Darjeeling Day 2: Sightseeing, Food Trail And Shopping

I have no complaints against the hotel room we were staying in apart from the fact that it severely lacked outdoor views. The solitary window was blocked by a structure almost adjacent to it. Afterall OYO had promised to give us a ‘room with view’.

We hurriedly gobbled the generous portions of complementary breakfast and dashed out of the room with a whole day outdoor plan. We didn’t check the weather forecast app in our phones.

Hotel Yang's Inn - breakfast- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Complementary Breakfast At Our Hotel (Look Gulabjamuns!!!)

 

Hiring The Taxi

The hazy sunshine and strong wind didn’t feel good. We paced down the street to the Darjeeling Tourist Information Centre, it looked more or less like a mere taxi stand.

Wall Mural 2- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Walls Of Darjeeling

The rates for hiring a small car+driver to drive us around the scenic locales around Darjeeling were as follows:
7 points: INR 1500
5 points: INR 1200
2 points: INR 1800 (Ganga Maiya Park, Rock Gardens)
The combined package of all these 9 points together would cost INR 3000 and the entire trip would take around 8 hours including the halts.

The sunshine faded away. The day turned grey. Winds grew stronger.

We settled for a 3 point package which would take us to the Japanese Peace Pagoda, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Monastery for INR 1000.

Street Artist - Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Street Artist Playing Banjo

Japanese Peace Pagoda

The car came to a stop in the slope. We removed our shoes and climbed up the flight of stairs. The Sun was playing hide and seek. Standing on one of the stairs I gazed up above. The clouds looked angry. The tall Himalayan trees were swaying violently.

Japanese Peace Pagoda 3- darjeeling -The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Japanese Peace Pagoda
Japanese Peace Pagoda 4- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
The Grey Sky Of Darjeeling

We moved round the pagoda and watched the fine art work all around it.

Japanese Peace Pagoda 2- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania MukherjeeJapanese Peace Pagoda - Darjeeling- The Azure Sky Follows - Tania MukherjeeJapanese Peace Pagoda 6-Lord Budhha- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania MukherjeeJapanese Peace Pagoda 7- Lord Budhha- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania MukherjeeJapanese Peace Pagoda 9- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee

The Japanese Temple was adorned by murals, paintings, masks, scriptures and a large statue of Lord Budhha. As we entered the prayer hall we saw an aged lady offering prayers.

Japanese Peace pagoda 5- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
The Japanese Temple
Japanese Peace Pagoda 10- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Inside The Japanese Temple
Japanese Peace Pagoda 8- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
The Heart Of The Temple

Japanese Peace Pagoda 12- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee

On being aware of our presence she welcomed us and chatted for a long while. She asked us to visit the Japanese Temple in our hometown. And that’s how we came to know there is one Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple in our hometown Kolkata!

Budhhist Chants Meaning- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Some Literature Worth Reading

Japanese Peace Pagoda 11- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee

What travel taught me: Talk to the strangers, they may teach you a thing or two!

Japanese Peace Pagoda 13- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Wall Hanging In The Japanese Temple

Batasia Loop

It is undoubtedly the most popular sightseeing destination from Darjeeling where the cute toy train takes a loop around the manicured park with the Kanchenjunga in the backdrop. A memorial was established in the park in remembrance of all the Gorkha soldiers who sacrificed their lives fighting for India.

Batasia Loop 2- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Batasia Loop Darjeeling

For us, Batasia Loop was the same as above minus the majestic Kanchenjunga.

It costs INR 15 to enter the park. We heard the cute whistle of the toy train while purchasing tickets for entry. The round shape of the park messed with my head and for the life of me I cannot understand from which side of the tracks am I supposed to expect the train. No I am not the guard but definitely I had planned interesting selfies and ‘couplefies’!

Batasia Loop 4- Toy Train- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Darjeeling Toy Trains

Well, we got lots of opportunities to click them as we saw several trains go round and round.

Batasia Loop- Toy train- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Yaay Me and Toy Train

Everything about the trains were so cute, the size, shape, whistle, tracks and oh my God the station! Only if we had enough time we could have enjoyed the lazy ride.

Batasia Loop 3- Toy train- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania MukherjeeBatasia Loop 5- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee

Though the Kanchenjunga eluded us we totally enjoyed our time in the landscaped park. We found a nice couple who finally fulfilled my wish of owning ‘couple jump photos’.

Batasia Loop 6- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee - Jump
Jumping Jack

Thank You strangers!

Ghoom Monastery

The Bengali of Ghoom literally means ‘sleeping’. My mom used to explain me the place is named so because it is shrouded by fog and looks sleepy most of the times.

Thanks to my mom’s explanation I was expecting fog; we got clouds. Not just clouds but clouds which could result in heavy downpour any moment. The wind was at its strongest, I was almost getting imbalanced by its force. I was thinking of my mom who suggested me I should carry more warm clothes.

Ghoom - Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Toy Train Tracks

We walked down the steps of the monastery. The cold was so terrible we decided we are not in the mood for removing our shoes and socks. We took some outdoor pictures and cocooned back into the car.

Ghoom Monastery - Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Ghoom Monastery
Ghoom Monastery 4- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
I can almost see 2 eyes and a mouth!

The Lama kids were playing in the monastery complex. When I used to play outdoor games as a kid, I hated being disturbed by ‘talks’ from adults. So when I had a desire of talking to the playing kids I thought better of it and concentrated in photographing the beautiful doors and windows.

Ghoom Monastery 2- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Colourful Doors And Windows

 

Keventer’s

The taxi left us – the two ‘honeymooning’ adults, in Darjeeling city centre, hungry and cold.

