Back in the Himalayas, this time near Tibet! Darjeeling in West Bengal is another hill station, at 2100 meters, built on the side of a mountain. I can see the 8500m Kanchenjunga mountain from my hotel. The suites in the Dekeling Resort are incredibly comfortable, in 130-year old wooden buildings. During a heavy thunderstorm I had fires going in both fireplaces, listening to the rain drumming on the roof.
Darjeeling is in India, but almost all the faces here are Tibetan or Nepali. The dominant religion is Tibetan Buddhism. The two main roads wide enough to carry traffic are unbelievably choked with SUVs, but since the place is so steep there are narrow alleys and loooong stairways all over then place.
The main attraction – beside tea – is a British-era 60cm narrow-gauge train called the Toy Train. Its steam locomotive is wheezing down the hill to Ghum, just a few km away but the train is slow and the scenery pretty. At one point, it does a 360-degree loop to get over an especially steep section.