One of the most important attractions in West Bengal, this is around 12 kilometres from Darjeeling and is a point 2555 metres above sea level. The Tiger Hill is famous for the rare views at dawn. The only condition if you want to enjoy this enthralling experience is that you have to be awake and ready by 4AM in the morning. You go straight to the Tiger Hill before the sun comes out and take the last views of the snow capped Kanchenjunga Peak. As soon as the sun comes out, the color of the sbow turns absolutely red and a little later Orange and then turns to Golden which again cpmes back to white when the sun is completely up. This natural show of lights is extra ordinary and is a visual treat. Starting your day to something like this is complete bliss. You can come to this place at anytime of the year except for monsoons and deep winters as the climate is extremely uncomfortable at this time.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
The Darjeeling Zoo is also known as the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park to honor the ex- governor of West Bengal, Padmaja Naidu. This is a beautiful zoo where you can find some of the high altitutde animals as well as some endangered species of animals too. The zoo is in the Birch Hill area which is presently known as the Jawahar Parvat. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had dedicated the zoo in the honor of Padmaja Naidu who was also a poet and the daughter of the famous freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu. This is one of the best zoos in the world and is the first recipient of the International award of "The Earth Heroes 2014". This is an award given away by the Royal Bank of Scotland. The reason this zoo was chosen among more than 300 zoos all over the world is that it has successfully conserved and looked after Himalayan Animals and also those which are of the Alpine Region. You will find the endangered species such as Red Panda, Snow leopard and Tibetian Wolf here among many others. There are also a number of Siberian Togers and Yaks here. Very old herbs, shrubs, climbers, medicinal plants and orchids cover most of the zoo and you will also find trees such as birch and aldar here. There is a huge aviary too where very bautiful birds find home. The birds conserved here include Rose ringed Parakeets, Ring Necked Pheasants, Himalayan Mynahs, Blue- Gold Mackaws and others. There are steps on many sides inside the zoo and these are for the ones in search of extra adventures. Beyond these steps are the area which are home to H8imalayan bears, Sambhar deer, Blue Sheep. tahr, barking deer, goral and Musk Deer. They roam about openly ball around and thus a trained guide is a must when you opt for these places. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is also closeby.
This is a railway loop a few kilometers from the beautiful Darjeeling. The toy train goes round this loop and there is also a war memorial here. This war memorial was built after independence in memory of all the brave people of Darjeeling who laid their lives in various wars since the time of independence.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
They say that "All things are difficult before they are easy" . And it was time to experience this at The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute Darjeeling where I had gone to get the Basic Mountaineering Training.Imagine yourself climbing a Himalayan peak, all roped up, walking with a bagpack and an ice-axe with the crampons and snow boots training to climb rock-walls and snow slopes for a month. If this is what you want to experience then Basic Mountaineering Course offered by HMI should be your next destination.
Built in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyatso, this monastery in Darjeeling is mainly known for the beautiful statue of the Maitreye Buddha or the 'Future Coming Buddha'. This place is also blessed by the very famous Tomo Geshe Rimpoche of Tibet. The Monastery has conserved some very rare Buddhist Writeen Manuscripts. The monastery will fall on your way back from the famous Tiger Hill.
After the dropping of bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Buddhist saint Fuiji decided to spread the message of peace and harmony all around the world and this pagoda in Darjeeling is just one example of the movement. This is a Japanese Style pagoda built by the Buddhist Monk. The foundation stone was laid down in 1972 by Nichidatsu Fujii and the pagoda was completed by his biggest disciple Guruji Fuiji and opened in 1992. It is a white pagoda and white is the symbol of peace. The aim of this place was to entertain everyone irrespective of their caste and religion. You will find immense peace when you come here.
