Batasia Loop, Darjeeling: An engineering marvel and an important facet of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (formerly called the Darjeeling Steam Tramway) is the Batasia Loop - located at 27.0167 88.2474 - the Batasia Hilltop between the Ghoom (the highest railway station in India) and Darjeeling Hills at an altitude of more than 7000 feet. Created to reduce the gradient of a 140-feet steep rise on the Hills, the Batasia railway loop was commissioned in 1919. The Toy Train skirting along the Batasia Hill on the Batasia Loop with the white clouds of steam emitting from its engine and it sounding the loud fog-horn is a fascinating scene and video-worthy!
The Batasia Loop is a gigantic railway loop which makes a 360-degree turn off the straight course in order to be able to ascend higher levels in shorter area that is available on the hill slopes. A railway loop is a fabulous means of gaining height while climbing steep slopes in the smallest area of mountains and hills which is precisely what the Batasia Loop provides to the Toy Train - Steam Tramway that climbs the Hills from Siliguri to Darjeeling via Ghoom. The loop would help reduce the sudden steepness of the climb which has to be climbed by the Train and by looping the track more area is gained by the train. The Toy Train gains 140 feet of vertical rise in the area of the loop.
The Batasia Loop is the last of the loops on this rail-route and is certainly the most beautiful as it's the highest of all loops on this track and offers great views of the Darjeeling Hills, Valley, City and the Kanchenjunga Mountain Range at a distance. The weather at the Batasia Loop is wonderful as its chill and sunny and windy with sudden, occasional drizzles, which is a wonderful hilly experience that all Darjeeling tourists experience on their way up in the Toy Train.
The Batasia Loop encircles the Gorkha War Memorial at Batasia, which was instilled in 1976 in commemoration of the Gorkha Martyrs who belonged to Darjeeling and laid down their lives for the country in different wars. The Toy Train makes a short halt for 10 minutes at the Batasia Loop for passengers to get off and view the mountains and take pictures. At this point there is also a small market where visitors usually buy some Tibetan handicrafts such as purses, jewelry and display items.