Darjeeling, the name itself reminds all the travel maniacs of a perfect collage that includes beautiful serene local, green valleys, snow-capped mountains and of course mysterious surroundings with lots of clouds hovering here and there. The meandering hilly roads that run along the world heritage toy train tracks will definitely make you feel romantic if you are a first-time visitor to this northeast Indian terrain. Local delicacies that carry the flavors of almost all the neighboring countries of the north-eastern part of India will make you visit Darjeeling time and again.
Now let’s talk about the places in Darjeeling that draw the maximum number of tourists round the year. These are the destinations that you can’t afford to miss in order to have a perfect getaway in the Himalayan hill state. Visit to each of these places will give a lifetime memory to cherish.
Similarly, this is a perfect place to spend your afternoon and watch the sunset. Fix your cameras and phones from your favorite spot in the Tiger Hills to watch the sun reflecting a bunch of brilliant hues before calling it a day.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see red pandas, Himalayan bears, clouded leopards, and Tibetan wolves. The snow leopard breeding center is also an important zone. The park opens around 8.30 in the morning and closes at 4 in the afternoon. If you are a domestic tourist, you will have to pay Rs 20 to enter the park. It is Rs 50 for an international tourist.
There is a large prayer room here. You can also visit the library and the study hall. This place is also regarded as a center of Buddhist knowledge. The monastery opens around noon and remains open till midnight. There is no entry fee for this monastery. If you plan to visit anytime during the morning or in the afternoon, do not forget to taste the local food such as momos and thukpas that are available at the small food joints right outside the monastery. Darjeeling is a place for foodies. Various colonial style and local dishes are available here.
Toy train joy ride: From Darjeeling to Ghum station
The duration of the journey in the toy train from Darjeeling to Ghum is of about 2 hours. Darjeeling to Ghum and back covers a total distance of about 14km. There are several rides of this toy train service in the morning. Though the number of rides varies in different season and based on the rush of tourists. The train stops at Batasia Loop for around 10 minutes for passengers to enjoy the panoramic view of Darjeeling.
Here at the Batasia Loop, the train takes a turn to give passengers the scenic view of the garden. Generally, there are 18 rides of this toy train service in a day, so if you are planning to come to Darjeeling, you must keep a day free just for this unforgettable toy train ride. The Darjeeling toy train services are very famous among international tourists. People from across the world eagerly look forward to taking this ride once they step in Darjeeling.
Top activities to do in Darjeeling
Darjeeling Ropeway: If you want to enjoy the best view of Darjeeling, then ropeway is the best route. Darjeeling ropeway service, also known as the Rangeet Valley Passenger Cable Car, starts from Singmari, which is just 3kn away from Darjeeling Chowk Bazar. The ropeway journey is of about 45 minutes. You will travel at an altitude of 7000 ft. The Darjeeling ropeway is one of the first cable car services in India. Here, almost 16 cable cars are there, each of which can carry around five to six passengers. So, if you are visiting Darjeeling with your family, then take a halt at Rangeet valley ropeway and take the maximum fun out of it.
Sandakphu trek: Many people consider Darjeeling as the Trekkers’ Wonderland. Various different kinds of treks are available here for both professional and amateur mountaineers. This is altogether a different and exciting experience that you can have here. Sandakphu trek is considered as the holy grail of Indian trekking, and this has been named so for all the right reasons. This pretty trek lets you view Mt Everest at a certain distance, and the feel itself is inexplicable. So, if you are sporty enough, take a trek to Sandakphu. Darjeeling mountaineering institute makes all the arrangements.
River rafting in Teesta: If you are visiting the eastern states of Darjeeling or Sikkim, then there is no point missing the adventure of wild river rafting. This is pure fun to raft in the rivers of Teesta or Rangeet that gush down the Himalayas. The place where Teesta and Rangeet meet is called Triveni. This is the place where hundreds of tourists’ camp. The rafting activities remain mostly closed during the monsoon. So, in case you want to give this river rafting a try, then make sure you get all the details about the timings and charges. You can also contact the Darjeeling tourism department for their assistance.
The friendly neighbour Sikkim: It is judicious to cover the neighboring state of Sikkim if you are already visiting Darjeeling. There are several customized tour packages for the combined trip of Darjeeling and Sikkim. The common tours can be completed within a period of 8 days to 10 days. Sikkim tour places share a lot of geographic, cultural and traditional similarities with the Darjeeling travel destinations.
Tour plans: If you start with Darjeeling, then after covering all the important destinations here, you can head for Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. If you start in the morning after breakfast, you will reach Sikkim during lunch time which is very convenient for any tour party. If you spend an overnight stay in Gangtok, there are plenty of Sikkim tour places to cover.
You can take a guided tour to Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir on a single day. You can have lunch outside. There are so many food shacks and joints by local residents here. Both these places are located at a distance of just 40km from the central Gangtok city. So, you can easily come back to the hotel by the evening and spend a night in Gangtok.
For Lachen, you have to dedicate one entire day. It is located around 118km away. On the way to Lachen, you can view the majestic seven sister falls, one of the famous waterfalls of India. Along with Lachen, Gurudongmar lake can also be visited as per your convenience. If you are a nature lover, then proceed to the valley of flowers, popularly known as Yumthang Valley among travelers to this part of the land.
There are places like Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Tashi viewpoint among others. You can pick and choose from the places as per your choice or can cover everything if you have time and other important resources. The infrastructure here is amazing. All transportation and accommodation facilities are of global standard. Even if you are a complete stranger to this part of the globe, nothing is going to hamper your travel plans.
Conclusion: Darjeeling has something for everyone. Be it young or old, nature lover or religious tourist, food fanatics or adventure sport enthusiast, everyone can enjoy this place to their heart’s content. Also, if you are simply tired of the mundane city life and feel like sitting idle in a quiet peaceful place, then this is your refuge. The place has been drawing thousands of tourists from across the globe for its own charm, heritage, tradition and lots of warmth of local people. It is very difficult to ignore the calling of the blue hills and vast greens once you visit Darjeeling.