|Tiger Hill||11 kilometers from the downtown Darjeeling|
|Observatory Hill||Positioned atop the highest crescendo of Darjeeling close to the Chowrasta|
|Lloyd Botanical Garden||Situated just below the Eden Sanatorium (Saheed Durga Mall District Hospital)|
|Rock Garden||Located adjacent the Chunnu Summer Falls and the Ganga Maya Park|
|Ganga Maya Park||3 kilometers from the Barbotey Rock Garden and nearly 13 kilometers from Darjeeling|
|Nightingale Park/Srubbery Park||Positioned roughly 3 kilometers from the Darjeeling Railway Station and located quite close to the Chowrasta|
|Singalila National Park||Resting on the ‘Singalila Ridge’ in the Eastern Himalayas|
|Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park||Located in the town of Darjeeling in the Birch Hill|
|Birch Hill Park||Near the Raj Bhavan|
|Senchal Lake||Situated nearly 10 kilometers to the southeast of Darjeeling town|
|Batashiya Loop||Located 3 kilometers from the Darjeeling Town|
|Happy Valley Tea Garden|
|Badamtam Tea Estate||Positioned across the Rangit River, the Badamtan Tea Estate|
|Himalayan Mountaineering Institute||Situated close to the ‘Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park’ of Darjeeling|
|Japanese Peace Pagoda||Located at Charlimont on the outskirts of the town of Darjeeling|
|Bhutia Busty Gompa|
|Mahakal Temple||Positioned atop the famous Observatory Hill of Darjeeling|
|Kali Temple||Stationed on the banks of the river in Darjeeling|
|Dhirdham Temple||Located very close to the Darjeeling Railway Station|
|Ghoom Monastery||Situated at Ghoom approximately 8 kilometers to the south of Darjeeling|
|Aloobari Monastery||Placed along the Old Military Road of Darjeeling|
|Darjeeling Himalayan Railway / Toy Train|
|Shruberry Health Club|
|Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car||3 kilometers from the Darjeeling Town|
|Raj Bhawan||Located close to ‘The Mall’|
|Ava Art Gallery||Located roughly 4 kilometers from the Market Square along the National Highway|
|Chowrasta and Mall||Located right in the heart of the hilly town Darjeeling|
|Step Aside||Positioned on the way down to Bhutia Busty via the C.R. Das Road|
|Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre||Located roughly 4 kilometers from the Market Square along the National Highway|
|Bengal Natural History Museum||located in the proximity with the Chowrasta right in heart of hill station|
Tiger Hill, the pinnacle of the Ghoom Hill and the highest railway station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway route is the renowned vantage point of Darjeeling celebrated for the captivating views of the sunrise beyond the lofty Himalayan ranges it offers. Perched at the elevation of approximately 8500 feet, the Tiger Hill is located just 11 kilometers from the downtown Darjeeling. It can be accessed either on foot or by the jeeps easily available here. Even the hotels in Darjeeling arrange an early morning trip to Tiger Hill that pick you up at around 4:00 am and reach you to the crest before sunrise. The earliest vernal rays of the sun springing yonder the Himalayas shed the tender light upon the dual peaks of the Kanchenjunga and bathe it in light golden pink hue. The sumptuous glimpses of the magnificent Mount Everest and the majestic Makalu Mountain beheld from here are sure to leave its spectators totally flabbergasted. On a clear day, even the Kurseong Town and the Teesta, Mahanadi, Balason and Mechi rivers and the Chumal Rhi mountain of Tibet can be apprehended from the Tiger Hill. The mesmeric play of colors on the canvas of the azure sky is a nonpareil panorama captured from the Tiger Hill. Tourists start lining up atop the Tiger Hill from early morning to be the first one to grab the enrapturing vision of the rising sun. The hot Darjeeling tea coupled with the cool breezes of dawn ads to the cajoling effect of the daybreak at the Tiger Hill.
