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Darjeeling, which is proudly located at the foot of the Himalayas, is a boldly austere canvas of natural elegance and charm! Whether it’s the breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga peaks or the stunning tea plantations, Darjeeling is guaranteed to leave visitors speechless. Darjeeling tourism’s endearing miniature train is more than enough to win over the hearts of visitors from Darjeeling. One trip to the “Queen of Hills” is all it takes to fall in love with Darjeeling.
Location: West Bengal
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra
How to reach: By road from Bagdogra airport and New Jalpaiguri Train station
Famous for: Panorama of the Himalayas, Toy train ride, Tea gardens
Best time to Visit: April–June
WHAT TO SEE
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, The Toy Train
Tiger Hill, Mahakal Temple (Observatory Hill)
Kanchenjunga snow peak
Dig into the history of Darjeeling:
The name “Darjeeling” comes from the “Dorje Ling” monastery built on orders from the Chogyal or King of Sikkim by the Denzongpa tribals in 1765. Being a part of Sikkim, “Lepchas” were its original inhabitants before the Gorkhas of Nepal invaded it in the 1790s. Nepal ceded one-third of its lands to the British under the Sugauli Treaty of 1815, who later authorized Darjeeling as a sanatorium. Tea plantation began in 1841 by Dr. Arthur Campbell of the Indian Medical Service. It came under the British Empire due to the differences between the British and Sikkim. After Independence in 1947, the officials merged Darjeeling with West Bengal.
Cultural Insights of Darjeeling:
Blessed with a distinct and diverse culture, Darjeeling has numerous ethnic groups and communities. People celebrate “Losar” or New Year in January and February. Other significant festivals, according to Darjeeling tourism, are Maghe Sankranti, Chotrul Duchen, and Tendong Lho Rumfaat. If you go to Darjeeling, you should not miss out on the Darjeeling Carnival as it exhibits scrumptious cuisines and performances by various local bands. Your trip to Darjeeling will be incomplete if you do not taste the very famous Darjeeling tea!
Places of Interest:
TIGER HILL -A Darjeeling tour is incomplete without watching the sunrise from Tiger Hill. The breathtaking view of the colossal Kanchenjunga with other snow-clad eastern Himalayan peaks from the highest point in Darjeeling Hills is a sight to behold for the rest of your life.
TEA GARDENS -Popularly known as the “Mecca of Tea”, Darjeeling delights the world by producing the “Champagne of Teas.” With more than 80 sprawling tea gardens, tourists love spending their days adorning the simple beauty of the tea gardens.
VIEWS OF THE HIMALAYAS -No better place gives better views of Mt. Everest and Kanchenjunga than Darjeeling. The Observation Lounge has large glass windows and gives access tourists to look at the different hills of the Himalayas.
THE MALL -The Darjeeling Mall is the heart and soul of Darjeeling. Being a recreational and meeting point for tourists, the hustle and bustle of the mall bring life to the city.
GHUM MONASTERY OR YIGA CHOELING GOMPA -The Yoga Choeling or Old Ghum Monastery is amongst the oldest monasteries in Darjeeling built in the 1850s. Approximately 7 km away from Darjeeling, this monastery is located at a height of 2,226 meters. The key attraction inside the monastery is a 15 feet high statue of Lord Buddha, commonly known as the Gyalwa Shampa.
GURU SAKYA GOMPA -Inaugurated in 1909, Guru Sakya Gompa is the second monastery built in Ghoom. The statues inside the monastery depict Guru Rimpoche as the main deity and are flanked by Lord Buddha.
SAMTEN CHOELING GOMPA -Popularly known as the Ghoom Monastery, Samten Choling is located on Hill Cart Road and is 7 km away from Darjeeling. The main attraction is the huge 26-ft model of Lord Buddha built to honor the renowned scholar Lama Anagarika Govinda.
BATASIA LOOP -There is no better place in Darjeeling that gives a better 360-degree view of Darjeeling and the Eastern Himalayas than the Batasia Loop. You can take a toy train or drive to reach the Batasia Loop.
