Mirik – A nest in the hills of West Bengal

Located at a distance of 49 kms from Darjeeling, Mirik is a perfect day-out. We set out at 8 AM in the morning on our cab from Darjeeling enroute Ghoom-Sukhiapokhri-Simana-Pashupati Fatak-Bhanjang-Hilay-Mirik. It’s a wonderful ride on the scenic roads. The first viewpoint to wave a hello to us would be the Simana viewpoint. Simana in hindi means border. This is the Indo-Nepal border, the road itself belongs to India and the viewing area falls in Nepal. 🙂

Most of the localites say that it is a No-Man’s land. From the Simana view-point one can see the narrow winding road leading to Sandakphu on the other side of the valley. Also, one can get a great view of the dazzling Kanchenjunga peak. Just sit, relax and enjoy the breath-taking view.

simana

From here, the roads look more scenic with lush green tea gardens on the mountain slopes on either side of the road, and the Nepalese women working in the tea gardens and we too can pluck some twigs of tea. The famous tea estates like Thurbo and Gopaldhara owns few mountains of tea here . Thubro has got its factory here on the way to Mirik and one can have a visit to it by taking permission from the manager.

tea

Our next stoppage is the beautiful Mirik. It’s a small beautiful town, at an altitude of 5000 ft. The top attraction of Mirik is the Sumendu lake, with a garden on one side of its bank and woods on the other. Both the banks are connected by a arching footbridge. Sit along the bank of the lake and relax or just walk over the bridge to the other side of the lake to take a walk through the woods and there is a small temple (Devi Sthan) in the forest. Boating is also available here.

Other attractions of Mirik are the Monastery and the Orange Orchids. Got a chance to see the Monastery but not the Orange Orchids. Will plan it the next time 🙂

lake

On our way back to Darjeeling from Mirik, we stopped at the Pashupati Market, which happened to be at the India-Nepal border. It is actually located in Nepal. The formalities to enter the market are quite simple. They just require your Photo ID cards. Though Cameras are not allowed, we can very well use our mobiles. Lol!! The market is a 1 km walk from the border post and is full of imported electronic gadgets, jackets, perfumes, cosmetics and clothes. But, be careful as there are good numbers of fakes too.

nepal

On further down, one can visit the place Jorpohri, which is located at an altitude of 7400 ft. The main feature is its twin lakes. This place is located in the midst of the pines and has a beautiful garden and a Shiv Mandir. A calm and serene place. The best part of this trip would be the drive to Jorpokhri from the main road.

nagaroad

What else would be a perfect day out!! It will be more perfect, if you get a joy ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways from Ghoom to Dajeeling on our way back. And am lucky enough as I got one 🙂

Thanks to the most sweetest person of my life for joining me in this trip 🙂 🙂

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Neetha & Co.

There was a pause to the evil smile but the chirruping continued. She did make me feel that she was friendly enough and that did not put a full stop to the discussion in the room which was about Neetha and her boyfriend, who we assumed was one since they both seemed very close during their entry to the Induction Session. As night sprang upon us and the next early mornings assemble, we retired for the day.

As everyone was getting ready hit their first morning jog, I just then woke up with a lazy smile since it was too cold. Oh Yes, Darjeeling! Tightly packed with a 3 layered dressing including a monkey cap and a pair of gloves I exited towards the road when I couldn’t get a sight of Neetha as she kick started the regime even before me. We did get a chance to meet during our jogging and the warm up sessions which is when the beauty of the mighty hills caught our sight from the rays of the emerging sun. We also saw the Japanese Peace Pagoda, St. Paul’s Secondary School (post Main Hoon Na fame) and headed for a long walk in the streets of Darjeeling. When we were back to the base camp we sent off with a cheer to a group that was headed for a 6-day trek to Sandakphu. We were back in our rooms post breakfast for some rest and then to pack our luggage just for the fact to restrict the burden to essential items and carry on. We were leaving to trek to the same place the very next day!

It was dinner time when Neetha and I met, and relished Thepla with desi mango pickle shared by a friend from Gujarat, Shristi. Neetha was very interested in posing questions to Shristi especially about her marriage to a Kannada guy when we knew of the fact that Neetha was married off when she was 23 and that the assumed boyfriend happened to be her husband 😀

Though I remained a silent spectator to that conversation, it was a shocking surprise on Neetha being married. We all retired to bed as the next day was alarming with the trek in schedule. When we woke up the next day, we witnessed Ruthwik (Neetha’s husband) heading towards our room with a sigh of hot water being available in his room which is when Neetha decided to take a head shower when we went into a serious argument since our instructors had advised us not to.

Everyone busily buried with their routine chores and the packing, I was thinking of Neetha and her character (nothing to judge) but still something to ponder upon. I started looking at her differently from the time she ignored my comments on the shower and when she did what was best to her without much worrying about what people felt or spoke and circumstances threw on her. Yes, she looked and seemed to possess a unique character – simple, yet to her own self with a way of getting things done the way she has planned or wanted them to be. Nothing seemed to bother her happiness.  One another feature that kept me starring at her was that of an early marriage that too by a tech-savvy Bangalorian girl!

Gazing at my friend in a way that’s as neat as possible, I learnt that one can stay happy if they would want to, irrespective of the surroundings and people that paint them through. Stay with me as I answer the questions that struck me hard of my friends…

Neetha – A cool introduction

One of the coldest months across all seasons being December sprinkled the idea (though not a weird one amongst a group of like-minded active sprouts) of Trekking. Oh yes, it’s not the thought of trekking that struck a chord of weirdness but the place of trekking in the coldest month – The Himalayan Terrain (Sandakphu) in the year 2013. Six friends set their foot and respective steps to the base camp and reporting place Darjeeling. A few started from Nagpur and I did from Rajahmundry and the plan was to meet at Kolkata and travel together from there to the base camp.

The date arrived when we realized the entire batch of this trekking effort comprised of 40 enthusiast participants out of which were 10 brave women! The management had allotted a single room for the women fraternity of this trek and it took us by a shock, of course not with any intention of breaking any of the mental manacles thinking of the irony of all of us getting ready at a specified time! As any other pillar to post running Day-1, ours were no lesser as we were asked to procure the medical certificates from Doctors at Darjeeling if we did not take them with us from our homes and also to assemble at 05:30 pm for an induction session.

Base camp Leader’s instructions were ringing deep in our ears that evening along with the list of DO’s and DON’T’s as we trek along. As we hissed through the chiming list that was unrolled, there walked in a young couple, quite delayed to the gathering when the strike was the girl that was so joyful and elated without a slightest of worry evading her for the delay in joining the session. Yes, you have been correct in your guessing that it is my MoIN (Mother India, if you would have ready her introductory article) alias Neetha.

The sparkle caught my eyes and ears once again while we were dining at the ground floor. Yes the same girl that was constantly talking to Ruthwik, her husband, who tried to focus munching, a little too silently in the gang of two! While we were back in our room with the hot chit-chat of the day of a girl and her boyfriend who had stepped in from Bangalore, there was a wave of air when the same girl bubbled in introducing herself and reaching out for ours!

While I had to slip away for a while to chirrup about our new companions to my mom in regional language – Telugu, with an assured heart that none around me shared the same language. Laughing my way out with my mom with Neetha besides and the topic was her! I had an attack between my jaws when I heard Neetha attend one of her calls once I was done in Telugu! I had to admit that there was nothing wrong that was conversed, though with a polite question reached out to Neetha, which received an evil smile in return – evil?..wicked?..cunning?..or just a pretention ?

Watch out!!