Darjeeling fondly called “Queen of the Hills” is nestled among the rolling mountains with the glistening Mt Kanchenjunga towering over the azure sky in West Bengal. It is a crown in the Himalaya range and its beauty is beyond definition. The queen of the hills, is a true paradise for the travelers from all over the world. From the fragrant golden Darjeeling tea of morning to the misty moonlight of the night, the glory of Darjeeling will be appreciated by any hill around the world. Darjeeling provides a perfect gateway for those seeking to be in harmony with nature. Darjeeling is well known for the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway where the century old miniature steam engine still chugs uphill and muscatel flavored Darjeeling tea revered by connoisseurs across the globe. The name ‘Darjeeling’ came from the Tibetan words ’dorje’ meaning thunderbolt (originally the scepter of Indra) and ‘ling’ a place or land, hence ‘the land of the thunderbolt’. Darjeeling also features in the Top 5 Places to visit in North east and Best Places in North East for Honeymoon.
A tale of Darjeeling;
Lying amidst the slopes of the Lesser Himalayas and blanketed by emerald green tea plantations, Darjeeling is a picturesque Hill station town in the Indian state of West Bengal. The majestic Kanchenjunga crowns over this beautiful town, Its scenic beauty, ancient forests, zoo, quaint houses and the Nepali folk music offer an impeccable gateway for those people who are born to be in concord with natural surroundings. Colonial architecture buildings, Heritage Buildings and Heritage Hotels dot this pretty little town. The region contends with a religious mix of Nepalese, Bhutanese, Tibetan or Lepcha - Although Hindus represent the majority, there is a strong presence of Tibetan Buddhism and other religions. Darjeeling has lot of tibetan influence in their craft, culture and cuisine.
Darjeeling as a town is very small and is about 10 Square Kilometers. However the Darjeeling district as a whole span over 2100 square kilometers with subdivisions likes kurseong, Mirik, Siliguri. Darjeeling boasts of small little villages which boasts the tourism industry as a whole. Some of the famous places near Darjeeling are Chatakpur, Jorpokri, Lepchajagat, Rishyap, Sandakphu, Tinchule and Shittong.
Attractions and Places to visit
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park was formerly known as Himalayan Zoological park has over 200 species of trees and plants, shrubs, climbers, medicinal plants and 60 varieties of orchids. The entrance to Zoo and HMI are the same and both should be covered at same time.
You can see various kinds of birds including Hill Mynas, Ring Necked Pheasants, Rose Ring Parakeets etc. and you'll see Himalayan Black Bear, Yak , Red Panda, Snow Leopards, Tibetan wolf, Barking Deer, Goral and Musk deer. The main unique feature is it houses animals of high altitude from Upper Himalayas which are rarely seen anywhere else in the world.
Darjeeling Toy Train
The toy train of Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) is a core of remarkable experience to the tourists. Toy train has been accorded the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE in December,1999. Darjeeling Toy train operates both Diesel and Steam engine driven toy train for the tourist, additionally now they have the vista dome coaches for panoramic views on some special rides. The 2-hour Journey takes you from Darjeeling station to Ghoom station via the Batasia Loop. Toy train is one of the Top 10 attractions of Darjeeling and is not to be missed. Tickets can be pre booked from IRCTC portal.
The fresh beauty and sweeping views of sunrise from Tiger Hill and the view of the Kanchenjunga is an awesome sight which can win one's heart at first sight for sure. This is a place where you can bath yourself with Himalayan beauty anytime.
Tiger hill is located 6.8 miles from Darjeeling and above Ghum. For sunrise, you will need to awake early because, after reaching close to the summit you may have to walk uphill as many vehicles may be parked much below the summit. The dazzling beauty of Kunchenjunga and the sun rays playing with the Snow kissed mountain makes it a beauty and a crown. It is one of the Best places to visit in Darjeeling.
At a distance of 4km from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, you can find a semicircular, gigantic railway loop. This loop was made mainly for the tourists. Here you can find a small Toy Train engine pulling mini coaches up the mountains through beautiful landscapes and amidst the greenery. The toy train crossing the Batasia hill is one of the mesmerizing sights in Darjeeling. The small market near the loop is a core place for shopaholic souls. The colorful lovely flowering garden in the middle of the loop will win your heart for sure.
At the center of this place; there is the war memorial. This was established in 1995 as a memorial of the Gorkha Soldiers who sacrificed their lives in various wars after independence. Batasia loop provides a panoramic view of Darjeeling Landscape, Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks. Batasia loop is also one of the Best places to visit in Darjeeling.
Rock Garden :
Rock garden also known as Barbotey Rock Garden is a recently added tourist attraction of Darjeeling. This was constructed by the Gorkha Hill Council Tourism Department. The entire garden was created by cutting rocks at different shapes. The garden offers a beautiful view of a hill stream and a natural fall called Chunnu Summer-Falls. This is also surrounded by tea gardens and flower gardens terraced with a peaceful lake of the top where visitors can spend their time and relax after a long tiring journey. This attraction also find its place in Top 10 attractions of Darjeeling.
How to reach Darjeeling?
By train: The nearest railway station in Darjeeling is NJP station (New Jalpaiguri Junction Railway Station) which connects major cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore etc.
By Air : Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport which is approximately 96 kilometres away from Darjeeling. All major airlines like Air India, Spice Jet, Indigo, Vistara, Air Asia connects Bagdogra to all major cities like Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Hydrabad and so forth.
By Car: Darjeeling city is just around 90KM from Siliguri town and you can book your private cab or just hop into a local taxi for your transfer. There are certain buses operated by NBSTC and private operators from siliguri. Darjeeling is well connected with roads to Gangtok in Sikkim, Pelling and Namchi.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
1 . What is the best place to stay in Darjeeling?
There are various luxury hotels, resorts, and homestays in Darjeeling. It'll be a good option if you pre book your hotel which is located near any tourist spot for better experiences during the tourist season.
2. What are the top 10 places in Darjeeling?
The best places to visit in Darjeeling are Tiger Hill, Batasia loop, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Ghoom Monastery, Ropeway, HMI, Kanchenjunga, Observatory Hill, Peace Pagoda etc.
3. How much does it cost to travel to Darjeeling?
Darjeeling is well connected to siliguri with abundant private cabs or shared Taxi. A private cab usually charge 2500-3000 depending on the month of travel.
4. What are the best things to buy in Darjeeling?
Darjeeling offers a lot of handcrafts and exotic items. Here we have made a list, hand knitted items at New Mahakal Market, carpets at self-help center, handcrafts at Chowrasta. You can also buy Darjeeling Tea which is one of the finest black tea in the world.
5. Can I find snow in Darjeeling?
The snowfall is seen when the temperature drops down to -2 degree Celsius in between Dec-Feb which is too rare. There are snowfalls that occurs in Sandakphu which is in Darjeeling district and is the highest point in West Bengal.
6. Is Darjeeling best for a honeymoon?
If you have chosen Darjeeling as your honeymoon destination then it's your perfect decision. The spellbinding experiences, and the romantic weather can make your loved one happy.
7. Is Darjeeling open to tourists in June-September?
Summer (May to Mid-June) and winter (October-Feb) is an excellent time to visit Darjeeling. In midsummer the temperature becomes very comfortable and the weather remains clear for great sight-seeing. During the monsoon season the tourist flow decreases and you will find a good discount on all the hotels and other accommodations.
8. What is the duration for a Darjeeling trip?
It will take you a maximum of 2-3 days to visit Darjeeling. But if you want to take a long sip of your holiday, you can stay in some places like Sittong, Takdah to make your trip more memorable.