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When I visitied Dajeeling (several years ago) I had to ascend the Hill station in a minibus from the plain. The slow journey up was punctuated by reading the various moralistic warning signs painted onto the walls at the side of the road. Most of them seemed to alude to the sentiment that it is better to arrive late in this life, rather than early in the next.
My original plan was to take the famous 'toy train' that slowly crawls up the slopes in an impressive piece of Victorian engineering. At one point we passed the train - it had fallen off the fails and was lying in a ditch of tea bushes, just like a children's train set. Thankfully the train was going slowly that only minor injuries were substained.
Whilst six and a half hours to complete the journey New Jaipalguri is scheduled, the timetable is mainly a work of fiction. This is mainly due to the wonderfully antiquated steam traction that is used and the fact that it has to negotiate slopes only by adhesion - including a set of 'Z-curves' that zig-zag up a particularly steep slope.
I was however able to enjoy the last section of route from Ghum (or Ghoom) into Dajeeling. At Ghoom the route completes an entire 360 degree loop in order to gain sufficent height. Amazing views.
Dajeeling itself is a 'colonial throwback' with old-worldy hotels, fresh afternoon tea, great views of Everest (from Tiger hill in the morning), a ropeway, tea estates and roaming monkeys. The view of the mountains from 'The Mall' of the third highest mountain in the world left Sourbugger speechless - and that doesn't happen very often.
Updated Jul 10, 2006
Address: Dajeeling, State of West Bengal