24 Hours In Darjeeling: A Complete Guide On What To See And Do

Tripoto

Darjeeling Toy Train at Batasia Loop

Photo of 24 Hours In Darjeeling: A Complete Guide On What To See And Do by Tania Banerjee

Darjeeling, the queen of the hills in West Bengal, India, is hitting the news for all the wrong reasons nowadays. Once peace prevails in the valley again, there can be no better quintessential place to relax than Darjeeling. Nature has been very kind on Darjeeling in terms of aesthetic beauty. But, unfortunately the history of Darjeeling and its people is disturbing. Darjeeling saw power struggles among various community groups. The British Raj ruled over the town for quite sometime and its influence is visible even today. The British frequented Darjeeling as a summer retreat and the tradition has been picked up by the Indians. Residents from West Bengal and other neighbouring states flock to Darjeeling in the summer months.

If you are tight on time and wondering how to enjoy Darjeeling in one-day flat then you are in the right place.

9AM- Conveniently located at the crosspoint of roads, Keventer’s (Chauk Bazaar, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101) is wildly popular for the non-vegetarian breakfast menu it serves. It also serves diverse vegetarian snacks. The eatery’s USP lies in its location and open air seating arrangement, though these seats are in high demand. Sipping a hot cup of tea and gorging on a sandwich under bright sunshine with the crisp Himalayan breeze caressing your face is an experience in itself. Keventer’s operates from 8 AM in the morning till 7 PM in the evening. Keventer’s is quite pocket-friendly as the menu features several items in the double digits.

Japanese Peace Pagoda

Photo of Keventers, Chauk Bazaar, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Tania Banerjee

10AM – Hail a taxi to visit three points starting with Japanese Peace Pagoda. The Japanese Peace Pagoda is situated in a very peaceful corner of the hills, away from the humdrum of the touristic town. The pagoda is coloured white, symbolising peace. All through the pagoda intricate artwork representing various stages of Lord Budhha’s life is carved. The Japanese temple adjacent to the Pagoda contains the main prayer hall. If you arrive at the right time there is a high chance you may catch the monks offering prayer while playing authentic Tibetan musical instruments.The walls of the temple contain various religious wall hangings containing Buddhist chants, and various pictures of Buddhist pagodas in India.

Samten Choling Monastery

Photo of Japanese Buddhist Temple, Rajbari, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Tania Banerjee

11AM – The next stop in the three point tour of Darjeeling should include the Samten Choling Monastery in Ghoom. Typically, Ghoom is popular as having the highest railway station in India. The railway station serves the iconic toy train of Darjeeling. The monastery is fairly spartan but nonetheless it forms a very integral part of the little neighbourhood of Ghoom. Inside the premises Buddhist monks of all ages hang around doing chores and playing amongst themselves.

Batasia Loop

Photo of Ghoom Monastery (Samten Choling), Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Tania Banerjee

11.30AM – Almost all postcards of Darjeeling contain the picture of the toy train taking a loop turn at Batasia Loop. This place should be the third and final stop of the taxi ride before it takes you back to Darjeeling town. It is situated almost a walking distance away from Ghoom Monastery. The entry fee is INR 15. The Batasia Loop flaunts a circular landscaped garden along which the toy train of Darjeeling moves. On a clear day the pristine Kanchenjunga forms the park’s background. Walking around the park and watching the toy trains chug past is truly delightful. A war memorial is also constructed in the Batasia Loop in commemoration of the sacrifice of the Gorkha soldiers.

The whole 3 point taxi trip for the above mentioned spots for a 4-seater private car+driver shall cost INR 1000 in lean season.

Lunch at Glenary's Restaurant

Photo of Batasia Loop, West Point, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Tania Banerjee

12.30PM – Glenary’s is the most popular bakery and cafe in Darjeeling town, but, not many are aware of the fine dining experience it also provides. The upper floor of Glenary’s is a place you must head to if you are looking for fine dining. What makes this place unique is its fireplace. Yes, it actually flaunts a typical fireplace invoking the good-old European charm. Pocket pinch : INR 700 for two persons.

2PM – 4PM – A day in Darjeeling cannot be complete without a visit to the tea gardens. Cultivation of tea is what made Darjeeling popular internationally after all. Pay a visit to any of the tea gardens and you will know why! Post lunch, get another taxi and visit the Happy Valley Tea Estate. Roam freely once inside the tea garden and take lots of photos. If you have a keen interest, pay INR 100 and get into the factory to understand the process of manufacturing tea. Visitors are also treated to a tea tasting session.

Kanchenjunga from Observatory Hill

Photo of Happy Valley Tea Estate, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Tania Banerjee

4PM – 6PM – The Darjeeling Mall or Darjeeling Mall Road is the heart of Darjeeling. It is the busiest and prettiest city square in Darjeeling. The Observatory Hill is a walking distance from the Mall Road. This place is a must visit if you want to enjoy the view of the stunning Kanchenjunga. Walk around and get a feel of the place. Enjoy the view of the majestic Himalayas until sunshine fades away. Once darkness descends walk back to the Mall and watch the locals and tourists hanging around together. Eat the delicious momos or try collecting souvenirs from the umpteen shops.

6 PM – So much of activity and walking around can easily drain all energy and your body would almost certainly yearn for carbohydrates. Well, it’s time to treat your taste buds with some sugary delights from the oven of this awe-inspiring bakery of Darjeeling. Glenary’s is thronged by locals, domestic and foreign tourists all the time. Once inside, you will almost definitely find the environment very cosmopolitan. The price is very affordable and starts from INR 50 for brownies.

Darjeeling sleeps early. Head back to your accommodation and enjoy the last moments of your day in Darjeeling.

Congratulations, if you have more than a day to spare in Darjeeling. In that case, consider these:

Other things to do and see

1. Walk to Shrubbery Nightingale Park and enjoy the view of Kanchenjunga.

2. See the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.

3. Visit the Himalayan zoo.

4. Watch sunrise on Tiger Hill.

5. Visit the Rock Garden.

6. Ride the toy train of Darjeeling.

Cuisine on offer

Food in Darjeeling is largely Tibetan and English. But North Indian and Bengali cuisines are readily available as well. Hot Stimulating Cafe is popular for momos, Roly Poly Pudding serves European whereas Hotel Chanakya serves Bengali food.

When to go

The summer months of April to May are the peak time when domestic tourists arrive. It is also the most pleasant time to be in Darjeeling. The monsoon months lasting from June- September is the worst time to go. The incessant rain, landslides and flood may hamper the itinerary beyond recovery. October-November can be considered the shoulder season. December-March is pretty cold and the town sees very little number of visitors during this time. On the other hand, you can have the place more to yourself and get better deals for accommodation, transport and souvenirs.

Getting around

The best way to explore the town is on foot. However, the roads are very steep and the slopes would kill the knees of unfit or elderly people who are not accustomed to walking on steep roads. Tourist taxis are available to take tourists to different sites. Locals move around in shuttle cars.

Where to stay

Windamere Hotel is situated in the best location possible in Darjeeling, right on the Observatory Hill. The Kanchenjunga is always in view and the Darjeeling Mall is just a walking distance away. Rooms start at INR 10,500+taxes for single occupancy and INR 13,500+taxes for double occupancy per night.

The Central Heritage Resort and Spa Darjeeling is a hotel which reminds one of the opulence during the British Raj. Rooms here start at INR 3000 for double occupancy per night.

Have you been to Darjeeling? Do you think I missed out some destination? Comment below and let me know!

1 Comment(s)
Sort by:
Is it possible to do the morning visit by foot instead of taxi?
Sat 12 01 18, 21:43 · Reply · Report