Darjeeling
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Brief

Darjeeling is a lush green hill town in West Bengal, famous for its tea plantations. Developed by the British in the 19th century, this serene town is now home to the vibrant Tibetan and Sikkimese cultures. Hop on to the quiet Himalayan Railway to experience some of the most breathtaking views of the majestic Himalayas on your journey.
 
Darjeeling is synonymous with large, green and picturesque tea-estates. Tea production in Darjeeling is a legacy of the British, who developed the place as a hill station to escape the summer heat. Located in the 'lesser' Himalayan area, it plays host to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

It all started in the early 19th century, when a patrol of the British East India Company, who were exploring an easy access to Sikkim during the Anglo-Nepal Wars, came across a sleepy hamlet atop a thickly wooded ridge with a brilliant view of Mount Kangchenjunga. Its strategic value aside, the collective British soul pining for cold and rain instantly recognised a 'hill station' when it saw one! In its formative years, like most Raj getaways, Darjeeling was simply a scattered village of English cottages, mainly confined to the Birch Hill and Jalapahar areas.

An interesting aspect of Darjeeling's early history was its location at the intersection of different powers. Traditionally a part of Sikkim, it had been lost to Bhutan, reclaimed, and lost once again to Nepal in the 18th century. After the Anglo-Nepalese War ended in 1817, Nepal returned what it had grabbed from Sikkim to the East India Company. From the lost era of cosmopolitan intrigue, shrouded in high mists and whispered in small cottages, Darjeeling has grown hugely in its domains.

Come here to savour some delicious Sikkimese and Tibetan cuisines, experience the Tibetan Buddhist culture and take home the beautiful handicrafts that you'll find hard to part with. Plus, don't forget to hire a jeep to maneuver across the steep and narrow roads and envelop yourselves in the refreshing, moist air and awe-inspiring views. Interestingly, Darjeeling is one of the popular educational hubs in the country because of its many British style Public schools. So it sum it up, its a sure shot treat for anyone visiting the place.

The land of aromatic tea, Darjeeling is situated at the lesser Himalaya surrounded by emerald tea gardens. This landis called as queen of the hill stations in India because of the sheer fragrance of the clean air and pollution free nature. The lush tea gardens on the sides of the road is breath-taking for all the visiting tourists. Pleasant climate is the main attraction along with the tea gardens in Darjeeling. This ancient Gorkha capital is one of the popular holiday destination for domestic and international tourists due to the spectacular view of third highest peak of the world, Kanchenjunga available from the town.

Darjeeling is favoured among the trekkers also. This was introduced a century ago in this region. Singalila range trek route was the first trekking route of India. All along the route to Sandakphu, one can find trekker’s huts maintained by Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Tourism Department. The trekking routes are criss-crossed from the densely populated evergreen trees like oak, chestnut, ferns, magnolia and etc. Trekkers are welcomed with the colourful rhododendron, orchid and wild flowers at all their paths. Singalila range is the main attraction among them. Red Panda, pangolins, barking deer can be seen on the path of Sandakphu trek. Sandakphu is the main trekking attraction in this place. One can take the enjoyment of Phalut, Maneybhanj, and Singalila for trekking. The tourists have the option to stroll around the Kalimpong and Kurseong area and villages near the Darjeeling town.People must take the joy of riding toy train which stands at Batasia loop for the view of Kanchenjunga.

Bengali is the official language of the state of West Bengal and is spoken by some of the residents. However, Nepali is the predominant language in Darjeeling. Other languages spoken here include Hindi, English and Tibetan.

 
Travel Tips

Traveller we would need to do a lot of walking as not all destinations can be rached by a vehicle. So, one should have a sports shoe or any walking shoe.

For children have ear mufflers as ear blockage and pain are common in children when you reach higher altitude.

Get a guide from your hotel or hire a reputed one.

Do not miss Darjeeling tea.

Always have a pack of wet wipes and some dry fruits.

Stick to busy streeets and avoid interior roads and have amedical kit with you with all necessaty medicines.

The mountaineering institute and the zoological park are closed on Thursdays. Also, it is better to pre-book tickets for the toy train ride. It is better to take the regular train because it works out cheaper than the tourist train.