Locally known by the name ‘Makal-Babu-Ko-Thaan’, Observatory Hill happens to be the oldest niche of Darjeeling Town. Venerated by the natives as ‘the Holy Hill’, the Observatory Hill is positioned atop the highest crescendo of Darjeeling close to the Chowrasta. An interesting folklore that forms the background of the Observatory Hill relates that Lord Indra’s scepter i.e. Vajra or ‘Dorjee’ had fallen at this place and struck the earth with a great thunderbolt. The hill station Darjeeling has derived its name after this dynamic phenomenon. Moreover, it is also believed that a Red Hat Buddhist Monastery once stood at this very locale which was destroyed by the Nepalese in 19th century. Presently the famous Mahakal Temple of Darjeeling dedicated to Lord Shiva is nested atop the Observatory Hill where a Hindu priest and a Buddhist monk share a common altar. Revered a lot both by the Hindus as well as the Buddhists, the Observatory Hill; the emblem of Hindu Buddhist harmony, is a must visit place of Darjeeling distinguished both for its religious significance and its unprecedented scenic beauty. Most enchanting prospects the rolling snow crowned Himalayan peaks including the grandiose Mount Kanchenjunga perceived from the Observatory Hill fascinate the tourists to no limit.
Lloyd Botanical Garden
Lloyd Botanical Garden situated just below the Eden Sanatorium (Saheed Durga Mall District Hospital) is the oldest Botanical Garden of Darjeeling established in the year 1878. Initiated as the branch of the Calcutta Botanical Garden, the Lloyd Botanical Garden nestled at the altitude of about 1800 meters is spread over an all encompassing area of about 40 acres. Established on the land gifted by Sir William Lloyd after whom the garden has been christened, the Lloyd Botanical Garden represents the distinctive flora of the Eastern Himalayas; Sikkim and the neighboring regions in particular. Several species of a number of native plants of the Darjeeling Himalayan timberland such as bamboo, magnolia, oak, arisaema, wild geranium, rhododendron, cotoneaster etc are preserved in the Lloyd Botanical Garden of Darjeeling. Apart from that, various exotic plants, native Orchids, cactus and succulent collection of 150 species are exhibited in the conservatory here. Sir John Anderson Rock Garden of Darjeeling is also a part of the Lloyd Botanical Garden. This garden is open all seven days a week from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and the entry to this garden is absolutely free.
There are two Rock Gardens in Darjeeling; the Barbotey Rock Garden and the Sir John Anderson Rock Garden. The Barbotey Rock Garden is located adjacent the Chunnu Summer Falls and the Ganga Maya Park while the Sir John Anderson Rock Garden is a part of the Lloyd Botanical Garden of Darjeeling. The Rock Garden is one of the recent additions to Darjeeling established with an aim of attracting more tourists after the political disturbance of 1980s. Stationed about 10 kilometers from Darjeeling on the way to Ghoom, this Rock Garden was set up by The Gorkha Hill Council Tourism Department. This garden, festooned with well landscaped flowerbeds and a small lake is a multi-leveled picnic berth terraced around a natural cascade gushing down the rocks along a sloppy gradient. Endowed with incredible scenic beauty, the Rock Garden is one of the foremost hanging out destinations of Darjeeling both for the tourists as well as the locals. A number of food joints and shops selling trinkets and curios are put up in the proximity of the Rock Garden. Moreover, women can get dressed in the traditional Darjeeling attire and click photographs here.
Ganga Maya Park
Ganga Maya Park nested approximately 3 kilometers from the Barbotey Rock Garden and nearly 13 kilometers from Darjeeling is one more worth mentioning attraction of this Paradise Personified. Christened in the memory of an innocent victim Ganga Maya who breathed last in the police firing at the time of the GNLF agitation, this garden is laid along the meandering course of a dazzling mountain stream of Darjeeling plateau. Ornamented with clusters of blooming flower shrubs, Himalayan trees, humped backed conduit bridges, an amazing waterfall and a spherical lake, Ganga Maya Park is a perfect locus to repose and relax in the lap of Mother Nature. Tourists can also indulge in the delight of boating at the small lake of Ganga Maya Park. Paddle boats are made available at this lake for the visitors. An additional fascination of this park is the different Gorkha folk dances performed here that represent the ethnic Gorkha Culture and at the same time also entertain the tourists. The entry to this park is free of cost and taking photographs is also permitted here.
