I sat there with my eyes closed, as I soaked in the revitalising amalgamation of the stimulators surrounding me. The strong aroma of coffee blended with the fresh mountain air completely braced my senses. My eyes were enraptured by the enthralling site it witnessed. The peak of Mt. Kanchenjungha was radiating a majestically soft golden glow stimulated by the first rays of the rising sun. The sky had begun to change its robes of dark blue into that of a piquant mixture of red, orange and yellow.
Soon, the entire mountain range of invincible, weather-beaten soldiers were crowned with a golden hue. As I sipped my coffee, the last of the clouds parted and we got a stupendous view of the mystical peaks, for which tourists throng this area in thousands. We were 16 km away from The Queen of Hills-Darjeeling .Not many are familiar with this tranquil mountain village-Dawaipani, tucked away in the lap of mountains amidst the bountiful rewards of nature. Dawaipani has been recently made accessible for the tourists by a few of its residents who have opened home-stays offering a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Savouring each moment of the beautiful sunrise, I let my mind shed all its fatigued thoughts and rest for a while. It was refreshing feeling. Our breakfast consisted of soft, plump and delectable momos, filing us with enough energy for the day. We set out on a trek to a nearby village “Teen Mile”, followed by “Chai Mile”. The trekking terrain was not as difficult as my previous ones. The misty breeze, the sun rays alleviating the surroundings, the crisp morning and the eerie silence of the mountain path brewed the perfect milieu that city people crave for.We had the forest on one hand.On the other we had a commanding view of the valley and the ethereal mountains surrounding it.At our first stop we had a cup of hot,milky tea,washing down the fatigue of the walk.Our trekking path unfolded natures gifts in varying hues.Flowers of varied types grew all along the climb.We walked slowly,inhaling the fresh mountain oxygen and the refreshing natural elements that encased us.Wild squash hung from the trees and juicy berries fruited in hundreds.We spent a long time capturing the bits and pieces of our trek with our lenses.But nothing could match the view captured by the lens of our minds.
Trekking further we reached “Chai Mile”. Here we had our lunch comprising of ‘aloo ke parathe’(potato flatbreads).The return journey was equally resplendent. The sun had almost set when we reached our home-stay. We feasted our eyes on the last remnants of the sun rays which created a golden aura upon the surroundings. The scene seemed to have come out straight from a coffee table book. The weather had turned colder with the sunset. Zipping our jackets, we sat around a bonfire created outside. Some of the locals had also gathered there, sharing the day’s events .We sipped freshly rustled up organic tea as they regaled us with mountain stories. The hours passed swiftly and soon it was dinner time. Steaming hot bowls of noodles with generous chunks of chicken enlivened our spirits.
After the sumptuous dinner, everyone went to sleep. I being a night-person, sleep was miles away from me. I sat by the dying fire outside. The sky was clad in a deep blue robe, studded with shimmering stars. The valley was dark with an occasional light from the houses. The air had an icy chill to it. Wrapping my shawl around me, I sat there for a long time-stargazing and listening to the nature’s silent music of the night. Sitting there, in the midst of the majestic mountains towering above us, my own problems felt so small. There were so many other people in this universe who faced tougher situations than us-they face them with gritted teeth and gradually overcome them to prove again and again that man can do anything…anything. You just need the determination and hard work. Each bit of nature inspires us to live our lives. It offers you a plethora of blessings. Recognize them….
We had stayed there for two more days, before returning back to the daily humdrum of city life. The trip to Dawaipani had breathed new life into us to pull us through before our next tryst with nature.