We tried getting our teeth into the non-vegetarian items of Keventer’s last night but it was a houseful. Today we managed a seat and tasted the Chicken Salami Sandwich (INR 60).

Keventer's -Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Chicken Salami Sandwich At Keventer’s

Darjeeling definitely knows its food culture!

N.B: Dear Indian budget travellers, I know how it feels when you strongly want to walk in an eatery but fail to find its menu card in Zomato. So here I have attached it for you!

Keventer's Menu - Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Keventer’s Menu

Glenary’s Again!

“Life is short. Eat dessert first”. – Jacques Torres

The sweet lover in me pulled us to the Glenary’s again. The husband got us brownies (INR 100) and a seat in the open balcony. I almost forgot how grey the sky was and how cold the wind was!

Glenary's - Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Balcony Of Glenary’s

I loved everything about Glenary’s from the baked goodies to the decor and oh those extremely budget friendly price. In the metro city I live in I may have to pay the same price to get a brownie from a mall sans the ‘feel good’ ambiance.

Glenary's 2 - Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
This Is How The Husband Looks When I Make Him Wait With The Food In Front Of Him
Glenary's 3- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
‘Artsy’ Selfie

Souvenir Shopping

This was the first trip I had without any of my original family members – the Mukherjee descendants; the people who inspired me to travel in the first place; the people who enjoyed my marriage ceremony more than me; the people without whom the most important event of my life would have been stale. I wanted to gift them a souvenir from my first trip as a married couple.

Souvenir shop 2- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Souvenir Shop In Darjeeling

I have read on the internet the domestic travellers are not well received in the souvenir shops. The owners don’t like the haggling Indians. There is a remarkable difference between how a westerner and how an Indian is greeted and treated.

I had no such experience of racial discrimination in these shops. I don’t know if the sources in the internet were wrong or was it the effect of the lean season.

Souvenir shop - Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Souvenir Shop In Darjeeling

We visited many shops and got souvenirs available from as low as INR 30. Obviously they were small and feeble but it’s the thought that counts.

A very miniature version of the 5-coloured Budhhist prayer flags with the chant “Om mani padme hum” inscribed on it cost us INR 40.

Buddhist Chants Meaning- Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Meaning Of The Chant ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’

The worship bell was worth INR 30.

For us Mr.Banerjee chose the cutest of the element in the shop- a hat worn laughing out loud lama kid worth INR 90!

Souvenir - Darjeeling-The Azure Sky Follows - Tania Mukherjee
Owned By Us Now

Momo Madness

With evening the roadside momo sellers flocked opposite Keventer’s. We weren’t hungry but after all how can we say no to hot steaming momos in a chilly winter evening?

For a mere 50 bucks we enjoyed 8 pieces of heavenly momos!

Well the taste was so salivating that we returned after an hour to have more only to find the happy lad have sold the entire stock of the day.

Every single time I leave the Himalayas I feel a pang of pain. We were supposed to leave Darjeeling the next day. Generally, the thought of returning to boring ‘routine’ life kills me but this time it was different.

In no time I will be flying to an entire new city to live my life with my husband cum best friend…or shall I say husfriend?

*****

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48 thoughts on “Darjeeling Day 2: Sightseeing, Food Trail And Shopping

    1. Thanks for checking my blog out! I am sure your journey will take you to India one day! You can get in touch with me in case you need any information or tips on India travel! I love answering those! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love those colorful brick walls in Darjeeling. And that Pagoda is something else. I loved all the captures of those…so artistic and peaceful. Even through the pictures the serene atmosphere comes through. I hope to get there soon and explore it all for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the post as it brought back pleasant memories of Darjeeling once again. My best place was Batasia Loop because of the mountain toy train. My fascination for trains reached its romantic zenith at Darjeeling. There is something that tugs at your heart when you the small train chugging up the gradient.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved your jumping jack photo…so much fun! My favourite part about D’ling is the sunrise…so pristine. Thanks for sharing snapshots of the menu…sure is useful to know what you can get especially if you are a vegetarian.

    Like

  4. Sounds like you had a great time. your pictures are beautiful. It makes me want to visit Darjeeling. It did remind me a little bit of my home town, Ooty.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Despite the cold weather I’m glad to read you had a great experience. I loved the photos of the fine artwork from the Japanese Peace Pagoda. I always wonder how much time and energy they must have spend in creating this beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved following along on your journey. Your photos are gorgeous, and made me want to visit to see all of these sights in person. They seemed to make up for your room without a view! And I am so going to use the term “husfriend” from now on!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You guys sure fit a lot into your Darjeeling visit. I didn’t know about the Japanese Temple, or the Buddhist influence there, it’s as interesting as the tea for me! The temple makes for great photos, I love your artists selfie at the budget restaurant too. I could have found something for me easily on this menu too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Darjeeling and most of the Eastern Himalayas in India is either tribal or Buddhist. Ladakh is another Himalayan region in India with noteworthy Buddhist population. I am so happy you liked the artsy selfie! 🙂

      Like

  8. I loved the picture of the colorful wall of Darjeeling. I got a chance to experience the toy train to Ooty, I guess Darjeeling’s might be same. Batasia loop and Peace Pagoda look lovely. Now we know the best places to visit when in Darjeeling. Thanks for sharing. PS: I loved the bell and ill buy the same when I visit Darjeeling. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am so happy to see the street artist playing music. I had met the exact same person there. Their music is so good I sat next to them for full half an hour and donated a good amount once the session was over. Lovely memories.

    Liked by 1 person

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