Darjeeling is one of the most famous hill
stations of India. It lies in the northern
parts of West Bengal. Having a height of 6,982
feet (2,134 6 m) above sea level, it is known
as the ‘queen of hill-stations’
for its natural beauty.
Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity, of
hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking
beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas.
Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent
hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat
is bathed in hues of every shade. The flaming
red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias,
the miles of undulating hillsides covered
with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic
forests of silver fir - all under the blanket
of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks
of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling
as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS.
Darjeeling - the name is derived from the
Tibetian word 'Dorje' which means the precious
stone or ecclesiastical sceptre, which is
emblematic of the thunderbolt of Indra, and
'ling' - a place, hence the land of the thunderbolt.
The sceptre of Indra is believed to have fallen
at a place where now stands the Observatory
Darjeeling is a fascinating place,
where the tourist can see Buddhist monasteries,
visit a tea plantation, see how the tea
is processed, go for a ride on the chairlift,
go shopping in the colourful markets or
go trekking to high altitude spots, near
the border with Sikkim. Darjeeling has the
unique feature of a toy train, which takes
you from Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling through
the steep mountainsides
Trekking In Darjeeling
One of the famous trekking route taken by
the trekkers is that of the Darjeeling-Sandakphu
/ Phalut trek. This trekking route is best
during the months of April, May, October
and November. As during these seasons the
visibility is clear and the weather is also
hospitable. For trekking on this route one
does not have to carry much luggage as the
Gorkha Hill Council has provided trekkers
hut and other facilities all along the route.
But it is advisable to carry your own sleeping
bags. On this route the trekker must be
prepared for all kinds of weather and high
altitude mountain sickness. The trek passes
through low areas and very high ridges so
temperature varies a lot be prepared for
all types of weather. There surroundings
may be very attractive but there are some
areas which have long stretches without
any water, so carry water with yourself.
Regular meals are available. Guides and
porters can also be arranged.
Phalut is also called the view point of
the Himalayas and is one of the most important
& famous treks in the region. The trek
starts with a small bus trip to Manaybhanjang.
From here the trek passes through the mountains
to Sandakphu. From here you can proceed
further up or you can return via Rimbik
then to Darjeeling by Bus. One can also
take a short cut and not go to Ohalut. From
Sandakphu backtrek to Bikhay Bhanjang and
cut across to Rimbik. But keep in mind that
this trek is a difficult one with no water
or food in between.
Summer:- Maximum 14.890°C,
Minimum 8.590°C Winter:-
Maximum 6.110°C, Minimum 1.50°C
Rainfall:- 320 cms annually
Best Season:-March to mid
June & September to mid December
- Light woollens, Winter
- Heavy woollens
- Air: Bagdogra Airport
is the nearest airport which is situated
about 88 km from Darjeeling. This airport
is connected by air traffic services from
all major metropolitan cities in India.
- Rail: New Jalpaiguri
is the nearest railhead and is about 88
km from Darjeeling. This railway station
is connected with major cities in India
by regular trains. Most trains heading
towards the North Eastern States of India
makes a stop at the New Jaipaiguri Junction.
- Roads: Bus services
to Darjeeling can be availed from Siliguri.
Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus is the main
bus terminus in Siliguri from where regular
luxury bus is available to reach the Darjeeling.
Besides, the city has a well developed
road network with National Highway No.
55, also known as the Tenzing Norgay Road
passing through the city.
This railway loop is an interesting example
At this loop the toy train takes a very
unique turn. This loop is just five kilometer
from the main town of Darjeeling. This place
also has a very good market where you can
buy the purses, bags and other decorative
items made by the local women at very reasonable
With the back drop of the Kanchenjunga range
stands a monastery called the Bhutia Busty
Gompa. This monastery was shifted from the
observatory hills to the present place.
The Gompa is a branch of the Nyingmapa sect's
Phodang Monastery in Sikkim. The monastery
is not far from the chowrasta and is very
tastefully decorated. It also has a library
which has a copy of the Tibetan Book of
Situated at an altitude of 2590 metres (8482
ft.) and 13 kms from the town, this spot
has earned international fame for the magnificent
view of the sunrise over "Kanchenjunga"
and the great Eastern Himalayan Mountains.
Even Mount Everest, the world's highest
peak, is visible from here.
This place is worth a visit for its exotic
and exclusive collection of a variety of
Himalayan plants, flowers and orchids. This
place is near the taxi stand. The gardens
also has a green house.
This one of the important shopping places
in Darjeeling . Here the Nehru Road and
the Mall Road Intersect each other. The
snow capped peaks of Kanchenjunga are visible
from this place. Near Chowrata are several
Hindu and Buddhists temples. This place
is over flowing with foreign tourists. You
can also enjoy a pony ride form this place.
About 8 kms from Darjeeling
is the Dhoom Gompa.
Here a very beautiful statue of the Maitrayie
Buddha ( prospective Buddha) is established.
The Monastery has also preserved some of
the rare handwritten Buddhist manuscripts.
Here the tea from the gardens is processed.