Happy Valley Tea Estate
This is a tea estate in Darjeeling and rolling meadows of emerald green tea plantations. It is a bliss watching the women plucking carefully the tea leaves. There is also a factory where you can see the making of tea and fermentation processes. It is both an entertaining as well as educational trip
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or more dearly known as the Toy Train. With its narrow gauge trains of two feet, things do not get more exciting than when one is on a ride on the toy train. The length that the train covers is about 80 kilometers. The starting point is New Jalpaiguri in the district of West Bengal and the train goes past Siliguri, then Kurseong and Ghum while chugging along many loops and reverses. After having been out of service for quite some time, the toy train is now back in action and promises one a ride of a lifetime.
How does the thought of a cable car ride between hills sound to you? Exhilarating is the word that describes the Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway. Open for the enjoyment by the public since the month of February in the year 2012, this ropeway is perhaps the best way to enjoy the hilltop view of all that Darjeeling has to offer. The ropeway is completely safe and spans across 298 metres making it the longest of its kind in India. The journey begins at North Point in Darjeeling and goes up till Singla.
Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway
Darjeeling ropeway is also known as the Rangeet valley passenger cable car. It gives a mind blowing view of the valley below, the lush tea gardens, dense forests, mountain streams all over along with the breath taking waterfall and snow peak in the background. You can even get down at the lower station and enjoy the tea garden by walking through it. Its really difficult to experience so many things together at the same p lace.
Neora Valley National Park
Situated in the unexplored terrains of Kalimpong Hills, the untouched natural forests and dense bamboo groves of Neora Valley give shelter to several endangered species that are protected in this area. The national park is also connected to the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, another habitat of the Red Panda.To reach Neora Valley National Park, you have to reach Lava (34km from Kalimpong), which is the nearest village. From there take a jeep ride to the national park, which because of the bad roads, takes upto an hour. You can easily get the permit from the forest office in Lava.
Rock Garden Road
The Rock garden is located between Capitol Complex and Sukhna Lake. It is filled with man-made interlinked waterfalls and numerous different models that have been made of waste and scraps and different sorts of squanders like glasses, bangles, jugs, tiles, clay pots, sinks, electrical waste, etc which are displayed on walled paths. The beautiful nursery is visited by more than 5,000 individuals every day, with more than 12 million guests since its inception. Nek Chand was offered a salary, a title Sub-Divisional Engineer, Rock Garden, and 50 workers so that he could focus full-time on his work. It showed up on an Indian stamp in 1983. The Rock Garden is still made out of reused materials. At the point when Chand left the nation on an lecture visit in 1996, the city pulled back its subsidizing, and vandals assaulted the recreation center. The Rock Garden Society took control over the organization and upkeep of this interesting visionary environment.
Near the giant Buddha Statue in the Thai Temple Complex is the Idosun Nippon Japanese Temple. This is a typical Japanese Temple which was made quite a few years ago but has recently opened up for the public. The temple posses very authentic, minimal designs like many other Japanes temples. There is a huge, 80 ft idol of Lord Buddha inside the temple and from outside it looks nothing but a nice, Japanese mansion and nothing more. There are a number of temples close to the Mahabodhi Tree and this is one of those. All of these are equally beautiful and has a unique charm. Make sure that you have enough time in your hands to explore all of these.
Known by most as Ghum, this place stand 7407 feet above sea level and at a distance of 6 kilometres away from the town of Darjeeling. This place happens to be the highest point where the toy train can reach. When here, the Batasia Loop should be the place to visit with its landscaped gardens and awesome views of the snow-capped Everest and the Kanchenjunga. From Ghoom, one can reach many other locations including Siliguri. The place is a quaint little town that offers one a peaceful and healthy stay. Around three kilometers away is the Senchal Lake that should be a priority to visit when one is in Ghum.
