the faint light the source revealed itself. It was a pair of wild bores who hastily crossed the road 10 to 15 yards ahead of us and entered the forest to the left. Wild bores are animals that can be dangerous once scared, they are immensely powerful with huge tasks and you definitely will not want to negotiate with them at that hour of the day, so we made a wise decision of making a U-Turn this time only to come back the next morning.
During the return journey we did some low light photography before we reached the safe of the forest bungalow. Once it was completely dark at the forest bungalow we were sitting at the terrace which was adjacent to our rooms and stared at the sky to find the entire constellation of stars above us. There are some moments in our life where we should spent some time thanking the almighty to gift us with a pair of eyes, this is one of those moments and we still repent of not to carry a camera tripod to shoot the star trails. Yes, it was the most ideal situation one could ever get to shoot the stars. We stayed there for some time and then as the thermometer was showing a descending trend, compelled to get back to the bungalow room, sit there and again on a chatting mode on the creepiest topics those are our favorites.
We had fruits from Pankhabari and drinks were once again on, the evening was once again illuminated though it was pitch darkness outside. At 8 PM we got the call for dinner, which we managed to postpone to 10 with the condition that we have to go to the Cafeteria which was located at a distance. We accepted to the condition, it should not be a problem as we were carrying torches, though the threat of the wild was always there.