The long and winding road: finding Tibet in Darjeeling

One or two inhabitants stood inside the gate observing our sweating, panting faces with dead-pan expressions. A wide and well-tended path stretched upwards to the main group of buildings. We had walked into another country: there were no plastic bottles, crisp wrappers, bright blue tangles of frayed nylon rope, plastic bags, sweet wrappers, turds or stinking puddles anywhere. Just nice green grassy borders either side of the well-trodden path, and a hand-built wooden stairway.

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Animal Magic: Darjeeling zoo

You have a cold? Try a pinch of tiger, or a smattering of red panda. A Chinese medicine maker’s pantry is spread over the hills of Darjeeling, but this zoo is doing all it can to protect the animals.

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The Best Train Set In The World?

The sound of the hissing steam and shrill horn transported me to Britain in the 50s, The Railway Children, Murder on the Orient Express, Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, the railways that built America, George Stevenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Sometimes we were so close to the shops hewn out of the rock along Hill Cart Road I could have easily removed a speck of dust from the eye of a passing housewife, or handed a letter to a family of children.

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Do You Believe in the Big Bang Theory?

The entire school was eager to meet us, so we made a point of visiting each of the tiny, cold classrooms. With saucer-eyes, they drank in everything we said. We played games, swapped stories, listened to them sing and watched long and intricate dances.

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Boxed Blessings: A Buddhist Procession in Darjeeling

“We watched the procession snake past the Dekeling for about half an hour. No sooner had one group of musicians receded with its attendant crowd of worshippers, than the next little band would arrive.” The next in our Himalaya trip where Liz gets all spiritual…

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