Hello after far too long!
Recently the four of us traveled north to Darjeeling, India, near the border with Nepal. We departed Agartala on 17 October and set out on a journey involving planes, trains, and automobiles (though thankfully not quite as frightful as the John Candy and Steve Martin film).The trip there went quite smoothly. Our flight from Agartala to Guwahati was on time and our pilot had a thick New York accent, which was rather amusing to hear in the Northeast of India. From Guwahati we took an overnight train to New Jalpaiguri and then a jeep 3 hours up the mountain to our final destination. All I can say about Darjeeling is, WOW! If I could live there for a year, I would do it in a heartbeat! There really isn't much similar about Darjeeling and Agartala. The climate, language, food, feel of the city, and scenery were totally different, but in a good way. The weather was crisp and at times reminded me of the current feel of New England. While it felt strange to have the sensation of being cold for the first time in 3 months, it was refreshing. The food...was incredible! One of the places we frequented was called Sunom's Kitchen and specialized in omelets WITH CHEESE, REAL bread with butter, and other items that I forgot existed! As you can probably tell, we don't get much in the way of cheese and bread in Agartala.
The scenery in Darjeeling could leave you speechless. For as long as I live, I will never forget watching the sun rise over the hills and illuminate the Himalayas, their snow caps reflecting the golden rays. For much of the trip we were high enough to be looking down at the tops of the clouds, which was amazing as well.
Aside from the mountains and the restaurants, we toured a tea garden, walked amongst thousands of prayer flags on Observatory Hill, climbed barefoot into a sacred cave, chatted with locals, spent time with Tibetan refugees at a self-help center, and visited several Buddhist monasteries. The latter was one of my favorite things we experienced. The peaceful feeling you get while walking around a monastery is indescribable.
So, enough of telling you about the trip...Darjeeling was truly one of those places where pictures do far better than words! Enjoy!