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Darjeeling Joyride Steam Engine: Where History rides with Geography

Holidays are meant to be special when spent with family. What comes into your mind when we speak about a laid back yet, fun-filled holiday? Lush green meadows and the whistling sound of Darjeeling joyride steam engine is a mandatory thing. Being a Bengali, Darjeeling is a next-door hill-station and being super-lazy to go to far-off places, what else can you expect from us? Haha. We went for a seven days trip to Darjeeling and surrounding areas and this is the very third fragment of my travel blog.

Darjeeling Joyride steam engine-Darjeeling station
Darjeeling Railway station

Do you remember sizzling on “Mere Sapno ki Raani kab aayegi tu”? I remember myself humming with the tune of “Chhaiyyan Chhaiyyan” and “Kasto mazaa hain railaima”. It feels mesmerizingly beautiful when you get to witness the beauty of nature in different phases with such nostalgic melodies.

Read the first fragment of my travel blog here: http://stylingupmylife.com/2019/02/12/darjeeling-tea-garden-black-tea-green-tea-superbloggerchallenge-instacuppa/

This is how it all started: Darjeeling Joyride steam engine ride

My mom is the best travel buddy and I will always boast about it, no matter what! We woke up witnessing season’s first snowfall and reached Darjeeling station via yellow cab after having a hearty breakfast. We didn’t know about the tariff of riding the steam engine so, it took us a little bit to organise ourselves. Mom sat around a corner while having her Ajwain Pachak, whereas I enquired for the tickets. I was glad to see no queues as people fled away because of heavy rainfall. I got to know that, the ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom (which is a distance of few kilometres) costs 1405 INR per person. The price may seem extraordinarily higher, but keeping in mind the heritage of “Darjeeling Himalayan Railway”, we paid 2810 INR (+ GST). I also bought a pack of souvenirs to store it in my memory box.

Darjeeling Joyride steam engine
My Mata Shri

History and heritage: Darjeeling Joyride steam engine

As I toured the entire railway station, my mom explained to me the immense heritage and repute it carries:

It is due to the interest of British people, which gave birth to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Franklin Prestage, who was an agent of the Eastern Bengal Railway, laid the proposal to establish a steam tramway from Siliguri to Darjeeling. After a lot of meetings and conferences, the stretch from Siliguri to Kurseong opened on May 1880 and Siliguri to Darjeeling, on July 1881. In the year 1999, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was approved by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. I don’t know what my mom spoke next because I have a tendency to take a quick nap between history lessons. Anyways, let’s continue with what we experienced throughout the mini-journey of eight kilometres.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
A closer view of the historical Darjeeling Joyride steam engine

Read the second fragment of my travel blog here: http://stylingupmylife.com/2019/02/22/top-three-best-cafes-in-darjeeling-west-bengal/

And the ride took off from Darjeeling station

The tour commenced with everybody staring at me like I am the new-age Sherlock Holmes. The pose was, of course, planned; hence, it was perfectly executed. I almost felt like a mannequin of Saif Ali Khan or Shammi Kapoor while I posed for an hour before it whistled on its way. Thanks to my mom, who tolerates my tantrums for hours.

The seats were comfortable enough to lure you for a nap. The windows were quite transparent and seemed new too. The best part is, the DHR steam engine has a single compartment which consequently allows less hassles for passengers who tend to take more time than usual to settle themselves. Individuals from throughout the world accompanied us. It seemed like almost a miniature version of our Mother Earth. We saw couples comforting each other by whispering well-cooked stories or taking random selfies. Some were busy ranting political statements whereas; some were literally gossiping their heart out. What were we doing? My mom took out the box of souvenirs and gorged on chocolates and biscuits.

Darjeeling Himalayan railway souvenirs Darjeeling station
Souvenirs- Key-chain, chocolates, biscuit and a leaflet

A journey, worth remembering: Darjeeling station to Ghum

The steam engine took us through the steep mountains, showing us the magnificent landscapes and well-engineered structures. It may feel like a bullock cart as the speed tends to be way too slow than your regular trains. You can often spot an attendant or two sprinkling sand on the track to overcome curvy paths and miscellaneous hindrance. Would you be able to afford to miss the picturesque views of North-eastern Himalayan valleys with little local shops and villagers staring you out of nothing? I was amazed by their innocence and nature’s majestic views.

Inside Darjeeling seam engine Darjeeling station
Inside the steam engine

The train waits for half-an-hour to make a loop at Batasia. The view of Kanchanjunga Mountain is unmatched from this very place although; we spent our time loitering around because of the cloudy atmosphere. There’s a war memorial built in honour of the Gorkha soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the center of the garden.

Batasia Loop Gorkha War Memorial Darjeeling station
Batasia Loop- Gorkha War Memorial

Ghum: World’s highest altitude railway station

The train continued its whistles, and we reached Ghum in no time. Ghum is regarded as world’s highest altitude station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Rail track (7407 feet). What to see? The Baby Sevok has been kept here, which happens to be the oldest toy train. There’s a museum too with a not-so-hefty entry fee. We witnessed the valuable articles and colonial life in a jiffy.

Ghum Highest heritage railway station in the world
Ghum- Highest Heritage Railway station in the world
Ghoom Ghum museum Darjeeling station
A glimpse inside Ghum museum

Point to remember:

Currently, 18 rides are scheduled from the morning (starting at 7:40 am) till afternoon (the last train being at 4:20 pm). So there are ample opportunities to choose your time based on your convenience and plan for the day. The timings and number of rides do change depending on seasonal demands. (Source: Darjeeling Tourism)

World's Highest Altitude railway station Ghum Ghoom Darjeeling station
#FoodictedTravels

It is my personal recommendation for you all to opt for the steam engine ride to experience its authenticity and the immense heritage it carries with itself. The colonial aura and occasional whistles do make your trip, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For any enquiry related to my trip or any miscellaneous information, never hesitate to contact me via e-mail: tojofriend@gmail.com .

Hope you enjoyed reading the third fragment of my travel blog. I am promising you with, more entertainment and amazing content as always. Thanks for reading my blog on Darjeeling Joyride Steam Engine. See you all tomorrow with another blog post.

16 thoughts on “Darjeeling Joyride Steam Engine: Where History rides with Geography

  1. That’s an experience really worth experiencing.

    Would look to explore this beautiful two. Of Darjeeling on the rails.

  2. Darjeeling is my all time favourite place. The tea gardens, toy trains, Kanchenjunga ranges all make Darjeeling so beautiful. Its great that you witnessed the first snowfall there. I am glad to know that you got your best travel companion in your mother. Lovely post.

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