When it comes to the sweltering heat of the summer, hill stations are always ready to give you a hand in escaping. There are more than 200 hill stations in India to choose from and many people find themselves stuck between the Darjeeling vs Gangtok debate. We’re here to free your upheaval and give you an insight into what these beautiful and idyllic places have in store. By the end of this blog, you’ll be sure which wonderland is your calling.
Known as "the Queen of Hills," the town of Darjeeling is tucked away in the lesser Himalayas, surrounded by emerald-green tea fields. Situated at 2,134 meters above sea level, this land provides breathtaking sunrise views of Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga combined. It’s home to the world heritage toy train which transports you right into the heart of the picturesque hill station landscape.
If we talk about Sikkim, its most valuable asset is its capital, Gangtok, which is tucked between higher Himalayan ranges. It features the Nathula Pass, waterfalls, serene Tsomgo Lake, snow-capped mountains, and monasteries. At a height of 1,650 meters, it offers astounding views of Mount Kanchenjunga at sunset.
Also Read: 9 Hacks For Cheap Flights In India
Darjeeling experiences typically bright, blue skies throughout the summer months of March to May. The air temperatures range from 6°C to 17°C making it an ideal time to stop by. You get crystal clear views of landscapes and sweeping views of the mountains, valleys, rivers, and tea estates. Rhododendrons and magnolias are in abundance at this time making the landscape more blissful.
The town has intense rain during the monsoon from June to August, and some places may have landslides as a result. The temperature ranges from 13°C to 19°C. If the torrential rains don't dissuade you, it can be a wonderful time to visit the area to take in the lush, green beauty. When the monsoon begins to recede and the weather becomes more regular with considerably less rainfall, September is regarded as an excellent time to visit Darjeeling.
Beginning in late October, winters transform the landscape into something out of a fairytale. The valley is consistently cold, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 7°C. While you may find the mornings to be chilly, the afternoons with the sun are ideal to explore the scenery.
While in Gangtok, the summer season sets in the month of March and last till June with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 27°C. You may take pleasure in the vivid blue sky that contrasts with the town's verdant surroundings. The fresh wind from the breathtaking Himalayan peaks soothes your spirit and body. You may experience rain in the month of April, so every nook and crevice is flowering with flowers of all hues.
The monsoon season begins in June and lasts till September in Gangtok. During the monsoon, the city's temperature hovers between 17°C and 22°C, and it receives considerable rainfall. It transforms into chirpy nirvana for birdwatchers. The water of the fall rushes out of the rich foliage and dense trees that cover the slopes.
The winter season, which begins in October and ends in March, is cold yet full of enthralling scenic wonders. At a distance, the snowy peaks, frozen lakes, and drab woodland appear indistinguishable. The temperature dips from 7 to 4°C. The thick fog this time of year makes you feel like you're walking on clouds.
Also Read: Best Travel Apps To Explore In India
Tiger Hill is renowned for its beautiful sunrise views in the early morning. You can see Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga combined in one expansive perspective.
Chowrasta is the real and metaphorical center of Darjeeling. This is the busiest portion of the city and is visited by both residents and visitors because it’s the primary market area.
Puttabong, Glenburn, Makaibari, Gopaldhara, Okayti, and Happy Valley are tea gardens here. They’re covered with mist and are also the best spot for pictures. Here, the caretakers provide you with piping hot tea for tasting.
Ghoom Monastery, also known as Yiga Choeling, is home to a 15-foot-tall Maitreya Buddha statue with an enthralling atmosphere. It was built in 1850 by the Mongolian monk Lama Sherpa Gyaltsho and is famous for its magnificent Thangka murals, intricate bells, and drums.
Peace Pagodas were created to serve as a focal point for people of all races and creeds in their quest for world peace. Once you enter, you are sure to feel the calming vibe taking over you.
This Zoo is recognized for its conservation breeding programs for Red Pandas, Snow Leopards, Tibetan Wolves, and other Eastern Himalayan animal species.
The MG Road is the major market in Gangtok, popularly known as the "heart of Gangtok,". It is an open mall or boulevard plaza and the greatest tourist shopping attraction.
Tashi Viewpoint provides spectacular views of the Himalayan peaks, particularly Mount Kanchenjunga and Siniolchu. You can bag the most mesmerizing sunrise and sunset here.
The temple is well-known for being a wish-fulfillment temple. As per mythology, Lord Hanuman stopped here on his way back to Lanka from the Himalayas with the Sanjeevani plants to cure Lord Lakshman.
