Going to Darjeeling via Mirik road is also a nice option for the travelers.The road trip takes you through the tea gardens , fog engulfed mountains and tall pine trees.Why should I take this route unlike the traditional route which is shorter ? This may be your obvious question.But I just need to tell you that if you have one whole day in your hand going to Darjeeling via Mirik is worth exploring.
The road conditions
The condition of Darjeeling-Mirik (5/2016) road is absolutely fine.The points of interest on the way would be Jorpokhri, Simana, Pashupati market,Mirik and Tingling view point.Shared Jeeps ply between Siliguri to Darjeeling via Mirik but they are stuffed with people and not recommended for people who want to explore the beauty in peace.
Private taxis would charge you anything between Rs 3000 to Rs 4000 but they are much better alternative.The travel time from Siliguri may be anything between 5 hours to 7 hours , provided , you plan a night halt at Darjeeling and cover Mirik attractions at the day time.
Tourist Attractions on the way
The first tourist attraction in Mirik road you will come across is Tingling View Point.The serpentine road in the middle of the green slopes of the tea gardens is what mesmerizes the travelers.The view of Singbulli tea estate near Soureni village from this view point makes this road trip a memorable one.
There is also a small restaurant below the Tingling view point tower.You sip some chai here and relax your body on the chairs.
Your vehicle will finally arrive at the popular Mirik Lake – the most popular among attractions of Mirik .The entry passage of the lake area has some small shops selling plums , sprouted grams , Jhal Murhis – the traditional Bengali street food, fruit salads , pine apples and mineral water bottles.You need to walk about 50-60 steps and the way opens to an open area where lakes , restaurants , hotels and woolen market is located.
Durga Hotel, Gautam Hotel ,Pradhan Hotel ,The Park Hotel are some of the hotels located just infront of the lake.The Park seems to have the best view balconies.There are shops which sells ethnic woolen clothes , shoes and restaurants with Darjeeling Tea.
At the lake you can do the boating or enjoy horse riding which takes the route through the bridge along the pine trees of the lake.The cost of horse riding is Rs 100.
The final attraction before Darjeeling in Mirik is Pashupati market near the Indo-Nepal border.To go to this market you need to show your identity cards to the check post on the Indian side and cross over to the other side.You will need to leave the taxi on the Indian side only.From the other side (Nepal side) you can take an auto rikshaw or van that will go 2 km up hill and takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
The market is known for cheaper woolen and electronic goods.If you have one and a half hour in your hand you can try this cheaper budget market to shop.I found the items much cheaper here as compared to Darjeeling.Even on the Indian side there are some souvenir shops selling cheaper traditional items.