entering the land of the gods

a study abroad journey

Northbound: Darjeeling to Sikkim

For the last leg of my final journey in India, Ayush and I traveled north for 4 days. The northeast is a magical place. As we traveled from Siliguri to Darjeeling, up winding mountain roads, the air became cool and crisp. The humidity disappeared and air pollution was nonexistent. I have never breathed such fresh air! My body was in pure bliss as my pores were opened- who knew this weather existed after 4 months in the heat of Hyderabad!?

Our 4 days of travel were relaxing and peaceful. We did a lot of walking through the hilly streets and simply taking in the gorgeous landscape. A thick fog hangs over the mountains most of the time, giving the area a mystical feeling.

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High Tea at the Windamere Heritage Hotel:

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Visting Happy Valley Tea Estate! The oldest, smallest, and most famous tea estate in India! We received a very informative tour of the facilities.

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And here is the Happy Golden Cafe- a tiny place next to the estate owned by a woman who worked in the plantation for years and now give mini lessons. She showed us the different grades of tea and brewed us a beautiful cup of Darjeeling.

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Earl liked Darjeeling a lot 🙂

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I was only able to catch 1 sunrise! The fog that hangs over the mountains quickly hides the radiant rays.

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The only way to travel between the hill stations is by shared jeep or bus. Shared jeeps work like shared autos, travelers pack into the jeep together for a bumpy ride through the hills! Ayush and I were making our way up to Sikkim!

The further north you get, the more Buddhists and Christian population! I was happy to find this “I Love Jesus” sticker on our jeep 🙂

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Momos!! These ones happen to be beef- but you can also get pork, chicken, or veg.

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Rainy sunset in Gangtok (the capital of Sikkim)

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With a large Buddhist community, Tibetan prayer flags hang from every tree and pole in this area! The colorful flags are used to bless the surrounding countryside as well as promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. A string of flags contain five flags:  blue, white, red, green, and yellow. The five colors represent the elements: Blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. New strings of flags are hung next to the old and faded strings of flags for another symbolic purpose. Just as life moves on and is replaced by new life, Tibetans renew their hopes for the world by continually mounting new flags alongside the old.

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Monasteries in Rumtek, Sikkim:

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This trip was a perfect way to end my stay in India- with peace, relaxation, and cool air! However, there is much more to explore in the northeast. Numerous other hill stations are tucked into the trees, there are mountains and waterfalls to discover, and villages to visit. I definitely would like an extended trip devoted to this area of India!

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2 thoughts on “Northbound: Darjeeling to Sikkim

  1. Kathy Graven on said:

    So wonderful!. I am jealous. I’ve been to other tea plantations, but never in Darjeeling. The cool hill stations are such a relief from the heat. I love that you went for high tea – Thanks for sharing… Love,
    Kathy

  2. Loved these photos. So glad you got to do this as part of your time there!

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