Nightingale Park/Srubbery Park
Positioned roughly 3 kilometers from the Darjeeling Railway Station and located quite close to the Chowrasta, the Nightingale Park is an angelic recreational spot located in Darjeeling. Recently the park has undergone a large scale renovation and a massive statue of Lord Shiva and a temple are new additions to the Nightingale Park. An exclusive inducement of this place is that various musical and dance performances that portray the indigenous culture of Darjeeling are presented here everyday during the peak season from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Furthermore, various live interactive entertainments are also organized at the Nightingale Park. The best time to pay a visit to this park is evening when the diminishing radiance of the sun and the blooming grace of the surroundings enamor its guests to no extent. Nominal entry fee as well as moderate photography charges are to be paid by the visitors at the entrance. The Nightingale Park of Darjeeling is commended as an alternative of the Tiger Hill. If you couldn’t make it to the Tiger Hill to witness the play of light in the firmament over the Mount Kanchenjunga, you can head to the Nightingale Park and view the equally entrancing sunlight magic from here. This less crowded park offers magnificent vistas of vivid surroundings and stunning landscapes laden with unrestricted splendor and loveliness which turns out to be a real banquet both for the eyes as well as for the shuttle of the camera.
Singalila National Park
Singalila National Park resting on the ‘Singalila Ridge’ in the Eastern Himalayas at the elevation of over 7000 feet above the sea level in Darjeeling District is a national park particularly reckoned as a popular trekking destination around Darjeeling. The trekking course leading from Manebhanjang to Sandakphu and Phalut pass through this park. Affirmed as a Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1986 and declared an Indian National Park in the year 1992, the Singalila National Park is bounded by the state of Sikkim to its north and by Nepal to its west. The Singalila National Park comprises the Eastern Himalayan sub alpine conifer forests, Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests and Himalayan subtropical pine forests. The flora of the park includes oak, bamboo, magnolia, rhododendron, primula, saxifraga, geranium, senecio, bistort, cotoneaster, orchids and Himalayan Cobra Lilies. The mammal, birds and reptiles that make the fauna of Singalila National Park incorporate red panda, barking deer, leopard cat, wild boar, yellow-throated marten, pangolin, pika, Himalayan black bear, serow, takin, clouded leopard, leopard, tigers, scarlet minivet, blood pheasant, kalij pheasant, satyr tragopan, rufous-vented tit, brown and fulvous parrot bills, ire-tailed myzornis, golden-breasted fulvetta, Himalayan newt and many migratory birds. The Singalila Ridge was employed as a route to reach Mt. Kanchenjunga by the cardinal documented mountaineering team in 1905 AD. This team was headed by Jules Jacot-Guillarmod and Aleister Crowley. Even though this initial endeavor turned out to be fruitless, it marked the onset of the trekking, hiking and camping activities in these regions of the Himalayas. Today, Singalila National Park happens to be the most well-liked family camping destination in the Eastern Himalayas and during the post monsoon season as well as during the spring season the park receives swarms of visitors and adventure enthusiasts.
Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
‘Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park’, also popularly known as the ‘Darjeeling Zoo’ is located in the town of Darjeeling in the Birch Hill neighborhood close to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Spread over the total area of 68 acres and perched at the altitude of about 7000 feet, this zoo happens to be the largest high altitude zoo of the country. Formerly opened to public on 14th August 1958 under the administration of the Education Department of the West Bengal Government, this Zoological Park is christened in the honor of Padmaja Naidu; the Ex Governor of West Bengal and the daughter of Sarojini Naidu; the Nightingale of India. Functioning with an aim of studying and preserving the Himalayan fauna, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park has specialized in breeding alpine animals and accomplished success in captive breeding programs of the Snow Leopard, Himalayan Wolf, Himalayan Salamander, Tibetan Wolf and the Red Panda. According to the census of 2006, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park shelters 156 animals including Red Pandas, Snow Leopards, Siberian Tigers, Gorals, Himalayan Tahr, Himalayan Salamander, Himalayan Monal, Blue Sheep, Grey Peacock Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan etc. In May 1993, this park was handed over to the West Bengal Department of Forests and today it furnishes as the center for the Central Zoo Authority of India’s Red Panda Program. It is also a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Every year roughly 300,000 visitors pay a visit to the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park of Darjeeling.
Birch Hill Park
Birch Hill Park, also known as ‘Jawahar Parbat’ is a derivative of ‘The Mall’ of Darjeeling which is an elite residential area where the ‘Raj Bhavan’ is located. On the western branch line of the Birch Hill Park the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is positioned approximately one and half kilometer from the Observatory Hill. The Birch Hill Park is a Mountaineering Museum where an impressive collection of mountaineering equipments, traditional outfit of Himalayan ethnic tribal groups, specimens of Himalayan flora and fauna, souvenirs brought from different mountaineering clubs all over the world and a relief model of all the major Himalayan peaks etc. are exhibited.
