29th Nov 2004 - After completing the tiring trek from Yuksom to Dzongri-La and back, I thought it would be a good idea to rest for a day or two in a hill station on my way back to Kolkata. Darjeeling was a convenient and famous hill station on the way, and known for its views of Kanchenjunga. So I took a share-jeep from Yuksom to Jorethang (pic left of Jorethang jeep-stand) and changed there to another one going to Darjeeling.
The road up to to Darjeeling was a steep climb with some terrific mountain views. We stopped for a breakfast of Momos at a roadside shop next to a colorful Shiva temple (pic above left) and great views of the Kanchenjunga range (above right).
Finally, reached Darjeeling at 11:30 am. Checked into Aliment Hotel on top after a steep hill climb. The view of Darjeeling town from the roof top of that hotel (left) with Himalayas in the distance. The friendly lady at the Reception desk said the best sunrise views of Kanchenjunga from Darjeeling could be had from the hotel's roof-terrace. Another plus for this hotel - it had a cybercafe on the ground floor with fairly fast internet connections.
30th Nov 2004 - Walked up to the 4th level rooftop of the hotel early next morning at 5:30am. The Sky was clear and shortly after 6:00am the first sun rays hit Kanchenjunga (Pics left & below).
The British visitor (did he say his name was Richard?) I met on the roof-terrace (pic below), was enjoying basking his face in the morning sunlight with his eyes closed! Richard said he is a regular visitor to India and particularly came to Darjeeling every year. The only reason he went back every 6-months to England was to re-issue his India Visa. He wished the Indian Government would find some way to issue a permanent Visa to the likes of him, who liked it so much here!
The roof top restaurant (pic above left) of Hotel Aliment and a final look of the Himalayan range at 7:05am over the terrace wall (left).
Checked out of hotel at 9:00am after breakfast and went downhill to the Clock Tower and got hold of a share jeep to New Jalpaiguri Station. There booked myself a Tatkal sleeper berth on the Darjeeling Mail dep: 8:00Pm to reach Sealdah Station in Kolkata next morning at 8:00am.