Darjeeling one of the most famous hill station in India, is located in the state of West Bengal. The quintessential hill station is draped over the ridge with panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Its undulating hills are covered with tea plantations, which have a reputation for producing best tea. The word Darjeeling has come from a Tibetan word which means A Place of Thunderbolt. It has also made a name for itself as a desirable destination for the nature lover's.
Top Places to Visit in Darjeeling
Tiger Hill is located 16kms from Darjeeling town and above Ghoom. It's the highest point in the Darjeeling area and is perched at an altitude of 8482 feet (or 2590 meters). From Tiger Hill you will get almost 360 degree view of the Darjeeling area including that of the entire Eastern Himalayan range. If you look towards north, you will see the landscape of Darjeeling Town.
It is a scenic place near the tiger hills. This place has popularly come up as a picnic spot among the tourists. The lake supplies drinking water to the town of Darjeeling.
Ghoom Monastery is also known as Yogachoeling Gompa. It is located in a place called Ghoom in Darjeeling, hence the name Ghoom Gompa. At the entry of the Ghoom Monastery there is a huge giant size image of seated 'Maitreya Buddha' (prospective Buddha) inside. Like many other monasteries in and around Darjeeling, this gompa is also a storehouse of some rare Buddhist manuscripts.
Batasia Loop, a massive railway loop around 5 km from Darjeeling, is a great place to enjoy a 360 degree view of the beautiful landscapes of Darjeeling and the majestic Kanchenjunga range. Commissioned in the year 1919 it offers a wonderful view of the serene surroundings with snow-capped mountains of the Eastern Himalayas. Batasia loop gives a fabulous experience to all of its visitors, as one stand on one side of the garden and see the toy train making a complete loop while hooting its whistle along the way and trying to negotiate the spiral track with a double loop.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoo
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoo is a unique Zoo in the town of Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is situated at an altitude of 2133mt and is the largest high altitude zoo in India. The park is named after Padmaja Naidu , the governor of West Bengal and the daughter of Sarojini Naidu the nationalist leader.The high altitude wild life is home to the Siberian Tiger, Himalayan black Bear, Goral, Blue ship, and Dear, Panther, and variety of endangered birds.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was set up following the successful ascent of the Mount Everest-the highest peak in the world by the local hero Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary on 28 May 1953. This institute has an interesting Everest Museum and also offers some mountaineering and adventure courses. Situated on the Jawahar Parvat, the institute is famous for its unique collection of mountaineering equipment and findings. Apart from Tenzing, legendary mountaineers like Nawang Gombu(the first man to climb Everest twice) and Lattoo Dorjee Sherpa have helped build the reputation of this pioneering institute.
This point provides breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga peaks. This place is also very sacred for the Hindus and the Buddhists as there are temples and the monasteries at this place. The Kali temple is decorated with the colourful flags.
Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda
About 10 minutes by car, you will reach a wonderful area that is symbolic of peace and tranquillity. Located in the Jalapahar hill, the Japanese Temple is built in traditional Japanese style where you can join the prayers and feel the spiritual peace amongst humming and chants. Close to it is the Peace Pagoda where there are four large avatars of Lord Buddha. The view from the top is magnificent. You can see the snow peak range from here including the Kanchenjunga.
Happy Valley Tea Estate
Happy Valley Tea Estate is the oldest tea estate of Darjeeling. Established in 1854, Spread over 437 acres of land, it is located at an altitude of 6,800 feet. Just 3 kms away from Darjeeling, every visitor happily visits the Happy Valley Tea Estate. The plantations here are as old as 150 years and the wide stretches of lush green tea bushes are worth photographing.
How to reach?
By Air : Well connected by air from all parts of the country to Bagdogra (Siliguri), which is the nearest Airport and is a mere 3 hours drive from Darjeeling.
By Train : All express trains from all over the country operate on daily basis to the nearest railhead at New Jalpaiguri (NJP/Siliguri). Change over at New Jalpaiguri to the world renowned Toy Train which winds its way up the hills to Darjeeling.
By Road : Very well connected to Siliguri which is a Junction city. A fleet of luxury Car or bus run overnight to Siliguri from Calcutta. From Siliguri, a 2 hour scenic drive through tea gardens and forests either by taxi or bus which operate throughout the day, takes you to Darjeeling.