holiday travels can be of two types — you either have an action-packed itinerary, hopping from one destination to another trying to make the most of your hard-earned leave from your daily routine, or you spend a long-desired break, doing just nothing.
Jorepokhri, around 21km from Darjeeling, seems to be the perfect pit stop to laze around doing exactly nothing, yet pampering yourself all the while. Enjoy a morning brew of aromatic first-flush Darjeeling tea while watching a spectacular show of the sun and snow on the majestic Kanchenjungha.
Train your binoculars on birds that you thought existed only in coffee-table books. Indulge the shutterbug in you and capture some brilliant frames. Sample some succulent momos or savour a piping hot chicken soup.
Listen to the music you've always been meaning to but never quite had the time for. Or just switch your iPod off and listen to the song of the mountains — a gushing stream, birdsong from the trees, the gentle rustling of leaves or even the sound of a distant vehicle negotiating hairpin bends.
You could even go for long walks along a pine-lined serpentine road, discovering nameless orchids and blooms of myriad colours on the way.
The chief attractions of Jorepokhri are two lakes (in Nepali, jore means “twin” while pokhri means a water body). Sit back and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. You could become an amateur zoologist and study the salamanders. These amphibious creatures, once thought extinct, have been discovered in this area in 1964. In Asia, salamanders are only found here and at Namthing pokhri near Latpanchar.
If you like temples, you could walk down to a 500-year-old temple in the area. It houses the idols of Shiva and Shakti. At the end of a “hard day” of relaxation, watch the sun go down in a sea of gold beyond the snowy peaks. In the evening, fire up some logs in the fireplace and join friends and family for an evening together.
And you thought there was nothing to do at Jorepokhri!
Take a train from Howrah or Sealdah to New Jalpaiguri. From there, hire a car or a Trekker.
A tourist lodge run by Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council is the only place where you can stay the night. You could call the DGHC office in Calcutta at 033-22821715 .