Darjeeling is a hill station of contrasts- it has a small town vibe, congested streets yet an unhurried pace, stuck in time even as it embraces development.
Darjeeling is a popular hill station in West Bengal, situated in the foothills of Himalayas, it offers stunning views of Kanchenjunga-the world’s third highest mountain.
Reaching Darjeeling :
By air : The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport which is about 70 km away from Darjeeling.
By rail : New Jalpaiguri popularly known as NJP is the closest railway station. NJP to Darjeeling via Kurseong is a 3 hours
Staying in Darjeeling :
Since decades the most popular place to stay in Darjeeling has been the Mall Road. But even it has fallen prey to commercialization just like other quaint hill stations of India have. Since I like to stay away from the maddening crowd, I decided to stay in a place called Ghoom which is famous for its monasteries and Toy train station.
I stayed in Sterling Resort in Ghoom and had the most amazing time and view from my window. One specialty of this Sterling property was that it offered stunning views of Kanchenjunga from the rooms and the backyard.
Top Places to visit in Darjeeling :
Tiger Hill : Tiger Hill is indeed the most visited place in Darjeeling. It is a must visit place for all the nature lovers. It requires you to wake up early in the morning and reach before 5 AM to witness the charismatic first rays of the sun on Mount Kanchenjunga. It gets freezing cold and crowded early in the morning, so my tip would be to reach early and find the perfect spot to stand and make sure to stay covered and insulated.
Tea estates : For a Chai lover like me, Darjeeling will always be synonymous to Tea Gardens. Tea Gardens are the pride of this hill station. Make sure you shop some fragrant tea for your loved ones.
Peace Pagoda : Also known as the Japanese Temple, it is the tallest standing structure in Darjeeling and reflects four avatars of Buddha. It was build in traditional Japanese style in 1972. A Parikrama around the Pagoda will offer you stunning views of the landscape and Kanchenjunga.
Ghoom Monastery : Yiga Choeling Monastery populary known as Ghoom Monastery was established in 1850 and is the oldest monastery of the region. I personally love visiting monasteries as they fill me with a sense of serenity and inner peace.
Batasia Loop : This is a War Memorial nestled at an elevation of 7000 ft, it has a lush green garden and a spiral loop for the Himalayan Mountain Railway.
Himalayan Mountain Railway : Your trip to Darjeeling is incomplete without a Toy Train ride. This UNESCO World Heritage site has made its appearance in several Bollywood movies, remember Parineeta ? For longer rides one can take the route between NJP to Darjeeling, for shorter route one can ride from Darjeeling to Ghoom.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute : The HMI is a must visit place for ambitious mountaineers and for adventure lovers. Tenzing Rock is a gigantic rock named after the famous Tenzing Norgay who created history by climbing Mount Everest for the first time in 1953.
Darjeeling Ropeway : This offers a spectacular bird’s eye view of the mesmerizing hill station.The Rangeet Valley Cable car promises a mind-blowing view of the valley and the lush green tea gardens.
Mall Road : This is the Go To Place for all the shopping enthusiast. From amazing woolens to souvenir and gifts, you get everything here. Kids love this place because they get to ride their favorite horse. It is the best place to take a stroll in the evening while watching the tranquil sunset, sipping the famous Darjeeling tea and feasting on Momos.
Glenary’s : Glenary’s Bakery is one of the finest eateries in Darjeeling and is situated in Mall Road. The Vintage rooftop setting with the city view makes it a must visit restaurant.
Darjeeling offers a blissful holiday experience with your family. Three to four nights are enough to explore the Queen of Hills. The gorgeous hills of Darjeeling are the perfect place to relax and breathe in fresh air away from city commotion.
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