Darjeeling Himalayan Railway experience
Ghum, a small village in the Darjeeling Himalayan region is about 6km from the Darjeeling town. Even though trip to Ghum is always combined with Darjeeling, it has its own fair share of tourist attractions with its historic monasteries and hilltops offering scenic views. Ghum Railway station is the highest railway station in India (3rd highest in Asia) at an altitude of 2258 meters.
The joy ride in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a trip back and fro from the Darjeeling station and Ghum station with time duration of two hours with its first trip starting at 8am. Moving along with the main road midst the vehicular traffic, shops and houses, the train passes some of the very steep curves and turns giving us a beautiful view of the valleys of Darjeeling. However, due to the heavy rains we were not lucky enough to get a clear view of the mountains.
After about 5 kms from Darjeeling the train spirals around a tunnel and a garden making a 360-degree turn and stops for 10 minutes at Batasia Loop. On a clear day one can get a magnificent view of the Kanchenjunga and the eastern Himalayan Mountains.
Like kids in a candy store we rushed out of the train to have a glimpse of the Himalayan Mountains but instead we were greeted with the fog. Nevertheless we made a quick tour of the War Memorial, which was built at Batasia in the memory of the brave Gorkha soldiers of the Darjeeling region who laid their lives for the country.
The train then continues the journey towards Ghum station where we were given about 30 minutes to explore around the station. The station has a Rail Museum on the first floor, which provides us insights on the history of the Himalayan Railway since the British era. In 1999, UNESCO declared DHR as a World Heritage Site, second railway in the world to be granted this honor.