Senchal Lake, situated nearly 10 kilometers to the southeast of Darjeeling town in the proximity with the famous ‘Tiger Hill’, is the chief water reservoir of Darjeeling that acts as the major drinking water source to the entire civic. A part of the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, this lake is perched at the elevation of about 8160 feet above the sea level. An abode of immeasurable scenic pulchritude and flamboyant charisma, the Senchal Lake is one of the most loved picnic spots both amongst the domestic and international tourists as well as the citizens of Darjeeling. People like to unwind in the spectacular vicinity of the Senchal Lake forgetting all the worldly worries and concerns. An additional attraction of the Senchal Lake is its clubhouse and the 9-hole golf course that boasts of being one of the highest golf courses in the world. A tourist lodge established at the Senchal Lake proffers accommodation to the tourists.
Batashiya Loop is a site where the world famous ‘Toy Train’ of Darjeeling takes a turn and creates a shape of a loop. A Gorkha Martyr Memorial is also erected close to the Batashiya Loop of Darjeeling. Moreover, a fabulously landscaped garden is laid down here and if you pay a visit to Batashiya Loop early in the morning before 8 am, you can also take a stroll into the local crafts market of Darjeeling at this place.
Happy Valley Tea Garden
Darjeeling is a Hill Resort of India that has made its mark on the global platform for its ‘Darjeeling Toy Train’ and ‘Darjeeling Tea’. Darjeeling Tea is applauded as one of the most excellent teas in the world in terms of its gratifying aroma and delightful taste. The all embracing tea estates of Darjeeling enveloping the rolling hills and the adjoining landscapes with their lush teeming tea plants spawn an unmatched panorama that incontestably wins the heart of every soul. Happy Valley Tea Garden, one of the spell bounding tea estates of this region covering an extensive area of about 435 acres is one of the most visited destinations of Darjeeling and is incorporated in almost all the itineraries of the Darjeeling sightseeing tours. Located just a kilometer away from the town along the 18 Lebong Cart Road, the Happy Valley Tea Garden was established in the year 1854. David Wilson had named it Wilson Tea Estate and he cultivated tea in this garden since 1860.
The estate was taken over by Tarapada Banerjee in the year 1903. In 1929 he also bought the adjacent Windsor Tea Estate and merging the two he named it ‘The Happy Valley Tea Estate’. The tea bushes in this garden are as old as 80 years and some of them are even as older as 150 years. Quite a few re-plantations have been done over all these years. Happy Valley Tea Garden happens to be the closest and most easily accessible tea estates from Darjeeling. To reach this tea garden one can rent a pony from the Chowrasta or even just walk down the hill and reach the estate. Apart from its magnetic beauty and compelling ambience this tea estate has a lot more to offer. A tour to the Happy Valley Tea Garden turns out to be greatly instructive as the visitors can witness the actual process from tea picking to tea manufacturing here. The tea produced here is sold in UK by Harrods and in France by Mariage Freres. In near future a museum is going to be opened here where age old mementoes and artifacts will be exhibited.
Badamtam Tea Estate
Formerly owned by Lebong Tea Company, a more than 150-years-old tea company, Badamtan Tea Estate was earlier under the British Administration. Positioned across the Rangit River, the Badamtan Tea Estate is one of the halts on the hiking route from Darjeeling to Glenburn. Reaching this tea estate from Darjeeling on foot takes about half a days time. Apart from wandering around the blossoming tea plantations, breathing in the air filled with sweet aroma and seeping the prettiness of the vicinity by both the physical and mental eyes, the tourists also make it a point to buy the first flush tea from here and take it home as a souvenir of Darjeeling. Besides, the Badamtan Tea Estate is also reckoned for the 14 feet tall statue of the Buddha of Badamtan. This idol differs from other usual Buddha effigies that unlike the typical closed-eye pose of Lord Buddha, he is depicted as having his eyes wide open in the position of looking up to the sky above.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), one of the most visited tourist spots of Darjeeling is the celebrated organization established by late Tenzing Norgay on 4th November, 1954 with the support from Jawaharlal Nehru; the first prime minister of India. Tenzing Norgay was the renowned Sherpa who conquered the Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary on 29th May 1953. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was constituted by him with an aim of encouraging mountaineering as a well organized sport in India. Tenzing Norgay himself served as the first director of field training at HMI. All the equipments that were used by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in their Everest Climb still form the highlight of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling. HMI conducts ‘Adventure’, ‘Basic’ and ‘Advanced Mountaineering’ courses on a regular basis. These courses are very comprehensive and they highly promote mountaineering as a leading sport. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is situated close to the ‘Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park’ of Darjeeling.
