Darjeeling : A Dream of Beauty
Like a dream, Darjeeling lies stretched over the steep mountain ridge. Emerald tea plantations surround it and add an enchanting fragrant breeze mixed with the aroma of tea. As a background, the snow-white peaks of the Himalayas float on whiter smoky clouds.
Darjeeling is the most incredible attraction in West Bengal. Here you can stare in amazement at the Kanchenjunga Peak as it towers in the background. The city retains the colonial era charm with its beautiful architecture which makes your journey through the narrow streets a more fascinating affair. Here, you can enjoy glimpses of the rare red pandas snow leopards. In case you feel exhausted while enjoying all these interesting sights, there will always be a freshly brewed cup of the delicious Darjeeling Tea waiting for you.
How to Get There
By Air :
The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra which is approximately 95 km away from the city. There are some direct flights from the cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati to Darjeeling.
By Rail :
New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead with connections to Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Madras, Bombay, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Tirupati, Trivandrum and Cochin.
By Road :
Darjeeling is well connected to some of the major cities closeby such as Gangtok,Siliguri and Kalimpong.
Darjeeling Toy Train
A visit to Darjeeling will remain incomplete if you do not take a ride on the Darjeeling Toy Train. Officially the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the train system has been designated by the UNESCO World Heritage. The narrow gauge railway network is still traversed by original steam engines and you will be taken across some of the most fascinating natural sights in Darjeeling. The journey is literally a joyride. The entire network is a testament to the skills of the engineers who brought the vision to life.
A visit to Tiger Hill should only be done at dawn. As the soft light of dawn creeps over the horizon, you will be stunned by the Himalayan mountain range which stretches over 250km. Among the various peaks which slowly glitter under the rays, you will recognize some of the famous mountains in the range including Everest, Makalu and Lhotse. However, due to its proximity, the Kanchenjunga Peak will tower over the rest. It is a sight that can make your jaw drop.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
One of the best zoos in India, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park was established in 1958. Here the bountiful Himalayan fauna are studied and conserved in their natural habitat. There are some incredible creatures here such as the red pandas, clouded leopards, Tibetan wolves and Himalayan bears. There is a breeding center here dedicated to the cause of the Snow Leopard.
Chowrasta and the Mall
These are two of the most famous places in Darjeeling. At the Mall, you can enjoy the social life of the hill station by indulging in a shopping spree. Many of these shops have been operating for a number of decades and have become a part of the heritage of Darjeeling. You can even take a ride on a pony at Chowrasta.
At Batasia Loop, the fascinating toy train of Darjeeling takes a circular route around the Gorkha War Memorial. The views from this place are amazing and you can relax in the greenery here. The tranquil atmosphere is, in fact, perfect for relaxation.
The somber War Memorial is surrounded by a simple garden which seems rather fitting for the monument. The memorial was created as an honor to the valiant Gorkha soldiers of the Indian Army. These brave soldiers laid down their lives in the different operations and wars after the independence of India.
The white facades of the pagoda gleam invitingly. It is one of the 70 pagodas built by the Nipponzan Myohoji, a Japanese Buddhist organization, around the world. The pagoda is quite simple but very enjoyable especially during the prayer times. During prayer, you will be encouraged to join in by beating a small hand drum.