Batasia Loop

By Katyayini Kesharwani

Image by @darjhistclub, Instagram

An old photograph of Batasia Loop, Darjeeling.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. Each fresh peak ascended teaches something. Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better. To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”The Batasia Loop is a 100-year-old circular train track encircled by a spectacular mountain vista. This is the most picturesque stretch of the toy train route. Located on Hill Cart, the Batasia Loop lies about 5 kilometres outside of Darjeeling and is definitely worth the walk or drive. The loop is renowned for its distinctive design which allows the train to circumscribe itself, exposing riders to a 360-degree view of the rippling hills and sky-high peaks, including the stupendous peak of Kanchenjunga.
Image by @pradhan9314, Instagram
Toy train at Batasia loop, Darjeeling
In the middle of the loop is a lush garden of adorable blooming flowers and shrubs. And at the middle of the Batasia Loop, there is the War Memorial which was constructed in 1995 to immortalize the Gorkha soldiers of Darjeeling Hills who sacrificed their lives in countless wars after India’s independence.
Image by @iamarnabpa, Instagram

This War Memorial, built at the centre of Batasia Loop, which in itself is an engineering marvel, is created to honour and serve as a memorial for the Gorkha soldiers of Darjeeling who sacrificed their lives in various operations and wars after India’s independence.
This 9-foot statue of a Gorkha Soldier is built next to a cenotaph which carries the roll of honour of the soldiers who died along with the dates. One can get a 360-degree view of Darjeeling from here as well as of the snow-covered peaks of Eastern Himalayas.

Batasia Loop was commissioned in 1919 as it was an engineering prerequisite for the toy train to be able to handle a steep descent. Right after Ghoom, which is the highest railway station, there is a sharp descent as the toy train directs towards Darjeeling. There was no way the toy train could avoid such an abrupt fall of about 140ft unless there was a way to diminish the gradient of the slope.
Image by @iamarnabpal, Instagram

Hope is what keeps us ticking. Hope, the fuel of life, I say.

Batasia Loop was created by the British to resist such sharp descent. It’s hard to even realize how the toy train actually descends as it completes the whole loop through a huge circular area and on a gentle declivity and revisits its own track near the beginning of the loop through a tunnel underneath. It is considered as one of the greatest engineering feats. This engineering marvel is a 20-minute drive from The Elgin, Darjeeling. The 360-degree view of Darjeeling and the snow-covered peaks of Eastern Himalayas from the loop will definitely leave you mesmerised.

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