Japanese Peace Pagoda
Japanese Peace Pagoda, also known as ‘Darjeeling Peace Pagoda’ is one of the 30 pagodas spread all over the world constructed under the Japanese Buddhist Nipponzan-Myohoji Order. The main motto of this Peace Pagoda is to unite the people of all races and creeds and help them as a whole in their search for world peace. The foundation stone of the Japanese Peace Pagoda was laid on 3rd November 1972 by Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist Monk from Japan and also the founder of the Nipponzan-Myohoji Order. The pagoda was inaugurated and opened to public from 1st November 1992. This impressing structure; 28.5 meters tall and 23 meters in its diameter, was designed by M. Ohka and it is located at Charlimont on the outskirts of the town of Darjeeling. A tiny temple is positioned next to this pagoda. In the early morning between 4:00 and 5:00 am you will hear the drum sounds in the streets of Darjeeling. The monks of Japanese Peace Pagoda, also known as ‘Theravada’ play this drum music at the time of their early morning walk in the Darjeeling town.
Bhutia Busty Gompa
Bhutia Busty Gompa (monastery) of Darjeeling, a subdivision of the Nygpama sect’s Phontag Monastery of Sikkim is one of the most sought after tourist destinations of Darjeeling town. This monastery was brought to Darjeeling in 1879 AD and originally it was located at the Observatory Hill. But later it was shattered in the earthquake of the year 1934. Subsequently, the monastery was restored and rebuilt by the Sikkim King at its present location about 1.5 kilometers from the Chowrasta of Darjeeling. This Gompa perched against the imperial backdrop of the imposing Mt. Kanchenjunga is one of the prime localities of the town and is very easily reachable from here. The Bhutia Busty Gompa comprises a huge library where innumerable Tibetan and Buddhist books are preserved. These books mainly present the life and culture of the Tibetan people. A noteworthy fact is that, in the library of the Bhutia Busty Gompa one can also have a look at the original ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead’.
The Mahakal Temple, dedicated to the Hindu God of destruction i.e. Lord Shiva and highly venerated amongst the devotees is positioned atop the famous Observatory Hill of Darjeeling. A unique feature of this temple is that a Hindu priest shares a common altar with a Buddhist monk here. An archetype of Hindu Buddhist unity and harmony, the Mahakal Temple of Darjeeling boasts of its over 200 years of history. It is believed that in 1782 three Shiva Lingams representing the Hindu Trinity; Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh manifested themselves here and from thenceforth the Mahakal Temple came into existence as a Shiva Temple. Today at this temple prayers are recited by a Hindu priest while the Buddhist Holy Scriptures are read out here by a Buddhist monk. According to the prevalent custom the devotees that pay a visit to this temple circumambulate the shrine thrice. They perform this ritual known as ‘Pradakshina’ barefoot and keep ringing the bells placed around the temple while walking. Myriads of prayer flags can be seen hanging all over the Mahakal Temple and on the trees around. Exalted to the highest degree by the devotees and equally famed amongst the Hindus as well as the Buddhists, the Mahakal Temple of Darjeeling is a must visit religious destination of this Hill Station.
Kali Temple, a shrine dedicated to the Goddess Kali; the deity of power and the fierce incarnation of Goddess Durga, is an ancient temple stationed on the banks of the river in Darjeeling. Apart from its architectural grandeur what earns more significance and importance to this shrine is that it happens to be the only temple of Goddess Kali in this region. Thousands of tourists as well as the locals visit the Kali Temple in order to seek blessings of the Goddess Kali. This temple is marvelously decorated during the nine days of the Navaratri festival when the temple is cram packed with the devotees of the Mother Goddess.
