Darjeeling: A journey by Train
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Darjeeling: A journey by Train
 
Darjeeling: A journey by TrainVisiting Darjeeling is definitely a leisurely ride back in time on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which links Darjeeling to Siliguri. The ride is an eventual slow ride passing from one station to another, but since every station has something different to view, the passengers surely enjoy this ride. This railway was the genius of Franklin Prestage, agent of the Eastern Bengal Railway in the 1870s and 80s. Before the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was built, travellers used ponies and carts through the meandering hills to reach Darjeeling.

Although it is 125 years old, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a modern marvel. It is laid on the hill slopes, but it neither uses the rack mechanism nor the cable as other mountain railways do, but only moves on adhesion. The train links Siliguri at the Himalayan foothills to Dar-jeeling, 87 km away and on its way it reaches up to 7,407 feet at Ghoom, famous for its monastery. From Ghoom it slopes down to Darjeeling at 7,100 feet.

The train journey from Siliguri to Darjeeling still has an element of leisurely travel. It takes eight hours to go those 87 kms. Starting from Siliguri, the train takes its first major loop oil the plains of the Singalela range. Then the Terai forests unfold near Rangtong. After which, it takes its next loop at Chunbati, gaining height, affording a magnificent view of the Mahanandi valley. At Tindharia the train halts to allow a stroll on the platform before resuming the journey towards the aptly named agony point. The air at Gayabari station, at 3,400 feet, is perceptibly cooler. After Eagles Crag, tourists are treated to a spectacu-lar view of the West Bengal plains. Kurseong is the most important station on the way. It is due to this railway, that Kurseong has become a melting pot, amalgamating the culture of the Sikkim, Nepal, West Bengal and Tibet people.

Posted On : 12 Apr 07
Darjeeling: A journey by Train
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