In the evening, spend the day at Mall area shopping or strolling down the Observatory Hill Road and watching the sunset.Day 4: Day long sightseeing. Places of interest includes :1. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) and Darjeeling Zoo.2. Darjeeling Ropeway (Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car).3. Japanese Temple & Peace Pagoda.4. Rock Garden.5. Observatory Hill and Mahakal Temple.6. Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center.7. Tea Gardens.Day 5: (Optional). One may stay an extra day to explore some lesser known places in Darjeeling. Visit the churches and monasteries in Darjeeling and may also explore the markets selling beautiful handicrafts. Hire a taxi and visit the Ramakrishna Mission in Darjeeling and enjoy the unhindered view of Mt Kanchenjunga and the lush hills below.Day 6: Darejeeling to NJP. One may take the conventional taxis to NJP railway station, or if time permits, book a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway all the way to Siliguri. Board a train to Kolkata.
Bengal Natural History Museum
It is a house of various birds, mammals and animals. The displays here are the specimen of real creatures that had been captured and preserved. It had been started with an effort to display butterfies and birds of Darjeeling but fortunately it now has collection of various animals.
Also known as the Druk Sangag Choli Monastery, this is another beautiful place where you can rejuvenate yourself amidst divine settings in Darjeeling. The monastery was built in the year 1971. This is basically a Tibetian Monastery and thus follows the styles of Buddhism meditation. The peacefulness and tranquility of this place serves as a therapy to the mind and soul and you feel more at peace when you leave this place.
Popularly known as the Ghum Monastery, the Yiga Choeling Gompa is situated 700m from the Ghum Railway Station. Housing a massive and breathtaking Maitreya Buddha statue, the Ghum Monastery was built in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyatso. It is also the largest of the four monasteries in the hill-town of Ghum. The other three monasteries that you must visit are Samten Choeling, Sakya Choeling and Phin.
Lebong Cart Road
I hopped onto one of the many jeeps parked on the Lebong Cart Road taxi stand in Darjeeling, that drove to Sikkim daily, on a shared basis, charging a 250 rupees for the entire journey. I still muse over those four hours crammed up in the middle seat, by virtue of the people I was seated with, the warm conversations that ensued and most of all, the scenic vistas that waited for us at every corner.Usually when I’m travelling alone, I try to keep the trip open-ended and not make bookings at hotels prior to arriving at said place. The reason being that when you are sitting in the bus or the local taxi, taking you away from the railway station/airport, if you manage to strike up a conversation with your driver,its almost guaranteed you will end up staying at a wonderful place, depending on your budget.
Where to go- Do your grandparents like to work and stay busy even though they could just kick up their feet and enjoy? For such grandparents is the Tathagata Farm, where you can go out picking tea leaves with the staff and take part in daily chores of the farm.What to do- Tathagata Farm is an unblemished tea estate in Darjeeling where you can go for long hikes in the forest or the tea estate, or in your free time you can also ride on the Darjeeling toy train. The markets nearby are quite colourful, from where your grandmother could buy handicrafts. Barbecue nights are something that everyone looks forward to in this farm house! Besides all this, living inside a tea estate and interacting with locals is an experience in itself.Tariff- Rs.4,800 for a cottage with all meals included.6. Take a walk along the colonial routes in Kasauli
Old Ghoom Monastery (Yiga Choeling)
2. Ghum - Located 8000 ft above the sea level is one of the most famous monasteries in all of Darjeeling. It offers a stunning scenic view and is home to a 15 ft statue of Buddha.3. Padmaja Naidu Himalayn Zoo Park - A 70 acre zoo that is a home to snow leopards, Red Pandas and the Himalayan wolfs. It attracts around 300,000 tourists every year.
The Senchal Lake is a man-made reservoir located inside one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in Darjeeling. Situated around 3km away from Ghum, you can reach here by the Old Military Road, which goes from Ghum to Jorebungalow. You will require a ticket for admission to the lake and sanctuary, which can be collected from the ranger's office at Jorebungalow. The sanctuary remains closed during the monsoon season and opens again around September 15. The Rambi Forest Rest House is located inside the forest and is a great place to spend some time. The rooms, if available, are offered to public at Rs 1,000 night. Contact the the Wildlife Division of Darjeeling at (0354) 2257314 for further details.