Monday, September 11, 2006

Mirik from Darjeeling

On 9 th September'05 I went to Mirik with Debasisda. Although I had been to Mirik from Siliguri several times, this was the first time I went to Mirik from Darjeeling. Firstly, the scenic beauty of the route is breathtaking, one of the most wonderful in this region. Secondly, we had the program of night stay at Mirik, which I had never done before. Our friend and fellow colleague Ashok Rai went there on the previous day to make arrangements. He works as a Development Officer in our office. One of his objectives was to arrange a business meeting of his agent organisation. The other objective was travel.

The morning was as bright as it ever could be! The bright sunlight and fresh morning air was intoxicating. Me and Debasisda stopped at several places to savour the flavours of nature. Greenery of the purest colours covered both sides of the road. The large conifers such as Cryptomaria(Dhupi) and Pines were at their most virgin colours. Some stretches were covered with a very small and slender species of bamboo. This particular bamboo is used for ornamental hedges and is also the favourite food of the Red Panda. Black rocks mottled with the white and grey lichens give ample proof about the freshness of the atmosphere.

We saw some uprooted conifers on the roadside before Simana. Simana is the border with our neighbouring country Nepal. Pashupati is a market place on the other side of the border. Here you can find winter clothings at a bargain. A strong wind passed through the area on the previous night. Few trees were uprooted and the electric supply of quite a large area on the hills were in jeopardy.

We passed the well-known Okayti tea estate where my friend Mukul works as the garden manager. Before long, we reached the lakeside picturesque town of Mirik. Ashok was very enthusiastic about our visit. He promptly met us at lakeside Krishnanagar and took us to "Sadbhavna" hotel where our room was booked. Soon, ashok took us to a quick tour to a large Buddhist monestery overlooking the hill station. Major expansion work was going on at the monastery. It was standing with all its splendour of rich brown and golden colours. We had a panoramic view of the Mirik lake from its terrace.

Next, Ashok took us to a very remote location with a bird's eye view of large surrounding area. He started to identify and describe the far off hilly locations to me and Debasisda. After his description, I started to fill in the gaps with a lot more detailed information about the terrain. I started to tell the facts about many a nook and corner. Ashok was quite impressed to learn about the depth of my personal experience. Then he pledged ignorance about the limitations of his travelling compared to mine.

All afternoon I had nothing to do when Ashok & Debasisda were busy in a meeting with some field workers in the hotels conference hall. So I spend the afternoon reading a book and taking a small nap.

We spent the evening together, crossed to the other side of the lake. Had a wonderful dinner at a small inn of Ashok's choice. He is a frequent customer there.
Started our return journey on the next morning. Visited Mukulda's bunglow at Okayti. Visited Jorpokhri lake. Took a brilliant shot of the swimming swans. Joined office just in time.