September 18, 2022 (Sunday)
The regular readers of my story may remember that I wrote in part V that the Gidda Pahar hid in the mist when we came out of the Makaibari tea factory. So we put the Gidda Pahar visit off, as suggested by Pradip Lamha.
I no longer have to talk about Pradip. In the previous articles in my Kurseong diary, I mentioned Pradip. “If you want to enjoy the Giddy Pahar, leave early in the morning,” said Pradip.
Visit Gidda Pahar
Pradip is a native of the area. He knows the climate in Kurseong. And he seemed right. The sky was visible when we got into Pradip’s car the next day. It was early morning, around 5 00. The dawn’s rays were visible. There was not a trace of cloud. We were going to Giddi Pahar, ”the home of a huge Hanuman idol.”
Description of scenic beauty and journey
After a while, the sunrise over the hill, and the brown cloud clung to it. Soon, the wind pushed away the cloud, and the weather again became clear and bright.
The scene gladdened me: one side mountain and another side gorge. Pradip was on the steering. The roads ascend/descend into curves leading to the giant Hanuman statue.
Flocks of birds flying down from the mountain and headed to unknown destinations. Overall, it was heartwarming for me.
“The road is easy to navigate. However, it would be an uphill climb and cause a physical strain if you are not in the habit of walking on such a winding, ascending, and descending hill road. You will gasp for air if that is the case. But trekkers enjoyed the road while looking at the beauty of nature,” opined Pradip.
The green tea garden keeps you greeted from the foothill to the head hill. The sun-drenched green hill will drain your drudgery.
Gidda Pahar and Giant Hanuman idol
We reached the giant Hanuman idol after traversing the high and low winding road of about one and a half kilometers. The Gorkha Territorial Administration built it in 2021.
The statue is 40 feet tall.
What could be the reason for constructing such a huge Hanuman idol on the Gidda Pahar? Are the hill people devotees of Hanuman? Pradip smiled after listening to my question. “There is nothing like this. The hill people believe in the power of Hanuman. So the Hanuman idol is solid because of that. Looking at the idol, you can see how strong Hanuman’s arm is. So the statue would last long, and the idol corresponds to Hanuman’s strength.” Pradip said, laughing aloud.
So, that is one way of thinking. I smiled in my heart as well.
Durbindara is the ancient name of Kurseong. In the Gorkha language, Dara means hill. Pradip said that in the Gorkha language, the distant object seen from the mountain is called Durbindara.
You can have a panoramic view of Kurseong town from here, including the Sanatorium of the British era. We went to the Nai Basti monastery after seeing the Hanuman statue. The locals built it in 1961.
Gidda Pahar & Nai Basti
In Nai Basti, there was another viewpoint. You can view Tilang Dara from here. Aiming at the canal, if you look up, the place is called Simona. From Simona, the road goes to Sukha bazar, Lepcha Jagat, and Sanadakpur.
We reached Sahihtor. You may glimpse Mahanadi and Ahildara from there.
We then advanced to another viewpoint. I saw something like an iron bracket under construction. It looked like an old structure. But Pradip said that the work of making a ropeway is going on. But one glance at it might make you think that this structure is a relic of yesteryear.
The unpredictable climate in the hills
The weather in the hills is unpredictable. The sun was glaring moments ago. Then, the sun sank under the cloud as the weather turned misty. Fog makes the mountain disappear.
Around it was foggy too. Nature might not have wanted us to enjoy the views on the last leg of our tour.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose museum
Correspondence with Emilie Schenk.
Finally, we went to the Netaji Chandra Bose museum. It is a historical monument. He contributed to national affairs and personal matters while under house arrest here. The museum has preserved correspondences between Netaji, Rabindranath Tagore, and Jawaharlal Nehru on the controversy over the song ”Vande Mataram.”
At the start of this story, I uploaded two videos made by my son Saikat. The footage carries Saikat’s live commentary inside the Netaji Bose museum. Also, it covers the scenic beauty of our day-long tour. Readers may watch the video to get finer details.
We were to leave for New Jalpaiguri the next day, September 19. The return journey was on September 20 by Shatabdi Express.
However, I wanted to visit Darjeeling the following day before departure to New Jalpaiguri if the weather was pleasant for the Darjeeling tour. But to know whether we could make it, readers may wait for the next part of my story.