Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendour, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas.
Darjeeling is one of the most magnificent hill resorts in the world. This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. The flaming red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias, the miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir - all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the QUEEN OF HILL STATIONS.
Darjeeling - the name is derived from the Tibetian word "Dorje" which means the precious stone or ecclesiastical sceptre, which is emblematic of the thunderbolt of Indra, and "ling" - a place, hence the land of the thunderbolt. The sceptre of Indra is believed to have fallen at a place where now stands the Observatory Hill.
Darjeeling beckons thousands today for a leisurely respite from the bustle of the madding crowd. The traveller - whether a tourist or a trekker, an ornithologist or a photographer, a botanist or an artist - will find in Darjeeling an experience which will remain etched in ones memory - forever.
Altitude : 2134 m
Population :345669 (90-91)
Rainfall: 320 cms annually
Best Season: March to mid June & September to mid December
Clothing: Light Tropical
Summer: Light woollens
Winter : Heavy woollens
Language Spoken :English, Nepali, Bengali, Hindi, Tibetian
Air: The nearest airport Bagdogra is primarily for Darjeeling hill areas. Bagdogra is 90 kms (56 miles) from Darjeeling. Journey Time - about 3 hours. Indian Airlines N.E.P.C. Skyline Jet Airways operate regular Services to Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati.
Rail: The two closest railway stations are Siliguri (80 kms) and New Jalpaiguri (88 kms) from Darjeeling. These railway stations have direct railway connections with Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Varanasi and other major cities of India. Some Direct Train services from New Jalpaiguri.
PLACE OF INTEREST
Situated at an altitude of 2590 metres (8482 ft.) and 13 kms from the town, this spot has earned international fame for the magnificent view of the sunrise over "Kanchenjunga" and the great Eastern Himalayan Mountains. Even Mount Everest, the world"s highest peak, is visible from here.
About 5 kms from Darjeeling, this Railway Loop is a marvellous feat of engineering. It is fascinating to watch the toy train wind its way round the loop. The War Memorial constructed in the memory of brave sons of Darjeeling who died in different action since 1947, is worth a visit. A glorious view of snowy peak and town can be seen from this place. Entrance fee: Rs. 2/- Timings: sunrise till two hours after sunset.
Apart from the magnificent view it commands, great religious importance is attached to the observatory Hill by both Hindus and Buddhists who are worshipped here by the hundreds.
Museums, Parks, Gardens & Art Galleries
HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINEERING INSTITUTE & PADMAJA NAIDU HIMALAYAN ZOOLOGICAL PARK:
Situated on Jawahar Parbat about 2 km. From Chowrasta, this unique institution trains mountaineers. It has a museum containing an interesting collection of mountaineering equipment. Adjacent to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, it is a high altitude wild life park and new home for Siberian Tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, Deer, Red Panda, Snow Leopard and Birds. Timings: 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Closed on Thursday. Entrance Fee: Rs. 6/- per head for Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Zoo.
The Snow Leopard breeding Centre:
It was started in 1986 to breed Snow Leopards in captivity with the help of International Snow Leopard captive breeding project. Entrance fee Rs. 10/- Closed on Thursday.
Tenzing Rock and Gombu Rock:
Situated at Lebong Cart Road. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute conducts preliminary course on Rock climbing on these Rocks.
Natural History Museum:
Within walking distance from Chowrasta, this interesting museum contains comprehensive collection of the fauna of the region. Opens from 10 a.m. too 4 p.m. Closed on Thursdays. Entrance fee: Re 2/-, children Rs. 1/-.
Lloyds Botanical Garden:
A colourful garden situated just below the Market Motor Stand. It contains a representative collection of Himalayan plants, flowers, orchids etc. The green houses are well worth a visit. Timing: 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance free.
The Shrubbery: This beautiful garden is situated on the Jawahar Parbat behind Raj Bhawan. A magnificent view of Kanchenjunga Range and Singla Valley can be enjoyed from here.
About 3 mins walk from Chowrasta will bring the visitors to the place where the famous Indian patriot Deshbandu Chittaranjan Das had passed away in 1925.
Ava Art Gallery:
About 2 km from town on the way to Ghoom. It houses fine art and embroidery work of Mrs. Ava Devi. Timing 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance: 25 p.
Happy Valley Tea Estate:
Of about seventy tea gardens in this hilly region, this is one of the nearest, about 3 km from the town. Here one can see the processing of the world famous Darjeeling tea. Timing: 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Closed on Sundays (afternoon and) and Mondays (full day).
Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway:
At North Point about 3 km from the town. The first passenger ropeway in India. For reservation of ropeway seats please contact Officer in-charge, Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Ropeway Station, North Point, Darjeeling. Phone: 52731. Regular share taxi service available from Market Motor. Stand to the Ropeway Station. Fare 5.00.
Lebong Race Course:
About 8 km from the town, it is the smallest race course in the world. The complete lap is only 480 yds. Long. It was laid out in 1885 as a parade ground.
Garg World Amusement Park:
Situated at a distance of about 4 km. On Gandhi Road it is a new amusement park with a variety of attractions. Entry fee: Rs. 15/-
Barbotey Rock Garden:
Situated 10 kms. from town it is a very attractive picnic spot with natural water falls.Handicraft
Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre:
Tibetan refugee self help centre was established on 1st October 1959 to rehabilitate displaced Tibetians who had followed His Holiness The Dalai Lama to India in early 1959. This centre produces excellent carpets, woollen goods, wood work, leather work etc. The Tiebtan craftsmen can be seen at work at the centre.Closed on Sundays.
Manjusha, Bengal Emporium:
Prominent hill handicrafts, handloom and silk products of West Bengal are displayed and sold here. The emporium is situated at Nehru Road.
Woollen carpets, cotton shoulder bags, table mats, hand knitted pure woollen sweaters and caps are available for sale at reasonable prices. The items are woven by the local ladies.
Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Govt. of India, an ideal place to buy khadi handloom silk products. Excursions, Picnic Spots & Short treks Senchal Lake: A favourite picnic spot about 10 km. from the town. Senchal Lake provides water supply to Darjeeling town. Singla: Altitude 244 metres or 800 ft. (approx.). This attractive picnic spot near Rangeet River has been earmarked by the Department of Tourism, DGHC for a water sports complex. Ajitar: 21 km. from Darjeeling by road (jeepable), it is a magnificent picnic spot. Bijanbari: 38 km. from Darjeeling by road (motorable). Situated at an altitude of 762 metres or 2500 ft. This beautiful picnic spot is near the Little Rangeet river.
Trekking in the Darjeeling Hills began almost a century ago. Infact, the first organised trekking route in India was established here along the Sangalila range. The trek begins in Darjeeling and proceeds through Maneybhanjyang, Tonglu, Sandakphu and ends in Phalut. The alluring natural beauty is replete with countless varieties of rhododendrons, magnolias, orchids and wild flowers. The dense forests, the verdant meadows, the savage mass of Mt. Everest, the everlasting beauty of Kanchenjunga, the rugged Lhotse or the mysterious Makalu - all in one sweeping glance, present an experience that can never be equaled.
There are trekker huts under the management of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Tourism Department all along the route to Sandakphu. For further information contact Tourist Bureau, Darjeeling.