The town and hill station of Darjeeling lies in northern West Bengal.
Gifted to the British East India Company in 1817, Darjeeling is
the hill station of West Bengal. This has been called the queen
of hill-stations. Darjeeling is one of India's most famous hill
resorts. It is 2134 m or 7000ft above sea level.
In 1835, Darjeeling was given to the East India Company by the
King of Sikkim. It became a popular resort for the British who wanted
to escape from the sweltering heat of the plains.
Say Darjeeling, and your listener is bound to reply tea. The association
is well deserved. Darjeeling produces the world's most aromatic
variety of tea. The unusual mixture of soil, altitude, sunshine,
rainfall and the character of the people help Darjeeling produce
the most fragrant of teas. Thus, good Darjeeling tea is indeed the
champagne of teas.
It was around 1834 when Lord William Bentinck appointed a committee
"to consider the question of importing seeds and plants from
China; to decide upon the most favourable localities for growing
them..." Around 1835 seedlings and tea seeds were distributed
to various parts of India, mostly in the hilly regions of the country.
Situated at an altitude of 2590 metres (8482 ft.), it is 15 km from
Darjeeling town. An early morning trip to the Tiger Hill promises
an unique experience. A view of the sunrise amidst the Himalayan
range has earned it an international fame. From here you can get
a glimpse of Mount Everest, the highest mountain and Kanchenjunga
The Observatory Hill
Apart from the magnificent view it commands, this hill atop the
Mall also is attached with great religious importance as a revered
temple complex for both the Hindus
and the Buddhists.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or the Toy
This fascinating narrow gauge steam engine train still operates
with the original steam engine and the loops and the zigzags along
the route are remarkable feats of engineering. The journey from
New Jalpaiguri may be a pleasant experience but it is the short
ride from Darjeeling town to Ghoom, the nearest station, that becomes
a joy ride in itself. The Toy Train is considered an engineering
marvel and some prefer to call it one of the wonders of the world,
to be preserved forever.
Batasia Loop and the War Memorial
About 5 kms. from Darjeeling, this railway loop is a marvellous
feat of engineering and with its magnificent view of Darjeeling
town with the Kanchenjunga mountain is worth an experience, whether
aboard the Toy Train or just watching the Toy Train pass through
this loop. The War memorial is constructed in the memory of the
brave sons of Darjeeling who died for the country since Independence
While in Darjeeling a visit to any nearby Tea Garden to watch the
actual process of the manufacturing of Darjeeling Tea is worth it.
Some of the Tea Gardens also sell their packet teas. There are about
70 tea gardens in this hill region and the most accessible one is
the Happy Valley Tea Estate, which is about 3 kms. from the town
a walking distance of about 40 minutes (Closed on Monday).
In and around Darjeeling there are important and interesting Tibetan
Buddhist Monasteries. The oldest one is called the Yiga Cholling
Monastery which is situated about 8 kms. from the town at Ghoom
and enshrines an image of 'the Coming Buddha' or the Maitriya Buddha.
It was constructed in 1875 and belongs to the Gelugpa Sect. The
Samten Cholling Monastery is another interesting monastery nearby.
The Drukpa Kargyud Monastery, also known as Dali Monastery, is a
big monastery located 5 kms. from the town. It belongs to the Drukpa
Sect and the Drukchen Rimpoche resides here. The Bhutia Busty Monastery
is situated at C.R. Das Road and is within 15 minutes walk from
Japanese Peace Pagoda
The Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist inaugurated the Japanese Peace Pagoda
in 1992. It is a recent landmark constructed by Japanese Monks and
commands an excellent view of the town and the Himalayan Range.
Situated just below the Railway station the temple is a structural
replica of the famous 'Pashupatinath' temple of Kathmandu, Nepal.
The Mall and Chowrasta
The Mall road originates and culminates at the Chowrasta which is
the hub of Darjeeling town, a square on the ridge of Darjeeling
town and a good place to sit and relax. It is ideal for a leisurely
walk around a setting that is perfect. A walk around The Mall is
a must just at any time of the day with the pleasant view of the
mountains, valleys with rhododendron trees and old houses.
Natural History Museum
While taking a walk in The Mall a visit to the Museum of Natural
History which lies closeby is worthwhile. This fine small museum
exhibits an unique collection of the fauna of the Himalayan region,
especially of the Eastern Himalayas.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
It was founded in 1954 after the historic conquest of Everest on
the 29th of May in 1953, when two people set foot atop Mount Everest.
