The queen of the Hills, Darjeeling
has been the muse for many poets in the past. It spectacular sights and smells
even today pull a nature lover to its terrain.
DARJEELING HIMALAYAN RAILWAY
Want to be right in the midst of the breathtaking natural beauty? Take a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or the famous toy train and experience the splendid hills, mountain ranges, local flora and the winding route.
Now listed under UNESCO’s world heritage sites, the toy train touches areas around the town and crosses Jalpaiguri, Ghoom, Siliguri and Mahanadi Bridge over the Mahanadi River. An engineering wonder, the toy train uses loops and zigzag reverses to attain elevation and move around in circles. The train ride offers beautiful views of rolling green tea gardens, the Batasia loop and the War Memorial on its way.
BATASIA LOOP AND THE WAR MEMORIAL
If you are aboard the toy train, the view of Batasia Loop is marvellous. This loop has a War Memorial constructed in the memory of freedom fighters of Darjeeling.
HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINEERING INSTITUTE
Constructed in the memory of Tenzing Norgay, who climbed Mount Everest in 1953, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is a popular tourist spot located at Jawahar Parbat. The trip is a special treat to young children as they can enjoy the rare collection of mementos fro the everest expedition at the museum housed inside the institute.
How can you miss the tea estates le holidaying in Darjeeling? Stretches lush tea plantations crown this utiful hill town. Take a round of tea and if lucky, you can witness the production of the some of the most exotic varieties of some of the most exotic variety of tea.
Famous for its spectacular sunrise, Tiger Hill has some added adventure to offer. Ever if the sky is not clear, the wait to watch the sun come out of the clouds leads to some fun-filled moments. The one who catches the glimps first shouts out loud, the “sun’s here!”
Most of the hotels arrange morning trips to Tiger Hill which offers not only an awe-inspiring sunrise but also spectacular views of Mount Everest and the Kanchenjunga range from an altitude of 2590 metres (8482 ft.). Local tea vendors and photographers crowd the place.
HIMALAYAN ZOOLOGICAL PARK
If you are a wildlife enthusiast or travelling with children, Darjeeling has lots to offer. The town zoo or Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park exhibits some of the most exotic species of Himalayan fauna like barking deer, Himalayan black bear, Tibetan wolf, Siberian tiger, snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan pheasants and many more. Snow leopard has found a new breeding ground just nearby the zoo at the Snow Leopard Breeding Centre.
LLOYDS BOTANICAL GARDEN
A real treat to the eyes, the variety of local flowers displayed at the Llyods Botanical Garden is something that you should not miss. Apart from the eastern Himalayan flower collection, the garden has some rare species of Alpine flowers and medicinal plants.
TIBETAN BUDDHIST MONASTERIES
Monasteries are the souls of Darjeeling, so make sure to visit them when you are here. The oldest monastery is Yiga Cholling, about 8 kms from Ghoom. Constructed in 1875 by the Geluga Sect, the monastery has an idol of the ‘Coming Buddha’ or the Maitriya Buddha.
Some of the other beautiful monasteries are the Samten Cholling Monastery, the Drukpa Kargyud Monastery, also known as Dali Monastery (5 kms from the town). The Bhutia Busty Monastery is situated at
C.R. Das Road and is within 15 minutes walk from the Mall. You can also visit Yiga Cholling Monastery in Ghoom.
JAPANESE PEACE PAGODA
Darjeeling has a great influence of Buddhism and Japanese architecture. Constructed by Japanese monks, The Nipponzan Myohoji gives a spectacular view of the Himalayan range.
DARJEELING RANGEET VALLEY PASSENGER ROPEWAY
If you come to a beautiful hill station like Darjeeling and don’t take an aerial view, then definitely you will miss an ultimate experience. About 3 kms from the town, the ropeway offers a breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga range, Rangeet River and view of hills in Sikkim. The cable can transport six people at a time.
The Nepalese community forms the major chunk of the population in Darjeeling. One of the most important temples of Nepalese Hindus is the ‘Pashupatinath’ temple in Kathmandu. Darjeeling has a replica of this temple just below the railway station which is called Dhirdham temple.
Step Aside, a 19th century building stands proudly at the Mall or Chowrasta. This is the house where Indian freedom fighter Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das passed away.
History reverberates here at the Netaji Museum. Look around the house and its four-room museum that houses a picture gallery with pictures and documents related to important events. Sarat Chandra Bose stayed here while Subhash Chandra Bose was taken under house arrest during the fight for independence.
THE MALL AND CHOWRASTA
After an invigorating round up of the town and the nearby hot spots, you can either take a leisurely walk or just relax while looking at the magnificent view of
the town, mountain and old hill houses, at the Mall. The Mall road starts and ends at the Chowrasta. You can take a stroll till the Museum of Natural History that houses unique collection of the fauna from the eastern Himalayan region.
THE OBSERVATORY HILL
You can also make a small visit to the hill atop the Mal I’and the temple complex holds importance for both Hindus Buddhists.
Darjeeling has a colourful lgamation of cultures and this ‘butes to the array
of festivals and fairs. du, Buddhist, Nepalese, Tibetan are celebrated with
fanfare celebrate Maghe Sankrati, the day of Nepali month Magh, by eating
Tarool or tuber of various edible ies of Dioscorea or yam. At the end of January,
Tibetan monasteries organise ‘cham’ or Tibetan dance to mark the end of Tibetan
If you chance upon visiting the Thupten Sangag Choling Monastery also known
as Dali monastery, you can witness the Chakrasambhara (Mandalay prayer. Ram
Nawami, the birth of Lord Rama is an important hindu festival of Darjeeling
where a procession of the holy chariot with Lord Ram’s idol is taken out.
Budhha Jayanti is celebrated in the month of April when lamas (Tibetan monks)
take out a musical procession with idol of Lord Buddha and Buddhist holy book
around the town.
Tibetans celebrate Saga Dawa and other Buddhists celebrate Buddha Shakyamuni’s Enlightenment and Parinirvana at the beginning of May.