“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”
― Pat Conroy
― Pat Conroy
I have always wanted to explore the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway by taking a toy train ride from Siliguri to Darjeeling. It takes about 8 hours to reach Darjeeling from Siliguri in Toy Train, but the journey is rewarded with beautiful views that is a treat for any nature lover.
I can proudly say that the toy train journey became my most favorite part of my Darjeeling trip this year. Plenty of songs have been shot in the Darjeeling Himayan Railway such as"Mere sapno ki rani", "Kasto maza hai relaima".etc, Movies like Barfi,and Mein Hoon Na have also featured the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
So, it was a great adventure to explore the toy train ride amidst the hills and greenery.
|All set to start the journey from Siliguri|
Sukna (altitude: 533 ft): This is the first station that comes after Siliguri. Sukna implies 'dry place'. The station is situated at the foothills of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. The uphill journey to Darjeeling begins here, taking the traveler through dense tropical forests.
|The dense tropical forests of Sukna|
|The uphill journey to Darjeeling begins from Sukna|
|Heading to the next station|
Tindharia (altitude: 2822 ft): The next station is Tindharia which means 'three streams'.
The tea plantations
View of the plains below
Kurseong (altitude: 4864 ft): The next station is Kurseong which means 'white orchids'. Kurseong and Kalimpong are hubs of orchids. Last year, I went to Kalimpong, which is located close to Kurseong, where the flowers mesmerized me. From Kurseong, the entire view of the plains below , Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri can be observed.
The toy train halting somewhere in the midst of the journey, allowing me to take some photographs.
Tung (altitude: 5656 ft): Tung is an intermediate station along the Hill Cart Road. The area is covered with evergreen coniferous trees and has the Senchal Sanctuary.
The evergreen and lush coniferous trees
Sonada (altitude: 6552 ft): This is the next station on the way to Darjeeling. The weather is very cold here and you can see trees wrapped with clouds.
Ghum (altitude: 7407 ft): Ghum means 'turn'. It is the highest point along the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway route, after which the train travels downhill to Darjeeling. It's extremely cold and misty in Ghum.
The Ghoom Railway Station
Batasia Loop: Batasia Loop is a feat of Railway Engineering that eliminates the requirement of reverses. It is a U-shaped loop where the toy train travels after crossing the Ghum railway station and reaches Darjeeling. Batasia offers a panoramic view of Mount Kanchendzonga (only if the weather is clear). A Gorkha war memorial has been built within the Loop.
The train travelling through the Batasia Loop to reach Darjeeling
So that was my Toy Train Journey from Siliguri to Darjeeling, full of beauty, adventure and thrill. I am glad that I could tick off one of the things in my bucket list: to explore the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and get lost in the enchanting, mystique hills.
"We travel, initially to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again-to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more." ~ Pico Iyer