Dhirdham Temple of Darjeeling, located very close to the Darjeeling Railway Station is a Hindu place of worship dedicated to Lord Shiva. Constructed in the year 1939 by Rai Saheb Purna Bahadur Pradhan, this shrine is modeled after the legendary Pashupatinath temple of Kathmandu. Designed by a genius architect named Beg Raj Shakya, this temple resembles the Tibetan and Buddhist order of architecture and the frontage of the temple is erected in a pagoda style. At the entrance of the Dhirdham Temple an eye catching statue of Lord Shiva has been placed. This figurine portrays the ‘Pancha Bakram Tri Netram’ theory wherein the five different moods of Lord Shiva and his third eye are represented. The temple is one of the must visit places in Darjeeling. The temple timings are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and ‘aratis’ of Lord Shiva are regularly performed twice a day in the morning and in the evening.
Dali Monastery of Darjeeling situated about 5 kilometers from the main Darjeeling town is an exceedingly famous monastery of this Hill Resort. Set up in the year 1971 under the patronage of Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche, the Dali Monastery is particularly acclaimed for conserving the erstwhile tradition and culture of the Tibetan monks. Dali Monastery serves as a domicile of the 210 monks who had alighted at Darjeeling from the Himalayan regions and settled here down. In 1993 Dalai Lama had paid a three days visit to the Dali Monastery of Darjeeling and propagated the teachings of Lord Buddha and the Tibetan ethnicity. Dali Monastery is regarded to be one of the biggest monasteries of Darjeeling. The walls of this monastery are painted in vivid colors that depict the life episodes of Lord Buddha. A small library is also set up here that is endowed with numerous books on Buddhism and the philosophy of life. In the main hall of the monastery the religious prayers are performed every morning and evening between 5:00 and 6:30. It is recommended to pay a visit to the Dali Monastery either in the early morning or in the evening when you can witness the religious practices carried out here.
Ghoom Monastery, also known as ‘Sakya Monastery’ or ‘Yogachoeling Gompa’ is an ancient monastery of Darjeeling remarkably treasured and aggrandized both by the devotees as well as the tourists. As this monastery is situated at Ghoom approximately 8 kilometers to the south of Darjeeling, it is known by the name Ghoom Monastery. Established by a Mongolian astrologer and monk in the year 1875 and blessed by Tomo Geshe Rimpoche from Tibet, the Ghoom Monastery has today become a terminus for those who want to experience the perfect tranquility and serenity of both mind and soul. At the entrance of the monastery a giant 4.57 meter tall statue of ‘Maitreya Buddha’ i.e. the Future Coming Buddha in the sitting position is placed. Moreover, elaborate ‘thanka’ scrolls, bells and drums and some rare handwritten Buddhist manuscripts are preserved in the Ghoom Monastery. Today around 60 monks reside in this Gompa and this monastery is the must visit locale on the way to Darjeeling from the Tiger Hill.
Tashi Dargyalingh Monastery or the Tamang Ghumba
‘Tashi Dargyalingh Monastery’, also known as the ‘Tamang Ghumba’ is one of the oldest monasteries existing in Darjeeling. Instituted in the year 1926, this monastery belongs to the Tamang (Gorkha) Community of the Nyingmapa Sect of Nepal.
