Two-day road trip to Queen of Hills: Darjeeling from Bhagalpur, Bihar

Why do you travel ? for good food, for a long drive, for an adventure, to explore the heritage, or to explore the beauty of hills

It is very surprising when you get to know an overnight journey from the city of Bihar can take you to the Queen of hills. Isn’t it? . We were not sitting at our college hostel in Delhi, Kolkata or Bengaluru. We went to attend one of my brother’s marriage party in Bhagalpur, Bihar. After midnight around 1 AM, we were left out with no work, and we decided to go for a road trip. We had no idea where to go but we just started to go toward our car.

 Bhagalpur to Siliguri 

We started at 2 AM in the morning , crossed the Vikramshila Setu, drove toward Naugachia , then to Purnia and crossed the Fulahar river bridge and reached Kishanganj at 4:30 AM. Kishanganj town is located just on the West Bengal border. When we crossed Kishanganj and moved toward Islampur  and entered Begal, the roads were better now. It was around 6:00 AM and we could see the beautiful sun rising. We felt that  the temperature went down when we were about to reach Siliguri.  Mornings were pleasant in the town. We just passed a short bypass road and entered  Siliguri city around 7:00 AM. I did not take any break except a very small tea break at around 4:00 AM and drove 5 hours to reach Siliguri from Bhagalpur. 

 Toward the Queen of Hills

I can drive the whole night but can not drive on Hills, so Nirmal baba took charge of driving. We took a bypass  road via Rohini Gate plaza to Darjeeling. On this route, we visited a very famous location, Kurseong village. Kurseong got much popularity in Darjeeling as a tourist palace when Darjeeling himalayan Railway service was extended in 1880. Kurseong is famous for White Orchids, so it is called “Land of White Orchids”. We did not do a lot here. 

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR

As we drove further, I saw her, for the first time, the iconic Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR)  whistling one side of the road. It whistled so pleasantly I will never tire of listening to it. She (DHR)  is one  one of the major attractions of the city that everyone enjoys to see. She runs just  on two feet gauge railway line at an altitude of 6,801 ft sound not just so amazing, but DHR is an  outstanding example of the influence of an innovative transportation system on social & economic development of a multicultural region, that was made to serve as a model for similar developments in rest parts of the world. And also, it has not ended up with it, DHR was inscribed as a UNESCO world Heritage site in 1999. The speciality about the town “Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR)” or “Toy Train,”  remains  iconic till date. 

Roaming around the City 

Around 10:30 AM we reached near the center of the city, near Darjeeling Bazaar DHR station. We took a homestay at Springfield Stays Homestay near it and took a small nap to feel refreshed after having hot & soupy noodles and a cup of coffee.  We  planned to explore the street by walking. To get a closer look of real queens of Darjeeling, we walked to Ghum Railway station. The main attraction here is the oldest toy train engine called “The Baby Sivok” which is the pride of the Ghum Museum, located near to the station. 

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The Hong Kong market of Darjeeling is another  attraction , but I am not sure about the stuff sold,  were imported or not , but I saw some of the typical clothes brands all having Chinese stickers. We did some warm clothes shopping here. Darjeeling offers some of the best dishes we have tasted almost all near to us like Momos , a special egg roll,  Hakka noodles and a special made toast. We really found all of these very tasty and delicious.

Day 2 

We had a pleasant and long sleep last night as we went to bed very early as everyone was very tired on the journey. We planned to take a different route via a beautiful sighting location  “Mirik”. When you travel via Mirik you will have some of the wonderful slighting locations like Simana View point, Majestic Pine Forest, beautiful tea gardens,  Pashupati nagar (in Nepal), Sumendu Lake and a lot more. If you want a wonderful view of Nepal and Indian villages together you must have to take a stop at Simana View point. One can take a view or go to the wonderful base camp of  Sandakphu trek, one of the best treks of west Bengal and the highest point of the ridge and the state of West Bengal, India of Himalayan range from this location only.

Into Nepal with no cash in Hand 

When you are on the Mirik route, you will be welcomed into Nepal with a little formality  near Pashupati nagar gate. As this route runs along the Nepal border it has easy access to cross the international border and explore the market of Pashupati nagar of Nepal. We enter Nepal from the same. One thing I must suggest to you is not to depend on UPI payment in these regions, as these regions have a mixed population of India and Nepal doing business in these areas so they do not accept any online payment. When we entered here, we unfortunately ran out of cash and could not do any kind of shopping in Nepal. 

Left for  Siliguri 

As we have no option left here, without money how can one roam in a neighboring country. We left early from here to Siliguri. While in return,  we took a different road to reach Bhagalpur just to experience the other route. If you want to visit Darjeeling via Mirik you do not have to enter Siliguri, that saves your time. That is what we experience during return time. We took a bypass to reach Naxalbari. At this location India and Nepal border is separated by River Mechi, and enroute East-west Highway ( Mahendra Highway) ,  the longest highway in Nepal connecting all the provinces of Nepal. We further moved toward Bahadurganj and reached Araria, as it was evening time , we found little rush on these roads. But from Araria  to Naugachia via Purnia road are four-line so the drive was smoother. So, I will suggest that you take the Araria to Bahadurganj  to reach Darjeeling with minimum time. 

Important Thing about the trip 

  • If you are good at driving a car , then only take your own car to Darjeeling. I did not have much experience of driving on steep hills, but Nirmal baba has a lot of experience of driving on steep hills of Kaimur and Sararam, so we believed we could do it, so we  just gave a try at darjeeling. 
  • A good mode of transport, private taxi  and public on sharing basis is easily available to each location from Siligure as well as from any location of town.
  • If you want to experience the sceneric beauty and feel the whole Darjeeling, I must suggest booking a ticket of DHR or “Toy Train” in advance from New Jalpaiguri. 
  • The Roads are very well connected and are in good condition and the road trip is very much worth it, we just spent around 10k for three people during this trip.

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