Best Places To Visit In Darjeeling
A very popular tourist destination in West Bengal, Darjeeling is this dreamy town situated in the lesser Himalayas, at an altitude of 6700 feet. As such, it enjoys a temperate climate with very pleasant summers from April to June and really cold winters from October to March. If lucky, one may experience snow in the months of December and January. Monsoons in Darjeeling, from July to September, are very heavy and hence, depending on whether you like the bright summers or chilly winters, you may choose to travel to this destination accordingly.
Being a part of the Eastern Himalayas, Darjeeling is beautified with evergreen temperate and alpine forests of sal and oak and breathtakingly beautiful orchids. Extremely famous for its refreshing Darjeeling Tea and rolling tea estates, Darjeeling is most renowned for its spectacular views of the third-highest mountain in the world, the Kangchenjunga. Another stand-out feature is the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a toy train, which has been declared a World Heritage Site and can transport people from New Jalpaiguri till Darjeeling.
How to reach Darjeeling :
By air – The nearest airport to Darjeeling is at Bagdogra and has regular flights to Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata.
By train – The nearest railway station is at New Jalpaiguri, which has good rail connectivity with several cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Cochin etc. From here the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway transports tourists to Darjeeling.
By bus – Regular buses ply to Darjeeling from many cities like Siliguri, Kurseong, Kalimpong and even Gangtok.
Some of the best places to visit in Darjeeling :
Tiger Hill :
Located about 11 km from Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is situated at the summit of Ghoom, the highest railway station in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Considered one of the most favourite tourist spots, this site is so popular because of it’s wonderful vistas of both, the Mount Everest as well as Mount Kanchenjunga. The beauty of the mountain peaks at sunrise and the sight of the gushing rivers on all sides, is well worth the trek up the hill.
Batasia Loop :
This is a spiral railway, structured to lessen the steepness of the slope of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, just 5 kms away from Darjeeling town. The track coils around over itself through a tunnel and over the top of a hill, resulting in the toy train taking a complete loop around a beautiful garden. Covering an area of about 50,000 sq.ft, the garden is scattered with wonderful flowering plants, is home to an eco-garden, restaurants, eateries and a gorkha war memorial.
Senchal Lake And Wildlife Sanctuary :
About 11kms from Darjeeling, close to Tiger Hill, is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries, set up in 1915. With an elevation that varies from 4900 ft to 8500 ft, this sanctuary is one of the most beautiful and interesting places to explore with a dense canopy of oaks and many other species of trees like Champ, Kawla, Katus, many kinds of ferns and mating bamboos and over 2400 rhododendrons and Ghoge Champ. High-altitude animals like the wild pig, barking deer, leopard, Himalayan black bear, jungle cat, Himalayan flying squirrel , Assamese macaque etc. have their homes here.
Peace Pagoda :
Built under the expert guidance of a Buddhist monk from Japan, this wonderful structure houses the four avatars of Buddha and was constructed with a sole purpose of providing a place for people of all races and creeds to unite and focus on their search for world peace. The atmosphere surrounding this pagoda is serene and tranquil and one can view the spectacular Darjeeling landscape, including the Kanchenjunga range.
Darjeeling Ropeway :
The Darjeeling Ropeway consists of 16 cars and plies to and fro between the ‘North Point’ in Darjeeling and Singla on the banks of the Ramman River. A ride in these cars treat you to fascinating views of the Darjeeling valleys, dense forests, lush green hills and mountain ridges, gurgling rivers, spectacular waterfalls and well nurtured tea estates. This facility is thus a strong favourite and very popular tourist site.
One very prominent feature evident in Darjeeling is the presence of several monasteries in and around the town. Large structures, including prayer halls, varying sizes of the Buddha statue, old Buddhist scripts, photos of the Dalai Lama, at times some wonderful murals, residences for the monks, a bell and some drums, all add to the aura and mystique of the place and have thus become very popular places to visit. Some of the monasteries most visited are the Ghoom Monastery, Bhutia Busty Monastery, Dali Monastery, Aloobari Monastery and many more.
Happy Valley Tea Estate :
Darjeeling is world famous for its tea. Located at a height of 6900 ft, the Happy Valley Tea Estate is the second oldest tea estate in Darjeeling and the highest tea factory in the world. Nearest to Darjeeling town, this factory is at its busiest in the months from March to May, with plucking tea and processing. One can take a guided tour through the fragrant and refreshing estate to observe the procedure about producing the various types of tea.
Picture Credits : blissfulindiatravel.com