Darjeeling, a famous hill station of West Bengal is popular for its lofty, snow-capped mountain peaks and lush green valleys. It is famous for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which has found a place among the World Heritage Sites. It is the first and the most extraordinary example of hill passenger railway.
Location of Darjeeling
Popularly known as the “Queen of the Hills” Darjeeling is located at a height of 2133 m above sea level in the state of West Bengal. It is one of the most popular hill resorts of India gifted to the British East India Company by the Rajah of Sikkim in 1817.
What to see in Darjeeling?
Tiger Hill: Tiger Hill is situated at a height of 2590 meters above sea level and is one of the best places in Darjeeling to get an excellent view of the sunrise over Kanchenjunga and the Himalayan Mountains. Under clear conditions, you can even view Mount Everest from this place.
Batasia Loop: 5kms from Darjeeling on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is the Batasia Loop, a gigantic railway loop where the toy train makes a 360 degrees turn. The Loop also offers a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga range. A War Memorial has been built in memory of those who laid down their lives in different wars since independence.
Ava Art Gallery: Ava Art Gallery was established by Bhopal Rao Sett and Ava Devi in 1965. It is located about 4kms from the Market Square. There are about 60 different art pieces in water, oil and thread paintings.
Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park: This is a very attractive picnic spot with natural water falls situated 10kms from Darjeeling. You can also enjoy boating and scenic beauty in this Park.
Peace Pagoda: This is a Japanese Peace Pagoda depicting various stages of Buddha’s life. It was established by a Japanese Buddhist order Nipponzan Myohoji.
Chowrasta: Chowrasta is the central place of the Mall Road where people gather to chat or just walk in the sun. It is a wide promenade lined up with shops and restaurants. There is a musical fountain in Brabourne Park on Chowrasta. Nightingale Park: About 2kms from the Railway Station, this Park hosts cultural programmes daily for its visitors. The park has been developed recently and now hosts a giant Statue of Lord Shiva.
Lloyd Botanical Garden: It is one of the oldest botanical gardens with two living fossils and varieties of flora. Located just below the Eden Sanatorium, it covers an area of 40 acres. It has a varied collection of rhododendron, magnolia and orchids.
Dhirdham Temple: Built along the lines of Pashupatinath temple of Kathmandu, Dhirdham temple was built in 1939.
Observatory Hill: Situated on the Mall, this hill has significant religious importance because of a Mahakal temple worshipped both by Hindus and Buddhists.Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car: Also known as the Ropeway, Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car is located about 3km north of the town. This ropeway connects Darjeeling with Singla Bazaar at the bottom of the valley.
Tea Gardens: Darjeeling is famous for its teas. If you visit any tea garden you can see the actual process of cultivating Darjeeling tea. Happy Valley tea garden is the most accessible tea garden located kms from the town and within a walking distance of 40 minutes.
Buddhist Monasteries: There are various monasteries located in and around Darjeeling. Druk Thupten Sangag Choling Monastery, Ghoom Monastery (Dali Monastery), Tashi Dargyalingh Monastery or the Tamang Ghumba, and The Mag-Dhog Yolmowa Buddhist Monastery (Aloobari Monastery) are some of the famous monasteries in Darjeeling.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: This institute was established after the successful climb of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to Mount Everest. This oldest mountaineering institute conducts various mountaineering courses every year. Important mountaineers from this institute are Nawang Gombu and Lattoo Dorjee Sherpa.
Raj Bhavan: The summer residence of the Governor of West Bengal, Raj Bhavan has wonderful manicured lawns and lush green forests.
Excursions from Darjeeling
Kalimpong: Situated at an altitude of 1250m, Kalimpong offers a relaxed holiday away from the crowded Darjeeling. It is located on the top of a ridge on the east of Teesta. Among the various attractions in Kalimpong are various monasteries, orchid nurseries, and tea gardens.
Kurseong: Situated at an altitude of 1458 mts above sea level, Kurseong is located 30kms from Darjeeling and 51kms from Siliguri. Kurseong is known as ‘the place of White Orchid’ and is famous for its lovely climate and peace and serenity surrounding the area. Many poets and artists derived inspiration from the tranquility of the place. They included poets like Guru Rabindranath Tagore, painter Abanindranath Tagore and great composer Atul Prasad Sen.Mirik: 49kms from Darjeeling, Mirik is situated at a height of 1767 meters above sea level. There are several monasteries, churches and temples in Mirik.
Accomodation selection in Darjeeling
There are plenty of options in Darjeeling satisfying all types of customers. Major hotels include Cedar Inn, Shangri-la Residency, Pineridge Hotel, New Elgin Hotel, Mayfair Hill Resort, Elgin Hotel, Windamere Hotel and Hotel Garuda.
Best season to visit Darjeeling
April to June and September to December is the best time to visit Darjeeling.
How to reach Darjeeling
By Air: The nearest airport is Bagdogra about 94 kms from Darjeeling. Direct flights are available from Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri, about 88kms from Darjeeling.Darjeeling is connected to all major cities namely Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi, Varanasi and Chennai.
By Road: Darjeeling is well connected by road to places like Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal. The major road runs through Siliguri.
Important Road Distances
Gangtok: 119 kms
Guwahati: 590 kms
Kolkata (Calcutta): 759 kms
Delhi: 1389 kms
Kathmandu, Nepal: 677 kms