Ganesh Tok is a Lord Ganesha memorial located 7 km uphill from Gangtok. Apart from worshipping, one may enjoy some of the finest views of Gangtok.
The Nathula Pass is known not just for its surreal natural beauty, but also for its rich history. It plays a significant role in Sino-Indian trade.
It is a glacier lake in Sikkim that is thought to be a Jhakris, which means it has healing powers. Even the surface of the lake changes colors as the seasons change. Rides on colorfully adorned yaks and mules are available near the lake.
Rumtek Monastery, Phodong Monastery, and Phensang Monastery are among the 200 monasteries in Gangtok that you must visit to get the cultural mix in your trip.
Banjhakri Water Falls, Seven Sisters Waterfalls, and Bakthang Waterfalls are among the 7 waterfalls in Gangtok that if missed out, can make you regret it later.
Also Read: Best Trekking Clubs In Hyderabad
A journey to Darjeeling assures a pleasant and exciting ride. For all the adventure junkies, you have river rafting sports at Teesta River and trekking to Sandakphu to up your adrenaline. The joyride in the toy train across the town and taking the eagle view of the landscape from the Darjeeling ropeway makes you feel one with nature. You can experience the war memorial at Batasia Loop which is elegantly designed to give you a 360° view of the misty landscape.
A trip to Gangtok is one where you get everything in a balanced manner and with utmost cleanliness. The adventure escapades can take part in cable rides, mountain biking, river rafting, and paragliding to satisfy the thirst for the thrill. At Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park check out the wild side of this town. Endangered Red Panda, snow leopard cats, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Goral, and more can be seen.
Also Read: Best Homestays In Mahabalipuram
You need to be aware of all pertinent aspects that’ll affect the overall budget before leaving on any vacation. To make your task a little bit easier, we’ve examined the entire trip budget and pinpointed important components including meals, excursions, and other ancillary expenses.
The average flight cost for a trip to Darjeeling is INR 6769. For a person, the average hotel costs INR 1000-5500 (for a double room in a luxury hotel). The meals can range from INR 234 - 450. The excursions can cost anywhere around INR 3,000 with ancillary costs up to INR 3,000.
Whereas, the average flight cost for a trip to Gangtok is INR 8,757. For lodging, the cost is around INR 2200 - 4,300 on average (for a double room in a luxury hotel). The meals are comparatively costlier ranging from INR 400 - 550. You can expect the sightseeing to value around INR 5,000 to 3,000. All the additional costs can be accounted for INR 5000.
Also Read: 7 Best Hiking Shoes Under 5,000
Both locations are stunning in their own right. Still, given the above information, you should be able to make an informed decision based on your budget and mood. With such awestriking destinations with distinctive offerings, you sure might have got a calling for one of them. So pack up your bags and escape the heat with either a delightful holiday in Darjeeling or a dreamlike break in Gangtok.
Is Snowfall Common In Darjeeling?
Snowfall is unusual in the main town of Darjeeling. Nevertheless, temperatures might dip below -2 degrees Celsius at times, so bring some warm clothes.
Why Do You Go To Hill Stations?
In the summer, people travel to hill towns to temporarily escape the heat. Even during the scorching heat, the temperature is kept cool in mountainous locations. The air is not overly hot at hill stations since they are elevated above the lowlands.
What Is The Speciality Of Gangtok?
Gangtok is known as the land of monasteries due to the vast volume of it in the land.
Is Gangtok Colder Than Darjeeling?
Despite the subtropical climate and excessive humidity in Darjeeling, the weather of Gangtok can be compared with Darjeeling. The only difference is the fact that the weather in Gangtok is slightly chilly and is perfect for sightseeing.
What Is So Special About Darjeeling?
The tea that is produced in Darjeeling is well-known across the world, as is the stunning vista of the Kanchenjunga mountain range that it provides. It is renowned for its toy railway which has been designated a UN heritage.
Why Darjeeling Is Called Queen Of Hills?
Darjeeling has a view of the world’s highest mountain peaks. It also has the Ranjit Valley ropeway which is one of the largest in Asia and trekkers can enjoy its hills. All this combined with the chilly weather and the flora fauna makes Darjeeling the Queen of Hills.
Is It Worth Visiting Darjeeling?
Yes, it’s worth visiting Darjeeling as it is India'sprominent hill station known for its unique ethnic culture and magnificent splendor that will leave you speechless.