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Tourist Places To Visit In Darjeeling
A Himalayan city in the state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is the perfect retreat for those with a penchant for a pleasantly nippy weather. What can be better than walking amidst the lush greenery and unspoiled air unbeknown to the rest of the world? Kiss all your troubles a fond goodbye as long as you walk the rolling plains and hills of Darjeeling. From Tiger Hill to the Himalayan Railways, Rimbik to Observatory Hill, here are the top tourist places to visit in Darjeeling.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
What better way to initiate your Darjeeling trip than exploring the magnificent Himalayas? The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is one of the most sought after places in Darjeeling. Founded by the late Sherpa Tenzing Norgay who climbed the Mount Everest, the institute still showcases all the equipment's used for that climb. Feast your eyes on the glory that is the Himalayas, and be sobered by its might.
Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park
Also known as the Darjeeling Zoo, this park abounds in varied species of flora and fauna. Home to the adorable Red Panda and Snow Leopards, this zoological park is named after late Padmaja Naidu, the governor of West Bengal and daughter of the nightingale of India, Sarojini Naidu. Famous for its conservation breeding programmes of the Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Salamander and Tibetan Wolf, this zoo is a place you wouldn't want to miss.
Bask in the first, flickering light of the sun as it chastely kisses the tip of Mount Kanchenjunga, and slowly but surely, bathes it aglow. Nothing can be more mesmerizing than the play of light and shade, and for a person with a poet's heart, watching the sunrise from Tiger Hill is a necessary experience. Of course, to reach in time for the sunrise and get a good viewing perch amongst other teeming tourists, you would have to wake up at 3am; but when your eyes skim across the golden hued horizon, the efforts are totally worth it.
Japanese Peace Pagoda and Buddhist Monasteries
Take a little time out to satisfy your spiritual side and visit the world-renowned Japanese Peace Pagoda and the myriad other dainty Buddhist monasteries. Explore the region and take in the grandeur and tranquillity of these structures. Constructed by the Japanese Buddhist Nipponzan-Myohoji Order, the Peace Pagoda has always enthralled and beckoned to people following the Buddhist faith. The various monasteries, like the Ghoom and Dali Monastery, will humble you with their simplicity, which at the same time embody quiet glory and opulence, unspoilt by the ravages of time.
Batashiya Loop and The War Memorial
Just as the name suggests, Batashiya Loop is a gigantic railway loop where the toy train makes a complete 360 degree turn. So sit tight as this turn could just make you a wee bit wobbly! A scenic little area with innumerable photo-ops, Batashiya Loop shares pride of place with the War Memorial, built in memory of all the brave men who sacrificed their lives for the country. Soak in the historic and all-natural aura of Batashiya Loop and be sure to splurge a little bit on all the hand-made goodies, like purses, bags and other decorative items.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
A coveted tourist haunt, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) is this narrow gauge train track that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. The 88 km covered are scenic and gorgeous. You get to experience this natural mountainous beauty in a toy train that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These railways date back to 1879 and are the star highlight of the Himalayan Railways.
Nightingale Park is a public park in Richmond Hill, Darjeeling. It is best known for offering magnificent gorgeous views of Kanchenjunga Peak. The lush greenery, prevalent in most seasons, make Nightingale Park even more coveted among locals and tourists alike, spreading a calm serene feeling through your chest. Erstwhile private courtyard of Sir Thomas Tartan, this park was a part of his home. Now it is open for all, houses a statue of Shiva and a musical fountain.
A little town close to Darjeeling, it is a part of the Singalila National Park. The trekkers and hikers love this town as it lies on most routes, be it Sandakphu route or the famous Singalila National park route. These are some of the best treks of east India. In addition, the town is also scenic and lovely, offering you some rest and good food, even some walks through its quaint streets. Spring and summer are best to visit.
Singalila National Park
Now you already know that Singalila National Park has some of the best trekking routes. But did you know that Singalila National Park is home to the elusive red panda and is the highest national park around?
Bet you didn’t! So here’s the thing — Singalila National Park is one of the most popular places to visit when in Darjeeling. It is unique, has glorious Rhododendron forests, offers the majestic Himalayan mountains like a picture window in front of your eyes, and is also known for the Himalayan Black bear traipsing around. The park is closed between June 16th and September 15th.
