Darjeeling - The Land of Thunderbolt
Counted among the most pristine hill stations in India, Darjeeling welcomes you with spectacular views of the Himalayan panorama. The hill town is an excellent fusion of snow-covered peaks, aromatic air and fern-filled valleys. Darjeeling also speaks volume about its tea gardens, Kanchenjunga peak, majestic view of the Himalayas and toy train. This scenic hill station also beckons tourists, adventurers and photographers. With its wonderful plethora of scenic marvels and a rich folk culture, Darjeeling has in store something for everyone.
The name Darjeeling is a combination of 'dorje' meaning 'thunderbolt' and 'ling', which means 'place'. That is why, the land is named as 'the Land of Thunderbolt'. Before 18th century, the town belonged to the kings of Sikkim. In the year 1780 they lost Darjeeling to Gurkhas. After several wars fought between the East India Company and the Gurkhas, it eventually leads to the defeat of the Gurkhas.
Tourist Attractions in Darjeeling
Darjeeling Toy Train
Started in the late 19th century, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a world heritage site. Through a zigzag of tracks, it enables you to enjoy the whole day, moving around 87 kms between Kurseong and Ghoom. En route, you can enjoy rhododendron slopes, spiral hills and pristine views of the Kanchenjunga.
It is among the most renowned monasteries of the hill station. It is situated at 8000 ft and belongs to the Yellow sect of Buddhists. It also has the 15 ft high idol of the Maitreya Buddha. Adorned in gold, the stature is coated with valuable stones. The monastery also has the Tibetan translations of the most famous Sanskrit works by literary geniuses.
It serves as the oldest spot in Darjeeling hill station. The famous Bhutia Basti Gompa was also lies here before it was shifted near Chowrasta. Nowadays, a Kali Temple holiest to both Buddhists and Hindus is also situated here.
Happy Valley Tea Gardens
Happy Valley tea garden lies just km away from the main town. Offering tourists a refreshing environs, the garden beckons you to take a stroll through the carpeted garden.
Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway
It is located at North Point, which is about 3 km from the town. This boasts of being the first passenger ropeway in the country. It links North Point to Singla Bazaar over the Rangeet River in the valley.
Situated about 14 kms from Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is the highest point in the area. The first rays of the sun cast a spell on the distant Himalayan peaks. If you are lucky enough, you just also capture the glimpses of Mount Everest.
Best Time to Visit
From September to June
Shopping in Darjeeling is a delightful opportunity for tourists because they can find here a rich plethora of handicrafts. Himalayan artifacts like jewellery, wooden carvings, brass statues, woven fabrics and carpets are the other popular shopping items.
Darjeeling has numerous options for accommodation. These vary from luxury hotels to star hotels and budget accommodation.
How to Reach
Bagdogra serves as the nearest airport. There are regular flights linking Bagdogra with Kolkata.
Siliguri is the nearest railhead. The Toy train operates from New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri, which offers best opportunity to explore the hill station.
Regular bus services link Darjeeling with major cities in and around the hill station. Towns like Kurseong, Siliguri, Kalimpong and Gangtok have access by private vehicles as well.