22 & 23 Oct 2023

I took a morning walk till Chowrasta - The town centre. I was impressed by the view of the mountains but also irritated by the unclean narrow streets of Darjeeling. Trash was dumped by the road. 

Locals were taking a morning walk in this area. Some were practicing for a marathon. I took a walk around the town centre and got some great views of Kanchenjunga. The mountain looked much closer than it had appeared to us during the entire trek. At the view point, locals were selling tea and coffee. You could sit there sipping your morning tea and enjoy the magnificent view. 

At Chowrasta, A pendal with Durga idol was setup. 

I went back to the hostel, got ready and then setout to explore the town again. For breakfast, I stopped at a local store that sells Sattu ka paratha. It is a dish from Bihar and is made of besan and spices stuffed in wheat dough. It was tasty. 

I walked up to the Mahakal temple located on top of a small hill in the town centre. I also stopped at a book store in Chowrasta and bought some postcards for my trek mates. I noticed a huge collection of books speaking about the Gorkhaland movement.

I walked past St Andrews church but it was not open for tourists. I then walked to Mall road and ate at the famous bakery called Glenary’s. Honestly, for those who have eaten pastries and baked items in Bangalore, this may not seem like a great place. But for Darjeeling, this seems like a decent place that serves good continental food. 

I then headed back to the hostel (Hideout) and rested for a bit. The view from the hostel itself is great. I could see Kanchenjunga from my hostel window. 

In the evening, I walked to Tom and Jerry café, located close to the hostel. I really love the place. It is run by two young boys. They prepared some tasty pasta and irish coffee for me. I sat there for a long time and finished my sketch. 

Next morning, I went for a walk again in hope of viewing a good sunrise; which I did. 

On my way, I met Rajesh (A trekker from Indiahikes team). We were glad to see each other. Rajesh is from Bangalore and he is into saree business. He sells Silk sarees to retailers. He loves to travel and wishes to have an album full of memories from his interesting adventures. He told me that due to the last day of Dushera festival, I might not find a lot of taxis the next day to go to Siliguri. He had arranged for a vehicle to leave that same evening. I decided to join him and split the fare. 

Back at the hostel, I cancelled my next day’s booking and checked out. I left my baggage in the common area and went out for another walk. I had breakfast at Tom and Jerry café. I wanted to post the cards but the post office was closed.  

After having lunch at a not-so-good burger joint, I headed back to my hostel and sat at the Hideout café sketching another work that I had begun at Aahl, in front of the sleeping Buddha formation. 

The taxi driver who was supposed to take us to Siliguri was late. He had to come from Rimbick. I met Rajesh and his wife at Chowrasta. Rajesh was on a shopping spree. He was buying gists for his friends and a lot of things for himself. His wife was tired and was sitting by the fountain and waiting for him to finish his thing. She joked - "It is the opposite in our case. He does more shopping."

We then walked up to their hotel. I was glad to leave Darjeeling. It looked like everyone in the world had come here during the holidays. The Mall Road barely had space to walk on. 

The driver finally reached Darjeeling at around 8PM. Closer to Bagdogra/Siliguri, we came across a lot of Durga pooja pendals. Due to the festival, massive crowds had gathered in various places and there were several road blocks. By the time Rajesh and his wife were dropped near Bagdogra, it was midnight. I reached Hotel Saluja at 1PM. The road in front of the hotel was crowded and noisy. People were walking and visiting different pendals

I was extremely tired. So, I went to bed. Thankfully, my room was away from the noisy road.