 



When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Very Cold
  • 8.4° Max
  • 3.0° Min
  • 15.0 mm
  • Carry Heavy woollen.
 
Things to do

Cover certain destination at early in the morning like Tiger Hills, Old Ghoom Monastries, Batasia Loop and others.

Do not miss the toy train ride that starts in Darjeeling. It would be better if you book the toy train tickets in advance as it gets booked fast.

There are a few small places around Darjeeling like Mirik, Kalimpung, Simana etc.

On a clear day, as the sun rises in Tiger Hills , its rays produce no less than 15 shades as it reflects off Kanchenjunga in the distance. 

Within the town, there is the Peace Pagoda, a Buddhist pagoda that, true to its name, oozes serenity. It is adjacent to a Japanese temple that can be visited along with the pagoda.

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute has a museum that is very informative and displays a lot of mountain climbing equipment.

The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is the largest high altitude zoo in India. One can see Black Panther, Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Bengal Tiger, Himalayan Wolves and bear, all in one place. 

 

 
Getting Around

The Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway connects Darjeeling to Kalimpong and Ghum. Bus services and hired vehicles connect Darjeeling with Siliguri and Darjeeling has road connections with Bagdogra, Gangtok and Kathmandu and the neighbouring towns of Kurseong and Kalimpong.

However, road and railway communications often get disrupted in the monsoons because of landslides. Within the town, people usually traverse by walking. Residents also use two-wheelers and hired taxis for travelling short distances.

 
Places to Stay

There are several mid-range as well as luxury hotels in Darjeeling. 

However there are many more hotels that offer a very nice view of the Kanchenjunga from the rooms.

It is advisable to pre book hotels.

 
How to Reach

  • Darjeeling with connected through Bagdogra airport which is 96kms away from the place. Most of the top domestic carriers are plying people on daily basis. International tourists can take a flight from capital, New Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata from where the domestic flights are available. After that, it is a 3hrs journey from the airport to reach Darjeeling.
  • New Jalpaiguri is the main railhead of this area which is connected well with all over the India. There is a toy train which goes up to Darjeeling railway station which is 62kms only. Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and all other metro cities are connected by rail.
  • It is an overnight journey from Kolkata to Siliguri via national highway. Siliguri is 80kms away from Darjeeling. Shared taxis, buses along with private cars are available for covering this path.

 
Surrounding Attractions

Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Darjeeling District, West Bengal. It is the habitat of some high-altitude animals like Himalayan Salamander, locally known as 'Gora'. The forest is artificially decorated and offers some amazing views. The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary comes under Darjeeling Wildlife division and can be reached from Siliguri in 30 minutes. Sukna, the gateway to the sanctuary, is only 13 kilometres from Siliguri and 52 kilometers from Darjeeling. The sanctuary sprawls over 159 square kilometers of reserve forest and was started as a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1959, it got the status of a sanctuary mainly to protect the Indian bison and Royal Bengal Tiger, which were facing the threat of extinction. The Rock Gardenat Chunnu Summer Falls and Ganga Maya Park, near it, are recently added tourist attractions. It is about two hours from Darjeeling.

An hour away from Darjeeling is Mirik which has in its list of appeals the magnificient Mirik Lake.

Darjeeling is sitting proudly in between the beautiful places which can be reached easily within a day’s journey only. Several places are scattered around this scenic town. Lava, Rishop, Rishikhola, Lolegaon, Suntalekhola, Neora Valley National Park, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Pedong, Mirik and Jorapokhri are the top attractions around the queen hill. The mighty Kanchendzonga can be seen from Tiger Hill if the sun is blissful. Ghoom railway station of Darjeeling is the highest altitude station in Asia. Temi Tea garden along with other less known tea gardens are present to boost the energy of the travellers. Peace Pagoda, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Padmaja Naidu National Park, Mahakal Temple, GhoomMonestry, Everest Museum, Jhandidara view point are other attractions of Darjeeling.

 
Emergency No.

Tourist Bureau: 222488271/222488272

Police: 100

Fire Brigade: 101

Hospital: +91-352-2252131