Do you remember watching that scene that plays out in multiple Bollywood movies where the couple spends some romantic moments in cafes that are set against a drop-dead gorgeous background of snow-clad mountains and lush green tea estates enveloped in the mist? We’re sure that many of you have dreamt of doing something similar but never really got to it. Well, now’s the time to pack your bags and fulfill all your fantasies by heading straight to the Queen of Hills, i.e. Darjeeling!
Hidden away in the mighty Himalayas and snuggled between the lush green valleys, Darjeeling is an incredibly pretty hill station in West Bengal that guarantees all travelers a memorable vacation. Decorated with magnificent monasteries, endless tea plantations, winding roads, and delightful eateries, this hill town is, without doubt, one of the best locations to visit in India. Now let’s quickly dive into the list of the 9 best places to visit in Darjeeling that will make your trip unforgettable.
Perched at a height of 2,590 meters, Tiger Hill is one of the most popular attractions of Darjeeling that offers its visitors some incredibly breathtaking views. The sunrise view from Tiger Hill, as the first rays of the sun hit the majestic Kanchenjunga range, is simply mesmerizing. Along with some of the famous peaks, you can even catch a glimpse of the peak of Mount Everest from here.
Make sure that you book a cab beforehand and reach Tiger Hill before sunrise. There are some scenic trekking routes available as well. After Tiger Hill, do pay a visit to the Summit of Ghoom, which is famous for being the highest railway station of the Himalayan Railways and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Don’t forget to take a camera with you to capture the panoramic views of the Kanchenjunga range and preserve these rich memories.
Also Read: Darjeeling Travel Guide
Not only is Darjeeling the epitome of natural Himalayan beauty, but it also is a haven for all adventure junkies who wish to get an adrenaline rush by participating in exhilarating adventure sports. White water rafting in the turbulent waters of the Teesta River is claimed to be the highlight of their Darjeeling vacation by several tourists. The rafting course begins from Triveni, which is a beautiful confluence point of River Teesta and River Rangeet.
The confluence of these rivers led to a formation of a delta where one can set up their tents and camp under the stars by the rivers. As you cruise through the Teesta River in rafts, the surrounding dense woodlands, verdant farmlands, Himalayan valleys, colorful birds, and the enthralling water rapids give you the thrill of your life. Characterized by rapids of grades 2-4, rafting in the Teesta River is considered to be extremely safe, even for beginners.
Are you a fan of white-water rafting? Head straight to Rishikesh for a memorable river rafting experience in the holy Ganges!
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or the Darjeeling Toy Train is one of the unmissable experiences that Darjeeling has to offer. Running between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, this 2-feet gauge train is said to offer a highly desirable train ride experience. The charm of this 88-km train ride is enhanced by gorgeous views of the rolling hill covered in thick mist, lush valleys studded with pines, cool breeze blowing through your hair, and the locals from the nearby villages waving merrily at you.
Owing to the fact that the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a shining example of the engineering masterpieces of the country, it has grabbed a spot in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. A journey on this prestigious train is extremely relaxing and charming and it lets you enjoy the raw beauty of these Himalayan towns to its fullest.
Also Read: Best Homestays In Darjeeling
Resting at an altitude of 2,150 meters and nestled in the Singalila Range, the picturesque Singalila National Park is considered to be the highest national park in West Bengal. Sprawled across roughly 78 acres, this park is adorned with vibrant rhododendron jungles, rare species of orchids, and beautiful alpine valleys. What attracts tourists the most to this park is the mind-numbingly incredible views of the Himalayan ranges that stretch between Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan as well.
Naturally, this national park is home to some exotic wildlife as well. Don’t be surprised if you spot a red panda or a Himalayan black bear from a distance. The best way to explore Singalila is to trek through the enchanting trails that mesmerize adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. The wonderful weather, the splendorous biodiversity, and the ravishing surroundings make you not want to leave this alluring park.
Also Read: Best National Parks To Visit In India This Summer
The Japanese Peace Pagoda is a fascinating Buddhist shrine that rests on the slopes of the Jalapahar hills of Darjeeling. It is said to be a part of 30 similar Buddhist shrines that are scattered across the world. Nichidatsu Fujii, who was a Japanese Buddhist monk, oversaw the construction project which ran for 36 months. The Pagoda features a white structure whose beauty is enhanced with golden-painted figures. The building is said to be home to the four main avatars of Buddha, including the famous Maitreya Buddha.
This Peace Pagoda was erected to establish peace, harmony, and unity between people who belong to various sections of society. Being one of the most sought-after locations by soulful travelers, the tranquility and spirituality-soaked atmosphere here is unparalleled. Along with that, the surrounding milky-white snow peaks of the Kanchenjunga range bring joy to the hearts of every nature lover.
Also Read: 7 Things To Do In West Bengal For A Memorable Holiday
The Happy Valley Tea Plantation in Darjeeling, which spans 437 acres, is known for being the second-oldest tea estate in the town. Resting at a great height, this estate emits an old-world British tea estate charm and grows some of the finest shrubs of the delicious drink. The mesmerizing views of the Himalayan slopes offered by this estate are what make it among the must-visit attractions in Darjeeling. The emerald green tea plantations, the endless blue skies, the misty clouds descending upon the estate, and the aromatic tea fragrance infused in the atmosphere make this estate an exquisite location.
