At 2,134m, Darjeeling is
quite the picture-perfect hill station with its fantastic mountain
views, trekking trails, Buddhist monasteries and balmy climate.
Darjeeling has that rarefied mountain air and a lofty beauty,
amplified by the world's highest mountains looming in the
distance.Staggering above the clouds, the majestic Kanchenjunga and
her entourage of lesser peaks are clearly visible from Tiger Hill,
the highest vantage point in Darjeeling. Even the elusive Everest
puts in an appearance when the skies are clear. On cloudy days, the
mist-shrouded peaks make an awe-inspiring backdrop to Darjeeling's
Prime Attractions of Darjeeling
This railway loop is an interesting example of engineering. At this loop the toy train takes a very unique turn. This loop is just five kilometer from the main town of Darjeeling. This place also has a very good market where you can buy the purses, bags and other decorative items made by the local women at very reasonable price.
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.
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.
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.
About 8 kms from Darjeeling is the Dhoom Gompa. 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.
Happy Valley Estate
Here the tea from the gardens is processed. One can spent a few hours here. Entry is only allowed to persons who have permission from any officer of the estate.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute & Museums
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is on the West Jawahar road. The institute runs courses for training mountaineers as well as has the very good collection of mountaineering equipments which have been used in various mountaineering expeditions and other wise. Specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna are also kept here. The record of attempts made to conquer Mt. Everest has been kept in the Mt.Everest Museum. The institute also screens short films on mountaineering. You can also view the Himalayan peaks through the Zeiss Telescope given to the Nepalese Maharaja by Hitler. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was the Director of this institute for many years and he was cremated near the institute after his death in 1986. Near the institute is Srabri which gives a very good view of the Single valley and the Kanchenjunga range. One can sit at Srabri and feel the cool breeze from the valley.
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.
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.
Natural History Museum
The museum has a collection of over 4300 specimen . Established in 1903, this natural history museum packs in its folds a rich collection of fauna found in the Himalayas and in Bengal. Among the attractions are included the estuarine crocodiles. This unique museum also has a good collection of butterflies. The mineral forms of various stones are displayed in a very attractive manner in the museum.
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.
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.
Where the road from Gangtok to Darjeeling takes its great bend high above the Teesta river, directly opposite Kanchenjunga, a Buddhist monk many years ago is believed to have proclaimed "Rungli Rungliot" This pious benediction which, literally translated, means "thus far and no further" is alive and well today in the shape of one of the most celebrated tea gardens in the Darjeeling hills. The village is steeped in legend.
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.
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 2.5 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.
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.
Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Center
In 1959 was established a center for the refuges who had fled Tibet with the Dalai Lama after the Chinese invasion. This self help center has been developed as workshop for the manufacture of handicrafts. The fine and superb carpets, woollens, woodcarvings and leather work form this center has been very popular among the tourists. The money collected after the sale of the products goes to the Tibetans who work here. The variety Tibetan Curios on sale are also attracting the visitors in a big way. This center has established it self in the International scenario as place for hard work, self esteem and truth.
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.
|Getting to darjeeling
Darjeeling is 651 km from Kolkata and 51 km from Kalimpong by road. Bagdogra, 96 km away, is the nearest airport, connected to Kolkata, Delhi, and Guwahati. From here a bus or private taxi can get you to Darjeeling in 3 hours. New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead with connections to major cities in the country. The Toy Train to Darjeeling takes a picturesque 7-hour route via New Jalpaiguri. Within Darjeeling, jeeps and Land Rovers are available on hire.
|Best time to visit
The best time to visit is from April to June and September to December. Average summer temperatures hover between 14°C and 8°C and the winter temperatures fall to between 6°C and 1°C. You will need light woollens for summer and heavy woollens for winter.
There is no dearth of places to stay in Darjeeling - from charming mansions and modern hotels to homely Tibetan affairs and a youth hostel for budget travellers. Tariffs vary greatly depending on the season and the type of accommodation, but do remember to check the water situation!