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Darjeeling :Queen of The Himalayas

Jaw-dropping locales, mesmerising sunrises, the untouched beauty of the hills, the old-world charm of the past, and the welcoming smiles of the local people all add up to make Darjeeling one of the most beautiful hill stations in Eastern part of India. Spread over a steep mountain ridge, nestled amidst acres of lush green tea plantations, Darjeeling stands at the height of 2,050 meters above sea level, thus boasting of cool climes all year round. This scenic hill station is the perfect getaway for a romantic honeymoon and is just around 700 kilometres away from Kolkata.

A respite from the hot and humid summers of India, Darjeeling is a popular tourist destination in North-East India. Providing a heady mixture of splendid tea gardens on rolling mountain slopes, meandering toy train rides through the picturesque city, and delectable traditional Tibetan cuisine, Darjeeling works wonders to cater to the gorgeous panorama of the Himalayas.

There is a reason the city is known as the ‘Queen of the Himalayas’. The lush green slopes dotted with women plucking tea leaves is a sight as mesmerising as no other. There are over 86 tea estates in Darjeeling that are responsible for producing the worldwide famous ‘Darjeeling Tea’. Have a cup of locally brewed chai at the tea estate, or get down amidst the plantations to pluck a few tea leaves yourself, you are free to take your pick!

A previous summer capital of India under the British Raj, Darjeeling has come off age as one of the most sought after hill stations in India. Famous for its beautiful tea plantations and the quality of Darjeeling tea, Darjeeling is a delight for all kind of tourists. The toy train established back in 1881, still runs in this part and is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Beautiful colonial architecture including mansions and churches dot this little beautiful town. Filled with people from Tibet, Nepal, nearby Indian states and the Gorkhas, Darjeeling is brimming with cultural diversity. The third highest peak in the world and the highest in India, the Kanchenjunga peak is clearly visible from here and you can enjoy a panoramic view of the peak. Some of Darjeeling’s most popular attractions include monasteries, botanical gardens, a zoo, and the Darjeeling-Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway cable car which happens to be the longest Asian cable car. Darjeeling is a wonderful place to walk around and explore the tea estates, villages, and markets.

why darjeeling is famous for?

Darjeeling is famous throughout the world for the tea it grows and the great view of Kanchenjunga range of mountains that it offers. It is also known for its richness in cultural & natural heritage and the famous toy train that has been declared a UN heritage.

Best time to visit darjeeling:-

Best Time to Visit Darjeeling. While summer months from April to June are the ideal time to travel to Darjeeling, some travellers including couples also prefer to visit the beautiful town during winter months from October to December.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Himalayan Railway

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway also referred to as the DHR, and lovingly called the ‘Darjeeling Toy Train’, is a 2 feet narrow gauge train that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, in West Bengal, India. The construction of this 88-kilometre long railway line took place between 1879 and 1881, and a ride on this train route has been a coveted experience ever since. A journey in the Darjeeling Toy Train has amazing sights with pleasing mountain views and pass by villages and local shops on the way, with children merrily waving at them. 

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway provides significant transport links between various parts of the Darjeeling hills and lower plains and is a piece of sheer engineering inventiveness and vision. How else can a small steam engine pull mini coaches up the steep mountains by overcoming almost unfeasible curves and gradients? This is perhaps why the Darjeeling Toy Train was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 2 December 1999. Later on, two more railway lines were added, and the site came to be known as the Mountain Railways of India. A ride on such a heritage transport is no doubt a relaxing and charming one but is also prestigious because this train is what once provided the first and most important mountain transportation link in the country.

Tiger Hill

Tiger Hill

Lying at an altitude of 2590 meters and a distance of 13 kilometres away from the Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is most famous for its splendid sights of sunrise from where you can see the peaks of Kanchenjunga illuminate before the sun is seen at lower elevations. The magnificent view of snow-capped mountains sitting amidst cotton clouds attracts tourists to Tiger Hill from all over the country. Interestingly, this is also the summit of Ghoom, which is the highest railway station in the darjeeling himalayan railway a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The starting time from Darjeeling is 3.30 AM to reach tiger hill by 4.15 AM  The starting time becomes 4.15 AM in winters due to delayed sunrise time.  The roads get blocked by a convoy of jeeps and cars during the peak season. To get up to the sunrise spot, it requires a  short climb on foot from the parking spot. One can book a car or an Innova for INR 1200/ INR 1800 from a travel agency in the city or pay INR 200 per head.

