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Kurseong

 
  Kurseong ? Did you pucker your nose because it seems so distant on the map? Map the distance again. It is not so far. Kurseong, which takes its name from a white orchid, is a little over two hours from Delhi and a 90- minute drive through jagged bends and hairpin turns on the one way macadamized road. The road is flanked by mountains on one side and deep valley on the other, with stunning landscape as the backdrop. And think of it, in this land you would not bump into anyone you know!

Candle in the wind
In this hilly town, begin with a trek to divinity. Tie your shoe laces, catch a deep breath and head to St Mary’s trail it is long walk in the forest Where there are large ferns, the breeze is pristine and you have the entire world to yourself: walk lazily, wait for the sun to go down and Kneel at the statue of Virgin Mary at the grotto where the holy water flows from a natural spring and candles burn eternally. At the grotto you have undisturbed audience with God you can sit for as long as you want, for there is nobody else waiting for a moment with divinity. However, the walk up can make you breathless, the incline is steep.

Tea Tour
The entire landscape is tidily terraced into tea gardens. Draw the window curtains in your room; not only will you see the snow-capped Kanchenjunga starting at you, the whiff of the tea leaves awash with dew might get you heady. There are tea factories and then there are more tea factories, but do not miss Ambootia, one of the largest organic tea factories in the area . That you buy in the Harrods (london) is actually hand rolled in this factory. Pick tea boxes as a memory of that walk in the estates.

Red at the Altar
A narrow cobbled hastily made path takes you to Kunsannum Doling Monastery. This is the home of seven Buddhist uns who pray for peace. Keeping them company are idols of Buddha in various Avatars. The entire place is tinged with red the robes that the nuns wear, the rhododendrons that grow wantonly, the red of the walls and the biscuits wrapped in red that are offered at the altar. If you might get treated to rhodondendron tea that is sedulously sun dried by the nuns and stacked for the year, or get a taste of the famous gur- gur tea that has dollops of cream churned into the brew.

Chuggling Along
This is no ordinary train; it is famous blue train that hisses beween blue train that hisses between Darjeeling and siliguri on a gauge track that is barely 2ft wide. Perhaps it is last steam engine that still chugs and it is 125-years old. The train was the brainchild of Franklyn prestige, an agent for Eastern Bengal Railway. In the steam engine, you can see the fireman shove coal into the tender, the driver adjusting the brass valves, the engine hooting, locomotive hissing, engine spewing clouds of steam and coal dust, adding a film of soot on the tea leaves. And when the train stops at junction for a boiler refill,

You can jump off, have a cup of tea, indulge in debate, probably go for a haircut and then jump back so leisurely is the pace that it takes nine hours to cover distance of 88km.

Bridging the gap
The next best thing is to enjoy a picnic in the bed of river balason and if highs give you the Kicks, you can walk on the ancient creaky suspension bridge that was once an appendage of the hydroelectric statation. The bridge rasps and trembles perennially, but it is so far from habitation, all you will hear is the heartbeat.

Remember, it was near Kurseong that mother Teresa found her calling about helping and serving the poor and needy. Who knows, the Two of you might just stumble upon that one reason for eternal love and togetherness?

Extra : At Cochrane place, boiled eggs look like penguins, mangoes seem to wear skirts, and curry comes in bamboo containers, chicken in coconut shells.
 
 
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