42

The only way a budget traveller could get  to Yumthang is to be a part of a package tour. We took one. This meant that we 3, rather well padded men spend one day in a jeep with 7 other passengers plus the driver travelling from Gangtok up to Lachung, spend a night at Lachung, leave at the crack of dawn, reach Yumthang in about an hr, spend a little time there and drive all the way back to Gangtok.

All 3 of us did not like this, but had to go along as this was the only option that suited our budgets. Everything changed once we landed up at Lachung on a starlit night. The next morning the urge to give it a shot without worrying about the consequences intensified. We just had to stay an extra night.

This meant we had to find a place to stay the night.

In a place where hardly anyone stays the night this time of the year. In a place which primarily acts a feeding ground for package tourists. In place where the only functioning guesthouse needs to booked in advance from Gangtok. In an immensely serene setting.

How?

The answer to everything is ’42’.

 

Darejeeling Toy Train

Despite Darjeeling being a very noisy, crowded, popular tourist destination, I was eager to get there solely to come face to face with the toy train. The mix of old world charm and the highly romanticised Bollywood imagery was simply too irresistible.

The best and most popular example would be the Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore & S.D. Burman classic.

It has been showcased in many movies over the years, this one from the 90s

More recently, it’s been featured in films like Parineeta & Barfi. It has even inspired foreign film makers, case in point Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited.

To know more about toy trains check this out.  If you like trains, and especially Indian railways, you might want to see this

Pictures of the toy train in Darjeeling.