Darjeeling is known for its exotic Gompas
- "Darjeeling is known for its abundant natural beauty and its closeness to the Himalayan massifs"
- The hill station of Darjeeling offers not many but interesting and exciting tourist attractions, the Toy Train being the biggest crowd-pulle
(IIP) - There's more to Darjeeling than just velvet green hills and plush tea plantations. Located in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is known for its abundant natural beauty and its closeness to the Himalayan massifs. Though the Toy Train happens to be the biggest attraction for travellers visiting here, there are a number of other things that need to be explored. After you have done with the tea plantation tours, you can spend some good quality time with the Gorkhas, the locals in Darjeeling. Interact with them, watch their lifestyle and finally sit with them to listen to the heart-touching Gorkhali songs. Besides, you can also plan to enjoy some wonderful treks where you will actually come in close contact with nature that reigns here supreme.
Climate & Best time to Visit
The climate of Darjeeling remains pleasant round the year except for a few months during monsoons. Summer season witnesses temperatures hovering between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius while winters can be cold with temperatures dropping down to as low as 2 degrees. Monsoon season arrives during May end and the city is deluged by heavy rainfalls. The best time to visit Darjeeling are the months from March to May and September to November.
Major Tourist Attractions in Darjeeling
The hill station of Darjeeling offers not many but interesting and exciting tourist attractions, the Toy Train being the biggest crowd-puller. Other famous tourist attractions in Darjeeling to be visited are as follows.
Situated just 5 km from the main Darjeeling city, Batasia is a tiny town of immense natural beauty. The place houses a market which sells locally made goods such as leather purses, handbags, handicrafts items etc. The loop is where the toy train of Darjeeling takes a sharp turn.
Bhutia Busty Gompa
Darjeeling is known for its exotic Gompas, especially the Bhutia Busty Gompa which stands proudly against the backdrop of the mighty Kanchenjunga mountains. The ancient monastery is situated just a short distance from the chowrasta and houses a number of rare Tibetan manuscripts. The Dhoom gompa is another tastefully decorated piece of architecture.
Chowrasta is the major shopping promenade and the hub of most of the activity in Darjeeling. Consisting of a number of shops, the chowrasta occupies the same place of importance for the tourists as the Mall road in Shimla and Mussoorie. The panoramic views of the snow laden mountains and some ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples are other attractions of the place.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
If you want a crash course in mountain climbing or just looking to polish your skills before taking on the rocks, then the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is the place you need to head to. Started by the famous Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the place also houses a collection of mountaineering equipment on display.
Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway
The cable car connects the Singla Bazaar with the North Point, situated at an altitude of 7000 feet. The gondolas slowly move up the 8 km ascent offering a breathtaking view of the surroundings, in process. You may have to wait for hours to experience the 45-minute ride, yet the wait is worth it, considering the priceless views on offer.
Ride the Toy Train in Darjeeling
The 83 km memorable journey on board the Darjeeling Toy Train is probably one thing you would not want to miss on your Darjeeling vacation. The beautiful train takes the tourists from Siliguri to Darjeeling as it passes amongst sites of breathtaking natural beauty, lush greenery and tiny hamlets. The engineering system of the train makes use of a special lopped and switch back mechanism to encounter the steep uphill climb.
Popular Shopping Centres in Darjeeling
The chowrasta is the major shopping promenade lined with numerous small and big shops which sell everything from local specialties to international brands. Some of the must buys include the locally made Tibetan paintings known as thangka, traditional masks, Nepali khukri, wooden statues, brass objects and woolen clothing. Fresh tea can be purchased from one of the many factory retail shops.
Darjeeling Travel (Airport/Railway/Road) Information
By Air : Bagdogra, situated at a distance of 94 km from Darjeeling is the nearest airport. The three and a half hour road journey from there can be covered via local buses or hired taxis, which are easily available for Rs. 800 to 1000.
By Rail : The nearest broad gauge railhead is New Jalpaiguri, situated at a distance of 81 km from Darjeeling. New Jalpaiguri is connected with Darjeeling through the famous toy train. Besides, taxis and buses can also be hired to access the city from there. Daily trains between Delhi and New Jalpaiguri are the North East Exp., Brahmaputra Mail, Mahananda Exp. and Avadh Assam Exp.
By Road : Darjeeling is well connected to other neighbouring places through well built roads. State transport and private operators run regular buses between Darjeeling and other major neighbouring cities including Calcutta.
Distance from Darjeeling to Major Cities
- Siliguri : 77 Km
- Gangtok : 120 Km
- Guwahati : 590 Km
- Calcutta : 500 Km
- Kathmandu : 677 Km