Darjeeling




Brief


“The one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once-by even a glimpse would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the world combined” – Mark Twain.

Nestled among the rolling mountains with the glistening Mt Kanchenjunga towering over the azure sky, Darjeeling fondly called “Queen of the Hills”, provides a perfect gateway for those seeking to be in harmony with nature.

The most popular activities in Darjeeling were once trekking, camping and bird watching, but over the years, a new discovery has been made. White water rafting is fast becoming the most popular activity in Darjeeling. Unmatched in thrill and action, this is the best way to experience the gushing waters of the Teesta and Rangeet rivers.

With the incredible views of the Kanchenjunga from the Tiger Hill, the quaint monasteries of Darjeeling and Ghoom, and that spiritual shopping experience you’ll enjoy at Tibetan Refugee Centre and the curio shops on the Mall, there’s way more to Darjeeling than one may think.

We recommend finding yourself a quiet corner to spend your afternoon reveling in solitude and peace. Watch the sun set over the hills bathing the evening in ethereal light. Don’t forget to mark a perfect ending to your Darjeeling tour – with a ride on the Toy Train watching the hills amble by as the train chugs through the mountainside. It’s pure magic.

In and Around


Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill, the highest point, a short drive away from the town is ideal for hiking and trekking through the day. Besides amazing views of the Kanchenjunga Range, the Tiger Hill renders perfect views of the sunrise. During peak tourist season, you’ll see hundreds of tourists get up as early as four in the morning to view the beautiful sunrise from the observatory on top of the hill. The wind is so strong here; it will make you shiver with cold in a matter of minutes.

Batasia Loop
Reach Batasia loop at nine in the morning and you’ll see the most amazing spectacle ever – shopkeepers with their little makeshift stalls and curio-spreads on the railway lines wrap up their business with superb agility and speed as the Toy Train arrives to traverse this little loop. On a clear day, the Batasia Loop renders clear views of the surrounding valleys and mountains.

Peace Pagoda
The Japanese Peace Pagoda was established by Nipponzan Myohoji, a Japanese Buddhist order. Situated on the slopes of the Jalapahar Hill the pagoda can be reached by foot or on taxi. The pagoda is the highest free structure in the town. It also showcases the four avatars of the Buddha.

Ghoom Monastery
About 8 kms from Darjeeling is the Ghoom Monastery. Here a very beautiful statue of the Maitrayie Buddha ( prospective Buddha) is established. The Monastery has also preserved some of the rare handwritten Buddhist manuscripts.

Senchal Lake
A scenic place near the tiger hills. This place has popularly come up as a picnic spot among the tourists. The lake supplies drinking water to the town of Darjeeling.

Kanchenjunga View
From Darjeeling one can have the best, uninterrupted view of the worlds third highest peak. Bhan Bhakta Sarani provides one of the enthralling views of these snow capped peaks. The Chowrasta also gives you a good sight to the Kanchenjunga peak.

Zoological Gardens
The zoo is situated two kms form the main town. This zoological garden houses some of the rare species of animals and birds. This is only zoo in India having the Siberian Tigers. Apart from these the rare Red Panda is also there. The Snow Leopards, Great Grey Birds, Snow Yaks are some the animals which are attracting tourist in great numbers. The entry in the zoo is by tickets which are also valid for the natural history museum and the mountaineering institute & museum.

Observatory Hills
This point provides one of the breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga peaks. This place is also very sacred for the Hindus and the Buddhists as there are temples and the monasteries at this place. The Kali temple is decorated with the colourful flags. Be aware of the monkey groups as some these are very aggressive.

Dhirdham temple
Dhirdham temple is modelled on the lines of the famous Pashupatinath temple of Kathmandu and was built in 1939. It is a minute’s walk from the Darjeeling Railway Station.

Bhutia Busty Gompa
With the back drop of the Kanchenjunga range stands a monastery called the Bhutia Busty Gompa. This monastery was shifted from the observatory hills to the present place. The Gompa is a branch of the Nyingmapa sect’s Phodang Monastery in Sikkim. The monastery is not far from the chowrasta and is very tastefully decorated. It also has a library which has a copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Snow Leopard Breeding Programme
Nowadays the zoologists and the environmental scientists are trying to protect the endangered species by breeding them in captivity. Following this trend is Kiran Moktan who has devoted his life in breeding program of snow leopards. The snow leopards are not known to have bred in captivity but in this center thanks to the efforts of Kiran Maktan these animals have given birth in captivity. Snow leopards are animals who have to be kept in large enclosures. Visitors are allowed in the center but they have to watch the animals in utter silence.

Botanical Gardens
This place is worth a visit for its exotic and exclusive collection of a variety of Himalayan plants, flowers and orchids. This place is near the taxi stand. The gardens also has a green house.

Passenger Ropeway
Another tourist attraction in Darjeeling has been the ropeway. This was the first ropeway in India. It connects the North point (7000 ft) to the Singla Bazaar (800 ft). The rope covers a distance of 8 kms in 45 minutes. The seats in the rope way is limited and it is better to get the tickets in advance. The ropeway is exciting and unique for any one visiting Darjeeling.

Happy Valley tea garden
Happy Valley tea garden is located just a kilometer away from the main town and is situated along 18 Lebong Cart Road (very near to the District Magistrate’s Office) and offers tourist a refreshing ambience far from the otherwise noisy town. One can soak in the ambience of the tea garden and take a walk through the carpeted garden. You can take a pony from the Chowrasta or merely walk down the hill to reach the factory. The garden is presently closed but the residents are running it through a cooperative.

