Darjeeling is an one of the most popular hill station of India which is situated in the state of West Bengal. Located in the Mahabharata Range or the Lesser Himalayas, it has a height of 6710 ft. It is known as the Queen of the hill stations for its panoramic beauty. Darjeeling has been attracting thousands of tourists from all over world every year. The sunrise scene in Darjeeling gives the ecstasy to remember life long. The early morning sky, painted with all the beautiful colors leaves the tourists spell-bound. It presents outstanding view of the world’s third highest peak, the Mt.Kanchenjunga. The tea trade and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, an UNESCO world Heritage Site has made Darjeeling internationally famous.
Darjeeling has a very interesting history. It is entangled with the history of Bengal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. The monarchies of Bhutan and Sikkim ruled Darjeeling till the beginning 19th century. Later in 1828, a short stay of a delegation of the British East India Company bureaucrats in Darjeeling made them to decide to construct a hospital for British soldiers in here. Furthermore, due to its pleasant weather, Darjeeling used to be the summer capital of the Bengal Presidency in 1840; however it was dignified after 1864.
The festivals of Durga Puja, Diwali and Christmas, being some of the major festivals, are celebrated with great pomp and delight in Darjeeling. The diverse cultural population of this town leads to the celebration of different kinds of festivals. The famous Darjeeling Carnival, started as The Darjeeling Initiative, is held every year during the winter. It is a ten day carnival and the theme is the Darjeeling Hill's musical and cultural heritage. The new year of the Lepchas and Bhutias is celebrated in January and the Tibetans have their new year in February-March. In mid-June processions are taken out to celebrate the birthday of the Dalai Lama.
Altitude: 6710 ft
Summer Temperature: 25oC max.
Winter Temperature: 7oC max. and -2oC min.
Average Rainfall: 320 cm
Best Time To Visit: March to May or September to November
Darjeeling Tourist Places To Visit (Sightseeing)
Tiger Hill and the Kanchenjunga Peak
Tiger Hill is located about 11 km away from the Darjeeling town. It is at the summit of Ghoom which is the highest railway station on the Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway. Tiger Hill has an altitude of 8,500 ft and is famous for the exotic sunrise scene over the Mt. Kanchenjunga. Kanchenjunga literally means "The Five Treasures of Snow" as it has five peaks. You can see the Mt. Kanchenjunga altering colors with the sun rays falling on it. On a clear sky day you can even see Mount Everest glancing out from behind the two other peaks. Since Tiger Hill is the highest hill in the surrounding region, tourists can get views of other mountains also. A three-storied observatory, provided with glass windows, is there for the tourists to stay and take pleasure of the beauty for a prolonged time. It is absolutely free if you stay outside but if you wish to enter, the entry fee is Rs. 30, Rs. 40 and Rs. 50 for the ground floor, first floor and the second floor respectively. Tiger hill can be reached on foot through the Chowrasta, Alubari Jore Bungla and then a two-hour incline to the summit or by hiring a jeep to the destination.
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is located on the Jawahar Hill, about 2 km from the mall. The institute has world-wide fame. HMI once owed the pleasure of having Sherpa Tenzing Norgay as its first field director. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute offers training in mountaineering. Rock craft and sport climbing are taught to the junior students. The institute has a museum known as the Everest Museum. The museum is open for the public between 9 am to 5 pm every day except on Thursdays. This well-known museum has a good collection of mountaineering equipments, skills of scaling mountains and the chronology of the past Himalayan missions. The Everest museum also has a compilation of some exceptional species of vegetation and animals and a telescope gifted by Adolph Hitler to the Maharaja of Nepal. Tourists can take pleasure of the wonderful view of Kanchenjunga through it.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, named after Late. Padmaja Naidu, the daughter of Sarojini Naidu, is situated on the Birch Hill in Darjeeling. The zoo is located adjacent to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park is stretched out over 44 hectares of land. It is involved in the noble cause of successfully breeding rare and endangered species like the red pandas, snow leopards, Siberian tigers, mountain goats, and many endangered species of birds. The park is of great interest to visitors leading to more than 3,00,000 tourists coming here every year.
