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Established by the British as a summer getaway to save themselves from the heat of the plains during the summer months, Darjeeling is often called the Switzerland of India. Darjeeling tea is popular the world over and happens to be the most expensive tea. The Everest museum at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute Darjeeling houses remnants of the various expeditions to the peak. One can ride the prestigious Darjeeling train – one of the World Heritage site. The view of the Kanchenjunga from the mall road is to die-for!
Located 1374metre below almost at the foothill is Bijanbari. Since there is a big sloping hill with tea garden (Takvar and Som tea estates) that falls between these two places, one cannot see Darjeeling from Bijanbari. The picturesque valley is surrounded by tea gardens, lush green fields and forest in the higher reaches. Most people fall in the lower income group earning daily wages as casual labour in the fields, shops or chip stones by the river; many work in tea gardens plucking tea leaves. Life is hard but people are full of smile. Far in the horizon, you can barely make out the silhouette in yellow –which is the statue at Samdruptse of Guru Rimpoche, The Padmasambhava.
Tieedi at Gorabari, Sonada; is nature’s delight. Though it is located on the highway between Siliguri and Darjeeling, the minute you step in to this wonderful place, you enter tranquillity. We spend time undertaking various activities while exploring the nearby forests and learning about living a zero-wastage life. A tour to this area is incomplete without a visit to a tea factory.
Bagdogra Airport/ New Jalpaiguri Station
by 12 noon on Day One.
Reach Bagdogra airport by 1300hours. Met on arrival and drive to Bijanbari. The road is very interesting as it winds its way through tea estates. On the main highway, there is a narrow gauge railway line running parallel to the road and criss-crosses it a number of times. From Ghoom, we head down to the valley through some rough roads to reach the picturesque village of Bijanbari.
Early morning we go for a hike to explore the valley through the tea gardens and bustees to experience life in the beautiful valley. Optional: Visit the Haat bazaar (Wednesdays and Fridays). Afternoon is free to enjoy the picturesque surrounding. You can walk by yourself, visit the village, sit by the Chhota Rangeet river or, Ride ATVs
After an early breakfast, drive to Darjeeling. We shall visit the Tibetan Refugee Centre, he Himalayan Mountaineering Institute that houses the Everest museum, Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park. We shall stroll through Chowrasta – the heart of the town from where we can catch a glimpse of the Kanchenjunga. We have time for a quick stop at the famous Glenary’s bakery/ Keventer (of barfi fame) for tea. We carry on to the Japanese Pagoda, visit the shrine and then also meet the monks at OKC Monastery (the first zero waste monastery of Darjeeling). After that we head on to Gorabari to reach the lovely Tieedi Forest Garden.
We shall spend the evening with a bonfire and some music ☺
We spend the next two days in Tieedi which a zero waste, regenerative, permaculture forest garden. We shall not only learn about the regenerative practices of permaculture and also get hands-on with mud plastering on natural buildings, bamboo weaving and learning the art of composting. We can see the impact it has on the locals too.
Other activities here includes one cycle tour through beautiful forest with a guide, local hikes and a visit to a tea factory nearby.
Early morning, drive to the airport/ station in Siliguri to connect with the onward destination