Chowrasta
This one of the important shopping places in Darjeeling . Here the Nehru Road and the Mall Road Intersect each other. The snow capped peaks of Kanchenjunga are visible from this place. Near Chowrata are several Hindu and Buddhists temples. This place is over flowing with foreign tourists. You can also enjoy a pony ride form this place.

Darjeeling Toy Train
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the Darjeeling Toy Train, is a prominent crowd-puller in the beautiful hill station of West Bengal. It is an outstanding engineering marvel, noted for being the best example of a hill passenger railway. This narrow (2 feet) train, listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO, takes you on 83 km long rail journey from Darjeeling to the railhead in Siliguri. This journey is an amazing way to ascent hilly terrains and to behold stunning views of the majestic Himalayas.

The joy ride in this train commences at New Jalpaiguri, the busiest station in the plains. It then crosses and halts at various spots, such as the Siliguri Station, Mahanadi Bridge, Sukna Station, Rangtang Station and Ghoom. From there, the train finally descends four miles towards Darjeeling. En route, the train passes through many loops, the prominent one being the Batasia Loop, where the toy train makes a 360 degree turn. At this point, you will feel as if you have stepped into a fantasy world, where the bewitching panorama is simply out of the world. Despite being 7 to 8 hours expedition uphill, the ride in this train is a memorable experience.

Kalimpong
Kalimpong is within Darjeeling province and is a subdivision of Darjeeling. It is a small but bustling town in the Himalaya foothills of West Bengal Kalimpong is at an altitude of 1250 meters. This bazaar town was originally a part of Bhutan but later it was taken over by the British and finally it settled down with West Bengal.

Kurseong
Kurseong is mid way between Siliguri and Darjeeling. The way from Darjeeling to Kurseong is generally open through out the year. So, the toy train is not coming to Siliguri then you can come up to Kurseong. This place is equally beautiful and is full of natural splendour.

Mirik
Mirik is 52 kms from Siliguri and 55 kms from the nearest Airfield of Bagdogra. Mirik is being developed as a new hill station in the mountains. Mirik is surrounded by tea estates, orange orchards and cardamom plantations. It has all the facilities to fulfill the needs of a tourist.

Siliguri / New Jalpaiguri
The twin Cities of Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri are the departure point to Darjeeling, Sikkim and the North Eastern States. Being the nodal point this place has become very busy and crowded. This area has got population over 5 lakh people. Siliguri also acts as a transit point for Nepal. This place is not very pleasant to stay as there are always long lines of buses and trucks. These trucks and vehicles might be good for business but they provide very ugly sight. Tourists come to Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri mainly to change bus or catch trains. If you have time then visit the almost forgotten wild life sanctuary of Jaldhapara. The best season to visit this park is between October and May. This the time when the new grass has come up and animals are out there. The sanctuary has elephants, dears, tigers and other animals but the main attraction is the Rhinos which are threatened by the poachers. Elephant Safari can be taken from Hollong.

Best Time


The best time to visit this hill station is between April to June and from September to December.

How to Reach


By Air
Bagdogra Airport is the nearest air connection which is 96 kilometres away from Darjeeling. Many carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Indigo, Go Air run direct flights from Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata to Darjeeling. Delhi and Kolkata airports are well-connected with international cities across the globe. Now, few international cities like Bangkok and Paro also have direct flights via Druk Air airlines. Once you reach at the airport, you can hire a taxi or share a cab to get to Darjeeling, which will take you around 3 hours.

By Rail
The Darjeeling railway station is administered by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR). The nearest railway station in Darjeeling is at New Jalpaiguri (62 kilometres from the main town) which connects major Indian cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar and Cochin. The DHR Toy Train service starts at New Jalpaiguri and will get you to Darjeeling at a speed no faster than 30 miles per hour. It takes 7 hours and halts at Batasia Loop from where passengers can take photographic shots of Mt. Kanchenjunga.

By Bus
The regular bus service from Siliguri (which is approximately 70 kilometres away) to Darjeeling is quite slow but economical. Similar bus services are also available from neighbouring towns like Kurseong and Kalimpong which is 31 and 50 kilometres away respectively. Even Gangtok city runs daily buses to Darjeeling; however, we suggest taking a shared cab instead.

By Road
The road network in Darjeeling is quite good and one can easily venture out to Darjeeling from nearby cities like Siliguri, Kalimpong and Kurseong. En route, you can also enjoy stunning mountain beauty as well as the green environs.

Stay / Eat


Where to Stay
Mayfair Darjeeling
The Mall,
Mall Road,
Darjeeling, 734104

The Elgin
18, H.D Lama Road,
Darjeeling,
West Bengal 734101

Windamere Hotel
Observatory Hill,
Darjeeling,
West Bengal 734101

Where to Eat
Eating out in Darjeeling is a delightful experience as the restaurants here offer plenty of food options and there are several multi-cuisine restaurants. The choice ranges from delectable blend of Tibetan, Nepali to the scrumptious Bengali cuisine. In the local fast food restaurants you will find momos, thukpa, Churpee, phagshapa, niguru, and gundruk among other delicacies.

Keventers
Darjeeling, West Bengal

Nathmulls Tea Shop
Darjeeling, West Bengal

Hasty Tasty
Darjeeling, West Bengal

AboutIndia Getaways Team

All the posts on this website are published by the team at India Getaways!!