Darjeeling is the capital of Darjeeling district in the state of West Bengal, India. It was the summer capital of India during the British rule. The word Darjeeling is derived from the word Dorjee Ling meaning the land of Lightning or the land of thunderbolt. It is situated nearly 90 kilometers from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) and Bagdogra Airport (IXB). It is nearly 125 kilometers from Gangtok. It is three hours drive from any of these places. The town is situated in the southern Hills of the Himalaya range at an elevation of nearly 2134 meters / 70001 feet. The region is internationally famous for Tourism, Trekking and Tea. The major attraction of the region is the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways. The town of Darjeeling can be reached by the nearly 80 kilometer long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. DHR was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999 and popularly known among tourist as the Toy Train. There is a pair of regular train and a couple of train for joy ride of tourist to Ghoom and to Kurseong. Darjeeling is also known for its tourist attractions like the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Zoological Park, Rock gardens, Tiger Hills, Tea gardens, Ghoom, Shrubbery Park, ropeway, etc. There are a few places nearby like Mirik, Kalimpong, Tinchuley, Sandakphu, Jorepokhori, Takdah, Peshok Kurseong, etc. Darjeeling itself is a vintage city developed by the British during their rule in India and has many reputed schools. This region since then gradually developed into tourist center. The place support activities like trekking, tea tourism, rafting, safari, biking, birding etc. There is huge flow of tourist all year round.
Most Popular Places in Darjeeling
Tiger Hill : Tiger Hill is the best point in Darjeeling for watching sunrise. Located at a height of 7,407 feet above sea level, the hilly trails through the mountains lead to the hill top. On a clear day, the entire Himalayan range can be seen. It is at a distance of 11 km from the main city of Darjeeling.
Normally, the pickup time from the hotel is around 4 am. It is better to reach a little early in order to secure a place. There are tea stalls selling flavoured Darjeeling tea along with snacks. There are also shops from where one can pick up souvenirs like hand crafted items or picture post cards of Kanchenjunga and Darjeeling.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute : Tucked away within the grounds of the zoo, this prestigious mountaineering institute was founded in 1954 and has provided training for some of India’s leading mountaineers. Within the complex is the fascinating Mountaineering Museum . It houses sundry details and memorabilia from the 1922 and 1924 Everest expeditions, which set off from Darjeeling, as well as more recent summit attempts. While browsing the displays, look for the Carl Zeiss telescope presented by Adolf Hitler to the head of the Nepali Army.
Batasia Loop : Travelling back from Tiger Hill, look out for this famous railway loop that goes around the open-air Gorkha War Memorial , erected in honour of the brave soldiers from the region who laid down their lives in WWI and WWII. Have Glimpse here after the sunrise trip to Tiger Hill. The views are almost as good and the atmosphere much more serene.
Ghoom Monastery : The Ghoom Monastery, built in 1875 by a lama called Sherab Gyatso, is the largest in Ghoom (8 kilometres from the city of Darjeeling) and holds the statue of the Maitreya Buddha, believed to be ‘The Buddha to Come’. The statue is a whopping 15 feet in height. The active Samten Choling Gompa , just downhill, has the largest Buddha statue in West Bengal. Also known as the Yiga Choeling Monastery, Ghoom Monastery preserves some rare, handwritten Buddhist manuscripts. The monks of Ghoom Monastery follow the Gelugpa order of Buddhism, which conducts prayer sessions between 5.30am and 7.30am (useful if returning from a dawn visit to Tiger Hill).
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park : Formerly known as Himalayan Zoological Park, it is spread at around 68 acres of land, this zoo is actually famous for its breeding programmes, especially the breeding of snow-leopard along with red panda, mountain goats, salamander, Himalayan wolf and some other endangered animals and birds.
Peace Pagoda : Under the guidance of a Japanese monk with a vision of world peace, the Peace Pagoda in Darjeeling was built in Japanese temple style. It is called so because the mission of this pagoda is to bring unity among all the races and tribes under the shelter of inner peace.
Rock Garden : The beautiful garden, with various species of several flowers, scattering around the Chunnu Summer Falls that streams down the rock slopes, is popular as Rock Garden. This place is perfect for a day’s outing or picnic. Your first stop is the Rock Garden. You will see many stalls being set up by the locals selling street snack and small souvenir items for the tourists. Because the entire garden area has been created by cutting rocks at different levels and making terraced seating arrangements at various levels.
Ganga Maya Park : Ganga Maya Park is further down the road, about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the Rock Garden. Named after an innocent victim of police firing during the GNLF agitation, "it meanders down the course of a chortling mountain stream, past gazebos, clumps of flowering shrubs and trees, over humped backed bridges under which koi-carp coruscate, and into a circular lake with paddle boats and a waterfall. It has a small lake where boating facilities are available. Gurkha folk dances are performed to entertain the tourists.
Sumendu Lake : This beautiful water body in Mirik is an artificial lake. The surrounding area is suitable for a day’s outing because of peaceful natural ambience. As interesting tourist activities, horse-riding and boating are arranged here.
Place:Thimpu, Phuntsholing, ParoDetails