Monday, 1 April 2013

Darjeeling, days 3 & 4 (Sunday 31/3/13, Monday 1/4/13)

On Sunday morning we walked to the Bhutia Busty Gompa, a Buddhist monastery in Darjeeling. It's a shortish walk down a steep hill and a long slog back up. You're not allowed to take pictures inside, which is decorated with friezes and statues of Buddha's life. An amazing and very calm place, and some of the principles of Buddhism were explained to us by a regular worshiper there, a former Gurkha soldier from the British army.

We had our evening meal in the Lunar restaurant, which the Lonely Planet rates, but we didn't.

We booked a cab for 4am the following morning to take us to Tiger Hill, to watch the sunrise over the Himalayas.

On Monday, we got up at 4 (yes, really...) and were taken on the 45 minute drive to Tiger Hill, south of Ghum. There for 5am, we saw dawn break and then bang on time (5:28) saw the sun rise over the Himalaya range, with Kanchenjunga clearly in view, not shrouded in mist as it has been since we got here.

And we finally got to go on the Toy Train, the joy ride from Darjeeling to Ghum and back. Unfortunately, the steam engine wasn't running, so we were pulled by a diesel loco. However, it's still a very scenic journey to Ghum station and back, with a 10 minute stop halfway at an Eco-garden, and 30 minutes in Ghum to look around the museum.

Packed and ready to go to Delhi tomorrow. Back in Sonam's kitchen for our last meal in Darjeeling.

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