Their adoption of organic and biodynamic agricultural practices demonstrates their efforts towards keeping everything eco-friendly. You can find several varieties of specialty teas like green tea and black orthodox tea being grown here. The guided tour that takes you through the plantations and informs you about the entire tea production process tends to be quite enthralling.
The best part about it is that you can partake in a tea-tasting session where you may learn about the intricacies involved in recognizing differently flavored teas. Don’t forget to purchase a packet or two of your favorite tea during your visit to Happy Valley Tea Estate.
If you have the notion that Darjeeling is like any other destination where tourists just have the option of sightseeing, you couldn’t be more wrong! Owing to its strategic location, Darjeeling tends to be the starting point of several incredible Himalayan treks, the Sandakphu Trek being one of the most exhilarating ones. Resting at an altitude of nearly 3,657 meters, the Sandakphu Peak of the Singalila Ridge is said to be the highest peak in the state. What makes it an unmissable activity for adventure junkies is the fact that it provides you with magnificent views of 4 out of the 5 world’s tallest peaks.
If you wish to immerse in the beauty of the Kanchenjunga range and click some one-of-a-kind snaps for your Instagram, this trek is the way to go! Although you always have the option of taking a cab to the peak, the 51-km-long trek takes you through some really scenic trails. The vibrant landscape filled with hundreds of species of orchids, primulas, rhododendrons, magnolias, and other colorful wildflowers makes this trek heavenly. Before embarking on this trek, you must ensure that you’re completely fit for it.
Are you all about treks and flowers? Then consider going on The Mesmerizing Valley Of Flowers Trek In Uttarakhand!
If you’re in Darjeeling, offering your prayers at the various fantastic monasteries that are scattered across the town will bring your immense peace and calm. Each monastery has its own story to tell and it captures the essence of the native culture of Darjeeling. You can start off by visiting the Ghum Monastery which is also popularly known as the Sakya Monastery. The massive Maitreya Buddha statue and its expansive collection of rare Buddhist records and manuscripts attract several pilgrims to this monastery.
Another monastery that might grab your attention immediately is the Aloobari Monastery. Known for being one of the oldest monasteries in the town, this monastery offers you a peaceful, spiritual environment along with numerous shopping options.
Lastly, do consider visiting the Bhutia Busty Gompa that belongs to the Red Sect of the Buddhists. The traditional Tibetan architecture and the rich historical past of this monastery tend to appeal to all types of tourists. Situated in Observatory Hill, the monastery is famous for its walls that are filled with pictures and murals that vividly depict stories related to Buddha and Buddhism.
Also Read: 7 Monasteries In Sikkim To Visit For A Tranquil Holiday
Located in the very heart of the town, the Chowrasta is essentially the Mall Road of Darjeeling. Bustling with local activities and dotted with local shops, eateries, and restaurants, Chowrasta offers you a chance to experience the local life of Darjeeling in an intimate setting. Be it sipping on a hot cup of chai on a cold morning, watching the pinkish hues of the sunset skies, or shopping to your heart’s content, Chowrasta is the place for it.
Do go on a shopping spree and buy native jewelry, a variety of tea powders, local handicrafts, and woolen shawls from the markets of Chowrasta. Apart from that, savoring the mouth-watering local food is something that will add to the charm of your Darjeeling vacation. Do try out the Thukpa, traditional Nepali Thali, Momos, Sael Rotis, and Aloo Dum while wandering around the streets of Chowrasta.
Darjeeling is a perfect blend of Himalayan natural beauty, rich culture and traditions, diverse flora and fauna, and a glorious historical past. Although these are the main places to visit in Darjeeling, there are many more things to do in Darjeeling that would make your holiday memorable. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and set out on this Himalayan adventure right away!
Where Can We Go From Darjeeling?
Here are some of the most mesmerizing holiday destinations that are located near Darjeeling.
How Many Days Is Enough For Darjeeling?
Plan a vacation that spans 4-5 days if you plan to visit Darjeeling. There are plenty of things to do in and around Darjeeling. If you wish to enjoy Darjeeling to its fullest, a 5-day vacation should ideally suffice. However, do note that if you plan to go for any treks, you might have to plan your vacation according to the duration of your trek.
Which Season Is Best For Darjeeling?
The summer season that spans across the months of April, May, and June tend to be the best time to visit Darjeeling. On the contrary, if you’re a fan of winters and want to experience this Himalayan town in its full snowy glory, you can even consider planning a vacation from October to December.
What Should I Wear In Darjeeling?
The climate in Darjeeling tends to be a little cold because of which it would be advisable to carry woolen clothes like jackets and shawls to wear in the evenings. Other than that, you can carry your normal clothing like jeans, T-shirts, kurtas, etc. You might have to walk around a lot, so carry a good pair of shoes with you.
How Far Is Gangtok From Darjeeling?
Gangtok is 100 km away from Darjeeling.
Which Is The Nearest Airport For Darjeeling?
Located about 96 km away, Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport to Darjeeling. You can find several flights that run directly between Darjeeling and major Indian cities like Delhi and Kolkata here.
Why Is Darjeeling Famous?
Darjeeling is famous for its thick evergreen forests, exotic flora and fauna, vast tea estates, and quaint monasteries.
What Language Is Spoken In Darjeeling?
Most of the residents of Darjeeling speak Nepali language. Though you will also find people speaking in Hindi as well.