Christy and John's Travels travel blog

Mirik Overlook

Young Monk's Conference

After arriving in New Jalpaiguri on the overnight train, we caught a rickshaw then share jeep to Mirik. Mirik is a small town (only 9000 people) and popular honeymoon destination in the Himalayan foothills. The drive up was spectacular, winding through tea plantations and steep roads. We drove through one village where people were gathered looking out into the fields - turns out there was a wild elephant grazing there! What luck! So far our "critter karma" has been good.

While in Mirik, we walked around the man-made Sumendu lake (~3.5 km), up the hill to the Bokar Gompa (Tibetan monastery) and not much else. A complete absence of touts or "people on the take" has made for a very relaxing visit. People here seem much more affluent than in the lowlands of India (much easier with a small population). Also, most of the residents in this area are of Tibetan or Nepalese descent. There is a big movement here to create a new, independent state of Gorkhaland. Everywhere are signs and posters declaring "We want Gorkhaland". While for religious and ethnic reasons, this would make sense, we doubt it will happen as West Bengal is not likely to give up this area so rich in natural beauty and famous for tea production and tourism.

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