Monday, 9 May 2011

Escape to the mountains

With the temperature in Delhi now over 40c we'd always planned to run to the hills when it got too hot. Both north east and north west India have fabulous scenery but we opted for the north east as we wanted to experience the influences of Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal in an isolated state called Sikkim.

Coming from the comparitive flatlands of Norfolk, we tend to excited over any land that rises higher than a farmer on a Massey Ferguson. So our breath was taken away by the stunning views of the mountains as well as the clean and cool air.

Driven skilfully on narrow mountainous roads by our local guide we've just returned from a beautiful week exploring Sikkim.The thumb-shaped state is characterized by wholly mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,585 metres (28,000 ft) at Kanchenjunga - the third highest peak.

We visted Tibean Budism monastries - with their numerous fluttering prayer flags - feeling that really the prayers didn't have far to go to reach heaven! We visited small towns villages, with their houses set into the mountains and their village livestock in pens. We stayed in a selection of accomodation - a farm homestay - with excellent home cooking (but a rather large spider in the bathroom!) and larger hotels built in locations for their vista views. We arrived in Darjeeling for 2 nights- and went tea tasting (we are now experts in the 1st and 2nd flushes!!) and explored this bustling town. To Daniel's delight we went on the Toy Train - an old steam train which winds its way through the streets of Darjeeling and the hills. Our final stop was Glenburn Tea Plantation, for a day & night of secluded luxury!


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