After an early breakfast of pancakes again at the quaint Pineridge, I set out for the trip to Happy Valley. It was quite a tricky cab ride along sharply sloping, narrow, twisted paths. Finally, at the end of a steep climb, the emerald-green expanses of the tea plantation, shrouded in the early morning mist, came into view. The factory officials were incredibly kind and welcoming and proceeded to give a wonderful tour of the facility. They explained the various stages and processes right from picking of the leaves to the treatment of the leaves. It was a great experience indeed! Then it was time to visit the tea gardens. Being a Monday, it was the day off for tea plucking. So that was a bit of a disappointment not to see it. The Happy Valley Tea Estate is as beautiful as a painting. The rolling hills carpeted in various shades of green, seemingly endless stretches of tea bushes, swirling mists, scattered little huts – it was so picturesque! It was truly a happy valley! I signed off my trip with a grateful note at the visitor’s book, and of course, by purchasing some of the famed Happy Valley tea.
That marked the end of my short but immensely gratifying sojourn to Darjeeling, as I was scheduled to travel to Kalimpong in the afternoon. Darjeeling was beautiful and captivating. I’ve always been in love with the mountains, preferring a trip to hill-stations over a beach holiday. I feel mountains have a kind of ever-changing, mysterious beauty. There’s sun, the next moment there’s rain. You go up a path, and suddenly as you turn the bend you’re racing downhill. Also, I am enthralled by places that ooze a quaint old-world charm, a lingering sense of nostalgia, and this was an aspect that fascinated me endlessly about Darjeeling. And I can hardly wait to go back!
Bidisha Das Gupta
Bookworm. Cinephile. Travel-addict. Reluctant IT Consultant. Forever dreaming of exploring new places & people; and making memories all over the world. A song that echoes my fondest desires:
“Just a small town girl livin’ in a lonely world,
She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere.”
Read more of Bidisha’s writing at her blog!