Darjeeling, “the Land of the Celestial Thunderbolt”, is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. A major attraction of the Darjeeling in the northern Bengal is the glory of nature at its best at its changing faces in different seasons.
The most attractive way to travel to Darjeeling from Siliguri is by the “Toy Train”, officially known as the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR). The narrow gauge train gasps its way up from the railhead at New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, 2134 m above sea level. This train is honoured with UNESCO World Heritage Status and is a family adventure traveller’ favourite. The Darjeeling region has the distinction of offering a breathtaking view of four mountain peaks – the Everest, Kanchendzonga, Makalu and Lhotse.
Important highways in Darjeeling are the Hill Cart Road, The Mall and Laden Road, of which The Mall is the hub of Darjeeling. You can enjoy pony rides round the chowrasta sightseeing the colourful market of the city. The Yoga Choeling Monastery in the city has murals of Buddhist deities and beautiful frescoes in the prayer hall.
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At North Point in the north west corner of the Darjeeling, you can experience the cable car (it is also India’s first passenger rope way) connecting the town to Singla Bazaar.
With your family inside the cable car, you can enjoy those few hour long journey which provides a magnificent view of the mountains and the tea gardens of Darjeeling. The Himalayan Mountaineering Museum at Birch Hill has a fascinating contour model of the Himalayan peaks. This model will surely tempt you to trek the adventurous Himalayas. The Himalayan Zoo located adjacent to it is also famous for its high altitude animals like Siberian tigers, snow leopards and red pandas.
The Tiger Hill offers spectacular views of the mighty Everest and other peaks of the Eastern Himalayan Range as they catch the first rays of the Sun. Photographers who love the nature can take a pre dawn drive to Tiger Hill which takes 45 minutes in a jeep from Darjeeling.
To the west of Tiger Hill lies a lovely mountain lake called “Senchal Lake” which attracts lots of tourists for its picturesque beauty of water and blue sky. If you are fortunate to visit Darjeeling during plucking seasons (from April to November), the Happy Valley Tea Estate, just beyond the town is a pleasant tea garden to spend your vacations, sipping those world class tea.
Darjeeling Tea had such a premium value in the European and US markets that it was soon considered to be one of the finest teas in the world in terms of its aroma and delicacy of taste. Hence, Darjeeling Tea has been named as “Champagne of the East”. The Darjeeling Gurkha Hill Council (DGCH) Tourism introduced Special “Tea Garden Tour” from Darjeeling – Hima Falls-Marybong Tea Estate-Chongtong-Bijanbari within 6 hours tour package.
Try out the One-day Treks at Tiger Hill-Bara Durpin and back (6 km, 2.5 hr journey) or Tiger Hill – Sonada via Chatakpur, back to Darjeeling by Bus (15 km, 5.5 hr journey). For longer treks, you can try out the Himalayan Experience (8 days indicative) or the Singalila Trek (8 days). Other Adventures are Mountain Biking at Darjeeling-Kurseong-Darjeeling and river rafting on the Teesta/Rangeet
Courtesy: Mohen Naorem