Sunday, October 07, 2012

Summer Vacation in NorthEast India - Part 4 (Darjeeling Zoo and Peace Temple)

it is again a great day in Darjeeling, after reading many of the East Travelogues I decided not to visit the Tiger hills for the sun raise view as today I witnessed the fog rolling on the road at 9:00am in the morning and I'm sure at 4:00am nothing will be there. so we picked the idea from Bhimal to go for mixed point trip. This is basically commercial term to take you around the town for sight seeing options. We picked Japanese temple, Peace temple, Zoo, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (with in the zoo) and Tea gardens view.

We had a nice chap as our driver introduced by Bhimal to take us around, His name is Yogesh and he could be contacted over +91-9775963813

At first I was surprised to see even latest vehicles in Darjeeling runs with three alphabetical state/rto identification letters which is out from the country about 2 decades back. See it yourself with Yogesh TATA sumo number plate.

Kids were ready with monkey caps and we started our first sight seeing in Darjeeling, the roads were chaos with messy traffic, most of the vehicles we have seen are TATA SUMO, MM540, MM Commander, Bolero, Maxx and few other cars. The drivers are normally very rash.

We reached the really peaceful Peace temple (first sight) and climbed the steps to only see the Japanese temple. Both of them are really beautiful and cannot be missed in Darjeeling trip. For my family members this is the first time they are visiting a Buddhist temple.

The Japanese temple had a elegant wooden steps to reach the prayer hall where the statues of gods were present, I couldn't take pictures as there was a sign board requesting for the same.

On the middle of the staircase we found a wall hanging with a request for noble cause, Japanese know the pain of Atom bombs.

The opposite side of the wooden staircase had a glass window with a blissful Japanese garden along side the temple. after climbing the staircase we had the drum sequences played along with the priest who was signing some Japanese song. For this purpose the temple had a half of the hall covered with mat and 10-15 drum plates and drum sticks, so the visitors can follow the drum beat of the priest to play themselves while praying the god inside.

We have completed our prayer and got down through the same wooden staircase, the entrance of the temple also had a pillar with some Japanese Kanchi scripts, I couldn't read them for sure.

Next comes the huge and majestic peace temple in white color and golden buddha statues on all the four side of the dome. It was great sight indeed. We climbed all the steps to reach near the boddha statue and walk on the corridor around the dome where lots of stone carving of life of buddha explained.

After this temple visit, we have headed towards the Zoo and HMI, en-route to our next location I found a defunct rob car service commissioned during British era, the taxi driver told me there is no more rob cars in Darjeeling and everything was decommissioned. What a poor state of the administration to ignore such a wonderful service.

The drive ended soon on the Zoo, we have to again climb up to reach the zoo gate, man I know why the people of Darjeeling are so slim where ever we go we need to climb up around 100 meters, my parants had tough time and ofcourse me too as I need to carry the kids once in a while.

Before reaching the zoo entrance we had couple of street side shops selling darjeeling special souvenirs and Adhava is already took one among them, that was a Darjeeling cap.

We also grabbed some roasted corn from the road side vendor

The zoo consist of HMI hence we need to take tickets for Rs.30 (children below 6yrs of age doesn't require ticket) and entered in the well maintained zoo in India. It was green and clean, I really appreciate the care takers for their efforts in keeping the zoo clean and green.

Some of the pictures from Zoo enclosures here:

we reached the HMI to see the museum where most of the everest climbing / conquering activities from the past were photographed kept. Along with the tools and personal dresses used by the sports personal. I also witnessed lots of military vehicles visiting the HMI very often.

After HMI visit we were heading towards the tea gardens and on the way we found the HMI's training rocks on the road side. The taxi stopped at that point to take view of Darjeeling and Adithya was already on the rob to try climbing the rock I was bit shocked and rushed to control him.

After a little bit of travel we finally reached the tea garden and man it was breath taking view from the top of the gardens. That too with a cup of tea in the hands I really enjoyed the view while my wify went down the tea estate path to discover the process of tea harvesting.

Again as all of the Darjeeling areas are attracted by the tourist here also a bit of commercial stuffs, one can rent the Darjeeling traditional dress for Rs.30 to pose the camera. I could see the honey moon couples are more interested towards this dresses in many places.

We were almost dry with our body energy and pulled the trip back to our hotel, I must say it was a great day and everyone enjoyed it.

Tomorrow is the last day in our schedule at Darjeeling, hence one more post on this heaven on earth will follow

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