Aloobari Monastery or Aloobari Gompa placed along the Old Military Road of Darjeeling, generally known by the name ‘Aloobari Road’ is an ancient Buddhist Monastery founded by ‘Sangay Lama’, the head priest alighted here from Nepal. As this monastery was co incidentally laid down in the year 1914, the very year when the First World War broke out, it was christened as the ‘Mag-Dhog Yolmowa’ meaning; ‘warding off the war’. The Mag-Dhog Yolmowa was dedicated to the principle of world peace. The sculptures of Lord Buddha enshrined in this Gompa depict the different forms of Buddha and the idol of Padma Sambhave Swamiji is particularly impressive and arresting. The paintings that ornament the Gompa walls are believed to have been made using different types of herbs and herbal colors. The artistic ingenuity that reflects from these paintings is indeed insuperable and spell binding. Besides, the monastery is also affluent with its collection of the precious antique scriptures preserved here. The Aloobari Monastery is predominantly recognized for its extraordinary and amazing architectural appeal. The grand edifice of this Gompa adorned in white and red colors is certainly a feast for the sight. This beautiful monastery houses the monks arrived to Darjeeling from Sikkim and Tibet. Tourists can also buy religious stuff and wonderful handicrafts from the shops inside the Aloobari Monastery Complex.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway / Toy Train
The term ‘Toy Train’ has almost become synonymous with the name ‘Darjeeling’. This renowned hill station of India has registered its name in golden letters on the world map for its globally reckoned Himalayan Railway; classified as the ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ since 1999. Run by Indian Railways, the Toy Train is a 2 feet narrow gauge railway that plies between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. This 86 kilometers long railway line halting at 15 stations en route is perched at the elevation varying from 100 meters to 2200 meters. Laid between 1879 and 1881 AD and officially inaugurated on 4th July 1881, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) has kept developing and improving over the years to meet the needs of increasing number of passengers. During the Second World War, the DHR played a crucial role by transporting soldiers and military supplies to various camps around Darjeeling and Ghoom. After the independence in 1958, the Toy Train was made a part of Northeast Frontier Railway Zone. Later during the Gorkhaland Movement of 1988–89 the DHR was kept closed. This Toy Train happens to be the second train in the world to have been listed amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Toy Train of Darjeeling meandering through the scenic verdant woods of the Himalayan Forests offers an unforgettable voyage on the back of the breathtaking slopes of the Lesser Himalayas. Reaching Darjeeling from New Jalpaiguri via the DHR takes about 8 hours and it costs nearly 200 INR per head.
Shruberry Health Club
Shruberry Health Club of Darjeeling is amongst the leading destinations of this Hill Resort where one can unwind forgetting all the everyday tensions and worries and relieve the complete stress and pressure of worldly concerns. Apart from jogging and doing other exercises and making health, you will also perceive the compelling vistas of the ethereal Mount Kanchenjunga from the Shruberry Health Club. Numerous locals offering prayers to various deities are also spotted here.
Darjeeling-Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car
Darjeeling Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car, popularly known as the ‘Darjeeling Ropeway’ is one of the most noteworthy attractions of this ‘Jewel of the Himalayas’. Commencing at the spot known as the ‘North Point’ approximately 3 kilometers from the Darjeeling Town, this passenger ropeway links Darjeeling with Singla Bazaar situated on the banks of the River Rangit at the bottom of the valley. Darjeeling Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car happens to be India’s first passenger ropeway. Covering the total distance of 5 kilometers, this cable car can accommodate 6 persons at a time. To reach the North Point regular taxis are available from Market Motor and Darjeeling Taxi Stand. The present day Darjeeling Rangit Valley Passenger Cable Car has been utterly modified and modernized and the passage via the cable car has been made a lot safer and comfortable. Traveling over the lofty hills cloaked with lush green tea estates and witnessing the aerial view of the abundant greenery below is undeniably a thrilling and exhilarating experience in its self.
Ava Art Gallery
Ava Art Gallery, located roughly 4 kilometers from the Market Square along the National Highway was set up by Late Bhopal Rao Sett and Ava Devi. This Art Gallery of Darjeeling happens to be the only Art Gallery of its kind located atop any hill station. The Ava Art Gallery houses an outstanding compilation of 60 pieces of work of art created in water, oil and thread. These stupendous paintings displayed in this Gallery are truly amazing and beyond any comparison. To reach this art gallery visitors can either rent a taxi or just reach there on foot. No entry fee is charged at the Ava Art Gallery.
Raj Bhawan or the Governor’s House of Darjeeling located close to ‘The Mall’ serves as the summer retreat of the Governor of West Bengal. Originally owned by the Maharaja of Cooch Behar, this magnificent structure was purchased from the King by the British Government in India in the year 1877. During the British Raj, the Raj Bhawan was used as the summer seat of the Governor Generals of India. The permanent residence of the Governor General of West Bengal was situated in Calcutta but during summer the Governor General along with his entire office used to shift to Darjeeling to escape from the scorching heat of the Bengal plains. Even today, the Governor of West Bengal regularly spends half a month at the Raj Bhawan of Darjeeling every summer. This brilliantly developed and maintained mansion festooned with manicured lawns, verdant gardens, adjoining forests and numerous British Bungalows overlooks the Darjeeling Lebong and offers a bravura view of the snow wrapped Mt. Kanchenjunga. Due to the security reasons, the tourists are not permitted an entrance to the Raj Bhawan but you can watch the attention-grabbing edifice of the Raj Bhawan from outside.
