Symbolic of emerald green hills nestled against the backdrop of the surreal Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling is an array of remnants of the Colonial times that also serves as a quick weekend getaway to the Himalayas. Find your way around the Buddist monasteries, sign up for a joy-ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, or grab an English breakfast at Keventers and spend an idle morning gazing at world’s third-highest mountain- the Kanchenjungha.
If you are more adventurous at heart, sign up for a trek to the Singalila Ridge, or go visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Across winding lanes, bustling bazaars and amidst the winter chill, Darjeeling is the chicken soup for the thirsty explorer in you, and rightly earns its name as the Queen of the Hills.
Places to visit in Darjeeling
- Tiger Hill – Set out as early as 5 am to catch a spectacular sunrise at Tiger Hill. A major tourist attraction, this spot lets you gaze out over the entire horizon of the Himalayas.
- Batasia Loop – The Batasia Loop was engineered by the British in 1919 to adjust and negotiate the steep gradient in the hills so as to prevent the train from drastically falling to a lower height. If you’re not taking a ride on the DHR, visit this place for panoramic views of the Kanchenjungha.
- Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park – This zoological park located along rounded lanes that go uphill houses the most number of snow leopards in all of India. It is also extremely rich in flora and fauna while also housing a number of birds.
- Himalayan Mountaineering Institute – If you’re visiting the zoological park, make a pit stop at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute which is deemed to be among the best mountaineering institutes in the country. Experienced mountaineers and amateurs alike come here to get extensively trained on mountain climbing.
- Peace Pagoda – The Peace Pagoda is symbolic of the four avatars of Lord Buddha. However, this place is a popular spot for meditation and attracts visitors from a large number of other religions as well.
- Ghoom Monastery – The Ghoom Monastery is a must-see place during your trip to Darjeeling. Located very close to the Ghoom Railway Station, this monastery is among the oldest of its religion and houses sacred relics of the Buddhist culture.
- Rock Garden – Popular among visitors of all realms, the Rock Garden is a man-made tourist spot that is dotted with exotic fauna and flora, tiny waterfalls and timber-wood bridges.
- Singalila National Park – A nature lover’s paradise, an adventure enthusiast’s ideal destination, the Singalila National Park is located at an altitude of 7000ft. Lush greenery speckled with rhododendron forests, a deer or so peeking through the woods, the rare sight of a woodpecker flying into the bushes- all of these makes up the Singalila National Park. If the skies are clear, you might be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the Himalayas, sprawling from Nepal to Bhutan.
If you’re more of a laidback kind of traveler, spend an ideal vacation amidst the mountains sipping on a steaming cup of Darjeeling tea!