Ghum or Ghoom in Darjeeling

Ghum

Ghum also spelled Ghoom is situated at an altitude of 7,407 ft 6 km away from Darjeeling. Ghum actually falls under Darjeeling municipality's ward number one. The word Ghum rings a bell in the mind it immediately associates with toy train. Ghum station is the highest altitude railway station in India. After formation of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in 1879 railway track first laid in Ghum on 04th April 1881. There is a claim that earlier Ghum was the highest railway station of the world which is very much false. Chikla railway station of Peru is situated at an altitude of 12,218 ft was opened in 1878 even before the formation of DHR. Now Ghum is the 14th highest railway station of the world. Just beside the Ghum station is DHR Ghum Museum which is a must visit place especially for railway enthusiastic. Here one can see the oldest DHR loco 'Baby Sivok'. Apart from that old railway artefacts and rare pictures of DHR is being displayed. Those who don't want to spend time riding Toy train from NJP to Darjeeling can enjoy the joy ride from Darjeeling to Ghum and vice versa.

The next best thing to visit is Batasia loop just 1 km away from Ghum. The Batasia loop is a gigantic railway loop where the Toy Train makes a 360 Degree turn to negotiate an elevation of 140 ft. Situated on a hill top, this place is beautifully decorated with flower plants also offers breathtaking view of Mt. Kanchenjunga world's 3rd highest mountain peak. This loop like structure plays a perfect host to the famous toy train in Darjeeling. From the Batasia Loop one can get a panoramic view of Darjeeling town as well. A beautiful garden has been laid for the visitors to spend time in the area. At the centre of the Batasia Loop is the War Memorial. This was opened in 1995 to commemorate the Gorkha soldiers of the Darjeeling Hills who sacrificed their lives in various wars after India's independence. The war memorial within the loop has a 9.9 ft high bronze statue of a Gorkha soldier.

Tiger hill situated at an altitude of 11,000 ft is just 5 km upwards from Ghum. As Tiger hill is famous for its exotic sunrise also loved by tourist for getting a chance to witness world's highest peak Mt. Everest and Mt. Makalu apart from Mt. Kanchenjunga. In between Ghum and Tiger hill on a hill top Senchal lake is located at an altitude of 8,160 ft. This lake comes under Senchal wildlife sanctuary and is the main source of water for Darjeeling town also worth visiting.

Just below the Ghum station Yiga Choeling Gompa commonly known as the Ghoom Monastery is situated. It is an age old monastery of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Constructed in 1850, the outer structure was established by Sokpo Sherab Gyatso, a well known monk and a Mongolian astrologer who also remained the administrative head of this monastery. The monastery enshrines a 15 ft high image of Maitreya Buddha. 60 monks can be easily accommodated in this monastery and is the largest of the three monasteries in Ghum. It is also a storehouse of Tibetan translations of famous Sanskrit works, such as the Meghdoot by Kalidasa, Nagamandala by Sriharsa, etc. The Ghoom Monastery is a much revered place for the Buddhist community and it restores some rare Buddhist manuscripts that can hardly be found anywhere else.

There are two more monasteries in Ghum namely Dali Monastery and Samten Choeling monastery. The second one is also refer as Ghum Monastery.

Ghum is the meeting point of several roads. The Hill Cart Road from Siliguri to Darjeeling runs through the town. It is 6 km from Darjeeling and 24 km from Kurseong via Sonada. Kalimpong is about 45 km away via Lopchu. Another road leads to Mongpu and then on to the Kalimpong-Siliguri road. There is a road to Kurseong via Dow Hill. Sukhiapokhri, almost on the India-Nepal border, is 11 km on the road to Mirik. On the road towards Mirik a huge detached rock (100 ft high) is situated which is known as Ghum rock. The mesmerising landscape of Balason valley over the rolling hills will leave you breathless. Now there is an amusement park too named Garg world.

People who are religiously inclined and who are nature lover must visit Ghum on their list of destination.

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