One of the famous hill stations in the north-eastern part of India that is popular with tourists from both within the country and abroad is Darjeeling. Being a district of West Bengal, this hill station is synonymous with stunning beauty and surrounded by tea plantations, the produce of which is exported on a global scale and enjoyed by tea lovers. Hence, it is rightly known as ‘Tea Garden of India’. There are indeed plenty of things to be done here that will leave you completely mesmerized and want more of it. This small hill station has also been popularized by several Indian movies whose locations have been shot amidst natural sceneries.
Things to do during the trip
- Sandakphu: If you love adventure, then a trekking trip in the region is a must. Sandakphu is considered to be the state’s highest point and also considered to be an ideal and mesmerizing destination for all trekking enthusiasts. Is height is at about 3,636m and you can get to view panoramic views of Kanchenjunga and Mt. Everest peak.
- Teesta: If river rafting is what excites you, then Teesta is the right place to be. There are numerous rapids here with varying intensities, which range between Grade 1-4 of international level. The final grades are allowed only for well trained, experienced and seasoned rafters due to the different levels of dangers associated with it.
- Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: Established at Jawahar Parvat, several adventure and mountaineering courses are conducted here at different levels, targeting amateurs and experts. Course duration offered ranges from few days to about a month. It also has basic activities including rock climbing for those one-time visitors not interested to take up full-fledged courses. Whatever be the course duration, the kind of experience you are to have here is simply exhilarating and unmatched.
- Toy Train: A ride in this heritage toy train is a must for each and every tourist visiting Darjeeling, irrespective of their age. The ride starts from Ghoom station and you can alight at Kurseong. Here, you can find several food joints.
- Tiger Hill: A glimpse of the sunrise at this hill will ensure that your trip is completed. Watching the first rays of the sun falling on Kanchenjunga’s snow-capped mountains and its illumination is just amazing.
- Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park: Located in the heart of Darjeeling town, you can explore different types of endangered Himalayan animals like the Red Panda, Himalayan Wolf, snow leopards, etc. You also get to explore the institute and avail exciting, useful tips on mountaineering.
- Kalimpong: Close to Darjeeling town and within Darjeeling district is located Kalimpong. You can visit the popular and beautiful monastery Zang Dhok Palri Phodang. This monastery is said to be of immense significance, since it is the home to several rare scriptures brought by the Tibetans who escaped Chinese incursion in 1959. This religious, peaceful sanctuary is to be part of your must-visit list.
- Dooars: You should also visit the Dooars and get to see the sprawling beauty of Darjeeling Tea plantations here and also get a sip of it, which help you to feel refreshed. It is indeed a magical sight that can never be forgotten and can be treasured by capturing them in the photos.
- Batasia Loop: It is a scenic and historically significant place for sightseeing. You can get to see this small park that is located on the edge of the mountain, where the toy train loops over on its way to Darjeeling or vice versa. There is constructed a Gorkha open air war memorial that has been dedicated to the brave soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in the First & Second World Wars for their country. From here, on any clear day, you can get to see the majestic Kanchenjunga peak in its full glory.
- Peace Pagoda: This pagoda is located on the Charlimont Hill and is among the thirty such pagodas across the globe to be constructed by Nichidatsu Fujii, the Japanese Buddhist monk. Its objective is to promote World Peace, happiness and harmony. You can visit the pagoda and have a tranquil and serene experience.
What to shop at Darjeeling?
If you love shopping, there are several places here that will leave you excited.
- Bhutia Market: This market is established by the Bhutias who have come down and settled in Darjeeling for ages now. The market is actually temporary stalls set in a row on the narrow lane leading down from The Mall (Chowrasta), close to Nathmulls. This place is a real shopping paradise, where you can shop for winter apparels like mufflers, shawls, woollen caps, gloves, jackets, sweaters, etc. including jeans and other items at reasonable prices. Visit Nathmulls to shop for Darjeeling Tea from different shops.
- Chowrasta: Also called the Mall, it is quite popular with tourists, who come here to relax and enjoy the mesmerizing evening. The Mall Road that stretches through Chowrasta, not only is considered to be a shopping hub, but also a great place to have a stroll.
- Tattoos: When body art is concerned, Darjeeling is very much like Goa. You can come across several temporary and permanent tattoo parlours that offer brilliant masterpiece to tattoo part of your body with your favourite image. It does add that hippie influence and also are budgeted.
What to eat during the trip?
- Churpi: This chewing bar type is made from yak milk and is not sweet in taste. However, it has that delicious flavour and can be kept chewing for hours for fun. What exactly makes it unique is that chewing it provides energy to your body and during winter, keeps you warm. It can be found in any of the shops here at nominal price.
- Momos & Thukpas: These items are just loved by many people across the globe. You can satisfy your cravings for thukpa and momos here as you can avail several varieties that are simply delicious. You can find them at street joints in the nooks & corners of this town.
You can book budgeted or premium hotels in Darjeeling of your choice.