19 Jul 2015

Cool Kurseong

Kurseong is a lovely getaway near darjeeling

When the humid weather of Kolkata became a little too unrelenting, a vacation became a must and so, I broached the topic with my younger sister. It seems like she was waiting for my initiative only. The moment I said “we should discuss it with dad” she said “yes, exactly” and before I could proceed further, she dragged me, clinging to my sleeve, to the dining table where dad was sitting, right under the ceiling fan, reading newspaper. Being the elder one, I had to start the discussion and lo and behold! Dad agreed at once.

Looks like the heat had defeated his “cool-as -a-cucumber” attitude too. He showed great excitement during the planning and it was on his advice that we picked Kurseong, the lesser-known cousin of Darjeeling. So, this sleepy hill station was to be our holiday destination for three days for which we had booked a picturesque home stay. To reach there, we took the Toy Train from New Jalpaiguri that chugs along at a gentle pace, regaling you with splendid sights of the enchanting hill slopes.

After reaching the homestay which was a cottage, we got down to decide the itinerary and it started with the charming Makaibari tea estate. The pleasant downhill walk gave us good views of the lofty mountains, Victorian era buildings and the lush greenery. We not only walked around the tea garden but also saw the processing in the factory that is open to visitors. The aroma was so potent that I could smell it even after coming to the Dow Hill, the highest point of the hill station. Veiled in mist, it invites you into its soothing folds and you just cannot say no.

At the Deer Park, which is an oasis of peace and bliss, you can feel one with nature. The tall pine trees wearing stoic silence inspire you to stay strong and the lovely chirping birds motivate you to stay carefree and cool. Dad was the happiest among us at the venue. The park matched his temperament perfectly. While we were busy in photo shoots, he was enjoying the company of the flying creatures and the trees.

At the St. Paul the Apostle Church, mom was the one who seemed to be lost in a trance. The colossal building with towering spires and serene surrounding can easily transport you to a world of meditation but the ultimate propitiation comes at Grotto. This holy shrine with a statue of Virgin Mary and natural spring waters, coming out of a cave, feels like heaven. Along the way we also got to see the famous Forest Rangers Training College, exuding majestic brilliance with its colossal colonial architecture.

Netaji Museum was home to the illustrious freedom fighter and where he was held under house arrest. A witness of his greatness, it gives you a good glimpse of the lives and times of the heroic figure. Last was the turn of the Buddhist Monastery, an enduring symbol of the Lepcha heritage, where we said our prayers and thanked the almighty from the bottom of our hearts for bestowing us with the gift of Kurseong.


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