One can spent a few hours here. Entry is
only allowed to persons who have permission
from any officer of the estate.
Mountaineering Institute & Museums
The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is
on the West Jawahar road. The institute
runs courses for training mountaineers as
well as has the very good collection of
mountaineering equipments which have been
used in various mountaineering expeditions
and other wise. Specimens of Himalayan flora
and fauna are also kept here. The record
of attempts made to conquer Mt. Everest
has been kept in the Mt.Everest Museum.
The institute also screens short films on
mountaineering. You can also view the Himalayan
peaks through the Zeiss Telescope given
to the Nepalese Maharaja by Hitler. Sherpa
Tenzing Norgay was the Director of this
institute for many years and he was cremated
near the institute after his death in 1986.
Near the institute is Srabri which gives
a very good view of the Single valley and
the Kanchenjunga range. One can sit at Srabri
and feel the cool breeze from the valley.
From Darjeeling one can have the best, uninterrupted
view of the worlds third highest peak. Bhan
Bhakta Sarani provides one of the enthralling
views of these snow capped peaks. The Chowrasta
also gives you a good sight to the Kanchenjunga
Kurseong is mid way between Siliguri and
Darjeeling. The way from Darjeeling to Kurseong
is generally open through out the year.
So, the toy train is not coming to Siliguri
then you can come up to Kurseong. This place
is equally beautiful and is full of natural
The museum has a collection of over 4300
specimen . Established in 1903, this natural
history museum packs in its folds a rich
collection of fauna found in the Himalayas
and in Bengal. Among the attractions are
included the estuarine crocodiles. This
unique museum also has a good collection
of butterflies. The mineral forms of various
stones are displayed in a very attractive
manner in the museum.
This point provides one of the breathtaking
views of Kanchenjunga peaks. This place
is also very sacred for the Hindus and the
Buddhists as there are temples and the monasteries
at this place. The Kali temple is decorated
with the colourful flags. Be aware of the
monkey groups as some these are very aggressive.
Another tourist attraction in Darjeeling
has been the ropeway. This was the first
ropeway in India. It connects the North
point (7000 ft) to the Singla Bazaar (800
ft). The rope covers a distance of 8 kms
in 45 minutes. The seats in the rope way
is limited and it is better to get the tickets
in advance. The ropeway is exciting and
unique for any one visiting Darjeeling.
Where the road from Gangtok to Darjeeling
takes its great bend high above the Teesta
river, directly opposite Kanchenjunga, a
Buddhist monk many years ago is believed
to have proclaimed "Rungli Rungliot"
This pious benediction which, literally
translated, means "thus far and no
further" is alive and well today in
the shape of one of the most celebrated
tea gardens in the Darjeeling hills. The
village is steeped in legend.
A scenic place near the tiger hills. This
place has popularly come up as a picnic
spot among the tourists. The lake supplies
drinking water to the town of Darjeeling.
/ New Jalpaiguri
The twin Cities of Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri
are the departure point to Darjeeling, Sikkim
and the North Eastern States. Being the
nodal point this place has become very busy
and crowded. This area has got population
over 2.5 lakh people. Siliguri also acts
as a transit point for Nepal. This place
is not very pleasant to stay as there are
always long lines of buses and trucks. These
trucks and vehicles might be good for business
but they provide very ugly sight. Tourists
come to Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri mainly
to change bus or catch trains. If you have
time then visit the almost forgotten wild
life sanctuary of Jaldhapara. The best season
to visit this park is between October and
May. This the time when the new grass has
come up and animals are out there. The sanctuary
has elephants, dears, tigers and other animals
but the main attraction is the Rhinos which
are threatened by the poachers. Elephant
Safari can be taken from Hollong.
Leopard Breeding Programme
Nowadays the zoologists and the environmental
are trying to protect the endangered species
by breeding them in captivity. Following
this trend is Kiran Moktan who has devoted
his life in breeding program of snow leopards.
The snow leopards are not known to have
bred in captivity but in this center thanks
to the efforts of Kiran Maktan these animals
have given birth in captivity. Snow leopards
are animals who have to be kept in large
enclosures. Visitors are allowed in the
center but they have to watch the animals
in utter silence.
Refugee Self-Help Center
In 1959 was established a center for the
refuges who had fled Tibet with the Dalai
Lama after the Chinese invasion. This self
help center has been developed as workshop
for the manufacture of handicrafts. The
fine and superb carpets, woollens, woodcarvings
and leather work form this center has been
very popular among the tourists. The money
collected after the sale of the products
goes to the Tibetans who work here. The
variety Tibetan Curios on sale are also
attracting the visitors in a big way. This
center has established it self in the International
scenario as place for hard work, self esteem
The zoo is situated two kms form the main
town. This zoological garden houses some
of the rare species of animals and birds.
This is only zoo in India having the Siberian
Tigers. Apart from these the rare Red Panda
is also there. The Snow Leopards, Great
Grey Birds, Snow Yaks are some the animals
which are attracting tourist in great numbers.
The entry in the zoo is by tickets which
are also valid for the natural history museum
and the mountaineering institute & museum.