Darjeeling - Part 3

Wake up wake up...
It felt like a sound coming from very far away. As if someone singing their throat out. Oh god, somebody make him stop. It's irking the hell out of me. But I had no idea how to make it stop. As if the sound was floating around me, although not very clear.. I stirred. Whoosh. A splash of cold water hit my back where my shirt had been rolled up backward. My eyes flew open and I realised in a moment it was not water, but the cold air made its way through the tiny opening between the blanket and the bed. It took me a few moments to figure out where I was. Soon it dawned on me that I was lying on my hotel bed and my phone was ringing in the same, annoying tempo as the alarm had gone off. I held out my hand under the blanket to turn the singing voice off. Damn! It's freaking cold. I squinted, it was still pitch black outside. My mind was still foggy from the sleep. What the hell the alarm went off in the middle of the night for? Suddenly I remembered today was the day of our Tiger hill trip. Our driver had told us to be ready by 4 am as he would come to pick us up by that time.
It was 3.15 in the morning. I calculated that I had slept for less than 5 hours only. The confounded hotel had no provision for room heater and it felt like my blood would freeze into icy chunks if I stepped out of my blanket. So at last I thought the better of it and decided to get dressed under the blanket.
Chogyal was a punctual man, so were we. It was exactly 4 am when he started the car. I was half sleepy, half excited. It was still pitch black outside and almost deserted when we finally reached the hilltop. We were the first to arrive along with another party. We got the first row sofa on the observatory tower, which I would soon realise was of no use. The sunrise was supposed to take place not until 6 am and the wait was long and boring. Not to mention the most uncivilised bunch of tourists babbling around us. I encountered the worst kind of Indian tourists on this trip. Be it Bengali, Odiya, Tamil, Telugu, Marwari; every single one of them was equally insensible and annoying. Two north Indian prats were busy taking their selfies while hanging dangerously from the tower windows. Apparently they were trying to make the moment memorable by posing against every window from every possible angle. There was a point when I was feeling like giving them a well deserved nudge. Another Muslim non bengali family was talking very loudly among themselves and making a strong point that they owned an ipad and a few iphones. Another Bengali family was travelling with an infant and the dimwit father was getting pretty annoyed if anyone was trying to open the window. You don't come to a hill station with an infant and then whine about if it catches cold, dunghead. I was sitting in the midst of this chaos with my mouth shut and plotting everyone's death in most violent and painful way.
The sunrise was breathtakingly beautiful and worth putting up with the morons for last two hours. It felt like somebody bathed the Kanchenjungha in pure molten gold.

On our way back we visited Batasia loop and Gorkha war memorial garden where the toy train took its U-turn. Nothing much to see except the beautiful vista of the Kanchenjungha.

Ghoom monastery is the oldest monastery of Darjeeling. Although our driver took advantage of our ignorance and did not take us to the original Ghoom monastery which was known as the Yiga Choeling monastery. Instead he only took us to the Samten Choeling. Samten Choeling belongs from the Gelugpa sect or the Yellow Hat School of Tibetan Buddhism. God knows whether it was my growing dislike towards Darjeeling or the boredom or the irritation towards the fellow idiotic tourists, I did not feel at all impressed at the sight of the monastery.

I felt the same detachment and dislike while standing on the terrace of another monastery, the Dali monastery or the Druk Thupten Sangag Choeling monastery. This one was a new one, built only in 1971 by Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche of the Kagyupa sect. Kagyupa belongs from the Red Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

If you are an ardent believer in the philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism and are also interested in the history of the same and want to visit the monasteries in order to seek solace and spiritual attainment, Darjeeling monasteries are the last place on earth to do so. Because they lack the ambience. The morning prayer was going on when we visited the Dali monastery. Every single shithead asshole ignorant tourist was busy taking photographs of the ceremony and in order to do so they were behaving in the most despicable manner. None of them did not even bother to take off the shoes before entering the hall and it was chaos and jostling everywhere. I couldn't wait to leave the place as soon as possible.
The rest of the day was spent in a leisurely manner. We slept through all day and got up in the afternoon with our stomachs rumbling. We went for a sumptuous lunch and then strolled around the town exploring shops selling Tibetan artifacts and trinkets.

Shepherd's pie

Fish n' chips

                                                                                                                          To be continued