Darjeeling is a picture perfect hill station sitting atop a ridge at 2134m is replete with Buddhist monasteries, trekking trails and awesome mountain views. People flock to this lovely hill station to escape the heat and humidity of the plains and beat the stress of city life. In Darjeeling feast your eyes on the panoramic views of the snow clad peaks of the Himalayas that are straight out of a postcard and provide a welcome relief from the dust and soot of urban India.
How to Reach Darjeeling?
By Air : Bagdogra, 96 km away, is the nearest airport, connected to Kolkata, Delhi, and Guwahati. From here a bus or private taxi can get you to Darjeeling in 3 hours.
By Rail : New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead with connections to Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Madras, Bombay, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Tirupati, Trivandrum and Cochin. From Jalpaiguri the "toy train" to Darjeeling takes a picturesque route lasting about 7 hours. The route passes through some extraordinarily beautiful sites and stops at a place called Batasia Loop to enable passengers to shoot the magnificent Mt. Kanchenjunga.
By Road : The road distances are Kolkata 651 km, Gangtok 100 km and Kalimpong 51 km. If you plan to drive in from Kolkata you will face certain stretches where the road condition is not very favourable. But after you hit the hill stretch, it is a joy to drive. Journey time is 14 hours.
Best Time to Visit Darjeeling
The best time to visit this hill station is between April to June and from September to December. The summer temperature hovers between 14° C and 8°Celsius and the winter temperatures fall to a freezing 6°C to 1°Celsius. Monsoons are rather heavy and should be avoided as they frequently cause landslides.
Things to do in Darjeeling
The activity that tops the list of things to do in Darjeeling is to sip tea. Darjeeling is famous for its tea plantation so try a variety of teas and sink in the steaming hot aromas of fresh tea leaves. This beautiful hill station offers panoramic views of Tiger Hills and Mount Everest. Senchal Lake is a perfect picnic spot with exquisite nature scenery. If travelling with kids and family you can visit the Darjeeling zoo, the Everest and Mountaineering Museum or botanical gardens.
The Observatory Hill is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists for its Kali temple and is a good option for a religious trip. Adventure enthusiasts can take trekking trails to Himalayan ridges, Indo-Nepal border or Singhalia ridge and enjoy the flower filled countryside brimming over with delicate magnolias, orchids and lush green landscape. The forest trails offer views of Kanchenjunga and glimpses of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu.
A shopaholic can buy exclusive Tibetan Carpets, handicraft, silk, handloom products from Manjusha Emporium and of course don’t forget to take some tea packets back home for friends. Darjeeling is a perfect place to experience a wonderful scenic and relaxed getaway.
Places Near Darjeeling
There are many places near Darjeeling and that include Kurseong, Kalimpong, Mirik, Pedong, Gangtok to name a few.
Kurseong is a hill station located 30 kms away from Darjeeling at an altitude of 1458 mts. There are many places to see in Kurseong including Eagle's Crag, from where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the Teesta River and the evergreen forest of Darjeeling. At the peak there is Netaji Kothi. Trekking enthusiasts can find quite a number of trekking trails.
The serene hill station of Kalimpong is located 50 kms away from Darjeeling. This hill station, at an altitude of 1250 m above the sea level is located at the foothills of Shivalik ranges in Lower Himalayas. Earlier, this place was under the rule of Bhutanese kings. You will get to see centuries old churches, ancient Buddhist monasteries, and old temples in this hill station. For nature lovers, there is 7th Mile View Point, from where you will get to see the panoramic view of the breathtaking Teesta Valley. You can also indulge in shopping, when in Kalimpong. A drive of 60 kms from Darjeeling will take you to Mirik, a beautiful hill-station. Visit the tea estates and orange orchards surrounding Mirik. There is a long lake stretching 2 kms that has a floating fountain in the middle. You can enjoy boat ride in the lake. The placid lake, the dense forests and the natural beauty of the place will soothe your eyes.
If you want to experience the splendid views of the snow-capped Mount Kanchenjunga, head to Pedong, which is about 70 kms away from Darjeeling. This place is located on the ancient Silk Route. Adventure enthusiasts can go for trekking from Pedong to Damsang Fort.
One of the best hill-stations of northeast regions of India, Gangtok is located about 94 kms away from Darjeeling. This hill station is known for its scenic beauty and panoramic views of the mount Kanchenjunga. Himalayan Zoological Park, Enchey Monastery, Tashi View Point are some of the places to visit in Gangtok.
Hotels in Darjeeling – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Darjeeling ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.