Japanese Peace Pagoda
The Japanese Peace Pagoda is situated 2 - 5 km away from The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station at the end of AJC Bose road on Jalapar Hills. It can be also reached on foot as it is at a walking distance from Chowrasta. The Japanese Peace Pagoda was built on the initiative taken by Fujii Guruji, a Japanese monk and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He was the creator of the Nichidatsu Myohobji Buddhist Order. The foundation stone was laid on 1st November 1992. The Japanese Peace Pagoda stands as the symbol of peace and harmony. It is 28.5 meters high and has a diameter of 23 meters. The Pagoda is built in white portraying peace and puts on display outstanding magnificence. The Japanese Peace Pagoda can be can be glimpsed from the town. It depicts the four incarnations of the life the life of Lord Buddha. It is a proliferation place for peace and harmony. Beside the Pagoda, a Japanese style temple called the Nipponzan Myohobji Temple is situated. It too, like the Japanese Peace Pagoda, has peace as its focus.
Batasia loop is 3 km from Ghoom and 5 km from Darjeeling. It lowers the incline of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Here the tracks spiral around itself through a tunnel and over a hilltop. The centre of the Batasia Loop has a memorial to the Gorkha martyrs who forfeited their lives in India's freedom struggle. There is also a beautiful garden. Tourists can get the most enthralling sight of Darjeeling and the Kanchenjunga.
Ghoom is 6 km from the town of Darjeeling. It is situated at a height of 2,225.7 meters. It is the highest railway station in the world. This hilly locality has the Batasia Loop and the Sampten Choling Gompa or Ghoom Monastery as the centers of attractions. The Ghoom monastery, preserving a Maitreya Buddha, is located below the Hill Cart road and Ghoom Railway Station. Moreover tourists can have a visit to the three Gompas, Sakyachoeling, Yigachoeling and the Phin in Ghoom. The place is often covered with fog and the old and gloomy appearance of the monastery gives it another name as the Gloom Monastery. A visit to Darjeeling would not be complete if don't come to Ghoom.
Rock Garden is an outstanding piece of architecture. It is 10 km journey from Darjeeling. It is at Chunnu Summer Falls near the Ganga Maya Park. The Gorkha Hill Council Tourism Department has constructed this garden. The Rock Garden is a picnic ground multi-leveled and surrounding a natural waterfall and a small lake. It is off course not a conventional garden. Rock Garden has a bit too much of concrete. It is on the way to Ghoom on the Hill Cart Road. The Rock Garden offers breathtaking view of Darjeeling with the mountains in it background and the cascading hill stream. Small tea shops and stalls have sprung up owing to increase in the number of tourists coming to the Rock Garden.
Ganga Maya Park
Ganga Maya Park is 3 km from the Rock Garden. The Park is named after the innocent victim of the police firing during the GNLF protest. Ganga Maya Park is a wonderful tourist spot. It is famous for the interesting Gorkha folk dance and a small lake. Boating facilities are available for the tourists to enjoy the tranquility of the atmosphere.
Senchal Lake is located 10 km to the south-east of Darjeeling. It is situated at a height of 8,160 ft on top of a hill. Senchal Lake is the main reservoir of fresh drinkable water in Darjeeling. The rise also has golf links on the peak. This golf course, which is considered to be one of the highest golf courses in the world, is also a favorite picnic spot for many. Senchal Lake also offers a Tourist Lodge atop of Senchal which provides a bar with hot and cold running water facility. Senchal Lake is a must visit for every tourist in Darjeeling.
Passenger Ropeway is a significant tourist attraction in Darjeeling. It was the first ropeway of India connecting the North point (7000 ft) to the Singla bazaar (8000 ft). The Passenger Ropeway offers the tourists a 45 minutes trip covering a distance of 8 km. It would be wise to get the tickets in advance since the seats in Ropeway are limited. Passenger Ropeway gives the tourists a thrilling and enchanting experience.