Chowrasta and Mall
The Chowrasta located right in the heart of the hilly town Darjeeling is the most happening place of this Hill Resort. This area of the town cram packed with roadside food joints, restaurants, trinket shops, book stores, supermarkets, vendors selling artifacts, woolen clothes and various knick knacks is regarded as the main shopping area and the chief hub of all commercial and business related activities. The extensive promenade along which all these shops and stores are lined up is the very popular boulevard of Darjeeling known by the name ‘the Mall’. The Mall is the favorite hang out juncture for the locals as well as tourists where they can shop, eat, socialize, move around aimlessly and chill. Benches have been installed along the entire Mall where people can sit and take pleasure in viewing the entire hustle bustle of the town against the backdrop of the imposing snow capped Himalayan Mountains. Apart from shopping, you can also indulge in pony rides at the Mall. The famous Mahakal Temple of Darjeeling as well as the beautiful Brabourne Park with its dazzling musical fountains is also located close to the Mall. A small open space auditorium is sited round the corner where local rock band performances are held. Still retaining the glory of the past Victorian Era in India, the Mall of Darjeeling is the perfect vicinity to rejoice at. The Mall of Darjeeling has been kept vehicle free which renders this area pollution free and safe for the walkers. The spectacular magnitude of the ambience can be savored to its best from the Chowrasta and the Mall of Darjeeling.
Step Aside, positioned on the way down to Bhutia Busty via the C.R. Das Road of Darjeeling adjacent the Chowrasta is the erstwhile house where the great Indian patriot Deshbandhu Chittranjan Das passed away on 16th June 1925. A small number of personal articles used by Deshbandhu Chittranjan Das are exhibited on the first floor of ‘Step Aside’ while a maternity clinic, named in the honor of this great son of Motherland, is run on the ground floor of this building. This maternity clinic mainly works for the underprivileged people of the region. No entrance fee is charged for paying a visit to the ‘Step Aside’, even though visitors are not permitted an entry to the inner part of the house.
Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre
After the legendary escape of His Holiness Dalai Lama when he fled to India from Tibet at the time of Tibet China War, thousands of Tibetan refugees landed in India. Darjeeling was one of such places where Tibetans sought shelter. To rehabilitate these expatriates in Darjeeling, a ten-member committee was shaped by the Indian Government who was assigned the task of establishing a rehabilitation centre there. This institute founded on 1st October 1959 was known as the ‘Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre’. Nestled atop a hillside named Lebong in Darjeeling District, this self help center is today renowned across the globe for their beautiful handicrafts. The inhabitants of this centre weave splendid carpets, woolen garments and make excellent woodwork. In the carpet weaving centre of this refugee camp the tourists can also witness the process of carpet making. Apart from the shopping area, the Self Help Center also comprises a monastery, a small Nursery School, various educational institutes and an employment plaza.
Bengal Natural History Museum
The Bengal Natural History Museum of Darjeeling located in the proximity with the Chowrasta right in heart of this hill station demonstrates a wide collection of Himalayan flora and fauna that represents the comprehensive history of Himalayan and Bengali Animalia. Over 4300 specimens of Himalayan animals, birds, butterflies, reptiles, insects, fish, herbarium and many more are displayed in this museum established in the year 1903. The butterfly and beetle sections of this museum claim exceptional merit. Rare samples of estuarine crocodile, regarded to be responsible for the supreme loss of human life in Asia continent are also housed here. Moreover, the Bengal Natural History Museum also showcases many colorful stones in their mineral forms. The museum is open on all week days but Thursdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and the entry fee charged here is Rs 5 for adults and 2 for kids.
Sandakphu is one of the peaks in Darjeeling which is known for the poisonous plants that grow there in abundance. The peak derives its name from these poisonous plants itself. The literal meaning of Sandakphu is ‘the height of poison plants’. Sandakphu located nearly 58 km from Darjeeling is nested at the altitude of about 3636 meters above the sea level. The trekking route to Sandakphu commences at Maneybhanjan. From the crest of Sandakphu the captivating vistas of four Himalayan peaks; Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhoste and Makalu can be perceived. Legions of orchids, primulas, rhododendrons, magnolias, and many other sub alpine flowers grow in the woods of Sandakphu.