Batasia Loop

Batasia Loop

Perhaps one of the most picturesque train routes in all of darjeeling , the Batasia Loop is a lush green toy train pathway that is meant to minimise the elevation of the darjeeling himalayan railway . The unique design of this magnificent attraction allows the track to wrap around itself through a hilltop tunnel. One of the most enchanting aspects of the Batasia Loop is its unmatched natural beauty which is a wonderful sight to behold. Located on Hill Cart Road (NH 55), you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Darjeeling in all its verdant glory. 

Situated in Ghoom which is about 5 kilometres from Darjeeling, the motive behind creating the magnificent pathway of the Batasia Loop was rooted in easing navigation around the terrain of Darjeeling. It rises from the midst of emerald carpets of mountain vegetation and overlooks the snowy peaks of Kanchenjungha on one side as well. Endearing flowers line the way, which makes a trip through Batasia Loop a must after you have witnessed the fascinating sunrise of tiger hill. The view of the train tearing past the white of the clouds and deeper into the green beauty of the terrain is a refreshing and enchanting expedition which should not be missed.

Darjeeling Ropeway

Darjeeling Ropeway

Darjeeling is renowned across the world as one of the most picturesque hill stations, where one can witness a myriad of exquisite landscapes, from the glorious snow-capped mountains to the charming valley replete with verdant tea estates. For this reason, the Darjeeling Ropeway finds itself as a prime attraction of Darjeeling, giving its passengers an array of divine panoramic views as they travel across the magical valley.

Established in 1968, the Darjeeling Ropeway is India’s first cable car system, set up to cater to the tea gardens in the valleys which did not have easy access. Today, it serves as a coveted tourist hotspot, attracting scores of tourists all year round to experience the beauty of Darjeeling’s scenery in the best way possible. With 16 cable cars, each car accommodates 6 people as it travels from the North Point in Singamari to the Singla Bazaar, situated by the banks of the enchanting Ramman river, transporting passengers at an altitude of 7000 feet. The view of the numerous tea estates of Darjeeling, the cascading waterfalls, and the majestic Kanchenjunga makes this experience an essential to every tourist in Darjeeling. The gondola moves at a moderate speed, allowing travellers some good opportunities for some brilliant photo opportunities. At the bottom end of the trip, the cable car halts for a while, where travellers may explore the lovely tea gardens, or relax at the small mountain cafe, before proceeding back to the Singamari base station.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

Located in Darjeeling, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is recognized as one of the best mountaineering institutes in the world. Established on 4th November 1954, the primary purpose of this initiative was to encourage, enhance and support the interest of the people in the sport of mountaineering, and to channel the abundant energy of the youth into a productive and self-awarding sport. Aspiring mountaineers from all over the world come to this institute to develop their skills. Besides being one of the best mountaineering institutes in the world, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute has become a significant tourist attraction on account of its picturesque setting in the hill station of Darjeeling. The magnificent view of the 8586-meter high peak of Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, from this institute is genuinely mesmerizing.

In the field of adventure, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute aims at developing mountaineering as a sport of scientific and entrepreneurial pursuit. A mountaineer doesn’t just climb mountains, he understands them. He feels the earth beneath his feet and pampers it. Mountaineering is a scientifically artful sport that needs intensive training and deliberate technique, and this is where this grand institute comes in. In the 63 years existence, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute has trained over 45000 students including 2500 aspirants from different countries of the globe. The thrill of mountaineering; of climbing snow clad mountains through the raw landscape in the midst of untouched nature is one that can’t be expressed by mere words. This is an adventure of a lifetime and for a lifetime.

Nightingale Park

Nightingale Park

Located in the mesmerising hill station of Darjeeling, the Nightingale Park is a public park area frequented by the tourists and locals to relish gorgeous views of the Kanchenjunga ranges. It serves as an ideal place to unwind and recharge amidst lush greenery and soothing winds. This park was earlier called ‘The Shrubbery’ when it was a private courtyard of Sir Thomas Tartan’s Bungalow, during the British reign. Flanked by a covered archway, the entrance leads you to pebbled walkways around this oval-shaped park. Since the Nightingale Park is at a slighted elevated terrain, you need to climb a few steps to reach the entry to this green haven. The park was closed for renovation for about four years and has reopened for the public since 2011. There is a giant statue of Lord Shiva, a musical fountain along with the great scenery.

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