Darjeeling in India owes' its grandeur to its natural beauty, its clean fresh mountain air and above all, the smiling resilient people for whom it is a home. Known for its natural splendor, Darjeeling's best gift to its' visitors is the dawn of a new day. The mountains awaken first with a tentative peeking of the sun. A steep ride, five kilometers from Ghoom, or an invigorating walk up a steep incline, leads sun worshippers to Tiger Hill. The air is chilly with darkness and damp. To the east, a dull orange sun emerged painting the sky with brilliant strokes of magenta, gold, orange and fuchsia. The snow capped Everest, Kabru, Kanchenjunga, Jannu and other peaks slowly emerge from slumber to start a new day. The sun worshippers gasp at the magnificent sight. As the fog lifts in the slowly penetrating sun, the town gradually comes alive. Amidst brewing of tea, the sing-song Gorkhali which is the local dialect, rises and falls like music.
Tourist Attraction in Darjeeling
Dhirdam Temple: Located near the Darjeeling Railway Station,Dhirdham Temple was built in 1939.The Temple was constructed by Rai Saheb Purna Bahadur Pradhan and the architect was Beg Raj Sakya.
Lord Shiv's statue outside the main temple depicts "Pancha Bakram Tri Netram" meaning five different facial expressions of Lord Shiv in different moods and the Third Eye. The style of the roof shows that of a Tibetan influence. Every morning Aarti is held at 8.00 am and at 6.00 pm in the evening.
Tiger Hill: Passing through primitive forests of Oak, Magnolia etc. with beautiful ferns ablaze with colour, adorning the hill-sides is the steeply ascending road to Senchal , running through Ghoom on its way to Tiger Hill , 11 kms from the town and at an elevation of 2,590m (8482 ft).
To the summit of this internationally famous 'Hill' journey - mountain and nature lovers to view the world's most majestic mountains- "Khang- Chen-Dzod-Nga" of mighty Kanchenjunga, the king of them all.
Mount Everest , 225 kms away rarely deigns to come out of the cloudy mists, with its two other peaks Mahakalu (27,769ft) and another peak on both sides.About 125 kms away is Tibet's Chomol Hari mountain , said to be the world's most beautiful peak.
Sunrise from Tiger hill
Batasia Loop and War Memorial: Aboard the 'Toy Train' from Siliguri to Darjeeling just below Ghoom and 5 kms from Darjeeling is the Batasia Loop, an engineering marvel and feat.
Almost imperceptibly, the railway line negotiates a circle and descends 1,000 ft in altitude. The train's figure 8s and Z manoeuvres are as picturesque as the flowers, streams and water - falls. At Batasia - windy place - one gets a grand view of the town of Darjeeling perched on the slopes of hills and Mt. Kanchenjunga in the background.
The War Memorial constructed in the memory of brave sons of Darjeeling who died in different actions since 1947, is worth a visit. A glorious view of snowy peak and town can be seen from this place.
Happy Valley Tea Estate: The Happy Valley tea estate is around 3 kms away from the main town (Chowk Bazar), towards the North. If you walk there, you will get a magnificent view of the Mt. Kanchenjunga, provided the day is sunny and you are lucky. Also on the way, you will come across the crematorium of some world famous personalities.
The estate stretches many kilometres and you can hardly see its end. The estate produces world class Darjeeling Tea. It is one of the oldest and most renowned tea estates in Darjeeling. Tea picking, manufacturing and processing of tea can be seen here. Do not forget to buy a pack of tea from here on your next visit to this lovely estate.
Barbotey Rock Garden: Situated 10 km from town, is a very attractive picnic spot with natural water falls. The Rock Garden was constructed by The Gorkha Hill Council Tourism Department. The road to the garden is a steep and winding one almost touching the plain. But the sight of the natural waterfall makes you forget all the pain and weariness.
Just below the Rock Garden is the recently constructed Gangamaiah Park. Tourists enjoy the beauty of this park as much if not more than that of the Rock Garden. Taxis are easily available to reach you to this location. However local people prefer walking and usually go there for picnics. Outside the garden are available some lovely souvenirs of Darjeeling. So don't forget to take one at your next visit.
Mirik Lake: The newest hill-resort in West Bengal, Mirik is at an altitude of about 5,800 feet and almost midway on a 100 km alternative route between Darjeeling and Siliguri. Mirik is an excellent scenic spot, and Kanchenjunga is visible. The 335-acre site for the new tourist resort is shaped like a tiny valley. Within the valley, there is a level stretch of the five acres, rare in the hill areas of Darjeeling.
Along the west of this flat ground, there is a natural lake formation fed with perennial springs and rain water. Now, that the water here is impounded by construction of a weir, there is a 1.25 km long lake. The level stretch forms eastern bank of the lake, the western bank being hill slopes covered by a rich forest of about ten thousand Crypto Maria japonica trees.
Visitors from Darjeeling and Siliguri may however spend a day at Mirik profitably. Walks around the lake or along the numerous walks in the heavily forested ridges on the western bank view of sunrise or sunset from "Rameetay Dara", would all go to make a fine holiday.
For rest and food, the "Day-Centre" at the eastern bank has a comfortable lounge. Tea, Coffee and Snacks are available throughout the day. Visitors may also have lunch here.
Boating, fishing, beautification and overnight accommodation (Youth-Hostel and Tourist Cottages) etc. are ready to receive visitors. Construction of the water supply system and underground sewerage for the whole project area is complete by now.
Area (in miles): 1, 200 sq.miles.
Height (in meters): 2, 134 mts.
Summers - Summer The summer months are the best time for visiting Darjeeling when the climate remains in a pleasant mood. Summers arrive in the month of April and lasts till June with a maximum temperature of 25°C.
Winters - The winter months creep in during December and is over by February. temperatures drop to 1°C along with heavy mist and rains toward end of December. The month of December is ocassionally accompanied by heavy snow fall.
Best Seasons: ( May - June ) & ( September - November).
Clothing: In summer: Light woolens and In winter: Heavy woolens.
Languages: Gorkha, Nepali, Hindi, Bengali, Tibetan and English.
Religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.
How reach Darjeeling
By Air: Well connected by Air from all parts of the country to Bagdogra(Siliguri), which is the nearest Airport and is a mere 3 hours drive from Darjeeling.
By Train: The famous Darjeeling Mail from Sealdah (Calcutta) besides other express trains from all over the country operate on daily basis to the nearest railhead at New Jalpaiguri(NJP/Siliguri). Change over at New Jalpaiguri to the world reknowned Toy Train which winds its way up the hills to Darjeeling.
By Road: Very well connected to Siliguri which is a terminal city. A fleet of luxury State/Private buses run overnight to Siliguri from Calcutta.From Siliguri, a 2 hour scenic drive through tea gardens and forsets either by taxi or luxury bus which operate throughout the day, takes you to Darjeeling.