One needn’t slow down while vacationing the ‘Queen of the Hills’. Adventure sports have taken Darjeeling way beyond the usual tea-tasting tours…..
White water rafting in the foaming waters of Teesta and exhilarating aero sports offering expansive views of Kanchenjunga and the Everest! Who would have imagines that the laidback British summer getaway one day evolve into a pit-stop for adventure junkies?
Do you outdoorsy self some good by planning a sporty vacation to this part of the country, this summer. Here’s what all you could do in between savouring tea flushes.
CHART YOUR OWN PATH
Darjeeling, with its winding roads and plantation loops, charms cyclists from all over the world. It is an unusual experience to pedal away in the misty milieu of Darjeeling and neighbouring Kurseong. You could either rent mountain bikes or opt for fully-functional Royal Enfields. Bike along the famous Batasia Loop, Tiger Hill and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. If adventurous enough, make a trip all the way to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. To enhance the mountain biking scene, the local authorities have launched India’s first mountain cycle park along a 20-km stretch inside a forest in the Senchel Wildlife Sanctuary. This is the first dedicated cycle park in any hill station in the country.
GO WITH THE FLOW
Darjeeling is increasingly becoming popular for its white water rafting. River Teesta and Rangeet gush down the mountains and create foaming white water, stretching its fold with varying rapids. Both are highly conductive for rafting for beginners and seasoned rafters alike. As you raft down the Teesta torrent, the mesmerizing view of the dense forest along the sloping mountains creates an unforgettable experience. Beginners/non swimmers must take prior instructions from the guides to make their river rafting or kayaking experience stress free. A trip to Teesta Bazar (2.5 hours by taxi from town center) will connect you with guides.
MOUNTAINS AND BEOYND…
It is said that watching the sunset amongst the peaks of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu is breathtaking. Well, Darjeeling does offer some enchanting trekking routes. Apart from getting sweeping views of some of the highest peaks in a single stretch, you can enjoy nature in full glory, courtesy the dense forests and verdant meadows. And don’t be surprised if you come across red pandas, barking deer, pangolin and other high altitude animals on your way. Sandakphu and Singalila Trek, one of the most popular trekking routes, will give you an opportunity to walk through villages to experience the local Nepali village life.
LEARNING THE ROPES
Home to the world famous Himalayan Mountaineering Institute that produces many mountaineers throughout the year, Darjeeling is a great place to get a hang of rock climbing. Though there are various rock sites, the most popular place is Tenzing Rock. As the named after Tenzing Norgay. The right face of Tenzing Rock is used by amateur climbers and tourists to learn climbing.
— As taken from Sunday Times, 28th May, 2017