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India >> India >> North East >> Darjeeling
Darjeeling North East, India
  Overview   Holiday Ideas 
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"The one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once-by even a glimpse would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the world combined" - Mark Twain.


Darjeeling the 'Queen of the Hills' with its exquisite scenic beauty is on every travellers wish list. This small Himalayan city in North Bengal is a perfect getaway for a rendezvous with nature. Nestled among the majestic mountains at an elevation of 2,134 meters, with the wonderful vista view of mighty Mt Kanchenjunga glistening and looming in the horizon, the azure sky, the salubrious climate means walks around town are an extremely enjoyable way of getting around.


The city is renowned worldwide for its tea industry and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The development of the town dates back to the mid-19th century, when the British first established it as a hill station to escape the hot summers of the plains. Subsequently,  the  ideal climate and the fertile terrain led to extensive plantation of tea, the resultant distinctive Darjeeling tea is internationally recognized and ranks among the most popular of the black teas.


This exotic land of the Lesser Himalaya is famed for its century old toy train and its train tracks are an engineering marvel. The whistling of the miniature steam engine resonates loud and clear as it chugs uphill vying for space with the fast disappearing automobiles.


Darjeeling in Tibetan means 'the land of the thunderbolt’ continues to be an important base point for some famous trekking routes, is known for it's tea gardens, monasteries and British-style public schools.


Chowrasta, the town square, the heart and hub of the city is an idyllic place to promenade, enjoy pony rides, sit and revel at the grand view of the snow capped peaks of Kanchenjunga. The Mall road lined with shops, restaurants, curio dealers and hawkers originates and culminates at the Chowrasta - the place of intersection of the Nehru Road and the Mall Road. There are a number of temples and monasteries around this square.


Tiger Hill at an altitude of 2590 meters (8482 ft.), is a 15 km drive from Darjeeling town. The Hill with its vantage point can hold a traveller in awe. At the crack of dawn, is a view to behold! The rays of the rising sun envelopes the majestic snow capped Himalayan range with wondrous amber glow, with hues so vibrant and varied along with  it a glimpse of the Mount Everest and the Kanchenjunga range, is mesmerizing. You need be there before first light. Very often shrouded with mist and fog there is always the off chance that a brilliant sunset may bring its elusive image in view.


Senchal Lake, a scenic place and picnic spot is close to Tiger Hill. It supplies the town of Darjeeling with water from its 8031 ft perch.


The Observatory Hill commands one of the breathtaking views of the Kanchenjunga peaks. This hill atop the Mall is also very sacred for the Hindus and the Buddhists as there are temples, mainly the Kali Temple and monasteries at this place.


Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or the Toy Train, a wonder and a World heritage - is a fascinating narrow gauge steam engine train - still operates with the original steam engine and the loops and the zigzags along the route are interesting examples of engineering. Catch a ride.


Darjeeling is just as famous for its tea industry, sprawling estates with bungalows as old as colonialism dot the local map. While in town a visit to a nearby Tea Garden (one open to visitors) is a must, to catch a session on tea manufacture. Some of the best known estates around here: Badamtam, Runglee Rungilot, Happy Valley, Thurbo, Margaret’s Hope, and Castleton, marketing one of most expensive teas. Some of the Tea Gardens also sell their packet teas.


In and around Darjeeling there are important and interesting Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries. About 8kms away from the town at Ghoom is the oldest Yiga Cholling Monastery dating back to 1875, it enshrines a beautiful image of 'The Coming Buddha' or the Maitriya Buddha. It has preserved some of the rare handwritten Buddhist manuscripts.  The other noteworthy monasteries are the Samten Cholling Monastery, the big Drukpa Kargyud Monastery (Dali Monastery) and The Bhutia Busty Monastery near the Mall - has a library which has a copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.


Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was founded in 1954 after the historic conquest of Mt Everest on the 29th of May in 1953, by Tenzing Norgay (Sherpa) a local and Sir Edmund Hillary a New Zealander. As an honour to the great Sherpa this Institute was formed with the aim of imparting mountaineering skills to all the enthusiasts. Tenzing Sherpa himself was one of the founding members and also the Field Director of the Institute. Perched atop a knoll called the Birch Hill Park, it is home to the Mountaineering Museum, an ensemble of mountaineering equipment, specimen of flora and fauna, traditional attire of Himalayan tribes, souvenirs from mountaineering clubs from all over the world and a relief model of the main peaks of the Himalaya. The Everest Museum here has photographic and archival records of all attempts ever made to scale the world’s highest peak.


Himalayan Zoological Park and Snow Leopard Breeding Centre is a high altitude wild life park and new home for Siberian Tigers, Himalayan Black Bears, Barking Deer etc., Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, the town Zoo houses some of the rare species of animals and birds. The Himalayan fauna that on gets to see are the Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Tibetan Wolf, Himalayan Pheasants, etc. It is a treat for all wild life enthusiasts.


This is the only place in the world where breeding to protect the endangered species  of the snow leopard in captivity has been successful.


Lloyds Botanical Garden This place is worth a visit for its exotic and exclusive collection of a variety of Himalayan plants, flowers like rhododendron, magnolia and orchids. This place is below the market. The gardens also has a green house full of alpine flowers and a collection of medicinal plants.


Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway The ropeway one the first in the country, is exciting and unique for any one visiting Darjeeling. It starts from the North Point about 3 kms from town. The cable car ride of 45mins takes 6 passengers at a time. The view picture perfect as you pass over the valley with acres of lush green tea gardens, the mountain ranges, the Kanchenjunga in the backdrop, the river Rangeet meandering below and a glorious view of Sikkim.


The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre established in 1959 for the rehabilitation of the Tibetan refugees;  is one of the interesting places to watch the local artisan at work. It is a self-supporting Centre, manufactures some intriguingly beautiful Tibetan handicrafts. You will be spoilt for choice for it offers a wide range of superb and fine Tibetan woollen carpets, wooden handicrafts as souvenirs, woollens and leather works. The proceeds of the sales go for the upkeep of the workers. Hayden Hall, a Roman Catholic social service centre also has a handicraft section with the purpose of helping the underprivileged.


Around Darjeeling

The Darjeeling-Manaybhanjang-Tonglu-Sandakphu trek, with an extension to Phalut, is one of the most famous trekking trails taken by the trekkers. This trekking route is best during the months of April, May, October and November. As during these seasons the visibility is clear and the weather is also hospitable. The trek is delight for those on this woody trail with the glorious views of Kanchenjunga and other peaks in Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim.


Karni Farm, near Darjeeling on the Bijanbari Road is place is best suited for outdoors- to soak up the atmosphere and gain an insight into the life of the hill farmers around the area and the adventure seekers with an eye for wildlife, birding and trekking.


Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, close by consists of semi-evergreen and sal forests. Animals found here include the one-horned rhinoceros, elephant, tiger, leopard and hog deer, while the main bird species include the Bengal florican and herons.

 Getting there



At the northern tip of West Bengal, it is nestled in the Eastern Himalaya, close to Nepal and Bhutan.




74 km from Bagdogra (Nearest airport) and 75 km from New Jalpaiguri (Nearest railhead).

 Fast Facts
Name Darjeeling Best Time To Visit October to May
Location North East   India   Destination  
Open From 0000-00-00  To 0000-00-00 Type Hill Station
Temperature Summar   30-38°C      Winter   3-8°C      Rainy   22-26°C
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