Darjeeling of West Bengal is one of the most splendid hill stations of India. With tea gardens, magnificent mountain peaks and lush green valleys abound, it makes for a great tourist destination.
The best of Darjeeling
Himalayan views remain the most sought for attraction at Darjeeling. The skyline includes the majestic Khangchendzonga which is India’s highest peak and the third-highest mountain in the world.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Garden here gives you an opportunity to see Himalayan animal species like bears, leopards, pandas and wolves. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute here, inside the zoo, is a pilgrimage of for climbers and offers mountaineering courses including trekking, camping, rock climbing and water sports. If foreigners wish to attend these courses, they have to get registered 90 days before.
The Rock Garden of Darjeeling is situated around 10 kilometers away from Darjeeling town. It is a wonderful picnic spot with lush green surroundings and charming waterfalls.
Set off early in the morning and head to Tiger Hill which is 11 kilometers away from Darjeeling to witness the most exquisite sunrise. From Tiger Hill, you can witness the amazing stretch of Himalayan horizon that extends to 250 kilometers. The Himalayan horizon consists of Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Khangchendzonga, Kabru and Janu.
On the way back visit Ghum monastery. Ghum railway station holds the credit for being the highest located junction above the sea level.
From Darjeeling station, you can enjoy a toy train ride through the tiny roads of Darjeeling and enjoy the picturesqueness of the entire town. This toy train is included in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It has only two coaches so make sure you get the tickets booked well in advance. Information about ticket booking can be obtained from here.
Other places of interest in Darjeeling are Batasia Loop, War Memorial, Ropeway, Gorkha Stadium, Tibetans Refugee Center, Tenzing Rock, Lebong Race Course and Swiss Houses of Darjeeling.
Mirik Lake at around two and a half hours drive is also an important tourist spot near Darjeeling.The tea plantations make the drive absolutely pleasing for the visitors. You can even visit Pashupatinagar at the border of Nepal.
Adventure and Fun
White Water Rafting in River Teesta and trekking is something you ought to try when you visit Darjeeling. December to June is the best time for rafting.
Stay and Food
Numerous luxurious hotels and resorts are available at Darjeeling. Coming to eating options, you should definitely try momos, the famous Tibetan delicacy. You get Chinese, Indian, Nepali as well as Tibetan dishes at Darjeeling. While experiencing the scenic beauty of the hills, you can sip a cup of hot Darjeeling tea and get some packets as souvenirs too.
If you wish to travel by flight, nearest airport is at Bagdogra, 94 kilometers from Darjeeling. The closest railhead is at New Jalpaiguri, 88 kilometers away from Darjeeling. You can travel by toy train from Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri (Siliguri to NJP is just 5 kilometers), or hire a cab.
Darjeeling is undoubtedly the queen of hill stations. If you are yet to visit this beautiful tourist destination, book your tickets without any further ado.