Darjeeling is one of the hill towns established by the British in India, first as a sanatorium for British soldiers and then as a summer resort for the authorities. The strategic location near the then British capital Calcutta (now Kolkata) was apt for its administrative purposes. Today, this beautiful place attracts almost five lakhs national and two lakh international visitors per year. The affordable food and accommodation options, making it more popular among tourists. This blog will give you all the itinerary (with cost) to plan a short trip to the Queen of Hills this summer.
A. REACHING AND ACCOMMODATION
To reach Darjeeling, one can book a train to New Jalpaiguri railway station or a flight to Bagdogra Airport. We took a train from Kolkata station, which took approximately 10 hours and cost us Rs 2470 (two tickets in AC three tier). New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri are the foothill towns of Darjeeling. On arrival to the station, there are options to book a shared taxi which will cost you between Rs. 350 to Rs. 380 per person (maximum of 10 people can board one taxi) or an entire taxi for Rs. 4000. The entire uphill journey will take 3 hours passing the beautiful areas of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Ghoom. The taxi takes a halt for 15-20 minutes, in which you can have or pack a small meal (costing anywhere between Rs. 110 to Rs. 200 for two people). On arrival at the hill station, we walked along the Mall road to look for accommodation. We intentionally did not book a hotel beforehand because of the number of options available here, in hotels and homestays both (although I am not sure about the situation in peak season). We finally settled for Pineridge hotel, a heritage property with more than 130 years old history, located on Nehru road which is a prime location at Darjeeling. One of the prime reasons for selecting this hotel is to get a British Raj era feel plus its tariff is quite pocket-friendly (Rs. 1680 per night). Such a low tariff for this magnificent British era hotel is due to their below-average maintenance. It is a suggestion to only those who are not very selective in terms of quality of quilts, bed mattress and floor carpet to consider this option.
B. FOODIE'S PARADISE
The first stop for lunch was the famous ‘Glenary’s- bakery, restaurant and pub’. It is one of the finest eateries in Darjeeling. Since 1935, this place is serving people with one of the best English breakfast options, cakes, muffins, pastries and handmade chocolates. It is situated at Mall road within a colonial 2-storey building with a multi-cuisine restaurant at the top floor; café and bakery at ground floor and a pub in the basement. One can have their meal at a beautiful open terrace overlooking the Darjeeling city. Lunch for two cost us Rs. 956 (baked cheese macaroni and roasted pork with French fries). The food was beautifully served and was, no doubt, delicious. Their service delivery was normal and the staff was quite courteous.