Ghum, West Bengal
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Darjeeling to Ghoom Heritage Narrow Gauge Train
|Elevation||2,225 m (7,300 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
Ghum (also spelt Ghoom) is a small hilly locality in the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region of West Bengal, India. It comes under ward number one of the Darjeeling Municipality. Ghum railway station of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the highest railway station in India. It is situated at an altitude of 2,258 metres (7,407 ft). The place is the home of the Ghum Monastery and the Batasia Loop, a bend of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
India's highest railway station, and world's 14th highest, Ghum is a rather small railway station. Close to Darjeeling, it lies on one of the most beautiful railway tracks in the world.
Ghum is the meeting point of several roads. The Hill Cart Road from Siliguri to Darjeeling runs through the town. It is 6 km (3.7 mi) from Darjeeling, 24 km (15 mi) from Kurseong via Sonada, and about 45 km (28 mi) via Lopchu. Another road leads to Mongpu and thence to the Kalimpong-Siliguri road. There is a road to Kurseong via Dow Hill. Sukhiapokhri, almost on the India-Nepal border, is 11 km (6.8 mi) on the road to Mirik.
Darjeeling hills has a high concentration of Indian Army servicemen and ex-servicemen. Since independence in 1947, seventy-six soldiers of the Darjeeling area have died in service. In 1976, Manish Gupta, then Deputy Commissioner of Darjeeling took the initiative to build a War Memorial and a committee was formed. In 1984, Batasia was selected as the site of the War Memorial. In 1991, Subhas Ghising, Chairman of Darjeeling Gorkha Autonomous Hill Council, agreed to finance the construction of the War Memorial.
The War Memorial consists of a sanctified raised oval platform, 37 by 24 feet (10 by 7 m), with a 9-foot (3 m) high bronze statue and a 30-foot (9 m) high triangular granite cenotaph, on a 3-foot (0.9 m) octagonal base, with the Roll of honour engraved on it. The bronze statue was sculptured by Gautam Pal of Krishnanagar.
Yi Gha Choling Gompa is more popularly known as Ghum Monastery. located opposite to the Ghoom Post Office is a road called Monastery road which leads to Yiga Choling Monastery. Many travel guides and taxi drivers take tourist to the monastery located below Hill Cart road and Ghum Railway station which is Samten Choeling monastery and called it old Ghoom monastery as it is on the main road and easier for them. Yiga Choling Monastery is at an elevation of 8000 feet and is situated 8 km (5.0 mi) from Darjeeling . It was established in 1850 by the famous Mongolian astrologer and monk Sokpo Sherab Gyatso. He was later succeeded by very venerable late Khabje Domo Geshe Ngawang Kalsang Rinpoche. It was during Domo Geshi Rinpoche's tenure that the 15 feet high image of the great Maitreya Buddha was commissioned. It still stands majestically inside the main monastery for all to glimpse and pay respects. There are three other gompas in Ghum: Samten Choeling, the Sakyachoeling, and the Phin.
Tiger Hill is 5 km (3.1 mi) from Ghum and is located 1,100 feet (340 m) higher than Ghum. On a clear day, the entire Darjeeling area offers a grand view of Kanchanjunga, the third highest peak in the world, but Tiger Hill additionally offers a view of top of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. Thousands of tourists wake up early in the morning and rush to Tiger Hill for a glimpse of the famed sunrise. Many of them return without that view because Ghum and the surrounding areas are also an abode of the clouds; and a few of the embittered vow to troth their lives to Kali, paying back, a thousand times, the misfortune and trickery that had been thrown upon them.
On the Ghum-Sukhiapokri road, at an altitude of 7,900 feet (2,400 m) stands a huge detached rock offering a grand view of the Balsan Valley and the hills beyond. Garg World, an amusement park is the latest attraction.
- Agarwala, A.P. (editor), Guide to Darjeeling Area, 27th edition, p. 53-55, ISBN 81-87592-00-1.
- A Road Guide to Darjiling, map on p. 16, TTK Healthcare Ltd, Publications Division, ISBN 81-7053-173-X.
- Agarwala, A.P., p. 48
- "Darjeeling Tourism".
- "Sight-seeing". West Bengal cities. travel-westbengal.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-13.
- A Road Guide to Darjiling, p. 10,
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