They were, Tenzing Norgay (Sherpa) from Darjeeling and Sir Edmund
Hillary from New Zealand. As an honour to the great Sherpa this
Institute was formed with the aim of imparting mountaineering skills
to all the enthusiasts. Tenzing Sherpa himself was one of the founding
members and also the Field Director of the Institute. It is situated
on Jawahar Parbat and adjoins the Zoo. This Institute also houses
a museumwhich holds a rare collection of mementos from various Everest
expeditions. Nawang Gombu, the first man to have climbed the Everest
twice is presently the Chief Advisor for the Mountaineering Training.
Himalayan Zoological Park and Snow Leopard
A high altitude wild life park and new home of the Siberian Tiger,
Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer etc. , Padmaja Naidu Himalayan
Zoological Park or the town Zoo exhibits some rare Himalayan Fauna
including the Snow Leopard, Red panda, Tibetan Wolf, Himalayan Pheasants,
etc. It is a treat for all wild life enthusiasts. Just nearby is
a very successful Snow Leopard Breeding Centre.
Lloyds Botanical Garden
This is a colourful garden situated just below the market. In 1878
Mr. W. Lloyd gifted 40 acres of hillside to make a garden with local
plants and flowers. It still has the most varied collection of rhododendron,
magnolia, orchids, etc. of the Eastern Himalayas. It also has a
glass-house full of alpine flowers and also features an Orchidarium
and a collection of medicinal plants.
Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway
This Ropeway is in one of the most beautiful part of the town and
is situated at North Point about 3 kms. from town. The cable car
ride takes 6 passengers at a time and it passes over the lush green
tea gardens with breathtaking view of the mountains (Kanchenjunga)
and provides an experience that cannot be easily forgotten. The
valley has glorious views of Sikkim and the river Rangeet.
Ava Art Gallery
Approximately 10 minutes by taxi from the motor stand, it is just
below the main road on the way to Ghoom. This gallery houses fine
art and embroidery work of Mrs. Ava Devi.
Darjeeling has some interesting places to watch the local handicrafts
being made as well as a various range of choiced handicraft souvenirs.
The Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre is a self-supporting Centre
for Tibetan refugees which manufactures some intriguing Tibetan
handicrafts. Established for the rehabilitation of Tibetan refugees
who had followed the Dalai Lama to India in early 1959. It offers
a wide choice of Tibetan handicrafts, Tibetan woollen carpet is
very popular. Hayden Hall, a Roman Catholic social service centre
also has a handicraft section with the purpose of helping the local
Handmade items are available for sale at reasonable prices. The
Manjusha Bengal Emporium offers prominent hill handicrafts, handloom
and silk products of West Bengal for display and for sale. It is
situated at Nehru Road. Gram Shilpa is another such showroom displaying
Khadi handloom silk products and set up by the Khadi and Village
Industries Commission, Govt. of India. It is situated in Chowrasta.
Darjeeling Railway station is in Darjeeling town. Toy Train journey
from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling takes about 8 hours.
New Jalpaiguri is the major railway station (88 kms about 3 hours
drive) which is connected to all the major cities in India.
Nearest Airport is Bagdogra (90 km) which has flights connecting
to Calcutta, Delhi and Guwahati. Drive from Bagdogra airport to
Darjeeling takes about 3½ hours. Airlines bookings can be
made from Darjeeling.
Darjeeling - Siliguri/Bagdogra airport (90 km )/New Jalpaiguri Railway
Station (80 kms)
Darjeeling - Kalimpong 51 kms.
Darjeeling - Gangtok, Sikkim 115 kms.
Darjeeling - Pashupati (27 km) (Nepal border)(Not authorised entry
point for foreigners, only Indian and Nepali citizens are allowed
to enter from here)
Darjeeling - Kakarvita (117 km) (Nepal border)
Darjeeling - Phuntsoling (233 km) (Bhutan border)
Almost every year Darjeeling's temperature drops below freezing
during the Winter season, from November to February. In Summer,
Darjeeling is delightfully cool with the maximum temperature reaching
Rainfall : Rain falls mostly during
months from June to September. The annual recorded rainfall in Darjeeling
is 320 cms.
Clothing : Light woollen for summer
and heavy woollens for winter.
Best time to visit : March to mid-June
and September to mid-December.
General Information & Accomdation info on Darjeeling city of
West Bengal - India