May 2013. Riding the Toy Train in Darjeeling. It was an exceptionally loud experience with the wheels squealing and the horn blaring through the tiny bends in the journey. Turn your volume up really loud to get the full experience.
Where am I?
My tea adventure started at the Makaibari Tea Estate in the town of Kurseong, in the district of Darjeeling, state of West Bengal, India. Makaibari is a more like a village within Kurseong.
I’ve come north for a few days to see Darjeeling town proper (photos above). It’s a very popular tourist destination mainly for Indians, but there are a few westerners around too. There are plenty of tea shops but they’re positioned to sell to a tourist crowd (think Ghirardelli Square). A center point of town is Chowrasta (plaza). The hillsides are covered in tea plants belonging to different estates, but they’re difficult to see since its been quite foggy.
Darjeeling is home to the famous Toy Train which snakes through the main road alongside the steep hills and has the right of way over the crazy car traffic. I took I joy ride yesterday starting at Darjeeling Station and headed south to Ghoom. The distance was 8 km and took about an hour with a stop at the Batasia Loop war memorial.
I’m in Darjeeling until Sunday and then return to Makaibari.