DHIRDHAM & MAHAKAL TEMPLE -This temple located on a hilltop is one of the best stops to observe the panoramic views of Darjeeling. You need to walk 15 minutes uphill to reach the top of the summit.
THE CHARMING KALIMPONG – The beautiful neighbor of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, attracts a great number of tourists for its beauty. Situated at a height of 1200 meters, it is 50 km away from Darjeeling. Kalimpong offers a plethora of places for its tourists to visit, such as the Thongsa Monastery, Zong Dog Palri Fo Monastery, Mangal Dham, Parnami Mandir, etc. The Nature Interpretation Center is a retreat for you to experience the serene ambiance of Kalimpong!
Other Attractions at Darjeeling:
STAY AT A TEA PLANTATION -Going for a Darjeeling tour is incomplete without staying at a tea estate. The major tea estates in Darjeeling offer you an experience of a lifetime by making you stay inside the tea estates.
TREKKING SINGALILA RIDGE -If trekking is your passion, then you should trek along the Singalila Ridge located two hours away from Darjeeling. Reaching Sandakphu, the highest point in West Bengal is the highlight of the trek.
DARJEELING ROPEWAY -If you want to experience the beautiful views of Darjeeling and its surroundings, you need to take the Darjeeling Ropeway. Being India’s first cable car, it runs from Singamari to Singla Bazar in Darjeeling.
Food in Darjeeling:
Darjeeling Tourism is famous for its delicious food. With so many options of food available, you need to try out these three dishes when you visit Darjeeling.
MOMOS -The most famous snack of Darjeeling, Momos are loved by all the tourists and the locals. Stuffed with meat or vegetables, you can have them either steamed or fried.
THUKPA -The beloved Tibetian dish, Thukpa, is an extremely healthy noodle soup served with vegetables, meat, and eggs. Served hot, Thukpa is a wholesome meal in itself.
DALLE -If you love spicy food, then you need to try Dalle on your Darjeeling tour. Usually served alongside momos, this pickle is made of red chilies and mustard oil.
Places to shop in Darjeeling:
There are a plethora of old and new shops on Nehru Road near the Mall. The stores sell woolen, fashion items, books, curio Darjeeling tea, handicrafts, and much more. Apart from that, The Chowk Bazar area is famous for food and bakery, and other household products.
How to reach Darjeeling:
BY AIR -Since Darjeeling has no airport, the nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport and which is 58 km away from Darjeeling. From Bagdogra, you can take jeeps and taxis to reach Darjeeling.
BY ROAD -Connected to Siliguri through National Highway 55, you can drive or avail of bus services run by the state government. Many private travel agencies also offer taxis for traveling to Darjeeling.
BY TRAIN -The nearest railway station to Darjeeling is the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. Darjeeling is well connected to cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Chennai by train.
Where to stay in Darjeeling:
Taking a Darjeeling tour is about unwinding yourself in the beauty of nature. With a plethora of options for staying, you are likely to be confused as to where to stay. If you are traveling solo, you can choose to stay at a hostel, but if you plan on a vacation with your family, then you should stay at a luxurious hotel or a tea estate. Below is a list of stay options for your trip.
CHAMONG CHIABARI- MOUNTAIN RETREAT & SPA -The Chamong Chiavari is a luxurious resort located in the periphery of Darjeeling and offers calm to its visitors.
THE ELGIN -The oldest heritage hotel of Darjeeling, Elgin was the summer residence of the King of Cooch Behar.
MAYFAIR DARJEELING -Built over a scenic valley, The Mayfair provides excellent Indian-style rooms for its guests to relax.
GING TEA HOUSE -If you want to experience a victorian style accommodation, then you need to plan your stay in Ging Tea House.
SINCLAIRS DARJEELING -Sinclairs Darjeeling is the best place for you to stay if you want to glance at the breathtaking views of Kanchendzonga.
WINDEMERE HOTEL -The original Heritage House in the Himalayas, Windamere, offers luxurious accommodation in Darjeeling.
GLENBURN TEA ESTATE -If you want to experience a luxurious stay at a classy tea estate, then you need to book your stay at Glenburn Tea Estate.