Darjeeling Hill Railways (DHR).
The famous narrow gauge, popularly called the Toy-Train is served by the oldest British-built locomotive that still survives today, built in the year 1881 to freight Tea and the hill folk and of course the Burra Sahibs. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site recently. The journey begins at New Jalpaiguri rail station and after covering 49 miles, climbing 6890 feet, through beautiful alpine country, fetches up at Darjeeling. The views of the moffusil hill-towns, as also the third highest peak of Kanchanjunga are some of the amazing experiences of the travel, replicating the old-world charm.
Your journey will take you past the iconic Kurseong bazaar, Tindharia railway workshop which the railway buffs can explore before re-boarding and arrive at Ghoom to the Batasia loop, from where some of the finest views can be enjoyed. The train finally arrives in Darjeeling, chugging slowly past the iconic Hotel Windamere, once frequented by the tea planters and tea merchants in the old British-India days!
Where to stay
The Glenburn Tea Estate.
A combination of plantation, homestay & luxury resort, a stay at the Glenburn is truly a magical experience. It allows guests to experience an authentic tea garden, that lies high above the river Rangeet, with fabulous views of Kanchenjunga, Sikkim & Darjeeling.
Guests are accommodated in one of the two luxury heritage Bungalows, The Burra Bungalow & the Water Lily, both over a 100 years old and lovingly maintained. The bungalows comprise of four beautifully decorated suites, gardens, common areas, verandas and terraces, all accessible to guests.
A guided tour of the tea factory will enlighten the guests about the whole process from the point when tea leaf is picked to the final stage when it is served in beautiful china. The processes of withering, rolling, fermenting, drying & sorting are explained. The tour ends with a refreshing tea tasting session when you could enjoy scoring the tea brew in accordance with taste, fragrance & appearance!
Kaziranga National Park
Declared a sanctuary in 1916, the Kaziranga National Park lies immense on the flood plains of the massive Brahmaputra river. It is home to fantastic landscapes, savannah grasslands and river islands overgrown with elephant grass, cutup by the ever changing course of the river. The park is divided into 5 zones and all but one on the southern side of the river.
It is home to 2/3rd of the world’s one-horned rhino and nearly 50 species of birds that are globally threatened. An enormous drove of rose-ringed parakeet can be found in the early morning skies reverberating with bird calls. Of the birds of prey the guests will see the tawny, serpent & fish eagles, as also the various types of hawks &c. Of the many animals that roam the forests of Kaziranga, is the magnificently horned swamp deer, Asiatic elephant & of course the royal Bengal tigers.
Both the morning and evening game drives are lead by experienced naturalists and tune the movement of the vehicle to suit all interests.
One of the most interesting part of your travels to Kaziranga is to pursue your objects of photography on the back of a pad elephant that will carry you into the heart of dense jungles, at your command!
Where to stay
Diphlu River Lodge
Perched on the periphery of the Kaziranga, is the Diphlu River Lodge, an ideal getaway for your tryst with the Indian wildlife. It is exclusive to all but 24 guests at a time for there are only 12 stilted cottages! The cottages are built of natural materials like bamboo & wood, with thatched roofs with amazing views over the river or paddy fields!
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