Peace Pagoda, one of the 30 shrines of its kind in the world, is a Buddhist abode where a white edifice rises with gold trimmings, housing the four incarnations of Buddha. The Maitreya Buddha sculpture is especially beautiful. Peace Pagoda dates back to the late 1800s and took almost 3 years to be made. Nichidatsu Fuji, a Japanese monk started the construction to spread the message of peace, goodwill, hope and unity. Located on the West Point of Darjeeling, this place is beautiful for a morning tour.
St. Andrew’s Church
Darjeeling’s St. Andrew’s Church, in addition to being a hub of religion, is also an architectural masterpiece. Dating back to the Colonial times, St. Andrew’s Church is all old world charm and rich history. It was named after Scotland’s patron Saint in 1843 and became a popular destination for locals and visitors. Due to its Anglican nature, it is advised you dress modestly and respect its sacred aura.
8000 ft above sea level, the Ghum Monastery is the oldest Tibetan Monastery in the town. It was earlier called Yiga Choeling. Ghum Monastery is most famous for the magnificent statue of Maitreya Buddha in its main hall and the collection of records, paintings and rare manuscripts pertaining to Buddhism.
Happy Valley Tea Estate
Happy Valley Tea Estate is literally a happy place. More so for tea lovers. You start to smell the divine wet fragrance of tea from the road itself as you approach this 437 acre estate. It encompasses one of the highest tea plantations in the world and runs a processing factory in its premises. An English gentleman established this estate back in 1854 and it has been flourishing ever since.
Rock Garden is a famous picnic spot here, complete with waterfalls, verdant hills, flowers and an artificial garden with some local fauna. The Chunar Waterfall here is perfect for a warm summer afternoon, while the mountain stream gurgling through the thickets reminds you of Panchtantra stories. The garden is open from 10 in the morning to 4 in the evening, every day.
The Observatory Hill is a highland area of Darjeeling that is home to quite a few Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines. It attracts locals and travellers in large numbers, especially for temples like Kanchenjunga Temple, Tibetan Memorial Shrine and Mahakal Temple. A little cave located 15 mins away is also popular among tourists.
A cute little hamlets filled with fruits orchards, tea gardens and rivers melting from Himalayana mountains — Tinchuley is a fantasy right out of your favourite fairytale. Ranjeet and Teesta rivers flow through this village, making sunsets beautifully misty and camps and hikes exciting. You can also go mountain climbing and rappelling here. But you know what the best thing to do here is? Take a hammock, tie it to the trees by the river and just be. In quiet. In peace. In Himalayas.
Darjeeling’s main market, also called Mall Market — Chowrasta is the most alive, noisy, bustling centre of the city. It is a meeting point of four roads and hence the name. From restaurants to cafes, shops to boutiques, hotels to stalls — you find everything here. And even if you are not planning for shopping or eating, just walking through Chowrasta on a lovely cold day is more than perfect.
Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center
A rehabilitation for the refugees that come from Tibet, this place is not only your one stop to shop but also an opportunity for you to contribute your two bit for these people who had been rid from their land. The Tibetan Community weaves and crafts and creates lovely handicrafts that are worth a lot more if you think of buying them from labels. From leather jackets to shawls and home decor, the items are exported to more than 30 countries. The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center us located at Havelock Villa.
Located on the Observatory Hill, Mahakal Mandir is dedicated to Mahakal, an avatar of Lord Shiva. Highly coveted and revered, it is a 20 minute hike away from the base of Observatory road. Trekkers and devotes need to walk up, and can rest on the benches installed at regular intervals. On your way you get to see splendid views, cottages, meadows and even clouds in some seasons. Be wary of the monkeys you meet on the road, they go for your bags, spectacles, phones, food. All the time.
Bengal Natural History Museum
The Bengal Natural History Museum is perfect for those who love to dig deeper into a culture. This museum houses the old wildlife, flora, fauna and biodiversity of the North Eastern Himalayas. There are around 820 bird specimens and that is impressive for any lover of nature. So do visit if you have some time to spare. Bengal Natural History Museum is located on Darjeeling – Jorethang Road.